Sing

My friend Soupsie sent me this video yesterday, and I could not wait to share it with you:

It’s fantastic, eh??! LOVE it!!! I am thrilled that Canadians can always be counted on to pitch in when needed (and do it rather joyfully, might I add!)…I wonder how many Americans would be able to sing the Canadian national anthem were the situation reversed? Hmmmm….

Happy Tuesday, friends!

xxx

The Sound of Silence

I’ve been in Houston for a couple of days on a work trip – it was an easy, peaceful drive here on Wednesday (I FINALLY got around to listening to the first season of ‘Serial’, and OMG am I hooked! LOVE it!!), I had a great walk around and shop at the Galleria (which is right across the street from my hotel), my conference sessions have been tolerable…it’s been a pretty decent time. I decided to spend my Thursday evening exploring Houston’s Museum District, and am I ever glad I did! WOW!! I can’t wait to come back!! Have you been?

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I started at the Rothko Chapel, where something very strange happened. Are you familiar with this place? If not, here’s a brief description:

The Rothko Chapel is a non-denominational chapel in Houston, Texas, founded by John and Dominique de Menil. The interior serves not only as a chapel, but also as a major work of modern art. On its walls are fourteen black but color hued paintings by Mark Rothko. The shape of the building, an octagon inscribed in a Greek cross, and the design of the chapel was largely influenced by the artist.

Susan J. Barnes states “The Rothko Chapel…became the world’s first broadly ecumenical center, a holy place open to all religions and belonging to none. It became a center for international cultural, religious, and philosophical exchanges, for colloquia and performances. And it became a place of private prayer for individuals of all faiths” 

On September 16, 2000, the Rothko Chapel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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I entered the octagonal room and found a bunch of benches, and a few people in the room, some on the benches and one on the floor. It was absolutely quiet. I took a seat on one of the benches, picked a direction to face, and got comfortable – I wasn’t prepared for what happened to me next. I lowered my head and closed my eyes, and just sat. About 2579 thoughts roared through my head (as per usual), but then they slowed down…and nearly stopped. I’ve never experienced this before. I felt instantly uncomfortable, as if I could smell smoke somewhere nearby and needed to get out of the way of an impending inferno – but I didn’t move. I didn’t even open my eyes. I kept sitting there, thinking about all of the things that have been going on lately, and what I can do to change them. Then I started thinking about all of the good things that I have going on – and that was when the tears started. I still didn’t open my eyes or raise, my head – I just sat there, head down, moisture leaking out the sides of my eyes and dropping onto the floor. For whatever reason, this starkly simple, small room had somehow affected me in much grander ways…I’m still struggling to explain the experience.

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Once I pulled myself together, I sat up and opened my eyes – new people had joined us in the chapel, and I hadn’t even heard the doors open. I studied all of the paintings, moving a complete 360, to ensure that I had the chance to look at each one – and then I silently collected my belongings, and left. As I walked out of the chapel, I felt a calm and peace that I have rarely felt in my life…I think some of it is still lingering. What an absolutely magical place..and I’m hard-pressed to explain exactly where the magic came from.

From there, I moved on to the Museum of Fine Arts – what a gorgeous institution! It was open until 9:00pm on Thursday nights (woohoo!), and it was FREE! Double Woohoo! I LOVED this museum, and wish I’d had the time to explore the entire collection – but now I have an excuse to come back! I focused my efforts on the Impressionists (of course), and I found some true beauties! LOVE!!!! Here’s just a couple:

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I loved my trip to this museum so much, I can’t even tell you! It reminded me of visiting museums in Paris, London or New York (I don’t mean to be a name dropper, but it’s true!) – I can’t wait to plan a weekend here, and come back with the Wee Muppet! 🙂 Yaaa! 🙂

I’ve always had a rather negative opinion of Houston (too hot, too humid, too crowded, etc) – but I need to seriously revise my opinion. Yes, it is all of those things – but it is SO MUCH MORE….I can’t wait to come back and see what other treasures I can find! 🙂

xxx

 

