Lately, I have had the sensation of being in a movie where two different worlds are colliding and I’m sometimes not sure which one is the “ alternative “universe.
What happens is that one day, I see one version of a world & then a little later, I see something completely opposite.
Which world is right? Are we coming or going?
No wonder I’m getting whiplash!
Recent events have brought these in sharp contrast & I had some sharp realizations about what these differences mean especially for women.
First we had the amazing Olympics where, for the first time, every country had a women athlete. Women from every walk of life were glorious and gracious in their strength and power. Little girls everywhere now have real models to inspire them and they will see this a normal.
I realized that when I was growing up, I didn’t know about any women athletes at all, much less see them as famous and important.
Then there August 26 ,“Women’s Equality Day” which was designed to honor the day, 90 years ago, that women got the right to vote. The founding fathers had that right since the Revolutionary War but it took a long time for women to have that right.
When I realized that my grandmother was born into a world where she could not vote, it made it very real to me. And I know I often just take this for granted.
Then we had the “competing conventions” which had many differences but both featured inspiring speakers, including many women. Many came from humble backgrounds but had choices that helped them move forward. And all over the world, people listened to them and cheered.
And I realized that they grew up just like me, where they were able to live a life of more choices than their parents ever knew.
But then in another “world”, choices for women’s health as well as the ability to vote seem to be taken over and a totally different view of a world is being shown.
And I realized that I recognized these same scenes from my own long ago youth and I remember that time with much pain.
I felt very upset when I looked at this “world”. It seems like a step back in time…a time when choices were very limited and expectations for a better life were low. And while I know progress in never easy and that there is often a backlash, for a while I was very discouraged. Haven’t we been here before?
But the more I thought about it & looked around me, the more reasons I saw to feel positive about the future. Yes, there are these two competing views but which one do I want to live in?
All these “realizations” make me sure that we are moving forward even though some would like to take us back to an “old world”.
I know I do have a choice as to where I put my time & energy and that what I focus on will always grow…past pain included.
So when I see the young moms in my book club raising future presidents, my young neighbors changing education for children & the environment and my young niece being an equal partner in her marriage & her business, I begin to relax. They are creating a better world.
Just like every generation has always done.
And those Olympic athletes are certainly not going to accept anyone else’s view of their world. Try telling them that they can’t do something & you’d have to get far out of the way. Maybe go into another universe!
And so in the War of the Worlds, I know who will win.
All of us.
When WCNC News anchor & Observer columnist, Bobby Sisk asked me what trends I see in employment today, there was a lot to talk about. So much of what we have always thought of as “work” is changing dramatically.
I said, “Work is now more of a patchwork quilt, not a security blanket”.
The resulting Observer column he wrote echoed that thought but as I reflected on this idea, I realized that there is more to it than I first thought
What Happened In Gee’s Bend
And then I was reminded of the remarkable women of the tiny town of Gee’s Bend, Alabama?who created works of art by creating quilts. They didn’t start out to be artists but just wanted to make something practical to keep warm and maybe make a little money.
They had to use the materials they had. Just like most of us…they had a need and wanted to fill it
They just wanted to share their humble gifts with each other and their families.?The result was beautiful art that would be in major galleries across the country and bring some money and fame to their small town.
For many of us, our situation is much the same .
The trend I see now in employment is somewhat like that. People are creating small new businesses for practical reasons and the results are more than they ever thought.
Certainly, many folks have had second jobs in addition to regular full time ones and there are many ambitious new entrepreneurs. But this new trend is for people to start a new business and make it intentionally small – at least at first
The reasons are varied but may include:??-they want some income while they look for other work :
•they have looked for full time work but cannot find it
•family or health issues require more schedule flexibility
•they are training for a new career but need income now
•they are burned out, bored or feel stuck in current job
•they have longed to express themselves in ways that traditional ? work an’t accommodate
Some of the more important reasons are that creation is energizing and gives us a sense of purpose as well as credibility.
This may seem intimidating at first but it can be quite simple. It does not have to be big or time consuming to meet your needs.??You can do it in some form no matter what your age and there is research that says it helps you to live longer and be healthier!
Learning something new is good exercise for our brains.
