Is there a time when you finally have to say “UNCLE?”
I never thought so until recently. Giving up just felt like failure. This just was not part of my plan; ever! I had convinced myself that failure was a reflection of the hard work that I put into something. So I would doggedly continue down the same path, doing the same thing because I just could not admit defeat.
Then I heard something that made me think about failure or giving up or changing the direction of my journey in a totally different way. Specifically “Fail Forward.”
There are times when you are going to fail. Sometimes in spite of yourself, things just don’t go as you need. But if you fail forward and you can take something valuable away from the experience then you are still moving forward on your journey.
I heard this about the same time as “fail forward:”
So just keeping aiming and don’t be afraid of taking a step back.
Creating a buzz……
What do we fear? Many times it is just the unknown… Will they like me? Will I be able to complete the project on time? Will I be good enough? Will I be able to compete?
Over the last 15 years, I have learned a lot about anxiety and fear. My daughter suffers with anxiety daily. In order to look at what is happening and deal with it, we were told to make a coping statement when faced with an attack. I asked my daughter to tell me how many times she was worried about something and then that actually happened. We really had to think about this for a while.
WE COULD NOT THINK OF ONE TIME!
I advised her, that most times we worry about the worst case scenario and that hardly ever happens. Much like the warnings on a drug label. The chances of the worst case might be 1 in a million…. Normally, we get something in between the best and worst outcome. So, if we know that the worst case is most likely not going to happen and we can deal with any of the other outcomes, we should just move forward and let our fear move back.
The more times we are able to push our fear back, the more confident we become. It is not that the fear is not there, we just don’t let it stop us from moving forward. The more we practice this, the easier it gets.
I have living proof.
Creating a buzz….
*picture found on Pinterest
Women, you gotta have a little bit of bling!
I am FABULOUS! This is what I tell myself everyday. My self confidence was always on the weak side, even when receiving awards and accolades. To remind myself that I am FABULOUS! I wear a bit of bling. I bit of glitter or sparkle. It seems to be my signature. When I don’t have it, people notice. Many times they will even ask, where is the bling? Could be on a purse, belt, big necklace or phone case.
Now I never want to over do it. Just a touch to remind me when I look in the mirror that I am FABULOUS! (I am smiling even as I say it.)
What is your signature? What reminds you, you are FABULOUS?
Creating a buzz…
*Picture found on Pinterest
Many of talk about our past so wistfully. As if it were the best time of our lives. REALLY? At 50, if my best years are behind me, then what do I have to look forward to?
Behind me is what shaped me but in front of me are the endless choices I have. To take the road less traveled or to take the road with comfortable ruts for walking in.
I remember when my daughter was little, she would always walk forward but with her head turned looking behind: from where she came. One day in a large warehouse store, she ran into a steel support beam. I took that moment to inspire her. I kneeled down to her level and said, when you look behind yourself you can only see what you have already seen. But in front of you is a world of choices and opportunities. Always look forward – it is where your future is.
Look forward – that is where your future is….
Creating a buzz…
When forces outside my control forced me to think about my own survival, and make decisions that affected others in a negative way, how quickly all the years of doing for the very same people was forgotten.
It was ok for me to struggle, but goodness, don’t let that struggle touch them… Don’t get me wrong, in a fight I am going to come out on top. I will learn what I need to do, I will create solutions to improve the situation and I will diligently work until I am back on top again. I never give up. (and that is a topic for another day)
On that path, I realized that some people were coming with me and others were choosing another path. And, in order for all of us to grow, I had to let go of some of the people from my past. Our paths were divergent. As I have continued to pull myself up that rocky path and grown as a leader, I realized that I have changed and I was not the person that some of these people had known for all these years. In fact, they might not even like the new, improved (my opinion) me. I HAD TO BE OK WITH THIS. I made those choices and these were the consequences.
Scared but hopefully looking forward……
Creating a buzz…
I took a test to see if I was having a midlife crisis. Why would I do that, you ask? Well, I in my 50’s, shouldn’t I be?
Well the test said no. Hmmmmm.
That got me thinking about what is a midlife crisis and how does it affect women? Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, as young women, we were told that we could be anything, do anything, have anything… REALLY? We saw our mothers keep a clean house, have dinner on the table at the same time every night and be involved in school activities. Many times they would have a job such as a nurse, secretary or teacher. Roles that were considered feminine by that generation. Smart women were simply kept back from achieving really financial success in their career.
Now, as their daughters, in our 50’s and 60’s we might have an empty nest, achieved success in our business ventures, be married or divorced and are still looking for what is next? We are restless and asking: Is this all there is? Now what?
We have held our standards so high that the dream of having it all was an impossible task. The perfect family: can I say let’s put the fun back in dysfunctional? The greatest career: I have been doing the same thing for 30 years. The perfect house: 3 kids, 2 dogs, need I say more. A perfectly prepared meal every night at 6:00 pm: I hate to cook.
For me, I had to get my nose bloody. I was totally lost as a person. I did not know who I was or what I wanted with MY life. So instead of a midlife crisis, I call it a midlife quest. A quest to redefine myself, my way. I don’t want my identity to be defined by others, my job or what I like to do. It should be defined by the values I hold.
More on values soon…
Creating a buzz…..
I have asked myself that question more times than I can even count now.
Suddenly, at 50, I realized my second marriage was collapsing, my 12 year old son was having psycho-somatic illnesses due to the stress in the house, my 15 year old daughter had just had an emotional breakdown and my 19 year old step son was so afraid that he would be homeless. I felt like I was in a war zone. Moving from one crisis to the next. Not to mention, my business was losing revenue in the 6 digits.
