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… 

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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

I Committed a Woman Breadwinner Sin This Morning… (Read Time: 3 min.)

Starbucks 1ralphs picYup, I did… committed a woman breadwinner MAJOR NO-NO this morning…

On a regular basis, I remind my woman breadwinner clients to do three things:

1) Create joy by creating time

2) Create time by delegating tasks

3) Delegate tasks by creating rituals, schedules, and routines that offer both efficiency AND fun

Each client is different and we’ll do that in a different way.  However, one of the core things I say often is: “Don’t get sidetracked during your day!”  Don’t… as in don’t get sucked into going to Wal-Mart to spend $5.00 and come out having spent 2 hours and $300.00.  Don’t meet your friend for a cup of coffee when you know you deserve some ME time, thinking it will be 30 minutes and wind up going to JoAnne’s Fabrics with her and helping her pick out new curtain prints for three hours.  Don’t decide to do a mini-clean up of the house for 15 minutes and, three hours later, feel further behind in work and more pissed off at family than you needed to be if you’d just left the living room messy.  Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t…

And so what do I do this morning?

Drop the kids off at school thinking, “I’ll just run to Ralphs and pick up a few groceries… Quick stop.”  Uh huh… A Ralphs, Starbucks, put gas-in-the-car because the car was on E, lug groceries in the door hour later, I’m home with coffee, groceries, and gas but I just lost an hour of my life that could’ve been used elsewhere… Yes, I’m lecturing myself right now.

Bottom line:

Efficiency creates time and time creates space and space creates a life you love to look at.  Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

And when you mess up, like I did today, sip your Americano, write a blog post, and begin again 🙂

Thank God for Starbucks!

Women Breadwinners & Career Change: Climb, Transition or Quit? (Read Time: 5 min.)

 woman 2Woman breadwinner… Who gave you that role?  Who keeps you in that role?  What could easily erase that role?

One answer: Your job.  

Maybe it’s your career.  More than likely, it is your profession.  Is it your calling?  Your vision?  Your grandest purpose for your life?  Probably not… And, yet, you do it.  You do it because it pays the bills.  You do it because it feeds, clothes, and provides a roof for your family.  You do it because it’s what you know how to do well and it’s what keeps you in the current lifestyle you’re accustomed to.

But what happens when the job you do is killing the dreams you have?

How do you make a decision about changing, altering, or erasing a part of your identity that is the requirement for your family’s survival?

The answer most women breadwinners stuck in a career rut choose is this: You don’t.  You stay in the job.  You do what it takes to pay the bills.  You put your big girl panties on and keep it moving.

That might last until your youngest child graduates from high school but, at some point, when you’ve done status quo until it annihilates your soul, what you discover is that you hit a breaking point where you can no longer do what you do, be who you are, and still truly exist.

Your career unhappiness affects EVERYONE around you.  

It hampers every relationship.  It slowly chips away at every dream.  At some point, if your joy is going to be a mainstay in your life, you’re going to have to make a few major decisions about your career (even when you love your career) and, usually, those decisions revolve around one of three options:

Climb? Transition? Quit?

Livelihood, salary, and compensation are critical factors in the life of a woman breadwinner.  If you’re a software engineer earning $250,000 a year and you absolutely hate it, going into work tomorrow and quitting may not be an option.  On the flip side, if you’re a teacher who adores her fifth grade class but your business analyst husband lost his job six months ago and your teacher salary can no longer carry you, your husband and three children, something about your income earning potential has got to shift.  No matter what the situation, women breadwinners are far better off making PROACTIVE career decisions than reactive ones.

If you’re at a crossroads in your career, here are three key questions to ask yourself before you choose either of the three alternatives:

ALTERNATIVE 1: Climb (move up within the company)

1) What career paths are available to me at the company I work for currently?

2) What steps would I have to take in order to move up the corporate ladder?  Would the time and energy investment I’d have to make into these steps be worth the outcome?

3) How can I reality-test my fit for a different position?  In other words, can you shadow a person who currently has the role you’d like to take on?  Can you get a mentor who’s already climbed the corporate ladder and meet with him/her thirty minutes every other week?  Is there an additional role within the company you can take on to “try out” the position you’d be moving towards?

4) How financially stable is my firm?  If I were to move up in the company and get laid off at a later date, would the experiences I gained in this new role make me more viable to companies outside of my current organization?

ALTERNATIVE 2: Transition (change careers/fields)

1) How much exposure have I had to the field/profession I’m looking to go into?  How can I reality test my fit for this position?  If you’re  moving from being a police officer to a doctor, have you interned or volunteered at a hospital?  What experiences can you take on before making a massive commitment to completely change gears in your career?

2) What will be required to fully make this career shift?  Will you need to get an additional degree or certification?  If so, how much will that cost?  How much will you have to pay?  How much time will you have to put in to get those things done?

3) What will it take to get you to the same or a higher salary in this new field?  If you’re a neurosurgeon deciding to become a writer, what’s your plan for making up for the salary lost in the process?  How will you downsize your lifestyle or add additional streams of income to compensate for any lost wages as you make the shift?

4) How willing are you to start over?  When you jump from one career to a completely different one, it often requires starting from scratch which includes working in an entry level position for entry level pay.  Given your family dynamics and your monthly budget, is this something you can afford to do?

ALTERNATIVE 3: Quit (quit a job you hate, one that is sucking the life out of you)

1) What has your current job cost you?  Be specific about the tangible costs of staying in your current position.  Have you gotten carpel tunnel syndrome?  Adrenal fatigue? Depression? Anxiety? Has your eye sight gotten worse?  Did you gain 80 pounds?  Be clear on the what this job is costing you.

2) How much longer do you feel you can stay at your current position?  At all costs, you don’t want to get so fed up that you wake up one morning and quit.  Having an exit strategy is always the best way to go.

3) What is your ideal exit date?  What kind of exit strategies can you start using to make sure you’re out of the company by this day and time?

4) If you had to stay at this company, what could you do to improve your experience of it?

5) If you had a choice between staying on your current job or working for a company that paid much less but had a better working environment, what would you do?

At the end of the day, the best decision you can make about your career will come from four steps (what Dan and Chip Heath call the WRAP Process in a book they wrote called “Decisive”):

1) Widening your options

2) Reality testing your assumptions

3) Attaining distance (i.e. giving yourself time to reflect and consider)

4) Preparing to be wrong (knowing that no decision is permanent and that you can choose a different path at any point you choose)

Be sure that you complete each of the four above-mentioned steps and then (no analysis paralysis) DECIDE AND DO… It won’t be easy but it will be worth it.

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 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!