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

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5 Decisions You NEVER Make Alone (Read Time: 4 min.)

School 7When you get faced with a major life decision, how do you respond?

Excited? Nervous? Curious? Stuck?

As a woman breadwinner, you have a lot on your plate.  You’re constantly making decisions, whether it’s about the project at work or what to cook for dinner.  By sheer experience, you probably top most people in the ability to navigate, decide, and implement solutions.  But, when it comes to major life decisions, choices that you know will impact the people you love most for a VERY long time, how do KNOW that you’re making the “right” choice?

Therein lies the problem… you don’t.  In fact, all of the analysis paralysis in the world will not guarantee that the decisions you are making are the decisions that are best for all involved… including you.

So if decisions can’t be made perfectly, how can they be made well?

By using a solid decision making process.

In July, I will be teaching a 12 week decision making boot camp called BE DECISIVE! (Check it out here: http://kassandrabibas.com/get-decisive-.html).  In that course, I’m going to talk about a solid, strategic decision making model that will simplify decision making while producing MASSIVELY EFFECTIVE results.  If you’re having issues in the area of decision making, you’re not going to want to miss it!

One of the first things I’m going to teach in BE DECISIVE! has to do with knowing the biases or villains of decision making that impair your ability to make good choices.  There are many of them but four are truly sinister.  In the same way that there are biases to decision making, there are also key life decisions that we must NEVER make alone.  For women breadwinners, there are 5 that are subtle but deadly.  If you make these decisions alone, you are setting yourself up for drama, frustration, and, worst of all, resentment.

For the rest of this month, I’ll be blogging about each of these five decisions and how to avoid framing the options and making the decisions alone.

For now, let’s identify the 5 decisions you NEVER make alone:

  1. Relocation: Whether it’s across town, out of state, or to another country, the decision about whether to move an ENTIRE family cannot be done in a vacuum.  I’m sure there are those reading this post who will say, “Duh Kassandra.  Everybody knows that.”  Talk to enough people and you’ll find that most people suffer from “walk their talk syndrome”: they KNOW what to do but they don’t DO what they know.  Relocation is a prime example of that.  Most people get that you need buy-in from all members of the family to have a successful relocation.  Most people make the decision without buy-in and pay the consequences of resentment, anger, and discord later… once they’ve moved and unpacked all of the boxes.  Relocation is too big an issue to decide alone.  Don’t do it.
  2. Career Change: Women breadwinners, by definition, carry the bulk of the annual household income.  ANY changes to a woman breadwinner’s career has a massive impact on the entire family.  Before deciding to take a job that will double your pay (but also double your travel time), more than one person needs to be involved in that decision.  Before you decide that you’re so burnt out being a lawyer that you want to quit, go back to school, and become a teacher, you need to do some reality-testing of your assumptions, seek out role models, and interview former lawyers who’ve made a similar transition and have been there-done that.  Before you decide to go back to school full time to move up in your career, there needs to be a family meeting about how everyone will support the 20+ hours a week of study time that you won’t have available to complete the tasks you’ve always been responsible for.
  3. Marital Status: Before you decide the honeymoon is over and you want to call it quits, there are many people that need to be involved in that decision making process, the most important being the other person in the relationship.  I’ll dive in to this when we get to that post towards the end of the month.
  4. Having a Baby: Sperm banks with anonymous sperm donors whose specimens you pay for are an entirely different situation from cajoling a spouse into having a baby that he isn’t ready for or doesn’t want.  The same applies to the reverse.  Coercing a breadwinning wife to have a baby that she’s not completely sold on is NEVER  a good idea.  Bringing a life into the world is NOT  a decision you make out of fear, anger, or insecurity.  Far too often, it’s exactly that.  There’s a better way.
  5. Financial Priorities: This area runs the gamut (from creating the monthly budget to debt management to retirement planning to buying a house or a car to how much you spend online).  Even if the woman is the only one bringing income into the home, there needs to be more than one person looking at the financials and engaging in the discussion of what to do with the money that comes in.  Without more than one voice, the decisions being made are, oftentimes, the result of a number of decision making biases (most esp. the narrow frame).  Financial success comes from financial wisdom.  Involve more people in the process, you get more wisdom (caveat: choose people who are good with their money, #justsayin).

