Baby or Business? (Read Time: 4 min.)

mother 2The more time I spend on this journey to having more children, the clearer it becomes that conceiving a baby and birthing a business have opposing needs.  I know there are women who’ve been where I am, building the business that I’m building, and have gotten pregnant, carried twins, and given birth, all while keeping the company flag waving… but I am having trouble keeping 100% dedication to birthing a business AND a baby.

This post is for all the women breadwinners out there who are considering having a baby (first, last or somewhere in the middle)…

I want to get my body geared up for pregnancy… really I do.  But the idea of 7-9 hours of sleep a night, giving up caffeine, getting plenty of sunlight, rest, reducing stress, cleaning up my eating, and following a regular exercise regime all feel and seem contradictory to what it takes to build a 7 figure business as you have other children, other priorities, and other commitments.  I keep waiting for more time to open up… it doesn’t.  I keep hoping I’ll find that “magic pill” or that “magic book” that will give me the 4 hour workweek I need to get it all done… hasn’t shown up yet.  And the one thing that keeps radiating inside of me is something I’m refusing to listen to:

Something’s gotta give…

Yup, I hate that.  I remember when I wanted to conceive my second son.  I lived that truth.  I wanted a baby so badly that I changed my life, my eating, became a personal trainer, dropped 70 pounds, gave up coffee, and got in the best shape of my life just so I could have a shot at getting pregnant… and I did get pregnant… twice.

But, now, years older and with less biological clock time than I had before and more goals than ever, I find myself at a crossroads about what to do.  I’m constantly running the different scenarios in my mind and asking, “Can I REALLY put A down to make room for B?”  And I’m on the fence about it…

At some point, I’m going to be 80-something years old and I’m going to sit in my rocking chair and look back on my entire life… and what will I see?

Will I care, at 80, about the various blog posts I didn’t put up on the site?

Will I be concerned about all the extra hours I didn’t put into the business?

Or will I look back and regret the fact that I gave up my most fertile, reproductive years in pursuit of a level of professional attainment that I had the rest of my life to attain…

See, that puts EVERYTHING into proper perspective.

So I know what I need to do.  I know WHY I need to do it.  The question is:

Will I listen this time and do it?

The jury’s still out on that one.

#tobecontinued…

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Whose baggage are you carrying? (Read time: 6 min.)

School 7I was reading an article about female breadwinners.  It talked about the way in which the husbands of these breadwinners felt emasculated and, as a result, the breadwinning wives carried around with them unspoken guilt about their husband’s loss of identity… and it left me wondering:

Whose baggage are you carrying?

I get the mommy guilt, the woman breadwinner resentment, the wanting Superman and finding bliss with Clark Kent.  What I don’t get is why we continue to have this dialogue about how women breadwinners have tougher marriages, greater divorces, and spend less time mothering their children… all because they make at least 60% of the annual household income.

How do you win in a society that says “Damn you for being successful!” on the one hand and “Damn you for being dependent!” on the other?

How is it that women have come so far and still they carry with them other people’s baggage, other people’s issues, and other people’s guilt?

Is it not enough that we carry and bear children, that we’ve spent thousands of years being dominated, treated like property, and tossed aside like trash?

Isn’t it time we put away the old paradigm of expecting men to be bullet proof and women to be soft as silk?

The answer is yes.  But if women breadwinners continue to carry their spouses’ baggage, their boyfriends’ hangups, and their partners’ insecurities, don’t we keep sending the message that women breadwinning is somehow wrong and that the women who do it are, in many ways, committing a societal sin?

Women are breadwinners because they can be, because they want to be, and, in many instances, because they HAVE to be.

This is a sign of forward movement, not a symptom of societal decay.

It is not a woman breadwinner’s job to “make” her partner feel more like a man nor is it his role to become her maid, her housekeeper, or her babysitter.  We aren’t talking about two people who happen to be roommates.  We’re talking about two people who signed up for the same journey, who agreed to enjoy the ride, and who decided that they were stronger together than they were apart.  That means you love who you’re with.  It means you support their highest potential.  It translates into focusing on what makes the relationship work, not what makes the parntership suffer.

We’ve come so far… and, yet, we haven’t.

I remember in college, as women, we were told, “You can have it all!”

What “they” didn’t say is that “having it all” isn’t always a win.

Sometimes when you win, you lose… and, sometimes, when you lose, you win…

So what do you do when you’re tired of carrying around other people’s shame, guilt, anger, frustration, and resentment?

1) You let other people’s  baggage go.  You do this by not making anyone else’s emotional hang-ups, opinions, or concerns your own.  Be very clear about what you think of your woman breadwinner status.  When someone comes your way with negativity, separate their issues from your beliefs.  Say to yourself, “I’m not taking them or that comment personally” and then move on to something more positive.  Change the topic of conversation.  Focus on your goals.  Ask them to stop the negativity.  Walk away if you have to.  Someone can attempt to hand you their baggage but you get to decide whether or not you accept it.

2) You stop defining your life by your role.  You may fill the role of a woman breadwinner but a woman breadwinner is not who you REALLY are.  People like labels because they like to arrange their worlds in neat, tidy categories.  You don’t have to be one of those compartments.  Nobody is their title.  You can decide here, today, that while you might fulfill the role of a breadwinner, you are so much more than that.  You are not your stuff and you are certainly not your breadwinning title.  Begin to define your life by  WHO you are, not WHAT you do… and the title (woman breadwinner) loses all stigma and all unnecessary pressure.