An added bonus is that you will meet lots of people that you might ?otherwise never meet. They may make you a job offer you can’t refuse (that happened to me!).
All you need is a skill or a service you want to offer, a phone & ?a computer and most important, a willingness to learn.
There is lots of help out there for you, including me.
I don’t claim to be an expert but I have had 2 businesses, taught entrepreneurial skills for CPCC, am on the board for a entrepreneur networking group, & ran an entrepreneur support group that met 2x a month for 8 years. I also come from a long line of family entrepreneurs. And I’ve learned a lot the hard way!
I Love to Do This
And most important, I love to coach others in starting & growing their businesses. I am willing to do this for FREE if you pay it forward. (contact me for details)
Yes, I know that may not seem like fun some folks but like the quilters of Gee’s Bend, I know that works of creation often have humble beginnings.
And I love to say...
“I knew them when they were just starting”.
“PINK HOUSES,PALACES & PRODUCE “
“You can never have enough of what you don’t really want”
It all started with 12 cans of tomatoes. On a cold rainy Saturday, I decided it was time to clean out my pantry. It seemed like a good thing to do, as my social calendar was blank. So I set to work and felt very vitreous.
12 Cans of Tomatoes?
That was, until I found 12 cans of various tomato products in my pantry. What in the world was I doing with 12 cans of tomatoes?
How did that happen? I like tomatoes but I can’t use 12 cans for a long time… what was I thinking? Obviously not much! It was mindless buying with little thought.
Hummm.. it seem like I’ve heard those words before. How often have I bought “stuff” because it was on sale or thought it was a quick feel better fix ? Finding all those tomatoes stacked before me caused me to think about questions I’ve been struggling with recently. How much is too much? When is it enough? How much do I really need to feel satisfied and secure?
Tough questions for me with little answers. But since we are just past the “too much of everything” season, this seem like a good time to explore them.
The question of “what is enough?” was stirred up with me while reading Geneen Roth’s best selling book,
She is best known for her books and work in the area of compulsive eating. But in this book, Geneen describes her life experiences after losing money with Bernie Maddoff’s investment scheme. The insightful information she provides on “what is enough?” applies to money & stuff, as well as food.
And as often happens after a major loss, Geneen began to explore what is really valuable in her life. Even after her financial loss, Geneen had what most of us would see as wealth. She began to realize that no matter how much of anything (money, food, clothes, clients, etc.) she had, it never felt rich enough for her.
Sometimes I have felt that way too.
An email from a friend in the Peace Corp working in Africa looked at the same question. My friend lives in a small pink house (pictured above) without electricity or running water. At times, she felt frustrated by not having these things even though she has one of the best houses in the village. She felt that way until she met an much older woman doing the same type of work as my friend but for another organization. This woman lived in a very small leaky old tent. After thinking about this, my friend decided her small pink house was really a “palace.” and became deeply aware that she had plenty.
So it seems that no matter what you do or don’t have materially, we are all faced with the question :
What do I need to feel content, satisfied and secure?
A peaceful place in between.
I realize that I don’t often know…in part because I don’t stop to think about or to pay attention to what I already have. I don’t think living in deprivation or martyrdom works either because it makes you deny that you need anything. Denial is always a trap.
But surely there is a peaceful place in between. And I do enjoy many things that make my life easier & will fight if you take my Ben & Jerry’s away.
But very,very slowly, I am finding that simply asking myself..”How much is enough? Makes me pause long enough to explore it. And usually I find that it is not the amount or even what I have, but the delight and appreciation of I have that is the fulfilling & satisfying part.
And I can never have too much of that, including gratitude for Cherry Garcia!
I really do live in a palace…and I’ll bet you do too.
Wow- it was quite a trip! My recent vacation opened my eyes to many things…not only to the magnificent Rocky Mountains but the magnificent people who helped me get there. Most of them were complete strangers.
Not only was it a journey to a different place in the mountains but also a different place within me. Both locations were, at times, somewhat scary but very interesting.
The Great Old Broads have Style
In our hot NC summers, I like to go to somewhere cool so when I read about the Great Old Broads for the Wilderness trip to The Colorado Rockies, I was delighted. I could reconnect with an old friend in Denver and then camp out with the “Broads”. And be part of this amazing group dedicated to environmental causes as well as having fun. ”Libations for Happy Hour” were listed in instructions on what to bring….my kind of camping.
