What Will You Say Yes To?

Book Review For The Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in The Sun & be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

I loved this book. It’s a survival guide for ambitious women. It’s also a masterclass on how to overcome limiting beliefs. Shonda makes sharp observations about everything from working motherhood and nurturing creativity, to career growth and feminism’s next act, intersectionality. She applies the Shonda-Rhimes-story-telling-magic to her own life. Even though she highlights (and challenges) many of the social norms that limit women’s progress, it’s a fast, engaging read.

Learning to Say Yes

“’You Never Say Yes to Anything.” The truth of her sister’s casual comment unsettled her. In response, Shonda decided to say ‘yes’ to what scared her… for an entire year! The book takes us, from her struggle to honor this commitment, to the resulting personal Continue reading “What Will You Say Yes To?”

Own Your Story, Love Your Strength & Heal With Hope

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting Jeannette Walls, Author of the NY Times Best Seller, The Glass Castle. Her stirring memoir, detailing a childhood of poverty and trauma that would unravel most people, is among my all-time-favorite books. Once she was introduced, she said, “I was invited to speak because I had a weird childhood.”

We all laughed…until she shared some of her stories, including being severely burned at age 3 because to eat, she had to cook meals in a small trailer on a gas stove. After six weeks in the hospital, her father decided to “rescue her.” Hastily…prior to a medical discharge. She affectionately referred to his art of the quick-exit as the ‘skedaddle.’

Her presentation was about hope, strength and beauty. She beamed with enthusiasm sharing the many gifts she received from her experiences. Yes… Continue reading “Own Your Story, Love Your Strength & Heal With Hope”

Working Moms, How to Side Hustle Your Way to Career Bliss!

…Do you know why it looks that way? Is it supposed to get that big? Why does it hurt when I…?

“Anyone with a question about women’s health would usually contact me.” Said Dr. Kelly Culwell, founder of Dr. Lady Doctor. I nodded… at least ten women were waiting to meet her while we talked. She said, “This type of information should be available to everyone!” Agreed. Somewhere between Sex Ed in junior high and our pregnancy check-ups, we self-study with Dr. Google, Dr. Oz and Cosmo. It’s far from ideal. Kelly is intent on improving how women learn about reproductive and sexual health. That’s right, everything from fibroids and better birth control, to perimenopause!  

Although ‘pursue your passion’ is the prescribed path to professional bliss, few do. Or believe they can. Once work-life transforms to working-mom-life, it all changes. Finding time to build new competencies can feel insurmountable. Mom-friends barely have time to workout, eat right or brush their hair! Career growth, amidst overwhelm, seems like an impossible luxury.

There’s room for side hustles, passion projects and ambitious ventures. If Continue reading “Working Moms, How to Side Hustle Your Way to Career Bliss!”

It’s Time to Become an Activist. Here’s How

Six Observations About Activism from Female Leaders at the Creators Summit

Decisions that govern choices we make, wages we earn, the quality of air we breathe and the safety of foods we eat, are made by a homogenous few. Let’s take that in for a moment. A tiny group, relative to the population, absent your world view, culture and life experiences are running the show.

Where does that leave us? Somewhere in the audience…perhaps. Certainly not backstage or privy to what’s behind the scenes. We’re definitely not running things, less than a quarter of elected officials are women, but we can.

When politics are the most detestable, is when your involvement is the most important. We all thought that progress was well…progressive. Upward and forward moving. Guess what? It’s not. What people fought for 100 years ago we need to fight and fight again for.

One month ago, I listened to powerful stories of courage at the BlogHer Creator’s Summit with lessons about activism we can all benefit from. Dr. Alaa Murabit, a UN commissioner active in high risk peace negotiations said, “If women are involved, peace is 35 times more likely to last. Peace building and nation building are less successful If we don’t have women at the table.” Do you need more permission to get involved?

Support positive, systemic change for everything that matters to you! Leaders are calling upon women to work together — like the passionate team of master planners, doers and bridge builders we are.

Be inclusive, foster the belonging we all crave

“When people sit along the edges and we exclude them, we miss their magic. I know what the joy of being included feels like.” Shelly McNamara, Writer & VP of HR at Procter & Gamble

“…I was careful about how I expressed myself. I never wanted to be labeled ‘the angry black girl.’ I didn’t want to be written off.” Angie Thomas, #1 NY Times Best Selling Author

“It is important that the images put out in the world reflect all people. I think there is a responsibility that every single group should be represented.” Uzo Aduba, Actress & Advocate

“…I believe in less distance and more connection, less judgement and Continue reading “It’s Time to Become an Activist. Here’s How”

How to be a Happier Parent? Embrace Self-Care!

Gratitude for our families doesn’t mean we’re always happy. Moms routinely give up self-care (yes including sleep) for the perceived greater good. We break so many promises to ourselves, that the excuses sound hollow, even inside our minds.  The consuming baby years, soon give way to demanding school-and-sport logistics. Finding free time feels like trying to breathe underwater. We grow distant from the passions that shaped our personalities. Over time, we forget how to have fun without our kids.