There they are: the 5 decisions you NEVER make alone.

In the next post, I’m going to dive into the issue of relocation.  

Should we?  Should we not?  How can we make the best decision possible?  

Join me on Friday!

The ONE thing you need to do to change ANYTHING… (Read Time: 3 min.)

woman 25There’s something about your life that you want to change… and you want it changed NOW, right?

You have a goal, a dream, a lifestyle change and you want it BADLY and, yet, you aren’t getting the job done.  Sound familiar?

How can you “make” yourself do what you know you NEED to do consistently and persistently so you make it to your goal?

I hear this question ALOT.  I ask myself this question EVEN MORE.  And the answers have come from many different sources and in many different ways but the most successful response with the greatest return on investment came by asking myself one question:

What will it cost me if I don’t?

Tony Robbins poses that question in the book “Awaken the Giant Within” and he speaks of this question in his audio coaching programs.  It’s one question with a whole lot of impact.  Why?

Because far too often we subconsciously ask ourselves, “What will it cost me if I DO?”  We think about our dreams or goals and we say:

  • It’ll cost me money I don’t have if I…
  • It’ll cost me time that I don’t have if I…
  • It’ll cost me relationships that I don’t want to lose if I…

We’re always thinking about what going to the next level of life will cost us in terms of time, money, relationships, energy, resources, and relationships.  By doing that, we zero in on the pain of achieving our goals and dreams, forgetting the entire time of the absolute pleasure that comes in achieving what we were born to achieve.  So if you’re grappling with a major life change, if you’re looking for a solution to your procrastination on a BIG life dream, if you’re waiting for the “right time” or the “right place” or the “right stroke of luck” to take you to that next level, stop overanalyzing, investigating and waiting!  Simply ask yourself the question and give yourself a solid ten minutes to catastrophize the most extreme answer you think possible.  Yes, I said catastrophize.  When you answer this question, you need to walk your mind through ALL of the worst things that could happen if you don’t make this happen.  You need to make yourself get real with what you REALLY risk losing if you don’t make this move.  You have to have what I call a get-it-together talk with yourself where you say, “Listen darling.  You can keep going this way and keep getting the same thing you’ve always gotten but if you keep going this way, here are all the ugly, nasty, sucky consequences you’re going to get… Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.”

Yes, have that conversation with yourself.  Do it with ONLY ONE issue in your life (If you try to answer this question with three or four of your goals, you’ll get overwhelmed; don’t do it). Do it NOW!

#thatisall

So… talk to me.  What goal are you not pursuing and what will it cost you if you don’t make this happen? 

I’m reading and responding to your comments:)

What to do when the labor & delivery of your dream stalls… (Read Time: 4 min.)

woman 39I remember the birth of my first child (who’s about to be 16 years old next month) like it was yesterday.  Montgomery, Alabama… steaming hot weather… me waddling around at 39.5 weeks… exhilarated, scared, and seriously ready to have my body back.  When 40 weeks came and went, the doctor made the blessed decision to bring me to the hospital and induce labor.  “Yes!” I proclaimed as we rushed to the hospital.  Over 36 hours later and 1 hour away from a C-section, I learned that no matter how much you prod and probe the birth of anything, sometimes… it stalls. I was induced alright.  And then the contractions STOPPED.  Yes, stopped as in no contractions.  They started again and came back REALLY strong but, this time, the baby didn’t descend.  He had decided very clearly, “I AM NOT COMING OUT!”  So, one hour before I was scheduled to have a C-section, the boy dropped down, the contractions were hot and heavy, and I gave birth to an 8 pound, 6.5 ounce baby boy… and the rest, as they say, is history.

So what did that teach me about life?

It taught me that sometimes, when you’ve conceived a big dream and you’re in the process of nurturing and giving it life, when it’s getting closer and closer, sometimes labor and delivery stops.  Sometimes, the doors of opportunity close, the windows of passage shut, and everything you thought would’ve happened by now… hasn’t.