3) You start enjoying your life AND your role.  Bask in the freedoms you have that your great-grand mothers didn’t.  Enjoy what it means to experience financial and professional freedom.  Give thanks that you’re a woman who lives in an age where your influence, freedom, and power have never been more available to you.  Instead of making this role your job, see it as ONE of your callings. Be present to all the gifts and blessings that come with running your own show.  Forget about the cost.  No matter how you slice it, it’s better on the side of financial, professional and personal freedom.

4) You continue to speak the truth about your experience of the journey.  No more shame, blame, or guilt about days when you don’t love your role.  Some days you won’t.  No more apologizing for being brave, brilliant and daring.  You were born that way.  Why apologize now?  No more acting as if you wish it were the Leave it to Beaver decade.  Talk to your grandmother.  You don’t.  Tell the truth about your experience of this role and don’t shy away from being candid about both the ups and the downs.  Our daughters and granddaughters will either benefit from your wisdom or learn painfully from your silence.  You get to choose…

And, above all, NEVER believe that your power costs anyone else their own.

 It is the most insidious lie society has ever told and they tell it so strongly about women.

Men don’t apologize for being brave.  Why would we ever apologize for being strong?

Run your show, own your value, and speak your truth…

#sherunstheshow

Women Breadwinners & Sex: Is the stay-at-home-husband sexy? (Read Time: 6 min.)

coule 6This is a controversial post (HINT: If you’re wanting a politically correct post that says all the right things and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, this would not be the one- stop reading now).

My husband recently got a new job that pays SIGNIFICANTLY MORE than he was making in his prior position… and I noticed that, as a result, lots of things changed.  My stress level went down, my smile factor went up, and so did my sex drive… and then I watched a show yesterday where a woman breadwinner made the comment: “Stay-at-home dads are SUPER sexy.”  So last night, after watching my latest episode of Cashmere Mafia on Netflix (only 8 episodes but all about women breadwinners… stay tuned on what I’m going to do with that in a few months), I was up pondering:

Is the stay-at-home-husband sexy?

Not just the stay-at-home-dad.  Kids can make staying at home key but there are stay-at-home husbands who have breadwinning wives and no children (unemployed, underemployed, pursuing an art or a dream that has him home alot, etc., etc.)

Is that man just as sexy as the corporate husband who wears a suit, is out the door at 6 am, home at 6 pm from a hard day’s work and is making good money?

Hmm….

Well, let me give you the answers I came up with (3 of them to be exact):

1) It depends

2) Not to me

3) If you like it, I love it

Let me break down each one:

ANSWER 1: It depends.  

I’m really tired of people talking about women breadwinners and the men they marry in politically correct terms, focusing only on the good and how wonderful things CAN be.  CAN is a word based on potential, not necessarily actual and here’s the truth:

A stay-at-home-husband will be sexy to the wife who’s agreed to that relationship contract.  

In other words, if a woman breadwinner marries a man assuming he’ll work or expecting that he’ll contribute financially and he ends up not doing that, sexiness goes out the window (regardless of how many great meals he cooks or diapers he changes or household projects he does).  It’s all about the UNSPOKEN relationship agreement both people assumed they were signing up for.  When a woman breadwinner marries a man, she has certain expectations (as does he) and if those expectations drastically shift over time and nobody ever talks about it, openly changes the rules, and clearly accepts the “new normal”, there are going to be problems.  Why?  Because if your idea of a partner isn’t one who stays at home, makes gourmet meals, and brings in no actual cash, you’re going to stop feeling the magic.  Is it fair?  Life’s not fair.  Is it right? All depends on who you’re asking.  But if we continue to ignore the fact that a lot of women marry men EXPECTING them to be financial providers, wind up with something different, start resenting it, and NEVER talk about the change or openly accept the change, we’re missing out on a key opportunity TO CHANGE the relationship dynamic.

ANSWER 2:  Not to me.  

On a personal note, I am completely uninterested in being with a man who doesn’t have a career of some sort and doesn’t bring in any income and I make no apologies for making it known.

Why is it that men can have lists of criteria they have for women they’d even CONSIDER marrying and we call it “standards”

and women have a similar list and society calls it being “picky”?

I don’t think so.  When I have my next baby, I’m going to be at home for a while.  My choice.  Do I want my husband staying at home with our new baby? I don’t think so.  The relationship contract I signed up for does not include a stay-at-home-husband and it seems that we’re living in a society where women breadwinners are made to feel like gold digging, stuck up princesses if they openly say, “I have to have a man who works.”  In Liza Mundy’s book “The Richer Sex”, she asks the question, “How can a man be sexy when he’s in an inferior position?” and then she goes on to ask “Marry up? Marry down? Don’t marry?”  Liza goes on to say that women breadwinners have two options: Marry down or don’t marry.  What? REALLY??????? Would we give those same options to men?  Exactly!

I don’t agree with those options but here’s what I am saying about my personal preference: I chose a man who gets me, is on my level, and compliments me (i.e. brings strengths to the table that I don’t possess).  Part of that agreement also means that he has his own career, his own professional aspirations and he earns money.  Does he have to make more than me at some point? No.  I love being a woman breadwinner.  I don’t need a man who brings in six or seven figures and is always on the road or in surgery or doing a business deal.  That was a conscious choice I made to NOT have that.  But do I want a man who sits at home all day and watches the kids or plays video games or is a gourmet chef and has all of my meals prepared for me as I walk in the door? No way.  While that may have its perks, in the bedroom, for me, that’s  a TOTAL turnoff.  And having worked with enough women breadwinners, I can tell you that I’m not the only one.

