Are You Stuck in the Planning Place?

Planning is important, sure. There are all sorts of things in life that are better with planning, but too often we can get stuck there. Especially if the next step requires leaving our comfort zone. We tend to over-value the need for planning, and under-value our resourcefulness. I bet you know a couple who didn’t plan on getting pregnant but it happened. I bet they figured it out. How about when a major, expensive car repair becomes necessary? We figure it out. We either figure out how to come up with the money, or we figure out how to do without the car.

What area of your life is stuck in the Planning Place? You KNOW you aren’t happy where you’re at in this area, and yet you fool yourself into thinking that just because you did a Google Search, made a phone call, tossed it around in your mind, or mentioned something about it, that you’ve just got to wait now until the “right” answer presents itself. Or maybe you are actively planning and trying to prepare and consider every conceivable outcome before you decide which path to take. Enough is enough. You have to make a move.

Have you ever been detoured while driving and for whatever reason not only were there no signs to direct you, but you didn’t have a GPS to help you find your way back to your route? I’m willing to bet, you found your way to your destination. You may have even taken a wrong turn. You may have even had to ask someone for directions. Or stop and turn on Google maps. Or you took the really, really, realllllly long way there. But you got there. Because you’re resourceful. Would you have gotten there if you just stopped the car and considered every other possible route? NO. You would not have made any progress getting there until you started moving the vehicle again.

Planning, in and of itself, does not move you forward. It is only when you ACT on your planning that movement begins. You have to start moving. You can’t possibly plan for everything anyway. And you don’t have to do this alone. There are resources everywhere, but no one can make the first move but you. If you’re unhappy with your health, DO something about it. Doing is different from Planning. There is a good chance that whatever the end result is that you are considering, there are a whole bunch of small steps you would need to take before you got there anyway.

If you want to learn how to ride a bike, you could read a manual about it. This could be the best manual ever made on the topic. It covers everything you would ever need to know about riding a bike. But until you RIDE the bike, you will not be any closer to the end result of being an experienced bike rider. Take a small step. You can adjust as you go, but you’ve got to go. Life is way too short to spend it planning, and never doing. There are so many possibilities out there. There is not just one path to Happiness. There are many, many paths. Chose one and if you have to alter your course later because you don’t like the one you’re on, you’ll do that.

How about you share some successes? What’s an action you took at some point in your life that truly changed your path and resulted in a positive outcome? Share in the comments section.

Do you need a resource to help nudge you out of the Planning Place and into Action? That’s my Jam! Email me at April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com to set up your FREE strategy session. It’s time for you to take back your power!!

How Setting a Daily Intention Can Improve Your Life

Starting your day with an intention may seem obvious. Don’t we all start our day with the intention of being on time, having a good day, getting our work done, not strangling an annoying co-worker, and other similar goals? For the most part, yes. Many have to-do lists that they intend to complete. But I’m not talking about THOSE intentions (important though they are). I’m talking about an intention that will apply to all areas of your life from the moment you wake right through to the moment you go to sleep.

These do not need to (and really shouldn’t) be complicated, lengthy intentions. They should be intentions that you can apply at work, home, etc. For example, your intention may be to “be positive.” You can apply this everywhere. You start thinking about what a great day you’re going to have, you talk yourself up on the drive in, not seeing that third red light as a “sign” of a bad day to come. You walk with a little pep in your step and smile in greeting to others. You avoid complaining about the loud phone talker, gum snapper, know-it-all and water cooler gossiper…because you set the intention to be positive. When you get home, you focus on not whining about your day, and handling the limited dinner options (since you forgot to go to the grocery store), in stride.

Some moments will be easier than others; some days will be more successful, too. But when you set your focus, things HAPPEN! Good things. Your intention could simply be one word, like “confidence.” So you will go through your day talking yourself up. You look good, you’re interesting, you have great ideas to contribute, you walk tall and speak with authority. Get the idea?