What do you do when the labor and delivery of your dream stalls?

Here are 3 things you start with:

1) Wait and listen.  When things start to slow down or get to a complete halt, it’s natural to want to force, push and shove our way into the fulfillment of our dreams.  After all, we’ve worked hard.  All of THIS can’t be for nothing, can it?  But pushing a boulder uphill isn’t fun and, at the end of the day, if it isn’t meant to be, no amount of forcing will make it so.  When you feel like the dream you’re birthing isn’t coming down the birth canal, rather than try to shove it down, give things a break by stepping back and taking the time to listen to your Higher Self.  There may be more information that you need to know before the next step comes.

2) Focus on improving the things that you CAN control.  What, right now, is in your power to make better?  Focus on that and give your all to improving that area of your life and, eventually, your dream will come back into center focus.  When you do this, it’s not that you’re giving up on your dream or losing sight of it.  You’re simply giving your seed the room it needs to grow in the soil as you water it by improving another part of the garden.  Do what you can with what you have.

3) Say ‘Screw the worry!’ and resign as Manager of the Universe.  You don’t control the process.  You don’t know the timing of the manifestation of your dream.  When you get sick and tired enough of worrying about what could be, what should be, and how it’s all going to come together, you’ll surrender the cause and go find some relaxation in a good book, a favorite movie, or time with friends.  When you surrender, you gain strength and your dream gains momentum… even if it doesn’t seem that way at first.

Bottom line is this: Waiting sucks.  Yes, really sucks.  It’s no fun to wait for something that you really wanted to have here yesterday.  But waiting happens.  Rather than rail against the inevitable time a dream will take, use the three steps above to make your wait the most productive and least painful it can be.

So tell me.

Which of these 3 above steps will you have the hardest time doing and why?

What will you do to work through it?

I love to read your comments!

Women Breadwinners & Infertility: How to Not Go Crazy Over the Miracle You Can’t Control… (Read Time: 4 min.)

mom and babyI experienced secondary infertility at the age of 21.  That’s not what doctors call it when you’re 21.  When you’re in your 20s, they call it “Ah, you’re just fine” or “Oh, give it time” or “Just relax and it’ll happen” but they rarely, at 21, call it infertility.  Fast-forward four years and I was pregnant (without fertility treatments) with baby #2.  But, the doctors considered the pregnancy high risk at that point because, at 25, they said, “You have a history of infertility.”  Ok… so now they admit it?  Baby #2 arrived when I was 26 and I rushed to go for baby #3.  I figured, “I’m not getting any younger and if it’s going to take 4 years, I might as well start now.”  So, when baby #2 was weaned at a year, I began the infertility journey… only to get pregnant 2 months later.  Easy breezy, right?  Not exactly.  Somewhere in second trimester, a test came back indicating that baby #3 might have Downs Syndrome.  I nearly had a nervous breakdown.  From the uncertainty of it all (they can’t officially tell you if your baby has Downs until he/she is born) to the lack of care on the part of the medical industry (at one high tech ultrasound, they asked me if I wanted to abort the baby- SERIOUSLY?), I was a mess.  And baby #3 was born PERFECTLY healthy…  I was 28.

Fast forward 7 years and I am now the mother of 3 children: 15, 8 and 6, remarried, and, at 35, anxious to experience motherhood again… only this time I will have to use in vitro to achieve it.  So… back to that wonderful infertility diagnosis?  I guess so.