Those people are “Strangers”
The logistics of getting from Denver to the camp- 300+ miles away and getting gear across the country and other considerations seemed daunting but I kept thinking that somehow it could be done. I didn’t have a clue as to how.
Before I left, several people said ‘ “But you will be around strangers- you don’t know anyone in that group”. Little did I realize that this was a great advantage!
Exploring the Ins & Outs of Travel
I did find that one of the gifts of travel is to explore different places, including the ones you carry around inside of you.
Faking my strong woman act came young. I was raised to be very self-sufficient and take care of things myself. Early I learned to say the “Everything is just fine” line with the fake smile plastered on. And while this early training has been useful in many ways, it has also sometimes kept me from being truthful about what I was feeling and, of course, seldom asking for help. Sometimes, this has caused me to feel isolated and weary as I had to do it all myself.
The Kindness of Strangers
But on this trip, I truly began to learn to “rely on the kindness of strangers” because that was all that was around me. I had to ask for help regularly. And I also found that, just telling the truth about how I was feeling opened up vast amounts of support that I didn’t even know I wanted but loved having. And it connected me in very powerful ways.
The list of gifts, support & fun from folks I didn’t know is very long and I am very grateful for it all. The generosity still astounds me. From open arms hospitality from some one I had not seen in 15 years, to “taxi” service all over Denver, to a 600-mile ride, a hot shower and a stay in a luxury trailer, I was beautifully taken care of.
It’s Blowing In the Wind
But the best gift was how this trip showed me a part of myself that needed to be “blown away ” by the mountain wind. It was time to let go of an old, worn out way of being.
It was time to give up the “I can do it myself ” act and leave it like a pair of hiking boots that don’t fit any more. I”m trading them in for support, comfort & a new style. The sense of freedom is as intoxicating as the mountain views.
It only took a 3000-mile trip for me to find out that sharing my journey is all it takes to turn strangers into friends. I’m never alone because strangers are everywhere.
Sometimes I’m a little slow…but I do finally get there.
Broads Help Each Other Cross a Stream
Free at last! I’m sure that is what I thought when I ran away from school in the first grade. I didn’t like all the rules and the kids were mean .So I just got my coat and started to walk toward home even though I had never walked that route before. One of my neighbors picked me up and took me home but it was several days before I went reluctantly back.And that was after the school principal came to my house to talk with me.
So you can see that the need for freedom has been with me a long time and why celebration of it makes the 4th of July a favorite holiday.
Founders of Freedom
I really identify with our country’s founders who wanted to have a say in how they lived their lives and were willing to fight for it. And like them, my need for that has often gotten me in trouble. But not trying to be free seems much worse.
And I also love how this holiday is celebrated with the simple joys of eating food outside, watching parades, and being dazzled by fireworks. It is all just relaxed fun even though the struggles we are honoring are often not.
Celebration and Fun
And so this newsletter is just for celebration and fun. I ‘ve had a good time coming up with my “Declarations of Independence” and “Freedoms”. I hope you will make up your own and share them with me.
Jeannie’s Declarations of Independence
* I hereby declare myself free from Social Media Madness. I’d rather have a real strawberry than a plastic blackberry; a hug from a real person is more valuable than a thousand “likes” from people who don’t know me, much less like me.
* I hereby declare myself free from the “Health Numbers Boogey Man”. All the scare statistics about calories, cholesterol, weight, etc. try to make me fit into an “average”. So I’m not average and I’d rather treat my body as the amazing gift that it is instead of squashing it into someone’s need for numbers.
• I declare myself free form the “Doom & Gloom” Crowd: I can be depressed on my own, thank you, and don’t need to hear “Aint’t It Awful” again. Spending time & energy paying attention to that keeps me from appreciating what is good and from doing what I can to change things. And besides, it is boring.