Here are some helpful guidelines for your intentions (but keep in mind, there are no rules here).

  • Keep it simple and general enough to apply throughout your day.
  • Make it relevant to an area of your life you’re trying to improve (like the positivity and confidence examples used above).
  • Make it a little challenging, but not too much…it will likely get more difficult as the day progresses.
  • Your intention is best phrased as something you will do as opposed to something you won’t do. (If you have “don’t be negative” going through your mind all day, the word that stands out is “negative,” which will make it harder to avoid.)
  • Change it as often as you like. Some prefer daily intentions, others weekly or monthly.
  • Reflect on how you did. Replay the day and think of how many times you focused on and applied that intention to various situations.
  • Celebrate your wins. Even if there weren’t as many as you had hoped. Progress is progress.

Having a clear intention every day will help you be who you want to be. If you’re trying to improve your attention to detail, “pay attention to the details” is a great intention to have. You are channeling all that energy towards something good. Having intentions just float around in our brains doesn’t help us improve. We need to clearly state it! Do this every day…you will absolutely notice the improvement after just one day!

This week’s commenting is going to be FUN!! State your intention. That’s it. No explanation required. Just tell me in the comments section what your intention is. Overachievers are welcome to come back and share how successful the exercise was for them.

Would you like to put even more energy towards an area of your life you’d like to improve? I have an arsenal of tools, techniques, strategies and methods to get you where you want to be quicker! Email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com and we’ll set up your complimentary strategy session.

Why “Find Your Passion” is Bad Advice

From as far back as I can remember, I began the Search For My Passion. I don’t recall where I heard this advice or why I saw it as such a necessity, but I was on the hunt. As a parent, I can’t even count how many times I’ve told my kids to find work that they were passionate about. The reason this is such bad advice is that it’s incomplete. It doesn’t give the recipient the information they need to successfully locate their passion.

Passion isn’t something you find, like, say, a $20 bill or a great deal on shoes. If you find a $20 bill, there’s no question that you did. You won’t mistake it for a $100 bill or a penny. The same is true for a great deal on shoes. You know approximately how much they should cost, and you know how much you’re paying. It’s simple math to determine a great deal. Finding your passion, however, is not usually so evident.

There are some people who knew from childhood what they wanted to be and never wavered. They found their passion early (REALLY early). But they are not the norm. Most of us try to connect what we like with careers that would allow us to be paid for doing it. If you like kids, you may look into becoming a teacher, if you like animals, maybe a veterinarian and so on. But unlike a $20 bill or a great deal, we’re not really sure if we found our passion or just something we might like doing sometimes.

Finding your passion implies that it’s there, in the Universe somewhere, just waiting for you to discover it. Like that’s easy. I know more teens and young adults who are tortured over this. Adults, too, actually. It’s like Pokemon Go for Passion. Everyone running around looking for their passion. Here’s where “find your passion” is bad advice. It leads us to believe that we’ll recognize it the moment we see it. It’s not always (or usually) that easy.

Finding your passion is similar to finding the love of your life. Most people don’t lock eyes with a stranger and recognize that they are going to be their soulmate. Yes, we’ve all heard stories like that, and good for those that discovered them so quickly, but again, not the norm. Most of us find our deepest relationships by building and developing them over time. Still others have found multiple soulmates over their lifetime. Passion is like that.

A small few will find their passion right away. But most of us will develop a passion for something over time. And still others will find multiple passions over their lifetime. It’s all good. But should you heed or offer the “find your passion” advice, please don’t stop there. For most of us, our passion is not going to tap us on the shoulder and announce their arrival.