One of the greatest lessons of this entire infertility experience has been to accept what I cannot control.  I’m a recovering perfectionist, a Type A on one hand and a Type B on the other.  I like to have what I want when I want it.  Who doesn’t?  But going through infertility taught me that some jobs are God jobs.  There’s no planning it, programming it, demanding it or willing it into existence.  It occurs in its own way on its own schedule.  For a woman breadwinner who’s so clear on how to achieve any and everything, this is one of the hardest lessons you will ever learn.  With 14 years of the infertility rollercoaster under my belt, here are some tips I’ve acquired in how to NOT go crazy over the miracle of conception, pregnancy, labor and deliver you CAN’T control:

Tip #1: Be selective about who you share your infertility journey with.  Not everybody gets what it’s like to want something so badly, to see other people have it so easily, and to not be able to do things like go to baby showers without crying or watch movies about new mommies without doubting whether that will ever be you.  While you may want to let everyone know what you’re going through or have people comfort you, not everyone is capable of doing that.  In fact, some people are downright callous when it comes to infertility or they say stupid crap that plants more seeds of doubt in your mind.  Do not allow it.  Guard your heart, guard your mind, and be selective about who you share this journey with.

Tip #2: Stop blaming yourself for this.  Nobody knows why most infertility occurs.  No matter who’s got the issue (and many times, it’s a husband related or male factor problem), blame will not get you what you want.  Guilt is a wasted emotion.  Instead of blame, shame and guilt, use your Type A, overachieving strength to find all of the information you can on your options and find a way to see this experience as bringing you constantly closer to the miracle of life you seek.  Your faith that this will happen is the strongest asset you own.  Do not remove your focus from that.  Remember: focus on your assets, not your liabilities.

Tip #3: Go on with life.  I spent far too many years putting my life on hold waiting for a baby to come.  I put too much energy (esp. in the beginning) focusing on what to eat, prepping a nursery for a baby who wasn’t even here, and all of the stuff that I thought would make me “ready” for a child.  Don’t do that.  Your life is meant to be lived, enjoyed, and it’s supposed to be fulfilling, whether or not a child ever shows up.  Live your life for you and, at the same time, keep your heart open for the space that a new life will fill.  Children choose their parents so whichever soul is supposed to come to you, they know you by name.  They never believe that you’ve forgotten them or that you have no room for them.  In fact, they know exactly when they are supposed to show up for you.  Trust that and go out into the world truly loving and enjoying the life you have right now.  When I was going through infertility, one of the clear messages that came to me was this: You’ve been given time; cherish it.  Three children later, I can’t tell you how powerful that wisdom was.  Between girl scouts, cub scouts, swim team, college prep, and every other part of life, I no longer have the time now that I had back then.  Cherish the time you have.

Tip #4: Be happy for those who have the blessing you seek.  This is a tough one, especially when you’ve worked so hard in your life to do everything “right”, to be fully “ready” for a child and you turn on the news and here’s another story of a teen mom who drops her baby in a garbage can or a crazy mom who has eleven babies she can’t afford.  It’s enough to drive a person crazy!  However, that energy will not bring forth new life.  What you give out comes back to you.  Whatever it is you seek, you have to be willing to give.  No matter who it is, when you see someone who’s pregnant or just had a baby or has small children, think in your mind (and believe in your heart): “Thank you God for this sign that if it can happen for her, it can happen for me.”  Amen…

If you use these four tips, your life will be filled with peace, love and joy.  You’ll usher in new life with more ease and a greater sense of well-being.  Woman breadwinner or not, infertility is not something you can control but it is an experience of life you can receive a lot from.  Be open to it and cherish the time you’ve been given.  After all, dirty diapers and 2 hours of sleep a night waits for no woman!

Tell me about your infertility journey. 

Where are you in the process? 

How are you coping with wait?

What keeps you strong?

What are you struggling with most?

I’d love to hear from you!

What to do if you don’t REALLY love yourself… (Read time: 5 min.)

woman 32Do you REALLY love yourself?

Not the “I’m okay, you’re okay” self esteem movement or the “I LOVE ME!” overly exaggerated, let’s-fake-self-love-til-I-feel-self-love self-help technique and sure as hell not the “Once I lose 20 pounds, I’ll love myself” future self idealization process.  No… you… right where you are… right as you are… right now.

Do YOU really love YOU right here, right now?

Tough question, isn’t it?

I myself go through periods of self love (sometimes flashes of it) and then, just when I think I’ve got this self-love thing down, something happens and I’m right back at square one (i.e. self criticism and self judgment) and then I ask myself:

Why am I learning this lesson AGAIN?

