Do you practice kindness? I know it sounds pretty odd but this whole kindness business is getting under my skin. The reason is really simple. I’ve witnessed time and again an unintended consequence of kindness that I find damaging, particularly to women. Let me explain. Have you ever caught yourself resorting to kindness when you would rather rage at something or someone? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not arguing for reckless confrontation. But this conflict – the intersection of kindness and authenticity – has me wondering. Is kindness becoming a new modern day requirement, another expectation that is layered upon us like a cloak gently silencing our voices? Continue reading →
Failure. failure. FAILURE. What pops into your mind when you hear the word? Is it a failed relationship? Or a job offer that never materialized? Or a mortgage that was never approved? Or a marriage that ended badly? Or maybe failure has migrated its profile to become a trait that showed up one day and lingered. Last week a rare coffee break with a dear friend got me thinking about failure in an entirely new light. It helped me see that failure may not be any of the things I listed above or the many more that we all could add to the list. What if we have failure all wrong? Continue reading →
I was asked to make a 2019 wish on behalf of all the listeners of Feminine Foresight, a podcast for which I was recently interviewed. My response was simple. I wished that we could all re-imagine ‘enough.’ Are you enough? Maybe you haven’t thought about the question in quite that way before. Even so, I am fairly certain that you have experience with it or one of its popular cousins. Are you smart enough? Talented enough? Connected enough? Slim enough? Fit enough? Attractive enough? Kind enough? Driven enough? Supportive enough? Good enough? Happy enough? Tough enough? Successful enough? Present enough? Loved enough? Loving enough? My personal favorite – in case you are wondering – hails from the good enough arena. Will I ever be good enough? Or more precisely, will my work ever be good enough? My interviewer’s question made me realize that I’ve had enough of all this. Have you ever wondered what might be awaiting for you on the other side of enough?
With Valentine’s Day approaching, I thought I’d explore a concept we don’t talk much about. Love. What comes to mind when you hear the word? Hallmark, Amazon and 1-800-flowers would hope that cupids and red roses and chocolate are somewhere in the mix. A recent story I read compelled me to look at love differently, from an honest and often hidden perspective. It centers on how we express love in the normal course. Can name a few ways that you do? A pic from one of the ways I express love – talking about my fav topic transition – is below. Continue reading →
When was the last time you took a new step? Sounds like a funny question, doesn’t it? New steps can take many forms. Yours might be tied to finally having a long-dreaded conversation about ending your relationship with your spouse or partner. Or yours might be finally registering for that course to help you begin to track your career in a new direction. Or, like me, yours might be tied to having a long overdue conversation with my 85-year-old mother about her continuing loss of function and skyrocketing care needs. While these may sound like vastly different scenarios, transition has taught me that they are all versions of the same theme. Each requires us to begin. To take a new step. To act by relying on a set of beliefs that are tied to who we are and how we make meaning in the world. Each one asks us to head in a direction whose outcome is uncertain. To embrace an unknown or unknowable destination.
This journey – into the unknown – fascinates me. My knowledge of transition has helped me walk in this direction. I’ve benefited greatly from it thus far and still consider myself a traveler. One thing I know for sure. We greatly misunderstand transition as a society. In fact, we’re socialized to head in the opposite direction when we face uncertainty. This detour can be costly to us and to those who rely upon us.
My work is all about dispelling this confusion around transition and helping people live the lives they only imagine. To support my work, today I introduce my new podcast, Destination Unknown: a field guide. Its sole purpose is to dispel the mystery surrounding transition so that all of us – no matter the particulars – can take the first step, and then another one, successfully.
Destination Unknown: a field guide (Available on iTunes)
Destination Unknown: a field guide (available on iTunes) is designed with you in mind. It features 15-minute power conversations between yours truly and those navigating all manner of transition. Our first episode features Leona, a 50 ish year old career enthusiast who decided to head in another direction. Leona talks about how difficult it was to make the decision and how she did it.
Here is a sneak peek at the 1st episode:
What if my prevailing thought it, “I cannot do this!?”
What can you expect if you find yourself at a crossroads? Maybe you have an idea of what could be ahead but not much more than that?
What are the murkiest parts of the journey?
Are there patterns to be aware of that can help redirect my energy in positive and important ways?
If you’ve ever felt nauseated, discombobulated, or panicked about a new step, you’ll find something important in our first episode.
Why is this podcast different?
I know what you are saying, ‘not another podcast!’ Destination Unknown: a field guide is a resource for everyone in or considering transition. It will introduce you to the scary parts of the movie before you find yourself in a theater all alone. For anyone who has seen the Exorcist or Nightmare on Elm St, remember that once you are familiar with the really scary scenes, you experience the movie differently. You see new things. You access new parts of the plot that you overlooked in your earlier panic. So too, transition. Learn how to navigate it successfully with Destination Unknown: a field guide.