Our passion needs to be cultivated. Knowing what we like, what activities and tasks we enjoy is the seed. It starts there. Try inserting those activities into your career, volunteering, and your personal life. Practice them in different settings, experiment with them. Life gives us multiple opportunities to express our passion. It’s not in one place and it doesn’t always look the same. Develop your passion. THAT’S what we should be advising others. That’s what we should be doing for ourselves. This requires patience, and hard work. It means there may be moments you aren’t loving what you’re doing, but with some time, commitment and mastery, you will find that love. It also means you can start where you are today. You don’t need to quit your job. Start developing your passion right where you are. You may be surprised by what you find.

What’s a passion you developed? Something you learned to love in a big way. Share your story with us in the comments section.

Would you like some help developing your passion? Are you still confused or frustrated about your search for passion?

I can help. Email me at AuthenticLifeChronicles@gmail.com to set up your complimentary strategy session. Together, we’ll develop a plan to get you on the path to living a life by design.

 

How to Make the Leader in You Shine

Everybody has an opinion on what qualities the best leaders possess. There is also no shortage of opinions on whether someone can be taught to be a leader. Some feel you have it or you don’t. I’m of the camp that everyone can be taught to be a leader…if they want to be. That’s really the only criteria. They have to wanna. The other issue I hear quite frequently is that there aren’t enough leadership positions to go around, leaving some leaders out in the cold. This is SO untrue.

If you’re itching to let the leader in you OUT, then you’re in luck, because I have some tips for you. But first, you’ll need to remove a myth in your mind. Myth: You need to be in a leadership position to show your stuff as a leader. This just isn’t true and could be the Numero Uno problem holding you back. If you’re waiting for the title of “Leader” before you show your leadership qualities, you’re likely going to be waiting for a long time. Being a leader is a mindset, not a job title. Now let’s get to the tips:

  • Seek out other leaders who inspire you – then ask if you can interview them – learn about their journey. They likely have a bunch of do’s and don’ts to help you.
  • Take the initiative – Don’t wait for someone to tell you they want to see your leadership skills, just show them every day.
  • See every task/job as an opportunity to show your skills – Whether you’re the maintenance clerk or the CEO, you should take pride in the quality of your work and be a leader.
  • Seek out mentors and sponsors
  • Your actions are always on display – You’re being watched by others…be impressive (every time).
  • Knowledge is power – but only if you use it
  • Reflect on the possibility that you are getting in your own way – That chip on your shoulder, negative attitude, or resistance to change likely isn’t going to help you advance.
  • Set clear, specific, SMART goals for yourself – Is there an area you need to improve in (interviewing, networking, technical skills, etc.)? Then set a goal to improve, seek help, and make it happen.
  • Be clear on your specific strengths AND weaknesses – Try getting 360 feedback
  • Share your knowledge and mentor others
  • Take action before you’re “ready” – Preparation is necessary, but don’t get stuck there. Learn the basics, then jump in. You learn more doing than you do preparing to do

Now self-assess from this list. How’d you do? Every leader, no matter how high up the ladder or how far they’ve come, still chooses several of these as opportunities. Being a leader means you NEVER stop learning and growing. So embrace your opportunities and focus on those that are most important to you at this stage of your development.

We’d love to hear from YOU! Which one on the list are you like a Boss in? Which one would you like to spend more time on? Remember, no shame in the game! Share in the comments section.

Do you want to speed up the process to let your inner leader shine? AWESOME! Let’s not waste another moment. I can give you personalized attention that addresses your unique situation.

Contact me at AuthenticLifeChronicles@gmail.com to set up your complimentary strategy session.

Creating White Space in Your Life

In web and print design, “white space” is very important. White space is what surrounds the content. It appears to be nothingness – blank space. While this element often goes unnoticed, it’s obvious when it’s missing. You know when you open a book and print is filling almost every inch of the page? Typically, that’s overwhelming and we are much more likely to put that book down (or dread having to read it). For this same reason, it’s important to have “white space” in life.

White space often seems as if it isn’t doing anything, but that’s untrue. In fact, most of us seek out white space, unconsciously. When you’re organizing or rearranging furniture; when you declutter or clean. These activities are often how we create white space in our lives. Our physical spaces need this as much as our psychological and emotional ones do.