And being free of all this gives me time to delight in the simple, corny things (yep, that’s me) that the makes life so good and worth celebrating:
-Freedom to eat what I want when I want it, like ice cream at 2:00 am
-Freedom to read sleazy novels with no socially redeeming plot at all
-Freedom to turn up the music and loudly sing off key
-Freedom to say silly, goofy things to the people & pets I love
And most of all, freedom to write this newsletter just like I want it and to say what is in my head and in my heart. And know you will receive it in the same way. And you will join me in celebrating this amazing country that, in spite of all the challenges, was founded freedom for all.
And as we celebrate this, be sure to enjoy the delicious, beautiful sparkly fireworks inside all of us, just yearning to be set free.
Please pass the watermelon!
Ever had the experience of where you realize that something you that used to make you feel good …an outfit, a place or even a person…don’t seem to fit right or feel as good as they once did? What happened to it while I wasn’t looking?
I have been having that experience lately.
When this happens, I usually try to deny it or try to make it work by putting in lots of effort to recapture what I am losing. I will make it work, I say…which of course is just asking for more frustration but then, I’m a slow learner.
Often I felt naked & vulnerable as it feels like things that have changed things are the things make me feel secure. I resent that I didn’t have a choice that my “blankness “ are going w away.
With lots of resistance...
It started to happen last fall when I had some health challenges and was advised to slow down some and not work so hard. I knew it was good advice and although difficult to put into practice, I liked the idea. And thought it would be great to have more time for myself.
So with some (lots) of resistance, I began to let go of some projects and obligations.
When winter came, I enjoyed some hibernating but still kept my long list of “to dos”. The quiet voiced kept asking me, ” Who would you be without all the doing?” It was scary to think of that.
But by spring, I began to get restless and felt “fenced in” by all the “musts & shoulds” I had built around me.
With reluctance, it began to occur to me all the “duties “ gave me some identity as well as kept me very busy with no time to look around.
The “safe places “ no longer fit or felt as good.
And while that was very good for a long time, I could also see that it also kept me in one place. My protection “fences” had, in some ways, became barriers. The “safe places “ no longer fit or felt as good.
I began to see that I needed to slow down so I could pay attention at first. But now I needed to clear some room to grow…. I needed more wide-open spaces and fewer fences.
If every day is filled, it leaves little room for creating & exploring.
What would my life be like if I could let go a little and open space for new and old dreams to appear? And if I could allow myself to feel unsure and naked a bit, maybe I could take down some of my “fear fence”…and I might have a great new view!
So now as I take baby steps in exploring some new areas, I like playing the old cowboy song, ” Don’t Fence Me In “ and the Dixie Chicks wonderful song celebrating “Wide Open Spaces” .
They remind me that it is only in outgrowing our fences, that we are truly free
“What are some of the most common mistakes job seekers make?
The 3 H’s: Handshakes, Hugs & Help:
3 Key Ingredients in Finding Work
Coach Jeannie Says:
“Let me explain…”
All job seekers I have met work very hard on finding work…it is just that they sometimes put their energy into places that don’t produce much results.
Often I hear them say that they have sent out lots & lots of resumes but have little response. Sending out lots of resumes is sort of like buying a lottery ticket…great if you win but your odds are not very good!
Job seekers often only try to connect with people who are advertising jobs. They don’t seem to realize that since 80-90% of jobs are not advertised and are filled by someone who is knows someone, they need to spend 80-90% of their time in getting known.And only 10-15% of time in sending resumes for jobs on the internet.
The old “6 degrees of separation” works hugely in this area.
Here is one of the ways to do this:
Take advantage of the many job seekers groups available….not only to polish up resumes & interview skills but to connect with others who are also looking.
They can tell you about opportunities that you cannot know about because they are in places you don’t go. They also have their own “network” that they can refer you to; you never know who they know.
It is like having your own job help army. They can be your “job scouts”.And you can do the same for them.
But you do have to attend the groups regularly and get known there. Share your own knowledge & your network freely. Also volunteering to help set chairs, make coffee, etc. lets people see that you care and are responsible as well as visible.As other get to know you, they can recommend you.Reaching out to others means a lot.It may take a while but it sure beats sitting in front of the computer until your buns & brains are numb.
Social media has a place in job seeking but NOTHING replaces personal contact & a reputation as a reliable & helpful person. Yes,it sometimes “takes a village” to get a job so its important to get to know your neighbors!