Well, my dear, it’s a lifelong lesson.  Take your lifetime pass and enjoy the ride…

So… if you’re in  a spot where you recognize that you don’t love yourself, where you know that you’re always comparing yourself, criticizing yourself, expecting more, demanding more, focusing on your deficiencies, berating yourself for the last stupid thing you said or did wrong, wondering why you haven’t gotten it “together” by now, there are simple, strategic, EFFECTIVE things you can do to REALLY love yourself.

Here are 5 ways to start:

1) Be willing to change.  Lots of people say they’re willing to change… and really aren’t.  Being willing to change means a number of things:

  • you are open to looking at your life and your choices in a variety of different ways
  • if something in your life isn’t working, you’re open to changing things up
  • if you feel wronged by someone, you’re willing to see the situation from that person’s perspective (doesn’t make that person right or the relationship good but it frees you from the need to blame or resent him/her)
  • accepting that you screwed up and putting your whole mind into the actions necessary to clean up the mess (rather than complaining about the mess)
  • seeing your decisions as provisional (not permanent); knowing that, in any moment, you’re free to choose differently and doing so without feeling like other people will say “I told you so” or will mock you for making the wrong choice; other people still might do that but when you’re willing to change, you’re more sold of having change than you are afraid of making a mistake
  • drastically altering how you run your life- I’m talking you’re ready to renovate the house of you and you’re willing to let go of WHATEVER needs to be let go of in order to do that

When you’re truly willing to change, there’s no such thing as “Oh, no way!  No matter what, that is not an option I’d even consider.”  Willingness means you’re open to everything.  You don’t have to choose it but you’re at least open to delving into it, seeing if it will work for you, and making a conscious decision about what to do next.  Closed minds aren’t allowed when you’re in the space of being willing to change.

2) Wake up to the self abuse you do.  Write down all the ways you show a lack of self love to yourself and, for each one, write down what self love would look like for that self abuse action (the positive opposite) AND implement it.  Check out the FREE Self Abuse vs. Self Love worksheet I’ve put here on Scribd.  Download it, print, and use it.  Here’s the link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/136704813/Self-Abuse-vs-Self-Love-Worksheet

3) Do a criticism detox for 21 days.  In other words, be super-vigilant and VERY conscious of when you are moving towards the realm of criticizing yourself and others.  Stop yourself in that moment and say, “I am willing to release the need to criticize or be criticized.”  Even the smallest criticism counts.  Be a drill sergeant in your mind for 21 CONSECUTIVE days and see what happens.

4) Watch one You Tube video a day that reminds you of how fabulous you are.  Five to ten minutes a day can revolutionize your life.  Carve out that time daily to watch a video that will remind you of who you REALLY are.  If you aren’t a You Tube/video watching kind of person, read an empowering book or listen to an empowering audio.  But do SOMETHING daily to remind yourself how fabulous you are.  Here’s a great place to start- Watch the movie ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ by Louise L. Hay on Vimeo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NjUzNP-u_o

5) Quit eating junk.  Junk food = a junk mind = a junk body.  There is no way you’re seeing, thinking or living clearly if you’re eating crap.  There’s no nice way to say it.  And here’s the truth about overeating or eating the wrong foods as expressed by Marianne Williamson in her book, “A Course on Weight Loss”:

“The experience everyone yearns for is love, and you have come to experience eating as an act of self-love, even when you are eating unwisely. 

Even when you overeat- an act you know better than to think of as actual self-love, given that it is inherently self-destructive-

you experience yourself as emotionally nourished, even if its just for a moment. 

A subconscious effort at self-love turns into an act of self-hate.  As you transform-

as you learn to be fed love by love itself- you will stop looking to food for what food cannot feed you.”

The above five steps are simple, strategic, and absolutely doable on a DAILY basis.  Repetition makes the master.  Start today and let me know how it goes.

Which of the above 5 steps have you implemented and how is it going for you?

Comment below!