Many years ago, when I was a smoker, there were two primary reasons I enjoyed smoking so much: It required deep breathing (which we now know is relaxing) and it gave me 5 minutes of white space. Thankfully, I have since found much healthier ways to create white space in my life. Here are my favs:

  • Sitting on my front porch people watching
  • Reading an interesting book
  • Taking a long drive/ride
  • Listening to music or a podcast
  • Reflecting as I drift off to sleep or wake in the morning
  • Spending quality time with my family and friends
  • Hiking or walking
  • Getting a massage or spa treatment
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Biking
  • Running
  • Napping
  • Relaxing at the beach
  • Gardening
  • Having a good ‘ol cry

To some, these activities may seem unproductive and without value, but they are examples of life’s white space. They relax, calm, quiet or center our mind. This is important because it prepares us for the busy “content” of life – work, family, kids, responsibility. These white space activities allow us to avoid overwhelm, tension and stress.

If you’re feeling overwhelm, tension and/or stress, work on creating white space. Are you filling your time with too many tasks or activities that don’t calm you? Check your physical spaces too. Are your bookshelves lined end to end with books you haven’t looked at in years (and likely never will)? Has the kitchen table become the “catch-all” for mail, papers, and other clutter? This content is taking over your white space. Have you ever had an important project deadline approaching and promptly began organizing your desk? This is not just a sign of procrastination, but an unconscious desire for some white space. Listening to the signals your body and mind send you will help you find the space you need to be at your best.

Your turn: How do YOU create white space in your life? Share in the comments section so we all can benefit from your wisdom!

Would you like to find some white space sooner rather than later?

You’re in luck! Email me at AuthenticLifeChronicles@gmail.com to set up a complimentary strategy session, and together we’ll find just what you need!

6 Tips to Putting Yourself Out There

I don’t think there is anything that triggers our vulnerabilities more than when we put ourselves out there. Like being the first one to say, “I love you” in a new relationship; or applying for a job that you think may be just over your head; or stating your beliefs to a group of people you aren’t sure share them. Sometimes you hear, “I love you, too,” or you get the job, or the group embraces you as one of their own. And sometimes you hear, “I’m not in the same place,” or learn you just aren’t qualified enough for that job, or (maybe the worst), you hear silence.

I have put myself out there more times in the past week than I probably have the entire year. Each time was difficult and nerve-wracking, but so worth it. Some of these worked out great, others, not so much. But despite some disappointment, I’m proud of myself. I risked rejection to pursue my goals, and/or stay true to who I am. I had some fails and some successes this week. As we all need to put ourselves out there at times, I thought I would share what worked for me:

  1. Shut Down That Inner Naysayer – You know the one, the buzz-kill in your mind that reminds you why you are out of your mind to aim so high or put your pride at risk. Often disguised as “The Voice of Reason,” this voice is nothing more than fear. We’ll cover reason in the other tips, but for now, get out the mental duct tape and shut this voice off!
  2. Make Note of All the Reasons You Should – Why do you want to pursue/express this? Is it because it’s aligned with your goals? Is it because, quite simply, that’s who you are? There’s no wrong answer here, but when your naysayer finally removes that duct tape, you will need these reasons to fight back. You have to convince yourself that you’re deserving before you’ll convince anyone else.
  3. Be Authentic & Honest – If you are going for that job because you have a passion for it, but know you may be lacking some of the required skills/training/experience, go for it. If you get the opportunity to interview, share that passion and focus on what you would bring, not what you’re lacking. If you are being more emotionally vulnerable, just own it. Despite all the advice to the contrary, playing games is not the way to win a relationship (not a good one, anyway).
  4. Prepare Yourself for All the Arguments – If you’re interviewing for a job you may not be technically qualified for, plan ahead how you would answer the tough questions. Perhaps what you lack in education you make up for in experience, or vice versa.
  5. Stay True to You – What makes this a success at the end (regardless of the outcome) is that you stayed true to yourself. When you put yourself out there, you are putting YOURSELF out there. The real you. Not the chameleon who is willing to conform to the expectations of others. Not the person who lied their way into a new job. When you stay true-blue, you will be proud of yourself, even if you get “rejected.”
  6. Celebrate – It takes a huge gulp of badass to put yourself out there. Exposing yourself to others who have the power (if you give it to them) to make you feel worthless or less than, is not for the faint of heart. But if you did it, and stayed true to yourself in the process, throw yourself a flippin’ parade! It’s a small club, but you’re in it, with a lifetime membership to boot!

