How to Find Your Path and Embrace the Detours

Did you choose the career you really wanted?

“My entire professional life has been very accidental,” said Julie Wittes Schlack, my friend and former colleague. We met to discuss the unconventional path that led to her career and new book. She was an instructional designer, turned business leader, activist and author.

It can take years to reconcile the assumptions we have about work. Many of us follow outdated rules or well-meaning parents into careers that don’t fit. Julie’s upbringing, however, encouraged bold choices. She shared, “My father was trying to be a good provider while hating every fucking second of it. My parents realized they needed a more meaningful life and left Montreal to reinvent themselves.” I laughed. She added, “… Well into my adulthood I realized not everyone reinvents their lives in their late thirties! It was the greatest gift they could give.”

Julie, blessed with many talents and interests, kept open to serendipity. Ignoring mainstream career advice feels rebellious. But if the ideal career is where aptitude, meets passion and purpose, how do we find it?

Continue reading “How to Find Your Path and Embrace the Detours”

Wondering How to Honor Your Values With Better Boundaries?

Use Design Thinking as a Tool to Prioritize Your Values

Pre-kids, self-care and personal growth fit into our ‘spare time.’ That extra space between activities. Perhaps after work and life’s other obligations. Post-kids, there is no extra space anymore, we have to make it. To make it, we must set boundaries.

Intellectually we understand this but working it into real life is different. After sharing results from the Personal Boundaries survey April Seifert, Entrepreneur, Psychologist and Supermom, took a group of us through a ‘Design Your Life For Values Based Boundaries’ webinar that blends the best of design thinking with psychology. Moms are hungry for more space. Why is making it so difficult? Just like assembling sippy cups, Pokémon® rules and the afterschool calendar, we must learn.

Does Your Calendar Reflect Your Values?

Moms generally power through the lists of ‘shoulds’ like machines. We ensure our families are well cared for and cut corners for ourselves. Relaxation is a foreign land we never visit. Protecting some time to take care of ourselves, when there isn’t any extra, means Continue reading “Wondering How to Honor Your Values With Better Boundaries?”

When Did You Stop Trusting Your Gut Instinct?

One Woman’s Journey to Improving Her Health & Discovering a New Career

“I always had digestive problems.” Said Heather Wise, Author and Holistic Wellness Coach. We met for lunch after connecting at a conference. Heather said, “I realized I had food sensitivities and wanted to understand why.” She began researching possible causes while pursuing her Master’s degree in Public Health. “The more I learned the easier it was to advocate for myself. I had the information to back things up (with my doctors) and that was empowering!”

Have you ever worried the signals from your inner-compass aren’t clear? Have other people’s doubts led to self-doubt? Despite being dissuaded Heather’s instincts, that her sugar cravings and digestive issues had a solution, led her to Continue reading “When Did You Stop Trusting Your Gut Instinct?”

Yes, You Absolutely Can Raise Your Self-Care Bar

“I believe Mothers standing up for themselves is the highest form of self-care. Higher than any massage or relaxing sound machine,” Said Katherine Goldstein, an award-winning journalist and Founder of The Double Shift podcast. She added, “…Getting in touch with your anger, with your experience, is a powerful form of self-care. Forcing yourself to accept unfair treatment, unequal relationships and bad workplaces is what’s really causing people to feel like ‘I need self-care, I’m so stressed.’ If you have a partner, tell him he has to do some f*cking housework okay?” I laughed in agreement. Katherine said, “I know it’s easier said than done. It’s easier to recommend a Continue reading “Yes, You Absolutely Can Raise Your Self-Care Bar”

What Happens If You Lean in and Fall?

How to Rebuild & Find Purpose In the Pivot

“I was all in on Lean In.” said Katherine. She added, “…I didn’t want to be held back and was totally convinced everyone else had this whole working Mom thing figured out except for me.” I nodded and remembered feeling the same way. “My son was born in 2015 with some pretty serious health problems. He’s doing great now but it was a stressful early time. Then, when he was 6 months old, I lost my job. Those twin crises really made me feel like a failure.”

The work-life collide is inevitable but jarring. Even if we’re aware of the Motherhood penalty, in our hyper-accountable culture, we expect better. We rarely discuss being passed over or pushed out at work. Why not?

Reframing Stigma

Most US Moms have breadwinning responsibilities. When things are bad at work, we still Continue reading “What Happens If You Lean in and Fall?”

Can I Please Get More Capacity For Mother’s Day?

We Need Capacity.

Capacity in the form of emotional space and mental energy to process all of the inputs.

Almost overnight, my kids have gone from needing my help to eat, to learning how the world works. It’s a fundamental shift. It’s more than just survival now, it’s teaching them to be good people. They have so many questions, like why are people happy or sad? When to defend yourself or walk away. Why are there different rules for boys and Continue reading “Can I Please Get More Capacity For Mother’s Day?”

Killing it at Work but Completely Stressed in Life? You Need These Books!

Have you ever questioned yourself, or your sanity, navigating professional life post-kids?

You are in excellent company! Authors Sheryl Sandberg, Anne Marie Slaughter, Tiffany Dufu, Brigid Schulte, Shonda Rimes and Jessica Turner have all written about the challenges of ambition, identity and how professional life differs for Moms.

I’m surrounded by talented women. All of whom stitch together a patchwork-quilt of childcare coverage, while managing unrealistic expectations from employers, family members and sometimes, themselves!

We invest in and rely on our careers, but achieving stability and growth, still Continue reading “Killing it at Work but Completely Stressed in Life? You Need These Books!”

How Can Moms Set Boundaries Without Feeling Guilty? 

Six strategies to move past the dreaded mom-guilt

“…I realized I was a puppet. I tried to not hurt (others) feelings, but often mine were hurt…”

“… I’m a people pleaser by nature and I don’t want to disappoint. I’m better at meeting outer expectations versus inner.”

Moms already suffer from external pressure. Yet, we compound it, by poisoning our choices with self-doubt. Why do we feel so guilty about our decisions? Nearly 200 Moms responded to the Personal Boundaries survey and 12% said, guilt associated with trying to please or meet other people’s expectations, is what makes it hard to set healthy boundaries. As one surveyed Mom shared, “I struggle with this. I often do what pleases others, then feel resentful.”

I asked Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a Psychologist, Professor, Author, Supermom and Jedi-boundary-setter, about how we can conquer the emotional conflicts that surface when setting limits. She did not hold back with her candid and thoughtful observations!

Stare Down Resentment

Many of Ramani’s patients are parents. She said, “People feel guilty about putting resentment and kids in the same sentence.” So true! The Mom-role is among the most time-starved yet Continue reading “How Can Moms Set Boundaries Without Feeling Guilty? “

Can Self-Care Be Your Secret to Professional Success?

How do you transition from intrapreneur to entrepreneur, with your boss’ blessing, then sell and expand your company? With a disciplined approach to self-care and smart systems at home. Kendra Bracken-Ferguson, entrepreneur and Supermom, has built an extraordinary career while nurturing her creative soul.

Ambitious Moms face a dilemma. The rules for growth at work change just when requirements at home increase. Solutions to outsmart the wage and achievement gaps elude most women. Why? Work infrastructure doesn’t really favor working Moms. To succeed, despite this, requires mental energy and creativity. Resources most Moms lack. What if self-care, dismissed by most to save time, is the Continue reading “Can Self-Care Be Your Secret to Professional Success?”

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