I hope you’ll join us. Please take a moment to subscribe to Destination Unknown: a field guide on iTunes and tell someone you know who might benefit from its message.
For those wondering about my 2019 imagined possibility test, I’ve made it two days so far. Even so, I am improving. I catch myself when negative thoughts hop into my head. I cannot say that I have made much more progress than that. I haven’t given up. I continue undaunted. Beginning a new step each day.
May you always be drawn to journeys that can lead you in a stronger, more beautiful direction and may you always find the courage to take the next step.
Thank you for your unending support of my journey.
A belated Happy New Year! I am kicking off ’19 with an important new experiment. I want to walk in possibility – daily. Most of us recognize that the world is full of possibility. But I wonder how many of us recognize that this statement is also true for each of us individually? A world of possibility is resident within all of us. Are you ready to bring it forward? What might it look like for you? Perhaps ’19 is the year to bring shape to what possibility might mean for you.
Sounds funny, doesn’t it. Walking in possibility. The phrase came to me as I was taping a show for my upcoming – soon to be released – podcast, Destination Unknown: a field guide. One of my guests talked about the energy she derived from ‘living in possibility’ instead of ‘living in fear.’ She was able to feel the difference. Fear for her was very real. It emanated from her desire to make a career change after thirty years in an industry.
My desire to walk in possibility brought me to my experiment. Unlike my guest, I was not able to see fear as my driver. Instead my gate to possibility lives in the voices inside my head that battle with me by diminishing, devaluing, derailing possibility. This symphony is a constant companion. You see I am the champion of private highly-damaging monologues. These thoughts can creep in from any front; work, parenting, relationships, elder care. No sector is off-limits.
My experiment for 2019 is centered on eliminating the barriers that stand in the way of my possibility. I want to go five days straight without a negative, critical or self-limiting thought deflating my sense of self. Any time I fall off the wagon, my five day count will re-set. I have 365 days with which to pull off this consecutive five day cycle.
This goal is tricky. I may not be able to stop these thoughts from entering my head. But to move forward any one day I need to change the way I respond to them.
How hard can this be? You may ask.
It feels like an eternity from where I sit.
For those wondering about my progress, I haven’t gone two consecutive days yet. We are roughly ten days into the year.
Here is a great example. Last week I talked with a handful of career coaches to test a business idea I have been toying with for some time. I’d like to run continuing education courses for professionals, like financial planners or career and life coaches. I plan to share my research and, most importantly, my exercises. All of those with whom I spoke were interested in the idea. Can you guess what happened next? My lovely inner voice discounted the avenue…..entirely.
My guess is that I am not alone in this type of cycle.
For my experiment to work, I need to recognize an inbound nasty gram and I need to tag it as such. Irrational. Highly circumspect. I can no longer allow these thoughts to take root, change my mood or – most especially – convince me that my idea or desire isn’t worthy.
Yes, five days really does feel like an eternity….
Possibilities live in transition’s zip code. Our dreams are imagined possibilities. They serve a crucial role as we navigate shifts in transition. Through possibilities we envision, architect and begin moving forward.
If you decide to venture forth in possibility, what would you expect to encounter along the way? Maybe the answer to that question can lead you to an experiment, like mine, one that will help you see possibility in an entirely new light.
May ’19 bring you the courage to walk in your possibility and to greet with an open heart all that you encounter along the way.
Happy New Year!
Linda R. (linda@WomenAndTransition.com)
Stay tuned for the release of Destination Unknown: a field guide. I have 3 episodes taped and one final technical hurdle to overcome. If you are a podcast expect, I’d love your help troubleshooting this problem. Let me know! linda@WomenAndTransition.com
How could it be December 24th? This post was originally on the docket for the slower moving days immediately after Thanksgiving. Remember those? Here we are with all of that in the rear view mirror. Suffice it to say that I couldn’t let the day go by without sharing a story of an incredible gift, one that reminded me of the love and possibility that is resident in all of us.
The gift didn’t come in a box nor was it from anyone I knew well. Its simplicity and depth reminded me of the powerful impact we can all make in each other’s lives.
a little background
Just before Thanksgiving I ran a workshop at an agency that serves homeless and at-risk youth. This agency is one of my favorite places to do my work. My visits there remind me of the universal nature of transition. I am always humbled by the courage of the youth who join me. Many are there following a significant choice, a choice to leave somewhere and accept the uncertainty of the street and all that goes along with it.
