Tag Archives: linda rossetti

Making Choices Matter

Choice is such a whopper of a topic. Isn’t it? How would you describe your relationship with choice? Do you err on the side of safety or throw caution to the wind? I’ve been thinking a lot about choices this summer thanks to a chance conversation. It happened when I was talking with an adult daughter of a friend at a lawn party earlier in June. She was excited about an upcoming move to LA and the start of a new job at a large law firm there. She had been in the public defender’s office in Dallas for a few years and was ready for a change. I was so curious about her decision.  That’s when she said something powerful about choice that sent me reeling…. Continue reading

My struggle with kindness

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

Rethinking Failure

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

Walking In Possibility

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.

January 2017, Washington, DC

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.

Five days.

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


Copyright © 2019 Linda Rossetti & NovoFemina.com.  All rights reserved. No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission from NovoFemina.com.

Finding Light….

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.

the gift

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!

Linda R.

linda@womenandtransition.com



Holiday posts from the past: Take a moment to read a few inspiring posts from Novofemina’s archives!

Choices and Teddy Bears

Knowing Ourselves

Simple Gifts 

A Gift For You This Holiday

Copyright © 2018 Linda Rossetti & NovoFemina.com.  All rights reserved. No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission from NovoFemina.com.

Must Have’s For Our Stories

Michele Obama @ Boston’s TD Garden

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

Cancer: Driven to Distraction

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

Leaving and Leading

By this time – many years into solid research on transitioning – one might imagine that I’ve learned all there is to know about the topic.  I was reminded after my recent trip to San Francisco of how untrue this line of thinking really is.  I am happy to report that I returned from California dry-eyed and excited. For those who missed Remarkable Choices, I spent three-weeks in San Francisco this summer on a writing vacation. My goal was to work unimpeded on my second book. I am happy to report that by the time I checked in for my return flight, I had an entire manuscript drafted, from introduction to final chapter.

That said, the new manuscript isn’t the entire story. The trip yielded something even more special, a broader perspective on my work. This expansion starts in a place with which we are all familiar, a decision to leave.

Early Morning View

We leave all sorts of things. We leave in big and small ways. We leave family gatherings and political rallies and baseball games. We leave marriages and employers and friendships. We leave one opportunity for another more promising one. We leave anger and guilt and self-doubt for hope.

When do we leave ourselves?

Another Cafe, Pine St, San Francisco, CA

What a question, right?

San Francisco brought this question to light for me.

An Approach

Those who know me personally know that I am a process wonk. Therefore it shouldn’t surprise anyone that process was on my mind as I readied myself for the trip. Ok, it wasn’t until I was on the airplane heading west that I created a plan. But it was an important step.

Would I follow the same writing process I used with my first book? Or try something new? In the intervening years since my first book was published, a friend gave me a great book that talked about a radically different approach to story development than the one I had used earlier.  I toyed with adopting it but I was hesitant. The last thing I wanted to do was waste my time fooling around with something that would be unproductive. But what about taking a creative risk? What might be possible under that scenario?

I settled on the unproven new approach. The process had three basic steps: to create a one page description of the book’s theme; to develop a detailed chapter outline; and then, and only then, to write chapters.

In spite of my hesitation, the new process proved to be surprisingly useful.

Chinatown, San Francisco, CA

 

A Broader View of My Work

After nearly seven years writing, advocating and teaching about transition, it was very humbling to sit down and attempt to articulate a one page theme. I spent days on this. I edited and re-edited. I walked the hills of San Francisco when I got stuck. I started to get concerned that it was taking too much time. How would I make progress if I spent all my time on the earliest step?  Here is what emerged from my inelegant labors:

My work is about choice or the difficulty many of us have – including me – in making significant choices or major life decisions.  I was – after all – introduced to transition thanks to a personal calamity that left me struggling with a choice of what to do next.

By focusing on choice, I realized that transition is not an end in-and-of itself.  Transition is a process that enables growth. Our own growth. Nothing requires us to transition. It is a choice we make. We choose to grow.

We encounter many many invitations for growth over the course of our lives. Oddly, we ignore most of them. In fact, we live in a growth-phobic society. Our social norms teach us to look the other way, tamp down or create distractions when faced with an opportunity to grow. These norms leave us busy – sometimes exhausted – but no further from a growth perspective.

Once we recognize the opportunity for growth and the capacity for growth that transition offers, we learn that the secret sauce lies in ‘how we respond’ to all of this. Our progress forward relies heavily on our ability to rewire our response to a transition’s trigger or the barriers and emotions that accompany them.

