A mantra

“You get to decide how you show up,”  I said as I spoke with a roomful of women.  We were talking about transition and the stress that can accompany its triggers.  We’d spent the past ten minutes sharing stories about the obstacles that can get in our way….everyday.  A boss.  A difficult mother-in-law.  A husband who is channeling the 1950’s.  An illness.   An upcoming marriage.  Retirement.  Tons of life events can qualify.  Most of us have experienced at least one of these.  Here’s the tricky part.  What impact have you allowed it to have on your day?  Your demeanor?  Continue reading

Recalibrating….

“Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something? ” I concluded to a friend this week.  I had been awake since 3 a.m. that morning.   For what?  All sorts of issues – there seemed innumerable topics to toggle through.  Writing challenges.  A looming deadline.  Congressional-like politics at one of my jobs.  A home renovation project whose end point keeps receding.   A family going in all different directions – literally – while managing in temporary living quarters.   Did I mention that I hadn’t gone in weeks for my beloved 5:15 am walk with a neighbor?  Silliness.  Right? Continue reading

Magic

“If I had to do it again I wouldn’t give so much energy to the down cycle,” shared Cindy in an early interview for my book.  She had been a researcher/scientist at a well-known bio tech company in CA.   Cindy was no shrinking flower.  She started out as a PhD candidate who was handpicked while still a student to join a cross-disciplinary team at her future employer.  Post graduation she ignored feelings that she wasn’t really happy in what she was doing.   When she and her female partner moved to the East Coast for her partner’s job Cindy began to honor her feelings more.   “I am surprised at how personal it was. My transition was long, evolving and gradual.” Continue reading

Altered States….

“So this really is my problem.  I can figure out what I want to do with it.” shared a tall understated woman who had joined our Focus Group.   “It’s freeing. I feel like I can be anything I want to be.”  Everyone in the room nodded in support. “It’s also confusing.  It’s like being a teenager again. You know, when they ask you, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’  Well, who knows!”  Everyone chuckled.  She was lighthearted. And yet mildly sad by the hypocrisy of it all.  Hadn’t she dreamt of this moment for years as she supported everyone else? Now a pivot.   To what? Continue reading

V is for….

Voice.  Do you exercise yours?  On the surface it seems like a silly question.  But I’m not talking about vocal capabilities.   I’m wondering about voice as our expression of ourselves, our opinions.  Powerful.  Impactful.  Or muted.  Underutilized?  How would you characterize your voice?      Continue reading

Getting to done….

‘I’m done.’  It’s one of the most common remarks that I hear in interviewing people about their transitions.  It seems to be a psychological plateau that women reach when they cannot give any more to their current pursuit.  The scholar PhD student who realizes that academia isn’t the place of her dreams.  The woman who spent years in the home with four children.  The single woman who  gets fatigued after years supporting an all-consuming boss.  The veteran executive who is faced with the political and emotional jujitsu that accompanies most senior level roles.   Have you ever said it? I’m done?

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Permission…?

“Permission and relief,” said a Focus Group participant from the financial services industry.   I’d asked the ladies that day to characterize transition using adjectives or single word descriptors.   She’d just been laid off from a swanky well-known firm.  She was taking a moment to think about what needed to be next for her.  The prior job and the firm’s culture never really fit her.  “I left my garage in the dark and returned in the dark.”  She went on to add, “You know when you are putting kids through private college….you know you don’t give yourself permission.” Continue reading

The Flotsam….

“Have you seen it?” said a woman to the cashier at the Superette.  I was eavesdropping on the conversation.  “The flotsam?”   To that moment I’d never heard the word.   Webster’s defines it as the wreckage of a ship or cargo that gets washed up by the sea.  “Over many months,” the check-out line story went, “beachgoers” had created this awesome structure.  What transpired was elegant.  Homespun.  Substantial.  Continue reading

Bucking Recession….

Do you keep your richness hidden?  I know what you’re saying, What could she possibly mean by that?    The thought struck me the other day as I interviewed a woman for my book.    We spoke at length.  I got the public, high level view right at the outset.  Achiever.  CPA.  Job seeker.  It wasn’t until well into the conversation that I finally learned about her. Continue reading

Your path….forward

“We come back to ourselves only better,” shared an interviewee in a Voices of Transitions post from 2012.   Her name was Maria.  She described her transition as an experience that she was ‘in and out of’ over a decade.   In that timeframe she experienced both intentional and unintentional transition.  One occurred when she was pregnant and was unexpectedly limited to bedrest despite a strategic unraveling at her tech start-up employer.   Another at a time when the care needs of her daughter required a full court press. Regardless of the triggers this decade long evolution required her to step out of her comfort zone and onto a new path… Continue reading