The workshop that day was focused on barriers. Like so many of us, the youth could quickly articulate the barriers they faced. Theirs ranged from tangible things such as a lack of a certification – like a GED – to more intangible things such as a belief in themselves or the courage to make a scary choice. We drew a fake wall with large paper and wrote the barriers on circular cut outs meant to resemble boulders. Once the wall was created, we worked to re-frame it. We played games to help us reconstruct our response to the barriers. In total, we learned that barriers in one form or another are always present. The key to navigating transition is changing our response to barriers so that we can continue to move forward in light of the barrier’s presence.
After the session I was standing in the hallway outside the classroom. A young man who attended the session approached me. He thanked me for the morning and asked me for the title of my book. “I am going to ask for it for Christmas.” He said. He told me that the organization bought one holiday gift for each registered youth.
I wanted to remind him that there were so many other gifts that could be useful to him. My book wouldn’t keep the heat on nor would it ensure that he landed a decent job.
I learned from our quick conversation that his interest in my book was more like a thank you note than anything else. A gift he could give. Freely. Joyfully.
Now, more than one month later, I remain moved by his willingness to extend himself to someone else at a time when the demands on him personally were so immense.
why it matters
I hope that my kind friend thought the better of submitting my book’s name to the holiday wish list at the organization. Even so, his gift to me withstands.
May the season and the year to follow remind us all that we each have so much to give simply by being who we are. We make choices every minute of every day. Each moment represents an opportunity to bring forward the unique and incredible gifts that each of us alone possesses.
Perhaps the greatest irony of this season is that the simple act of bringing ourselves forward is all anyone else needs.
Thank you for walking with me through another year of transition. I am humbled by how much I’ve learned from the presence of each of you. Thank you for your gifts to me.
Warmest wishes for a safe and happy holiday season and a great start to 2019!
The long anticipated launch of my podcast, Destination Unknown, will debut the first week of January. Stay Tuned!
Holiday posts from the past: Take a moment to read a few inspiring posts from Novofemina’s archives!
Have you ever felt like a kid in a candy store? That is the only way I can describe how I felt last Saturday evening. A friend and I went to the Boston stop of Michele Obama’s book tour. She was herself. Radiant. Engaging. Choreographed, but invisibly so. She shared stories of hope and anger and frustration and love. My guess is that her words touched me differently than those who sat around me. You see, without knowing it, Mrs. Obama described transitioning. The process helped her discover more and more about those things that hold value and meaning to her. To her delight, those things then became the cornerstone of her work and of who she is. This pivot, her becoming, initiated even more growth. Transitioning enables growth. Yeah transitioning! I left there smiling and with an exciting new goal: to interview her! All suggestions on how to make this happen would be greatly appreciated, BTW.
Over the course of the evening, Mrs. Obama made it a point to talk about the stories we tell ourselves. Our own narratives. Her topic gave me a terrific idea for a pre-holiday blog, a primer on storytelling. Continue reading →
She is fighting back tears. Something is the matter. Her adult daughter is spinning around the lobby trying to architect some semblance of normalcy. I learn from a few abbreviated sentences that the day’s plans have changed. I was there to accompany one of my dearest friends for her final chemo treatment. The infusion has been postponed. Her body isn’t ready. It needs a little more time. She apologizes to me for coming so far, for nothing. I am amazed at this positioning and am now even happier that I came. I drive her home. She exhales in the car. It is in our conversation there that I am given a huge gift. My task is simple. To try to understand it. Continue reading →
Last week as I joined the nation in listening to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee a woman whom I met years ago popped into my head. She was a classmate of mine at a one-day seminar sponsored by the Op-Ed Project. The organization works to expand the range of voices in the media. They believe that Whoever tells the story, writes history. My friend was very young, a year or two out of undergrad. She was smart and deeply thoughtful. Over the course of the day, the class learned that she was the victim of an aggressive sexual assault. The experience was consuming her. She couldn’t get beyond it. She felt as if she was treading water. Every once in a while it seemed as if she dipped below the surface. She was full of disbelief. Shattered. She hoped the seminar would teach her how to use her voice to contribute to a broader dialogue about change. She was game. But her experience gave her pause. She wondered if anyone was listening? Continue reading →
Feeling alone or isolated? Are you in transition or considering one? Join the In Transition Series for coffee and conversation. We will discuss what to do if you’ve been out of the workforce temporarily or if you’ve been out for an extended period of time. Sessions meet on the 1st Monday of every month at the Public Library, Winchester, MA. Free. 10-11:30am. Hope to see you! Questions linda@WomenAndTransition.com