These six tips can help you muster the courage to do something that most won’t be brave enough to do. That being said, rejection still stings. Disappointment is still a bummer. Being a badass doesn’t mean you don’t still feel these things. It also doesn’t mean you aren’t terrified they will happen. It just means you will continue getting on that horse and charging bravely towards your goals, your truth.

I’d love to know your thoughts. What tips do you have for putting yourself out there? Share in the comments section.

Could you use some help finding the courage to put yourself out there?

Email me at AuthenticLifeChronicles@gmail.com to set up a complimentary strategy session, and I’ll help you look within and find that courage!

You – ‘As-Is’

Typically, when I see something for sale and the words “as-is” are in the ad, I think, “uh, oh,” there must be something wrong with it. But, I think this is actually a flawed way of thinking. Perhaps not when a car or house are listed this way, but certainly for when people are. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could meet someone and feel as though we could present ourselves “as-is?” But we often go to a lot of trouble to hide our less desirable traits and accentuate (or exaggerate) our more desirable ones.

I recently conducted a workshop which included a self-assessment. The results of the self-assessment included how people wanted to be noticed. Some wanted to be noticed for their efficiency, others for their accomplishments, others for being well-liked, and others, well, they just wanted to be noticed. Interestingly, most of the participants weren’t comfortable talking about how they like to be noticed. I mean really, who likes to admit that they like to be noticed?? But we’re humans, and we are wired for connection and part of connecting with others, is being noticed, recognized and understood.

In Brene Brown’s book, “The Gifts of Imperfection,” she writes, “When we can let go of what other people think and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness – the feeling that we are enough just as we are and that we are worthy of love and belonging.” Amen, sister!

If we could embrace our uniqueness, quirks, special gifts, and flaws, wouldn’t our lives be fuller and richer? I think so. When I look back on my younger years I think, “why did I waste so much time trying to be what everyone else wanted me to be and hiding the me I thought was so inadequate?”

With all my experiences and education, I now know that façade only chipped away at my self-worth. Knowing I was faking it, and that people liked that fake version of me, only succeeded in making me feel like crap and validating the idea that if they knew the real me, they’d leave.

At my age now, I’m much more transparent and willing to be me. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’ve still got work to do, but I’m so much more me. And guess what…I’ve got plenty of friends and loved ones who like me, as-is. That doesn’t mean I don’t get razzed for my quirks and annoying qualities, but it’s done in love (most of the time). Along these same lines, ‘as-is’ doesn’t mean we don’t try to BECOME the best version of ourselves. It means we accept our strengths and use them to make ourselves and our world better, while accepting our weaknesses and trying to minimize their impact on our lives.

“Each and every one of us has a purpose in this world that is endowed upon us from a power greater than ourselves.”      –Laverne Cox

Don’t you think it’s time to embrace the REAL, authentic you? I’m telling you it is. I’m telling you that life is too short to live it pretending to be someone you aren’t. Life is too short to waste it being anything but 100% all-natural, organic YOU.

What do you think? What words of wisdom do you have to share on this topic? Share in the comments section, why don’t ya?

Does the idea of accepting yourself “as-is” sound wonderful, but oh, so impossible? I can prove how untrue that is.