ANSWER 3: If you like it, I love it.

The bottom line of this post is to get to a place where we can accept that women breadwinners will differ about what they seek and what they will accept in a mate.  Some love having a stay-at-home-dad for their kids and they see his job as being the hardest job in the world and the sex is hot and heavy because of the gratitude and respect they feel for him making that decision.  Wonderful!  Some women breadwinners want a man who has ambition, drive, and focus in areas OUTSIDE of household and family management and they love a husband who has a professional calling, follows it and brings home money because of it (whether the money is a lot or a little) and that’s awesome.  But to condemn one choice over the other or to say that we all have to love having husbands who are at home or husbands who work is a cookie cutter approach that doesn’t jive in real life.  Not only that but it invalidates the feeling of women breadwinners who may find themselves in marriages where their spouses are at home (and they didn’t co-sign on it) or their husbands are working (and that wasn’t the terms they agreed to when they had 5 children) and they feel angry, resentful, and frustrated.  We cannot deny the feelings of these women breadwinners who may be looking at their lives saying “This is not what I signed up for!”

We need to acknowledge that one of the struggles in being a woman breadwinner is that the gender roles are new,

they’re being recreated as we speak, and they don’t always feel comfortable (for the men or the women).

 We need to accept that not all women breadwinners are going to want stay-at-home husbands and not all stay-at-home-husbands are going to feel like men by taking on those roles.  It is not our job to make these individuals feel comfortable in a relationship dynamic that they don’t want.  It’s our job, as a society, to validate their feelings, listen to their concerns, and help them communicate and move towards creating a relationship dynamic that aligns with BOTH of their values.

But, if we never talk about the dissatisfaction some women breadwinners feel, the unhappiness some stay-at-home-husbands feel, and the impact these uncertainties and unspoken issues are having on the marriage, we’ll continue to speak favorably of women breadwinner marriages and we’ll continue to cheer on women in the workplace and we’ll continue to see increasing divorce rates among these types of marriages.

Let’s keep it real.

Is the stay-at-home-husband sexy?

Woman breadwinner, you get to decide but don’t co-sign on an option you secretly feel isn’t it. 

Say what you mean, mean what you say, and work out whatever is bugging you.

There’s nothing worse than pretending to be in love with life when you aren’t.

#keepitreal

It wasn’t better “back there” (Read Time: 4 min.)

woman 25I was going to write a different post this morning.  I was going to talk about how to not be distracted in life, how to stay the course and stay on purpose.  But it’s hard to do that when you’re present life is becoming increasingly drama-filled or anxiety ridden.  There’s been all of this talk about the Pew Report and women breadwinners, about single mothers who make no money versus married women breadwinners who bring home the bacon.  All of the media headlines and the debates and the discussions… and, yet, nobody’s really tackling the issue.

So I’m going to tackle a woman breadwinner issue this morning:

Wishing for a better past

Human nature is a funny thing.  The grass always looks greener on the other side, doesn’t it?  When you’re single, you wish you had someone.  When you’re married, you long for those single days.  When you have babies, you just want some sleep. When you have elementary school kids, you miss having babies to cuddle.  It seems as if we’re always living in the shadow of a past we think was better than it actually was or in serious anticipation of a future we expect to be 100 times better than  what the present currently is.

And it’s all a lie.  Every bit of it.

This kind of “wishing” for something different gets even worse when you’re going through a trial or life difficulty.  For women breadwinners, it could be a stressful work situation or recalling a time when you weren’t the breadwinner (and loved it) or even looking at how your friends live their lives (i.e. not being the breadwinner, not having the stress, not having to fill so many roles) and you start to believe (falsely) that it was so much better “back there.”

Let me help you out with this:

It wasn’t.

It wasn’t better “back there.”  If it had been, you’d still be “back there.”

Your mind forgets a lot of past details.  We propagate the human race based on this kind of amnesia.  If you remembered every detail of pregnancy, labor and delivery, would you really have done it five or six times?  I think not…

You might think you want to be as naive and ignorant as you once were so you wouldn’t be facing what you’re facing right now but guess what?  Ignorance is not bliss and naivete comes with a steep price.

Nothing about “back there” was a fairy tale story… even if you have yourself believing that it was.

Was it different than today? Yes.

Was it better than today? No.

Every step you took, every mistake you made, every experience you had, all of it brought you here and even if here is sheer and utter hell, you were brought to it so you could move through it.

Do not dull the importance of today’s journey because you wish that yesterday hadn’t gone so fast.  It did.  Today will.  Tomorrow might.

There may have been a time, prior to now, when you felt more in control, more at ease, and maybe even more at peace but the lesson of that isn’t that the past was so much better than the present but that, in every moment, then and now, you get to decide exactly how you feel.

You’ve been in a spiritual classroom all this time.  In your most difficult moments, recognize that the classroom didn’t change.  The subject matter, the difficulty level, and the final exam did.

Don’t wish that you were still living in a past that feels better today than it did back then.  When you were in it, you didn’t think so.  Now that you’re out of it, you’re looking for a reason to go back there.

Remember something really important:

“Today is the future I created yesterday.”

– Louise L. Hay

And if you’re still living “back there”, you aren’t creating over here.  You’re rehashing, reliving, and resenting… and you will create MORE of that in your future.

Is that what you really want?