A hug or a handshake is one of the most important thing you can do to find a job.
And it feels good to the
giver & receiver…and it is free.
That’s just what I felt when I awoke to a snow filled world on Monday.
The world had stopped…
Of course I had heard it was coming but the reality that the world had “stopped” was different.
Suddenly I had a whole day or more open with all my plans put on hold. No places to go and nothing to do. It really felt strange but somehow exciting. What could I do with this gift of time?
I thought about all the many times I had complained about having too much to do and all the times I had wished I could go back to bed. How often had I said that I didn’t have time to do something? I have often felt like I didn’t have enough time.
Yet when “free time “was given to me, I was a little lost. But on vacation. I could easily do little all day and feel great about it. Why was this different? I know I could fill it up with household chores but that didn’t seem right. It felt like a time to do something different that would mark this special; not just marking time until I could get back to life as usual.
This was a gift that I wasn’t sure how to unwrap.
And then I remembered a friend who was a high level manger who regularly scheduled a “Pajama Day”.
She didn’t get out of her jammies all day and did only things that were relaxing- no guilt & no chores. She said those days made it possible to continue with her otherwise hectic life.
So what would it be like to have a “mini-vacation’? How about a nap at 11:00 or lunch of cookies at 3:00? What if I only did things that felt good even if I was “wasting time “?
What a radical idea!
So a little awkwardly, I proceeded. Some of the ”shoulds” lingered but they left when I got excited about doing something different even if was to just prove I could. It was amazing how easily my day flowed as I just asked myself. ”What so you feel like doing now?” Some of the answers were surprising like when I decided to watch some daytime TV…but all opened up some pocket of permission At the end of the day, I felt really good…renewed and relaxed and ready to make this a habit.
So now part of my New Years Intentions is to have more “Snow Days/Grow Days” even if it summer!
I think I’ll buy some new pajamas to make them official.
” If the only prayer you ever say is Thank You , that is enough.” Meister Eckhart
This year, I have had the privilege of working with many people going thru major life transitions and their courage and resilience has been an inspiration to me.I think one the great gifts of living a while is to realize that we do have the strength to get thru tough times.. we have done it before.
I’m sure you there are people you know who are like that too.
Surely,we all have a heritage that has both survived and thrived & so can we.I am grateful to remember that.
Sometimes the gifts I get from a “growing experience ” are the ones that really last,
although I usually can’t see it at the time!
And so I want to let you know that I am grateful to you for staying on my list,for reading what I send to you and for giving me feedback.I am also very grateful that you ask me to support you by becoming a client,a workshop participant or taking the time to write a comment to me.
So, just know that you are appreciated and valued.
Thank you for enriching my life…and pass the turkey!
Meet Cindy Thomson, a woman who reclaimed her dream and inspires us to remember that is never too late to spread some joy.
Cindy has just recorded her first CD & on 11/14 she is having a CD release party party with the live band who recorded with her. It will be a great way to applaud her and her dream. (See info in sidebar). We hear that Tommy Tomlinson columnist for the Charlotte Observer will be there to write a story about her journey.
She did what she had to do.
Like many single moms, Cindy did what she had to do to support her two kids. She went back to college to finish her degree in accounting, rather than one in music, as she really wanted. . She sang when she could but never felt that she could pursue a music career. Her dream was put up and put off. But dreams are persistent & she finally got her chance and took it.
Now was the time…Music was calling.
She was laided off last year and tried to get another accounting job but music kept calling her. As a boomer and grandmother, she realized that if she was ever going to do it, now was the time. She felt that she needed to do this for herself and others like her who had had to put their dreams aside.
“With some coaching & family support, I finally began to believe that I deserved to do what I really wanted to do. I have never been so happy”.
And as often happens when we take a risk, many unexpected sources of support …like the Grammy nominated musicians, an outstanding producer and the superb sound studio…came to assist her. Her mother’s lovely artwork is on the CD cover.And so she created a CD.
THE SWEET THINGS IN LIFE CD is full of uplifting music and old favorites because Cindy feels we all need a lift these days. These songs have been a good reminder of hope for many year
And so in sharing the song that has always been in her heart, Cindy has put a song in our lives. And what a sweet thing that is.