Most of us dwell in the land of never-done, a purgatory filled with managing email, picking up toys and cleaning the counters for the fifth time. It’s not surprising when, in most families, Moms are still responsible for all-things-children-and-household. Although it’s tempting to try to outsmart the to-do list, there’s a better way! I had the pleasure of speaking with KJ Dell’Antonia, Author and former Editor of the New York Times’ parenting blog, The Motherlode.

After writing about parenting, while raising four children of her own, she’s distilled practical wisdom about ‘How to Be a Happier Parent’ in her new book. Spoiler alert, carving out your happy is Continue reading “How to be a Happier Parent? Embrace Self-Care!”

Yes! You Can Work to Be Ambitious and Happy at The Same Time

Ambition is a bit restless. We can feel blessed with the life we have, yet still crave more…security, impact or flexibility. The quest to improve is part of our culture. And for some of us, our very souls. Managing this feeling, however, is tricky. It’s hard to be ambitious and satisfied at the same time. Making it all happen, with the beyond busy Mom-schedule, also requires thoughtful strategy.

Some of us are wired or groomed for ambition, whereas others, adopt it by necessity. Moms are increasingly responsible for co, primary or sole breadwinning at home. In parallel, women are embracing entrepreneurship, in record numbers, as a path to greater autonomy and financial freedom. Last month, I attended Pepperlane’s conference, a day of celebrating and supporting Mom business owners. One of the (many) highlights was Nataly Kogan’s keynote. She shared her powerful story of rising professionally, nearly crashing from stress and ultimately, learning to become happier and more present.

 Beware of “I’ll be Happy When…”

Nataly admitted to the crowded room, “When I spoke at TedX Boston, (what appeared to be) one of the happiest days on the outside, was one of the darkest days of my life.” Continue reading “Yes! You Can Work to Be Ambitious and Happy at The Same Time”

Strong, Fit & Resilient. Get Motivated & Make It Happen!

I thought I was doing something wrong. When I pulled the rope…hard, it didn’t move. I leaned backwards, even with my full weight against it, the sandbag only shifted a little. Fortunately, two teammates stopped to help me. Together, we hoisted the bag into the air so I could finish.

That was 6 months ago. As a daily runner, I felt pretty invincible (ahem overconfident) prior to training for that race. I struggled with many of the serious strength activities.   Although I can run for miles, I learned, I’m not as strong as I thought I was. It also took over a week to recover from the assorted injuries. Which has prompted me to focus more on strength and flexibility, not just stamina, to become athletically well-rounded.

Cultivating Resilience

If life hasn’t followed ‘the plan’, you’ve likely earned the emotional resilience to handle most dilemmas. Making our bodies resilient…healthy and more resistant to injury or illness, is different. It’s not cumulative. To be physically fit, you’re just never done! In the mental load survey, Continue reading “Strong, Fit & Resilient. Get Motivated & Make It Happen!”

Overwhelmed? How To Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time!

Book Review and Conversation with Author Brigid Schulte

#MomsSelf-Care #WhysBehindMentalLoad #TriumphOverStress 

Choose Differently

We lined up for questions. ‘Why do I feel guilty about not baking the cupcakes’ and ‘How can I make time for myself when work expects email replies 24/7?’ There were over 200 women in that room, seeking ‘Life Hacks for Life Zen.’  Brigid Schulte, best-selling Author and Journalist, was a voice of reason onstage amidst growing panic that achieving ‘life Zen’ as a busy Mom was akin to catching a unicorn. By the tail. She eloquently shared her story of change, from stressed-out Mom, to enjoying greater balance.  She said we could “buy into what society wants for us or choose to live differently.” Noted. I was so impressed that I introduced myself to her.

Before we spoke again a few weeks ago, I devoured her book,  ‘Overwhelmed: How To Work, Love and Play When No One Has The Time’.  How can Moms ease the relentless pressure? With a steady rise in ‘girl power’ messaging everywhere from the arts to business, why are we (still) trapped by a punishing schedule of obligations?

Frenetic Families

“I was unaware of the pressures Continue reading “Overwhelmed? How To Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time!”

Rewrite The Rules! Lighten Your Mental Load, Drop Mom Guilt & Live Your Values

#MomsSelf-Care #MomsLivingWithIntention #ResistMentalLoad

A Conversation With Tiffany Dufu, Author of Drop The Ball

“I am in tears and I am overwhelmed. I need help to get out of this place.”

Most moms experience despair at some point on the journey, however, few discuss it. It’s part of the unspoken pact we have with society. There’s so much to celebrate, that most conversation centers on the joy. We don’t talk about feeling fractured or how a lack of self-care leaves us eerily distanced from our identities.

When Tiffany Dufu realized the burden to control all things household was unsustainable without living with a heavy dose of resentment, she knew for the sake of her family and her marriage something needed to change. In her book, Drop the Ball, she artfully tells the story of moving from overwhelm to a more focused, fulfilled life by doing two major things. Continue reading “Rewrite The Rules! Lighten Your Mental Load, Drop Mom Guilt & Live Your Values”

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