Okay then… take that “wishing for a better past” where? BACK THERE…

#keepitmovin

Women Breadwinners & The Crazy Question (Read Time: 4 min.)

thinking 1For all the talent, strength and experience women breadwinners bring to the table, it’s amazing that many women breadwinners still stay up at night grappling with the same question:

Am I good enough?

It’s a crazy question taking up so much mental space that it’s time to deal with the issue RIGHT NOW.  Insecurity comes in many shapes and sizes.  A person can feel confident in their physical appearance and insecure in their intelligence.  A woman can feel great when she’s speaking in front of a crowd and lousy when she’s talking to a person one-on-one.  The variations of insecurity and self-doubt are countless but the root of all self-doubt is the same:

You believe a lie about yourself so strongly that you make it the truth.

How do you stop asking the crazy question, “Am I good enough?”

How do you stop feeling stuck in a certain spot in life because you’re not “worthy”?

How do you let go of your what your mother, father, brother, sister, or some long ago teacher said about you, the thing that stuck in your brain as a child and is now wreaking havoc in your life as a story you keep retelling?

How do you get over not being enough?

You decide to, one area of life at a time, one day at a time, one step at a time.

You DECIDE not to believe the lie someone told you decades ago.

You DECIDE that you run the show and you get to be whoever you choose.

You DECIDE that your dignity, your respect, and your self-esteem are worthy of your time.

You DECIDE that you can be MORE of who you are and that’s it not selfish to do so.

You DECIDE that anyone who doesn’t like you being brave, brilliant, and daring isn’t worth keeping in your life.

You DECIDE that you have to grow… no matter who gets left behind.

You DECIDE that the only way to live is to do so fully and full throttle living requires ALL of you.

You DECIDE that you weren’t an accident, that you aren’t a mistake, and that you were born to do great things.

You DECIDE that rock bottom is the foundation upon which you can build your life and you begin building it TODAY.

You DECIDE that the only opinion that matters is yours.  Yes, other people’s opinions will sting.  Yes, they will hurt.  And, no, they won’t matter if you make YOUR opinions the facts and their opinions heresy.

You DECIDE that asking yourself crazy questions and keeping yourself awake agonizing over the answers is a TOTAL and COMPLETE waste of time and you stop that RIGHT NOW!

You DECIDE that it is far too exhausting to emotionally beat yourself up than it is to energetically build yourself up… and you choose to build, not beat.

You DECIDE that, at the end of your life, you don’t want to be the bitter old hag who grumbles about what everybody’s taken from her and that you’d rather be the wise, gorgeous old woman who basks in all that she’s received, shared, and given.

You DECIDE that today, right here, right now, you can give up that old story and write a new one… and you do so with a pen, with your words, with your mind, and, especially, with your heart and you rewrite the script of your life scene by scene, line by line.

You DECIDE to be different because you recognize that you NEVER have to be a person you don’t like.

You DECIDE and you DO… and then everything changes, most significantly, YOU…

The beautiful part of this answer, the scary part of this response, the thrilling part of this adventure

is that the entirety of your self worth and self respect is COMPLETELY UP TO YOU…

YOU DECIDE… 

My Before-I-Get-Pregnant-Next Bucket List (Read Time: 4 min.)

KBibas pic1Most people have a bucket list, the list of all the things they want to do before they leave this lifetime.  I’ve decided to apply the same concept to my pre-pregnancy life now.  Having not been pregnant for 7 years at this point, it’s hard for me to remember what being pregnant felt like.  The pregnancy amnesia has me remembering all the great stuff: the baby kicking, the ultrasounds, seeing that cute, adorable baby for the first time, the first fart-based laugh, and all the giggles and play that comes in.  I have to be very deliberate about reminding me about all the not-so-fun stuff: up every two hours, breastfeeding every two hours, living in sweatpants, poopy diapers that don’t smell like baby powder, chasing after a running, romping toddler while holding a new born… all the stuff that women conveniently forget the moment they hold the precious baby they’ve waited nine months to meet.

Needless to say, I’m older and wiser this time around so I’m going to do something I didn’t do with the other three pregnancies: develop my own Pre-Pregnancy Bucket List.  I have the luxury of doing that because we’re doing in vitro so the timing of pregnancy pretty much comes down to the date we choose and the number of in vitro tries it takes to produce twins (yes, I’m intent on having twins- 2 for the price of one and at $14,000 an attempt, I’ve set a firm intention for twins).

So, without further ado, here’s my Pre-Pregnancy Bucket List:

  1. Take a pole aerial class (or a few if I like it)- think Cirque Du Soleil
  2. Take up mixed martial arts and get down to a fighting weight
  3. Do a month of Bikram Yoga (stick with it if I like it)
  4. Go on a rollecoaster ride- it’s been at least five or so years since I’ve done that
  5. Go on a weekend getaway with my husband to Vegas, Zipline, and enjoy a Mojito (one Mojito is enough for me)
  6. Go to a concert (crying babies and concerts don’t mix)
  7. Go to an NBA or NFL game (again, crying babies and professional sports games don’t mix, not for me anyway)
  8. Take new headshots (I’ve done headshots pregnant; not my preference this time)
  9. Go for a hot air balloon ride or go sky gliding (I barely have enough balance to not topple a CVS aisle pregnant so either of these would not be allowed or wise pregnant)
  10. Go roller or ice skating

There you have it.  I’ve got 40 weeks to get my bucket list done (end goal date: March 24, 2014).

21 Things You NEED to Do to Get What You Want in Life (7 min.) (Read Time: 5 min.)

searchingDo you have what you want in life?