Triggers or the circumstances that lead us to choose growth vary widely. Divorce, death, job loss, marriage, the birth of another child, gender re-assignment surgery or a recognition that something isn’t quite right. Transition doesn’t concern itself with differences among triggers. The common denominator in all of this is a shift, a shift in what holds value and meaning to us. The shift occurs when we re-examine our assumptions about who we are and how we make meaning in the world.

On a practical level growth is simple: we need to turn up the volume on those things that hold value and meaning to us. These things can be anything on the planet as long as they engage us at the core. By giving voice to these things that matter to us, we allow ourselves to see the path forward in an entirely new way. With this as a ballast, all of a sudden options that were hidden from us come into full view.

What About Leaving and Leading?

When most of us think about transition, we think it involves leaving something. Leaving a professional identity or a marriage or a dysfunctional familial relationship. San Francisco taught me that this departure thinking is incorrect.

Transition and growth are about leading with who we are….ourselves…in all the circumstances of our lives. Not just at work. Not only on the playground or in the kitchen or with a sibling or a dear friend. Leading with you. Your beliefs. Everywhere. Even if this involves a struggle to recalibrate who we are thanks to a previously unrecognized departure from ourselves.

This type of leading may involve leaving but it doesn’t have too.

I remember one very funny exchange I had with the CEO of a women’s fashion house that asked me to talk at their annual meeting. “Will they all leave?’ asked the CEO in a concerned tone when he learned that the my topic would be transition. I replied, “If I do my job correctly, they will bring more of who they are to the job. The exact opposite of leaving.”

If we decouple leading with leaving, transition and growth become universally available.  Through this lens, transition cannot get waylaid by the mortgage or a un-supportive boss or an overbearing family.

We get to decide how we show up every day. You don’t need to leave to lead in this way.

The converse isn’t as kind. You can leave – repeatedly – and never make a dent in transition nor growth. You will miss all of the benefits of transition and growth if you leave something but do not use your departure as an opportunity to bring up the volume on those things that hold value or meaning to you.

Leaving is often hard. Imagine if it yields nothing related to our own growth….

Leading Forward

Transition has allowed me to grow in ways I never imagined. I now operate with a connectedness to who I am that I never knew was missing and yet I can honestly say that it completes me like nothing else ever has. It is an awakening that makes me feel as if I am breathing from every pore on my body. Energetic. Joyful. Free.

May you see opportunities to add who you are to every moment that you are alive. May you respond to the invitation for growth with an open heart and begin a remarkable journey whose destination while unknown is irreplaceable. May you realize that you can have all these things by simply leading with who you are. Today.

 

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Want to talk ‘live’ about transition and growth? There are two ways you can join me for informal chats. For those in and around Boston, join me at a free drop-in series In Transition at the Winchester Public Library on the second Thursday of every month from 7-8:30 pm. Free coffee and refreshments are served. Our kick off for this season is Thursday, September 11th! Hope to see you there.

For those unable to join in person, watch for my inaugural podcast, Destination Unknown, starting this fall. Will you join me to talk about your transition? I am scheduling guests now for twelve-minute appearances. Email me if you are interested. I’d love to add your voice to our conversation. linda@womenandtransition.com.

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Copyright © 2018 Linda Rossetti & NovoFemina.com.  All rights reserved. No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission from NovoFemina.com.

Considering Connectivity

How connected are you?  In my world, technology greets me first thing in the morning – thanks to a handy app that logs my sunrise exercise routine. It also bids me good night – thanks to my trusty laptop and the emails that always stand at the ready for my attention. I temporarily changed this all-encompassing connectivity a few weeks back because of our family’s April school vacation trip. Honestly, I was a little apprehensive about unplugging. I hoped that patterning this behavior under the watchful eyes of my two teenagers would be worth it. Truth be told, I would go to any extreme to suspend access to Snap chat or FortNite.  Here is the real shocker of my tech hiatus. Unplugging did not yield what I sought. It yielded something unexpected and surprisingly important to my understanding of transition. Continue reading

Your New Year

Are you making plans to re-set something in ’18? Exercise levels? Career goals? Relationships? Your look?  Last week I observed a quick moment that reminded me of the very real opportunity we all have as we begin another year.  The opportunity isn’t found in the newest exercise app nor in the latest color palette for our homes. Instead it is something that resides in each of us.  Continue reading