As a Personal Development Coach, I deal with those inner critics all the time, and guess what…they lose. Every. Time.

Claim your FREE strategy session by reaching out to me at AuthenticLifeChronicles@gmail.com and we’ll uncover the REAL you.

(You’re gonna love you!)

Facebook is Not a Diary – 5 Etiquette Violations to Avoid

I LOVE Facebook. I remember when I first caught the Facebook bug. I totally skipped My Space, so I was completely out of the social media loop, until I bumped into a high school friend in passing who said, “So good to see you, look me up on Facebook.” And the rest is history. I so enjoy reading up on where life has taken those friends from my past, the pictures, the stories, the connection! But it doesn’t come without its issues, too.

This holiday weekend, I’d like to have a little fun and cover some Facebook basics. I know some will totally know where I’m coming from, while others will be a bit taken aback. The intent here is for all of us to do a quick self-assessment to make sure we are following Facebook etiquette and not being talked about (hopefully anonymously) at small gatherings. I’m not the only one who has posted some lovey-dovey Facebook post about loving everybody while under the influence of a wine (or three). No hate. But remember, these posts don’t just “go away”. They can be found by employers, family, friends, and foes even after they’ve been deleted.

Facebook Etiquette Violation #1 – Public fighting – Dogging the one who did you wrong, even when not mentioning names, is awkward and uncomfortable for readers. There’s a good chance we all know who you’re talking about. We may even be mutual friends with this person. A nasty divorce, drama-filled family issue or a backstabbing former-best-friend are issues that come to mind. This does not paint offenders in an ‘aww-poor-them’ light. Rather, it looks immature and catty to engage in such passive-aggressive public smearing. Even if/when we know the poster is right. It’s like making eye contact with someone in the locker room shower. Awkward.

Facebook Etiquette Violation #2 – Dropping a hook, then leaving – There is almost nothing more annoying than when someone posts something like, “Worst day ever…” “Maybe it’s time to just throw in the towel…” and then they disappear like a small plane in the Bermuda triangle. You ask if everything is ok, or “what’s wrong?” only to be met with silence. Or maybe a cursory, “it’s been a bad day”. If you need support from your Facebook friends, and publically announce this, it’s okay, but don’t disappear. It’s rude.

Facebook Etiquette Violation #3 – Chain Mail-like posts – I love all of my Facebook friends. I want all of them to be happy, healthy, successful, loved and financially secure. But for the love of all things holy…do NOT send me a “Send this to 12 other wonderful people in your life or you’re going to rot in hell for all eternity” type posts! I won’t play! (ok, if I do, I’m only sending it back to you…no one else!)

Facebook Etiquette Violation #4 – Graphic Images – I am an animal lover. Almost to a fault. But PLEASE do not visually assault me with unsolicited graphic images of animals being tortured, mutilated or in their final resting places after meeting a terrible death. I care, I love animals, but those images haunt me, hurt me and DO NOT make me donate to a cause. EVER! This goes for humans, too. I don’t want to see this stuff. It’s the exact reason I don’t watch television. It distracts me from what I can do and reminds me (in Technicolor) of bad things that happen. I know they happen; I don’t need to see the pictures.

Facebook Etiquette Violation #5 – TMI – I can be an open book as much as the next open-book person, but I don’t want to hear about EVERYTHING through Facebook. If we’re having a one-on-one conversation, that’s one thing. But when I see someone over share incredible detail on a highly private matter on Facebook with their 300+ friends, it’s just…uncomfortable. Facebook is not an intimate setting. These conversations are best reserved for besties and life coaches (hello), not the masses.

I hope you fared well in this self-assessment (I’m guilty of a few myself) and even found yourself giggling. No self-hate if you didn’t score perfectly, just consider it a learning experience to add to all the rest life provides. And if you disagree, well that’s fine too. I mean really, who am I, the Facebook Etiquette police? Seeing as I live in a glass house, I’ll opt out of throwing stones. However, if you think someone you care about would appreciate or benefit from these “totally-made-up-rules”, then by all means, share, share away!