Do you bitch about not having it?

Are you so focused on what went wrong in the past that you aren’t able to effectively use the present to create the future?

Let me help you out here:

Stop wishing for a better past.  I’ve tried it.  It doesn’t work.

Stop living in the land of woulda/shoulda/coulda.  You did the best you could, it was enough, and you can do better now.

Stop arguing for your limitations.  If I had a dime for every person who speaks a heck of a lot more about their liabilities than they do they’re assets, I’d be a billionaire.  Stop that!

So, now that we’ve got the ground rules down, where do we go from here?

UP!

Lots of people talk about the “secrets” to getting what you want in life.  Let me debunk it for you:

THERE IS NO SECRET.

There are 21 things you NEED to do to get what you want out of life and guess what?

Most people can’t hang with it (consistently, persistently) past #5 so if you can get past #5, you’re the cream of the crop.

Try these 21 steps for the next 30 days (in no particular order; work it, repeat it, change it as needed) and see what unfolds.  As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Energy and persistence conquer all things.” AMEN!

1. KNOW- Know what you want.  Let me help you out with this: if what you want changes every other day, you don’t know what you want.  Know your desired outcome and STICK with it. #nowifflewaffle

2. DECIDE- When you know what you want, you have to decide what actions you’re going to take to have that.  Take massive action by deciding what steps you’re going to take TODAY to get there. #decisionscreatedestiny

3. DO- I love planners who perpetually plan but never execute.  That won’t get you where you want to go.  Once you KNOW and DECIDE, it’s time to DO.  Today.  Take action.  Get it done.  Don’t let time, money, or other people limit you.  Stop looking for immediate reward or gratification.  You are planting seeds here.  Put on your farmer’s hat and focus on dropping seeds in the ground and nurturing the soil.  It’ll take root and bloom on its own time.  If you don’t go into a restaurant, order a meal and then insist upon going to the back to watch the chef cook the meal, why are you micromanaging your dreams and expecting a return before it’s harvest time?  Stop that.  Do your best.  Give your best.  The rewards will come with consistent action and consistent focus, all up to you! #justdoit

4. KEEP DOING- I love people who do the “Okay, I went to the gym once.  Where’s my 50 pound weight loss?”  Really?  Well, having a gym membership only correlates to weight loss if you actually go there repeatedly over time.  The same thing applies to whatever you want in life.  You have to keep taking action, ESPECIALLY when you’re not in the mood and seriously when you’ve lost the “want” to do it.  Remember: Do what you HAVE to do now so you can do what you WANT to do later. #beyourbest247

5. CHANGE AS NEEDED– Your end goal needs to be clear but how you get to that end goal is always up for reconsideration.  Plans will change.  Strategies will change.  As Tony Robbins says, “Stay committed to your decisions but stay flexible in your approach.”  Roll with life’s punches.  Stay clear on what you want but remember that there AT LEAST 1,000 ways to get there.  Do not limit yourself to ten.  Don’t complain about things not working until you’ve tried 999 DIFFERENT ways to approach it.  Until you’ve hit 999, you haven’t earned the right to complain. #thatisall

6. FOLLOW THROUGH- Keep your promises.  Don’t make promises you can’t keep.  Treat your time as sacred and honor the commitments that are most critical to creating the life you want.  Follow up with resources, relationships, and people who can help you get there.  Follow up and follow through are the name of the game.  Do not get bogged down by rejection.  It’s temporary unless you make it permanent.  When a door closes, be quick to look for another door or window.  Go the distance by staying the course. #followthrough

7. KEEP YOUR FAITH- When you feel like giving up most is usually when you’re closest to the next breakthrough.  No matter how tired you are of waiting for life to be the way you want it to be, adopt (from the very beginning) an “I don’t believe in defeat” attitude.  As Norman Vincent Peale has said, “The rough is only mental.  I think victory- I get victory.” #period

8. ENJOY THE RIDE- Waiting to arrive really sucks because you never really do.  If it isn’t one thing, it’s another so why waste time waiting for this or that to happen?  Life is a rollercoaster.  Put your seatbelt on, put your hands in the air and keep a barf bag close.  That’s it.  Enjoy wherever you are.  It makes the time go faster.  As is said in A Course in Miracles, “Infinite patience produces immediate results.”  Yeah, chew on that one for a day or two. #twistedbuttrue

9. LET DRAMA AND NON-SENSE GO- That includes drama prone people, places and things.  If you’re focused on creating the life you want, you have no time for emotional vampires.  Anyone who is sucking your energy dry needs to be kicked to the curb.  Stop calling, texting, and emailing.  Stop responding out of guilt that they have no one else.  Let me help you out here: emotional vampires  ALWAYS find their next victim.  Simply decide that you are not it.  In other words, you have no time to waste your energy on people who have no intention of making their lives better.  When you hear a misery prone, constant complainer/whiner who always seems to be in one drama situation or the next, take my advice: #dropemlikeitshot! #justsayin

10. REMIND YOURSELF WHY YOU WANT IT- Every now and again, you’re going to say to yourself, “Do I REALLY want this?  Why can’t I just settle for a “normal” life like everybody else?  Why can’t I just be happy with what I’ve got?”  Let me help you out here: A) You aren’t everybody else nor do you want to be, B) If you were meant to follow the herd, you’d be a sheep (sheep is plural but I can’t tell you the singular version of the word), and C) God would never put a desire in you that He didn’t also provide the internal resources for you to fulfill so you’re not wanting what you can’t have or what you are incapable of creating; you’re wanting what you were born to desire.  You need to remind yourself on a regular basis WHY you want to create this kind of a life.  You need to keep the WHY ever in front of you so when the going gets tough, your momentum doesn’t get going.  The “what” of your journey will not be enough to motivate you.  Only the  WHY will. #keepyourwhywhenthingsgettough