How to use your focus to concentrate your power… (Read Time: 4 min.)

woman 27I’m going in a different direction this week than my blog calendar had originally dictated.  That is one of the gifts of being my own boss:  I get to call the shots.  What I want to dish about today is one of my favorite topics of all time: FOCUS.

Women breadwinners traditionally have this in spades.  We know how to focus.  We know how to dive in, dig in, and get the job done… for MOST things.  But what about the areas of life where we don’t put too much of our focus?

What areas of life are you not focusing on?

What is your lack of focus in that area costing you?

Multi-tasking is a myth.  Human beings do not multi-task.  Even if you feel like you’re working on ten different things at once, you’re not.  You might be giving 10 seconds of focus to one thing and 30 seconds of focus to another and 45 seconds of focus to another but you are not multi-tasking.  You’re simply dividing your WHOLE mind in PRESENT action among a number of different things.

But what if all of that focus in one area is costing you the joy, peace, and success you want in another?

How do you switch gears and use your focus to concentrate your power in another area of life?

Here are 3 simple steps you can take:

  1. Approach every task with your WHOLE mind.  In other words, be completely where you are when you’re doing what you do.  If it’s family time, be 100% in family time.  If you’re at work, be 100% at work.  This is difficult in a day and age where we’ve electronically chained ourselves to our jobs and use that as the excuse for why we’re not able to focus on our families.  Throw the excuses out and give your all to each thing when it’s on your schedule.  Dividing your mind or your time between two places is no fun.  Be here now…
  2. Put all of your energy into whatever it is you’re focused on.  A lot of us come to different tasks with different levels of energy.  We half-ass our way through things.  When I was a professor, I’d teach business students about Adam’s Equity Theory.  Part of Adam’s Equity theory says that we look at our work situation and we consider how much we’re being rewarded… and then we alter our level of input or performance to make it equivalent to the amount of reward we’re receiving.  In other words, if I feel like I’m being paid half as much as I’m worth for a project, I might give half as much of my energy to it because I feel I’m being mistreated.  That kind of skewed perception of equity is a sure fire way to fail.  Why?  Because when you don’t give ALL of yourself to ALL you do, the only person you cheat is you.  Make your investment of your energy into your life YOUR BUSINESS.  It’s not about what anyone else is going to give you.  It’s about you enjoying every second of your life, whether it’s at work or at home.
  3. Focus on resourcefulness, not resources.  If you’re resourceful, the resources will come.  I used to doubt this idea.  But, as I started to see how in jams and during major obstacles, I was able to transform pressure into progress, it dawned on me that this concept (which I originally heard Tony Robbins talk about) is 100% true.  If you can get out of fear, worry and doubt and into a place of saying “Ok, I’m doing this now how can I get it done?”, you’ll get resourceful, you’ll stay the course, and you’ll get the job done.  See your journey of focus as a steady climb and focus on the next 3 steps.  Nothing more.
  4. See it as done.  Visualizing the result, thinking from the end, believing you can choose what you focus on, all of these things are key to concentrating your power.  Without your belief in yourself, you have nothing.  If you want to put more focus in a given area of your life, you have to believe that you have the ability to.  Once you do, you will.

So… how will you put these 4 steps into practice?  What area of your life do you want to now focus on?

Leave your comments below.  I’m listening…

Who’s in Your Inner Circle? (Read Time: 3 min.)

women 1I saw my therapist today and she asked me a question that stumped me:

Who’s your social support system here in Los Angeles?

I didn’t know how to answer that question.  Other than my husband and my close friends (who all live out of state), I couldn’t think of more than one or two people in California (and none who live within driving distance) that I could have a hot chocolate with at Coffee Bean or plan a girls night out to the movies with.  It’s great to have close friends you can trust but when they live over a thousand miles a way, who do you connect with in person?  Oh yeah, you don’t…

And that’s when today’s blog topic was born.

Men know how to do this really well.  Even children get the idea of what I’m about to say but, for whatever reason, women (esp. women breadwinners) haven’t learned the art and science of creating AND maintaining an inner circle.

What’s an inner circle?

