Celebrating Moms and ‘Difficult’ Women Everywhere!

First off…Happy Mother’s Day to all! Hoping all of you enjoyed your day: celebrating the amazing women who helped to give us life or brought light to our lives. I wanted to take this opportunity to send a heartfelt “thank you” to all of those women who have made astounding impacts on our lives everyday…those seen and those who are, literally, behind the scenes.

Picture of the cover of In Praise of Difficult Women

Breaking the Rules…

“Difficult” Women

I was  scrolling through the news feeds on my phone this afternoon, (during naptime of course), when I came across an amazing article on National Geographic titled : Difficult Women Who Wrote Their Own Rules. This article is an interview with the Karen Karbo, the author of In Praise of Difficult Women. Her book focuses on a select group of twenty-nine women who were really anything but “difficult”. Instead, it celebrates women who were portrayed, through the eyes of society, as “difficult”. Despite criticism, these women stayed true to themselves, and continued to shine. They  followed their dreams, wrote their own rules and created a life they loved. I wanted to send this article out to all of you as I was so deeply inspired by these carefully selected women; some of whose stories I knew and others, I only briefly glimpsed at.

Karen Karbo, the author of this amazing book, speaks so profoundly, not only of the women she has highlighted, but to all women. To you and to me. To your daughters, your grandmothers, your moms. Her words are so poignant that they prompted some serious self-reflection. I began to think “what am I doing to act on my dreams? Where am I in the stages of crafting a life that I love?

 

If you don’t care too much what people think, you risk being called a difficult woman because you’re not staying in your lane or doing what is expected of you. For the most part, any time a woman doesn’t do that she can be called difficult. When a woman inconveniences somebody she can be called difficult. A woman who believes her own needs, goals, and desires are at least as important as everyone around her risks being called difficult.(Karbo)

What is “Difficult” and Why is it Women?

How much of the above quote made you pause and say “wow-nooo kidding?!”  I mean, how easy is it for even women to call other women “difficult”. How often have you heard “oh, she’s difficult to work with” or “whoa, watch out, she’s difficult to talk to”. Why? Have you ever asked why these women who you were warned about or warned others about were so “difficult”? Is it that these women in our own lives are “difficult” or perhaps they have their own way of expressing themselves that make us feel a little uncomfortable?  Karbo’s book highlights women such as J.K. Rowling (who she calls “scrappy” when describing her strength), Rachel Maddow, ( a “brainy” lady who people passed as a “know it all”), and Amelia Earhart to name a few. Inspirational? Wow-without a doubt. Motivational? The interview alone made me want to purchase the book. A must-read? In my opinion, abso-freakin-lutely.

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Achieve: The Classic Come Back Story

 

Goals

Going after your dreams-not as crazy as it seems-or cliché

What is it about a good come back story that entrances us so? The idea that someone has looked fear in the face, laughed and pursued their goal anyway? Is it the lingering question regarding: “how in the world did that person overcome—- and achieve their goals?” Maybe it’s in the midst of our own struggles when we long for some type rejuvenation, and stumble upon  this amazing story which, almost magically, enables us to breathe again and say:”if they can do it, so can I! “. Whatever it is, I know I’m a “come back” junkie. I could watch “Under the Tuscan Sun”, “I Don’t Know How She Does It”, (and don’t laugh), “Bridesmaids”, over and over and over again. Why? Each of those stories circles around a lead female character,(to whom I can relate), who undergoes some serious life altering circumstances; only to come out on top.

Faith and believing

Finding Faith

They Built the Train Tracks Across the Alps BEFORE…

Undoubtedly one of my favorite lines from Under the Tuscan Sun is imbedded in the simple rule of “keeping the faith”. In one of my favorite scenes from this movie, a very distraught Diane Lane is in the midst of another despair;  pouring her heart out to her newly found Italian friend. In an effort to aid her, he tells her the story about the train tracks that cross the great Alps. The tracks were built before people knew a train could cross them. They built them anyway knowing one day, a train would come.