11. TAKE TIME EVERY DAY TO FOCUS ON WHAT IT WILL FEEL LIKE TO HAVE IT- Feelings create faith because when you feel that something is possible within you, you feel a surge of energy to take the actions necessary to get there.  Make time to close your eyes, visualize the outcome, and bask in it.  Those feelings will drive your to-do list for that day in a way your logical mind can’t.  Feel the achievement of the dream and the dream comes that much faster. #feelitintoexistence

12. EVALUATE WEEKLY HOW  MUCH CLOSER YOU’RE GETTING TO IT- Why do people hate stats, KPIs, and number crunching?  Numbers are your friends, especially when you run the show.  If you tell me you want to lose weight, then I want to know how many days you’re going to work out, for how long, doing what and how many calories you’ll consume each day in addition to that.  With those numbers and body measurements every four weeks, we could evaluate your results (based on your actions) and quickly decide if the strategy’s working or if it needs to change.  When people tell me, “I don’t really want to commit to a certain number of hours per week, calories per day, or words written per day”, I know they’re not ready.  Why?  Because if you can’t commit to daily actions, you aren’t ready to actually get there.  #dontletfearkeepyoufrommeasuringvictory

13. DON’T STOP UNTIL YOU HAVE IT- That means, until you get EXACTLY what you want, keep giving ALL you have to ALL  you do.  Don’t let up.  The closer a person gets to his/her dream, the more that person seems to let down their guard, lesson their efforts.  Don’t do that.  Give 100% because that’s how you do it.  Don’t see results coming and think, “Hey, I can take a little rest here.”  No.  Focus and give your max because giving your best is what you were born to do, regardless of the outcome.  The other thing I see people do is settle for “good enough.”  Tell me any child who incessantly asks for a puppy, receives a rock, and is thrilled to have that.  Life will pay you any price you ask.  Don’t be the person who accepts pennies instead of hundred dollar bills.  Don’t stop until you get EXACTLY what you want. #nomincingwordshere

14. WHEN SIGNS TELL YOU THIS AIN’T IT, LISTEN THE FIRST TIME- How many times do we go for something that really isn’t for us, get signs that it really isn’t for us and we rebelliously keep pushing?  There’s a difference between persisting on a road that’s meant for you and bullishly staying on a detour that wasn’t yours to take.  Your intuition and life experiences will give you clues as to which journey you’re on.  Listen the first time.  You do not have to spend forty years in the wilderness if you listen to your inner knowing the first ten times it tells you “This ain’t it!”  #listenthefirsttime

15. FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE IT ALREADY- Point 11 begins this but let me finish it here: if you live like you’re missing something and you’re constantly in pursuit of getting “THE” thing, you’re living in a “waiting to exhale” way of life.  Don’t do that.  Nothing is missing from today.  Nothing.  When you finally get that and decide to be happy today, it’ll put you in a mode to be more productive, super efficient, and happier in the meantime.  By the way, most of our lives are spent in the “meantime.”  Why not enjoy the now?  #lovetoday

16. LIVE LIKE YOU’RE NOT WAITING TO “ARRIVE”- Re-read Point 15… TEN  times… #readuntilitclicks

17. CELEBRATE NOW- Gratitude brings more things to be grateful about.  No matter how bad your day, find ONE THING to be grateful about and live in that space on that one thing until the rest of the day turns around or until tomorrow comes. Whining, complaining and throwing a pity party will happen but you need to set limitations on that.  Misery loves company and you don’t want to attract people to you who bitch about everything that isn’t working.  Remember: what you focus on grows. #celebrateallthatis

18. TRUST THE PROCESS OF LIFE- Life is either on your side or its not and you get to decide which world you live.  Be really conscious about deciding (daily) what world you live in.  Either life is a daring, bold adventure that you got to go on or it’s this hideous, unfair, ever menacing experience that happens to you every time you turn around. #choosetheadventure

19. BECOME SO GOOD THAT THEY CAN’T IGNORE YOU- Don’t keep your talents, gifts and abilities a secret.  Stop dumbing yourself down to make other people feel better.  No amount of slaughtering to your self esteem will ever make another person feel big who doesn’t.  Decide that your talent makes room for you and show it off every chance you get.  Proclaim your talent.  That’s not selfish; it’s called being honest. #yesyou’rethatgood

20. REMIND YOURSELF THAT PERSISTENCE IS THE ONE FACTOR THAT DETERMINES SUCCESS… AND DECIDE THAT YOU’VE GOT IT IN SPADES- Re-read Point #6… TEN TIMES… talent, genius, money, good looks, and tons of friends will get you no where if you aren’t resilient enough to persist NO MATTER WHAT.  The only thing that distinguishes the victim from the victor is that the victor decided to be the last one standing. #bethelastonestanding

21. NEVER GIVE UP- The life you want may seem TOTALLY unreasonable.  Good!  Tony Robbins put it this way, “Unreasonable people rule the world.”  Resist the temptation to give up on your dreams and settle for a “normal” life.  You aren’t normal.  Life gives you what you settle for.  In fact, remove settle from your mental dictionary and replace it with UNREASONABLE.  You don’t have to bargain with life and you don’t ever have to beg Godfor what He so freely is willing to give you.  You get what you believe you deserve.  #believeyoudeservegreatthings

Those are the 21 steps.