Your turn…Share your thoughts on the topic. Am I totally off here? Can you relate with some of these? Did I miss any violations? Sharing is caring. Head to the comments section!

Have you been using Facebook like a Life Coach? Not very beneficial, huh? Email me at AuthenticLifeChronicles@gmail.com to set up your complimentary strategy session with a real Life Coach. I promise you’ll see better results!

 

 

Hello Mid-Life Crisis

I have just wrapped up an incredibly stressful six weeks. I unexpectedly lost my mom, my youngest had her senior prom and graduated from high school, and my oldest purchased his first home with his sweetheart. For the past 23+ years, my identity has been firmly defined by two things: being a caretaker to my parents; and being a mom. I’ve now lost both of my parents, and while I’m still, of course, a mom, I’m not needed the same way I was when they were little. This puts me square at “Welcome to Mid-Life Crisis.” Not the, leave my husband buy a Mustang mid-life crisis (I already have a Mustang), but rather the “who the hell am I?” mid-life crisis. I can’t answer that right now, but I’ve got plenty of resources to explore this question.

There are so many women (and men) who have crossed this bridge and likely have wonderful, sage advice to share. To you, I ask that you share it in the comments section, I’m all ears. To the rest; to the others who are on this same journey, or know you will be on this journey someday, I’m going to share my strategy for navigating these new waters.

Disclaimer: I may be totally wrong, so please know that I am sharing advice that I have not personally tested yet, so take it at your own risk.

Who am I? Such a profound question. I can’t answer that in less than 700 words. And even if I could, I would likely have an entirely different answer tomorrow. But I still have to have some idea. What is my purpose? To make both of these questions easier, I’m going to alter them by adding the word “today” at the end of each of them. Who am I today? What is my purpose today? It seems to me that these questions are much easier to answer. I can do that. I can respond to those questions intelligently, today. It’s like A.A. for the lost-in-mid-lifer’s. One day at a time. I don’t know, but that sounds pretty doable to me.

In celebration of my daughter’s high school graduation, and my son and his sweetheart’s first home, we took a family cruise. It was my first cruise and there were certainly some life lessons there. For one, we didn’t worry about what we were doing tomorrow beyond breakfast. We planned our day one step at a time. We didn’t focus on filling time with lots of activities, rather we just took it moment by moment. I kind of think this is (mostly) how life should be. We spent virtually no time looking at our calendars. We just talked and did what seemed right at the moment. We also had the luxury (yup, luxury) of not having any cell service or free Wi-Fi. So cell phones stayed in the cabin. We truly lived in the present. What a gift.

I think this is the answer to that mid-life crisis. I don’t have a label to apply to my identity right now. That’s ok. I’m going to explore and investigate and live in the moment. I bought nothing as a souvenir on our trip. Really. No hat, shirt, bag, key chain, shot glass or personalized starfish. I just savored each moment. I swam in the now. I’m going to hold close to me only those things that are truly important in my life. I remember my dad saying he could count on one hand the people most important in his life. Now I know what he meant (even though I might need two hands).

After six long, exhausting weeks, I’m ready. I’m ready to discover, explore and open my heart to the next chapter. I will happily explore this chapter day by day. What’s your plan? Tell us in the comments section.

What’s your purpose? Who are you?

Would you like help answering these questions for yourself? I will be your sounding board. I will be your buoy while you figure out your next move. Contact me at AuthenticLifeChronicles@gmail.com for your complimentary strategy session.