That core group of 3-5 women who get you, see you, love you, and truly desire the best for you.  They are the like-minded, equally ambitious, fervently loyal people in your life who will challenge you to step up to the plate, force you to take a breather, or inspire you to move in a new direction because they refuse to allow you to settle for less.  The more women work, the more this inner circle becomes dire.

One problem: we live in a technology driven world that makes a tweet more inviting than a live chat and we’ve become a society where we’d rather go it alone because getting together takes too much time.

Especially as women breadwinners, it’s time that we stopped that (I’m talking to me too here).  We need in person, live, physical connection with like minded people.  We need to have relationships that grow over time, that weather life’s storms, and we especially need those connections to be with women who understand where we are in our lives.  And the bottom line is this: it’s not going to happen over a tweet or an FB message.  It might start there but it certainly won’t develop there.  If what we want is a WHOLE life, we have to begin to cultivate and create those relationships that nourish, encourage, and inspire us.  It’s as critical to the quality of our lives as breathing.

So how do we begin?

Here are 3 things I’m going to start doing:

1) Join social groups where you’ll meet and connect with other like-minded women.  There’s a women’s running group that meets every Saturday that I’ve wanted to join for months and as soon as my Achilles tendon is cleared to go back and run, I’m going to start putting that on my Saturday schedule.

2) TALK to people in social environments like the grocery store, the book store, in a doctor’s office, or at the gym.  I am notorious for going into Equinox  with laser vision on one thing: my workout.  Maybe it’s time I started to actually look at other people and, oh my goodness, smile, engage in conversation.  What a revelation!

3) Join professional specific or age specific groups.  There are all sorts of Meetup groups for moms in their 30s or women lawyers or stay-at-home moms.  Finding a group and attending even one even can go a long way in developing those connections.

So let me ask you a question.

What will you do this week to create or develop your inner circle? 

I’d love to know…

5 Ways to Reframe Being Bossy in Work and Life… (Read Time: 4 min.)

woman  7Sometimes, someone will call you bossy and it’ll be spot on.  In that moment, you’ll need to take a step back, reflect, and shift.  There are other times, however, when someone calls you bossy and it’s not an issue of control so much as it’s a matter of you standing up for your needs, desires, and level of self-worth.  In those moments, it’s important to stand your ground, not take the other person personally, and reframe the insult so that you hear it but you don’t embrace it.

How do you do that?

Here are 5 ways to carry out self talk that views bossy in a positive light:

  1. I am demanding.  I know what I want and I’m unwilling to settle for less.  It might make other people insecure but that’s a challenge to them to be more, not to feel like less.
  2. I’m a natural leader.  My talents have equipped me with the ability to make clear, carefully thought out decisions in less time than most.  I know how to ask to have my needs met and I know how to find, create or obtain the resources necessary to do that.  People who have this ability respect what I bring to the table.  I don’t flaunt my power.  I embrace it.
  3. I listen to my inner knowing, trust my instincts, and act without looking back.  I have an inner wisdom that I trust at all times.  I don’t doubt my Higher Self.  I trust it and take action.  There’s no need for second guessing in my inner world.
  4. I am determined, persistent, focused and clear.  I consider the options, listen to opinions but I am not swayed by either.  I listen to my intuition and stay on course.  I own my mistakes, learn from my failures and keep it moving.  That is what makes me a champion.
  5. I value myself highly because I know that I bring tremendous value to the world.  I know my value.  My confidence is well deserved.  Honoring myself gives other people permission to honor themselves.  There’s no hiding my light going on here.  I shine brilliantly because I can and that encourages others to do the same.

Each of the above 5 statements could be taken as “bossy”: demanding, rigid, stubborn, and stuck up/conceited.  If someone has the audacity to call you that to your face (and you know there are no grounds in reality for it), thank them for the compliment and continue these five points of self talk.  At the end of the day, no one can tell you who you  REALLY are but you so speak into your life who you know yourself to be.