I bet you knew each and every one of them.

How many of the above do you implement on a REGULAR, CONSISTENT basis?

Yeah, get ‘er done!

I don’t like to commit to my calendar… but here’s why I do (Read Time: 3 min.)

woman 39Over and over, I’ve heard it said, “If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real.”  

I’ve fought the idea of putting my life on a schedule.  I’ve said:

How can you schedule when a child’s going to get sick and they have to stay home from school?
How can you schedule an accident on the highway and intense traffic?

How can you schedule going grocery shopping, forgetting an item, and having to go back?

Aren’t most schedules for show anyway?

Yes, I’ve given every objection to planning my day and living my life by my Google calendar and my android digital personal assistant but here’s what I’ve found:

Until you schedule it, it’s not a priority.

Wanting to work out everyday is a nice wish but until you have a set time that it occurs in your week (hence, why people love going to classes where times are scheduled and locked in), it won’t happen.

I’m a commitment phobe when it comes to my calendar.  It takes me 20 minutes too long to plan out my day because I look at my list of to-dos and look at my calendar and my constant gripe is:

There’s not enough time in my day to do EVERYTHING I want to do!

After about five minutes of pity partying, my Higher Self kicks in and lovingly reminds me:

At the end of the day, there will NEVER be enough time…

It’s not about having enough time.  It’s about doing ALL  you can with ALL you have, accepting that life is a work in progress, and being okay with the fact that it’ll never ALL be done.

We’ll never ALL be done.

“Waiting” to arrive is a total and complete waste of energy. 

The journey is THE thing.  The destination changes A LOT.

If you want to get more accomplished in your day, week, month and year, here are three tips that help me:

  1. Schedule your most important tasks DAILY.  Okay, take one day off during the weekend so you don’t feel like a total auto-bot (Side note: Transformers!  More than meets the eye:).
  2. Change your schedule as soon as “life happens.”  Yup, when a child gets sick or I have to run an errand I wasn’t expecting to run, I go back to my Google calendar and change my time frames.  It keeps me honest and it keeps my calendar consistent with my life.
  3. Spend 5 minutes each night evaluating how you spent your time.  Before I sit down with my husband and watch another episode of Life Unexpected on Net Flix, I sit down and ask myself a few questions: What worked about today?  What didn’t work about today?  What do I need to change in how approach tomorrow?   This idea came to me from Peter Bregman’s book, 18 Minutes.

Well, there you have it.  I’m not in love with the idea of scheduling my life but it works.

Sometimes, you do what you HAVE to do now so you can do what you WANT to do later.

It’s called, “Never give up what you want most for what you want now.” 

#usetodaywisely 

Women Breadwinners & the Perpetual Argument: What is the fighting REALLY about? (Read Time: 6 min.)

couple 869% of all marital conflicts are PERPETUAL

In other words, there is no solution to them and engaging in conflict over them is a complete AND total waste of time.

Given this fact, it’s important to distinguish between marital conflict that’s solvable and conflict that’s perpetual.  If it’s solvable, it’s worth working through.  If it’s perpetual, it’s simply a waste of time, energy, and focus.

There’s only one problem with this:

Most couples fight for the WRONG reasons.

Here are some examples:

  1. Fighting to win
  2. Fighting to be right
  3. Fighting to get attention
  4. Fighting to avoid discussing and solving REAL issues
  5. Fighting to annoy, upset, or deter the other person
  6. Fighting to blame the other person
  7. Fighting to feel comfortable (yes, some folks feel most comfy when life is filled with drama)
  8. Fighting to fill the void and emptiness of being in a marriage that isn’t (and probably was never) right in the first place

Yes, there are tons of WRONG reasons why couples fight.  But the problem in women breadwinner marriages doesn’t come down to whether a husband and wife argue; it comes down to the way they go about viewing, understanding, and working through the conflict.

Psychologist Dan Wile said it beautifully in a book called “After the Honeymoon”: “When choosing a long-term partner… you will inevitably be choosing a particular set of unsolvable problems that you’ll be grappling with for the next ten, twenty or fifty years.”

Did you read the 50 years part?

Yes… In other words, EVERYBODY comes with baggage.  It’s up to you to choose baggage you know you can live with (and love) for the next 50 years.

The trouble in women breadwinner relationships is this:

Not all women signed up to be breadwinners, not all women breadwinners want to be breadwinners,

and not all beta husbands of women breadwinners want to be stay-at-home husbands or dads.

When you’re in a role you didn’t actively choose or one you never thought you’d be in, conflict is bound to creep up.

So… what is the fighting REALLY about?

When looked at productively, the fighting is about growth: discovering it, resisting it, managing it and thriving through it.

In a book called Enchanted Love, Marianne Williamson says the following:

“Growth is a detox process, as our weakest, darkest places are sucked up to the surface in order to be released.  Often, upon seeing the weaknesses in each other, we have the tendency to go “Yuck!” and walk away on some level.  But often it is not a change in partners but rather a change in perception that delivers us to the love we seek.  When we shift our view of the purpose of intimacy-from serving our own needs as we define them to serving a larger process of healing- then an entirely new opportunity presents itself.  Our wounds have been brought forward, not to block the experience of love, but to serve it.” 