Ah, yes, faith. Something that my mind only visits every now and then but, at the same time, something I feel greatly connected to. No worries, I’m not going completely religious here but I do think that faith, in whatever form you may find it, is significant. For me, I feel deeply connected but often, almost strangely “forget” to use it.

One of the questions we should ask ourselves, then, is what do we have faith in? Do we have it in ourselves to create our very own “come back” story? In our support systems like family or friends?  Remember, faith is more than a religion; it’s a deep belief, a guiding principal. Ask yourself as you begin your own “come back” story what or who you have faith in. Here’s a hint: YOU should make the top of the list. Anything and everything amazing that happens moving forward begins with you.

love you

Love your life–you’re the author!

Start Crafting The Life You LOVE

What is the life you would LOVE to live? Are you already living it and are aspiring toward other goals or is there something you would love to do but haven’t “quite gotten there” yet? Back when I was a tad younger, I worked for Gap. Believe it or not, I LOVED working for this company. Perhaps it was my manager, Michelle, who was amazing, or just the brand itself but I absolutely found it to be my relax time away from other things. I certainly wasn’t living the exact life I wanted at the time but I certainly enjoyed what I was doing. I knew that whatever it was that I started to do for my career, it had to be something that I absolutely LOVED doing. Find what you love, more than likely, you’re good at doing it. Craft your life around that love. Is it creating, teaching, being around children, animals? Make a short list of your top five-you can use the template I’ve created here to help you  :Do What I Love Goal Sheet

Do what you love

Don Fisher- Creator of Gap

The Gap Story. Or why I’m so Big On LOVING What You Do

Don Fisher with his wife Doris created The Gap back in the 1960’s when Don couldn’t find a pair of jeans he actually liked. Fast forward years and years later and he’s grown a brand. Why does this matter? Upon Don’s passing in 2009, each Gap employee was handed a little booklet with a bracelet. The booklet highlighted Don’s life, his contributions to the brand and one of his strong beliefs which read: LOVE WHAT YOU DO/ DO WHAT YOU LOVE. I mean, wow. I absolutely grabbed right onto this saying so much so that I still carry the little book and bracelet with me in my car.

Don’s words certainly resonate when we’re trying to craft a life we LOVE. Certainly, he and his wife follow those words to heart. In order to live by true “Don Fisher fashion”: start with simple things and build from there. Begin by focusing on what you love to do, rather than what you HAVE to do. This is not to say that you shouldn’t pay those bills and save money in the meantime. However, I do believe we have to reprioritize our time away from our jobs, careers, and other activities that are not giving us what we need so we can define those steps to get back to what we love.

NOW is the time to Build Your Come Back List

There was a time I was actually scared to even ask myself what I really wanted out of life. What I wanted to achieve.  That time…was last week. I figured out that I was, and still are, afraid to admit what I really want to do for fear of failure or disappointment. Pretty silly-isn’t it? After all, how in the world are we going to “take the bull by the horns” and get after what we want if we’re frightened off so quickly? Now is the time to make that list. Here’s how:

  1. Brainstorm your “Do it, Because you Love it list”  and use it to narrow down one or two goals you want for YOU. This could be career goals or personal goals…either way. LOVE WHAT YOU DO!
  2. Create a plan of action for yourself. Within that love it and do it list, choose one item and create steps, almost like  stepping stones toward that goal. REMEMBER, a step is a STEP. This is YOUR journey. No one else’s.
  3. Be accountable. Set a date for your FIRST actual step. Write it down, tell family, friends and coworkers about it. Shout it from the rooftops! Anything to help you be accountable for taking action!
  4. Celebrate once you’ve taken and completed a step toward your goal. This can be anything from a good high-five to yourself, bragging rights to a friend or grabbing that chocolate milkshake you’ve been longing for (or maybe that’s just me right now).
  5. Continue the momentum! Once a step has been taken and a celebration has ensued, REPEAT the same steps!

I’m ready for a come back….are you?