That was just over 2 years. The radical change of direction in my journey brought me to a complete standstill. I began to question everything, there have been times when friends, family and associates did not understand the decisions I was making. There was a part of me that wanted their approval. But finally, I realized that I was on this journey, and that I had to make sure that the shoes I was wearing were comfortable for me. I would need to walk in them for a long time. For too many years, I had done what I was told to do, expected to do and felt obligated to do. I had to learn to trust myself.
I sat down with a list of things I wanted to take on my journey; my optimistic outlook, my leadership ability and the authentic ME. (not the person I tried to be for others) I discarded all the stuff that did not feel right.
Then I made list of things I would need to improve the long term journey. I need to get back to learning new things: business skills for a new market place, understand who I really am and what is really important to me and finally set boundaries for myself.
While 2 years may or may not sound like a long time, it has gone by with incredible speed. Business is just starting to improve, my home life is happy (younger two are healthy and the step son was never homeless) and I wake up every day excited about where the journey will take me today.
Creating a buzz…….
*picture from https://twitter.com/wilsonmarc/media
Ok, you realized that maybe plan A is not going to happen, or that you aren’t even sure that plan A was that good in the first place. The quote from Suzy really does put things in perspective.
After 2 divorces, ups and downs in business, and raising 3 children, I have made a lot of plans; all starting with a Plan A. Most of them did not turn out as planned. Specifically, I remember a trip to Paris, with my then husband, and 15 month daughter. I had paid for the trip, packed so organized. Toys, snacks, diapers, change of clothes in this bag to be carried on. All other items in checked bags. Passports in purse with tickets. Get to airport on time. Checking in at the Tampa airport, I give all the documents to the representative. SO EXCITED, FIRST TIME TO PARIS. Representative checks my husband and my daughter’s passport then finally mine. She say’s, ma’am, your passport is expired. I will not be able to book you to Paris. I can check you into Chicago though…. This can’t be happening to me. I knew my passport was fine. Called my travel agent, she said go to Chicago then go into town and renew your passport. When you are back at the airport, we will get you on the next flight. Needless to say, I should have just gone home… Nothing about the trip from there went as planned. We did get the passport, but then the luggage was lost, then the hotel did not have our reservation, diapers were lost and try finding Pampers in Paris-Not that easy.
I had planned this trip for months, thought that all the details were taken care of. However, as stressful as that was, we made the most of the trip. Finally found Pampers before diaper rash set in. Found a set of spare clothes and had the dirty set cleaned each day. Had picnics, saw all the sights and look back at that vacation with the fondest memories.
Now when I take a vacation, the only thing I plan is the where and when. I check the passports, including mine. I let fate and desire take me the rest of the way. Plan B usually works out just as well. It’s all in the perspective.
What is your Plan Bee? Do you even have one?
Creating a buzz……
I heard something on a video series that I subscribe to that stated that when two strangers meet for the first time they will lie three times in the first 10 minutes. On average, we are lied to between 10-200 times per day. My goodness, that is a lot of lying. Most of the time it is harmless, white lies but within our support group of friends and family we should expect more.
WHY? You ask. I want to live in my fantasy world. However, if you are ready to move your life forward you must have a realistic view of where and who you are. How do the people that love you, see you? Honestly see you. Not criticism. I mean, someone that can say “I don’t agree.” and “I think this….” “This is how I see you.”
We should surround ourselves with people that challenge us. To add insight on how others see us. Again, you ask WHY? Because we can rationalize everything that we do but judge others for the same action. We need healthy feedback. And a “yes man” just won’t do.
Ask your best friend, sister, brother, or husband: How would you describe me??
I did this for myself. It was not easy to hear all of it but at the same time I began to see myself through the eyes of the people that really loved me: strengths and weaknesses. I realized through this exercise that there are areas that need my attention and other areas that I was spot on. Now I ask for regular feedback from loved ones. Reflecting on their words helps me stay on the journey I want to be on.
(video reference above is from Ted Talks, Pamela Meyer: How to spot a Liar)
Creating a buzz…
Do you surround yourself with yes men or true friends?
Bee cause you wake up one day and while looking at yourself in the mirror for the first time in years, you make eye contact. With total shock you scream:
WHO IS THAT?
WHEN DID THOSE LINES DEVELOP AROUND MY EYES?
HOW DID I GET HERE?
WHERE DID THE TIME GO?
WHO AM I?
( or maybe all of the above)
Fear and panic have now set in with a stark realization that 1/2 of your life is over and you don’t even recognize yourself.
Having spent the first 1/2 of my life on the tread mill, rushing to the next thing I was committed to: building a career, raising 2 children, mentoring my step son, leading my team, going through 2 husbands and running my own business and charitable work. I realized that I had not continued to stay in touch with myself. I was defined by what I did: mother, volunteer, wife, entrepreneur and leader.
And while all of this was part of me, it definitely did not define me. I felt empty and started to grieve as if someone had died. It felt like me.
As I started to meet new people, they would ask: what do you do for fun? what are your hobbies? what are your dreams? I had no answer! This was shocking to realize.
I had to go back to a time I felt happy and alive. Back to my 20’s; before I was someone’s wife, mother, agent…. and reflect on those questions.
Dance (it had been years)
Sing (hardly ever more than a hum)
Write (mostly poetry)
Create (photos of captured memories)
Travel (with more shoes than clothes)
Then the next question: How does a 50 year old single woman with so many responsibilities create a life she dreams of; with significance and unabashed joy?
Please give me a buzz with your ideas and thoughts.