In this way, when marital conflict takes up residence in a woman breadwinner marriage, it’s not there to say “This marriage won’t work.”  Conflict is there to proclaim, “There’s a lot of healing here to do.”

And we resist healing.  We resist healing in ourselves the parts that grew up feeling unloved, unappreciated, never good enough, always having to be better, striving for more, constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.  The inner child in us who’s afraid to be vulnerable would rather spend a lifetime in a marriage picking a fight than settling into bliss.  When we come to the understanding that there are parts of us running the show of our marriages and that those parts aren’t always the most beneficial parts for the marriage, we can get real with the fact that the problems of the relationship aren’t all his fault or her fault… it’s an opportunity for both people to grow… TOGETHER.

So how do you take a fight and turn it into a healing process?

Here are four ways to begin: 

  1. Distinguish between solvable problems and perpetual problems.  Agree to disagree on the perpetual; tackle the solvable problems with whole mind in present action.
  2. Begin with softness, sweetness, and ONE memory from the honeymoon phase of your relationship that still makes you smile.  Tell each other what you appreciate, love, and what you remember about each other.  Begin with a fond memory and it creates a soft place to land, even if the rest of the conversation takes a heavy turn.
  3. Self sooth when you need to.  The moment you feel your heart racing, your head pounding, your jaw tighten, and your fists clenched, know that you are doing what we call “flooding” and when you’re flooding, you’re not hearing one word your spouse has to say.  Agree in advance to take a 20 minute time out when flooding happens to one or both of you.  When flooding occurs, call a time out and retreat so you can self-soothe, regain your composure, and come back to the discussion with love.  Remember: this is your discussion.  You can take a break if you need one.  Resist the temptation to fight to be the person who has the last word.
  4. Soothe each other.  You’ve met your partner.  You know what pisses him off, turns him on, and makes him feel valued.  Once you’ve soothed yourself, soothe him and vice versa.  It will show fondness, appreciation and care.  That alone goes a long way in a conflict.

At the end of the day, every fight is about something deeper than the superficial issues presented.  We don’t argue to hear ourselves talk (most of us).  We don’t fight to win.  We create discord because there’s something deep within us that wants to be heard and healed and we haven’t learned any other way to do it but argue.  No matter what brings you to the conflict table, you can find a stronger, more loving way out of it by recognizing a marital conflict for what it is:

An opportunity to heal  

5 Things the Pew Research Report on Women Breadwinners Isn’t Telling You (Read Time: 7 min.)

pew reportOn May 29th, the Pew Research Report on Breadwinner Moms came out and it caused a firestorm of controversy.  The mere fact that the percentage of households with breadwinning moms went from 11% in 1960 to 40% in 2011 was enough to make the world take notice.  Every media outlet was declaring the rise and dominance of the alpha female.  But, having read that report in its entirety, there are a number of things the report did not cover.  It didn’t discuss the quality of life lived by families where the wife is the breadwinner (socioeconomic status, quality of life, marital and familial satisfaction).  It didn’t dive deeper into what support and resource measures are required to help young, single, never married mothers do a better job of providing for their children.  It didn’t look further into the disparity between the percentage of people under 30 who felt that women breadwinning in a marriage or family was no issue versus the increased number of people in their 30s and 40s who felt that it was (hint: maybe it’s because most under 30 aren’t married with kids yet and most in their 30s and 40s are… #justsayin).  And the Pew Report provided no concluding thoughts on where the discussion needs to go next, how to create a paradigm shift for the 40% of households where mom does run the show, and how husbands and wives can embrace the new experience of family life without losing their identities and sense of purpose in the relationship.

The Pew Report was a starting point but it’s not a report that you look at and cry, “Return women to the home!” or yell, “More power to women!”  This is a much more complicated issue than either of these proclamations can even grasp.  What we need now is a bigger conversation, a deeper dialogue, one in which we unashamedly and fearlessly open our mouths and our lives to the realities of what it means to be women breadwinners in a world that still doesn’t fully embrace the idea.  It’s time for husbands to rally with their wives and openly discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of being Mr. Mom, Mr. Desi Ball, the husband of Sandra Bullock, or Reese Witherspoon’s sidekick.  We need to talk about the phenomena that happens all too often when a woman rises in her career… only to find her marriage falling apart at the seams.  We need to get into the discussion about why some men can’t hang with a powerful woman… even though they’d met her before the altar… and why some women lack the tools and skills necessary to embrace their divine feminine side and wind up feeling like the “man” when there’s a time to be the woman, not the boss.

Women breadwinner relationships are complex.  All relationships are.  But to narrow that down to one 18+ page report and to have Fox pundits acting like misogynistic coo coo birds and to have media outlets all over the world crying “Look what happened while we were asleep!” as if this revolution hasn’t existed since the beginning of time is an absolute slap in the face to the millions of women who fought and died for every right every woman has today.  Your great-great-great-grandmother dreamed that May 29th would come.  She dreamed that her female offspring would have even half the opportunities we have now… but never in that dream did she imagine that people would question the fall of man or the destruction of the family simply because women contribute more by being MORE of who they are.  If the tables were turned, we would never question a man’s rise financially, educationally or socioeconomically.  We’d pat him on the back and say, “We knew this day would come.”

It’s high time we gave every woman breadwinner a high five and say, “I knew this day would come.  Well done powerful lady!  Well done!”

Want to know the 5 things I believe the Pew Research Report

on Women Breadwinners isn’t telling you?

Click below and listen my podcast on it:

https://soundcloud.com/womenbreadwinners/women-breadwinners-and-the-pew