 

How to Get Marital Peace When You’d Rather Be Anywhere But Home… (Read Time: 4 min.)

coule 6You run your show.  You bring home the bacon.  You’re the one wearing the pants… and the BOTH of you know it.  But, lately, things haven’t been easy.  There’s been tension in the air, things left unsaid, household responsibilities left undone, and outside of talking about bills, birthdays, and chores, there hasn’t been much to say… that won’t bite you in the butt later.

Can you relate to that scenario?

How you deal with marital stress will determine a great deal about how the rest of your marriage goes.  Stress is nothing new nor is it unique to the woman breadwinner but how it shows up in the marriage has a lot to do with who’s wearing the proverbial pants… and who is not.  Even though you signed up for this (and sometimes you didn’t), there may be parts of you wondering, “Why am I the one with all of this financial pressure?” or “Why can’t I take it easy, pursue my dreams, and have the lighter load?”  The moment you start feeling like this, guess what?  You’re in a particular phase of marriage that ALL married couples go through.  It’s called the devaluation stage.  Rather than give in to it and begin looking for the exit door, own up to it, get familiar with it, and find your way to a better place  WITH your spouse by your side.

The question becomes:

“How do I do that when I spend most of my time nagging my spouse to do things he KNOWS he’s supposed to be doing?”

Here are 3 simple steps to cultivating marital peace (esp. when it’s the last thing you feel like doing):

Step 1: Do a Spouse Appraisal.  Yup, appraise him.  Just like you would a house.  In other words, detach from the emotional upheaval that your dissatisfaction, nagging, and anxiety have caused, take a step back, pull out a pen and paper, and spend 3-7 days observing your spouse.  In your notebook, answer the following questions:

1) What did my spouse do today that pleased me?

2) What did my spouse do today that annoyed me?

3) How did my spouse help in our household today?

4) What did my spouse forget or not do today in our household that really needed to be done TODAY?

5) What did I love most about how he behaved today?

6) What bugged me most about how he behaved today?

At the end of each day’s observation, compare your responses and see if there’s more good than bad.  Ask yourself, “How did my mood, my day, and my thoughts impact how I evaluated my spouse?” and write down those answers as well.

Step 2: Comparison shop.  This is a fabulous notion discussed by Sharyn Wolf in her book, ” This Old Spouse.”  In other words, when you get fed up with your spouse, think seriously about the grass you think is greener on the other side.  Look at your friends’ marriages and your divorced friends’ dating lives and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Would I want to have THEIR marital problems in place of mine?
  2. Is that grass really greener… or is it turf?
  3. What lessons am I learning in this marriage that, if I don’t get here, I’ll simply take with me to the next relationship?
  4. Would I really be happier without my husband or am I making MY happiness his responsibility?  Is that fair?

Step 3: Identify your REAL needs and ask to have them met.

This is a two-part step.

Part 1: Identify your REAL needs.  When you’re nagging your spouse, what is it that you REALLY want?  Do you want to be heard?  Do you want to be seen?  Do you want your spouse to show his care and affection by jumping up in that minute and taking care of the laundry or the garbage or whatever else you’re asking him to do?  What is the emotion or the desire that you have underneath the discussion you seem to keep having?  Once you get clear on your needs, you’ll better communicate them to your spouse.

Part 2: Ask to have your needs met.  Not demand.  Not order.  Not control.  When you’re in a loving mood (keep in mind that loving is your natural state and you can get into that mood at any moment you choose; just watch a cute kitten video on You Tube and tell me if I’m wrong), sit down with your spouse, look him deeply in the eyes, caress his face, and lovingly ask for what you need WITHOUT expecting that he jump up in that second to prove his love by getting it done in that minute.  Ask, trust that it will get done, and move on to the next thing.  You’d be surprised how trust (of the self and your spouse) mixed with affection and love do the trick EVERY time.

Now I have a couple questions for you…

Knowing these 3 tips can save your peace of mind.  Taking action on these 3 steps TODAY  will change your life.

Having read this post, what steps will you take to get marital peace? 

Which of the 3 steps resonated with you most and what do you plan to do about what you’ve learned here?

Reveal what you plan to do in the comments below.  I’m always checking and commenting 🙂