 

Women vs. Women – Part III

Nothing moves you up the “ladder” quicker and more efficiently than someone who has already made the climb and would like to help you. This experienced person can tell you what they did right and wrong so you don’t have to learn those lessons the hard way. Of course, you’ll have your own lessons to learn but someday you’ll pay it forward to some up-and-comer. Ladies, I have two words: If only…

Welcome to the third and final post on the topic of misogyny – dislike, contempt, or prejudice against women. The first post talked about body and appearance shaming, the second covered slut shaming and now this week I’ll cover the general lack of support, specifically in professional settings, where women tend to reinforce misogyny. My research uncovered many examples of this happening to women, by women. For example, in Jaimie Seaton’s article, “The Myth of Sisterhood,” she shares that one theory behind this behavior is based on the idea that women have to work so hard for professional achievements, that bringing another woman into her circle can be too risky.

As if this isn’t enough of a roadblock, worry not, there are plenty more. As many of us know, when women behave similarly to men, they are judged differently (by both men AND women). While a man behaving assertively would be considered assertive, a woman behaving that way is often considered difficult or bossy. Men acting strategically are respected; whereas, women are seen as manipulative. Take the Heidi/Howard case study that’s been replicated multiple times. In the study, college students are provided with details about Howard Roizen, an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, and asked to rate him. Both male and female students viewed him positively, overall. However, using the exact same description and information, but changing the name from Howard to Heidi produced very different results. Students found her competent, but not someone they would want to work for.

Esther Cepeda shared in her Washington Post article that a 2013 Gallup poll found that “women are likelier than men to express a preference to not be supervised on the job by a woman.” I’m am sorry to admit that for years I said exactly that. Repeatedly. What a terrible thing to teach my daughter. What a terrible thing to teach my son.

Women face additional challenges in the workplace as research has shown that gender bias rears its ugly head in performance evaluations, which affect advancement opportunities for women. It’s no big revelation that when women behave assertively or confidently, they are often perceived as ‘abrasive.’ It was found that constructive feedback and suggestions were often provided to men, yet women received only the criticism. Caroline Simard, Director of Research at the Clayman Institute, says in an interview with HR C-Suite, that these micro-inequities have a “cumulative disadvantage over a woman’s career over time, resulting in lower access to key leadership positions and stretch assignments, advancement and pay.” Consider professional orchestras. Despite the insistence that there was no gender bias in the selection process, orchestras have always been predominantly male. However, having musicians audition behind a screen increased the likelihood that a woman would advance by 50%.

The workplace is not the only environment where women are pulling each other down. Women judge each other based on their choices to return to work or stay home following the birth of a child; choosing bottle feeding over nursing; public schools over private schools, whether to have children or not; and on and on.

This misogyny carried out by women must stop. I was oblivious to how my behavior impacted my fellow women, as well as myself. My research forced me to change.

Ladies, we need to empower each other. Robbing each other of power and control creates an up-hill battle for all women. If we ever want to see equality in the workplace, both in pay and opportunities, support of each other will be paramount. Mentorship, sponsorship, support and coaching will need to take place at a high level. Only when we have conquered these roadblocks, will we find ourselves on level ground with men.

I hope you have found these posts enlightening. I hope they validated any experiences you or a woman in your life has had, but mostly I hope that you see how you can change your perspective too, and find ways to support women in a bigger, better way.

Today, my youngest, my daughter, graduates high school. I want her to feel supported and encouraged to live a life where she is credited for her inner beauty, rather than her outward appearance. A life where she can discover who she is as a human being; not trapped by rules that apply only to women. I want her to pursue her career and life goals and be coached, mentored and lifted up by other women who can help her along the way.

Every woman I know, (yup, even the ones I don’t particularly like) has something to offer other women. Some nugget of experience or knowledge or perspective that would be so valuable to another. Tell us in the comments section something you have done, or another woman has done for you, that made you feel supported, encouraged and valued.

Would you like to work on embracing your femininity and sharing your strengths with others? Contact me at AuthenticLifeChronicles@gmail.com to set up a complimentary strategy session to turn your goals into accomplishments.