Feast or Famine

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I’ve been thinking about Ernest Hemingway a lot lately, which is noteworthy in that he is someone that I think of on a pretty regular basis anyway, so why the uptick now??! I’ve read all of his books, most of them more than once; I have delighted in visiting his Paris, and spending time swilling booze in his old haunts, imagining that the floppy-haired man at the next table might be the next Hemingway. I haven’t yet gone to visit his home in the Florida Keys, but I have planned the trip so many times that I could pretty much leave on a moment’s notice and have a crackin’ time while there. I think it’s pretty safe to say that I have a bit of a ‘thing’ for Papa, as I can count on his words moving me every single time. I’m rereading “A Moveable Feast”, and came across this gem today:

A girl came in the cafe and sat by herself at a table near the window. She was very pretty with a face fresh as a newly minted coin if they minted coins in smooth flesh with rain-freshened skin, and her hair was black as a crow’s wing and cut sharply and diagonally across her cheek. I looked at her and she disturbed me and made me very excited. I wished I could put her in the story, or anywhere, but she had placed herself so she could watch the street and the entry and I knew she was waiting for someone. So I went on writing. The story was writing itself and I was having a hard time keeping up with it. I ordered another rum St James and I watched the girl whenever I looked up, or when I sharpened the pencil with a pencil sharpener with the shavings curling into the saucer under my drink. I’ve seen you, beauty, and you belong to me now, whoever you are waiting for and if I never see you again, I thought. You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil.

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Gorgeous, right? Those words – I’ve seen you, beauty…it just kills me. There’s something so precious about a man who can express himself like that, and something so beautiful for a woman to be made to feel that way. Le sigh. Love this. 🙂

 

One other quick reminder of the beautiful life courtesy of Papa:

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway:

AT NIGHT, THERE WAS THE FEELING THAT WE HAD COME HOME, FEELING NO LONGER ALONE, WAKING IN THE NIGHT TO FIND THE OTHER ONE THERE, AND NOT GONE AWAY; ALL OTHER THINGS WERE UNREAL. WE SLEPT WHEN WE WERE TIRED AND IF WE WOKE THE OTHER ONE WOKE TOO SO ONE WAS NOT ALONE. OFTEN A MAN WISHES TO BE ALONE AND A WOMAN WISHES TO BE ALONE TOO AND IF THEY LOVE EACH OTHER THEY ARE JEALOUS OF THAT IN EACH OTHER, BUT I CAN TRULY SAY WE NEVER FELT THAT. WE COULD FEEL ALONE WHEN WE WERE TOGETHER, ALONE AGAINST THE OTHERS. WE WERE NEVER LONELY AND NEVER AFRAID WHEN WE WERE TOGETHER.

Love. 🙂

xxx

 

For Good

For Good

This weekend has been something to behold – as the man inhabiting the White House signs executive orders discriminating against Muslim people, protests are going on around the country, and his idiot daughter posts this:

This was posted as the protests against the refugee ban raged around the country - how insensitive and stupid.
This was posted as the protests against the refugee ban raged around the country – how insensitive and stupid.

I always thought she was smarter than that – guess I was wrong. How inconsiderate and rude – people are stranded and wrongfully detained, but you are wearing a fancy dress and going out. How friggin’ shallow can you possibly be? So disappointing.

 

What isn’t disappointing, though, is stuff like this:

Thank God that Canada is acting sensibly in these troubled times
Thank God that Canada is acting sensibly in these troubled times

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Diversity is our strength, Prime Minister Trudeau tweeted…and once upon a time, I believe that the United States embraced that idea as well. In fact, I feel confident in saying that diversity was still a positive as recently as about ten days ago…but look at the mess we are in now. Those of us living in the United States these days should be worried – who knows where this crazy, diabolical man will attempt to wield his power next. It’s frightening.

Instead of talking about him and his shitty behavior, let’s celebrate the lawyers around the country who showed up at airports and helped those that have been unlawfully detained – talk about real life heroes! 🙂

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Beautiful, right? And this was just the coverage from Chicago – this scene was played out all across the United States, as people rallied to help those being persecuted. The ACLU stepped in (thank God), and challenged this executive order, resulting in legal action which helped (and released) many of those being detained – but sadly, this situation isn’t over…it’s just getting started. I love hearing that the ACLU has received more money in donations this weekend than it did in all of 2016 – and, please, if you have the money to donate, be like Nike and JUST DO IT. The work that these people are doing is more important now than ever before – and every donation counts (especially when celebrities are matching your donations). I am still in shock that this person was voted in to office in this country, but I am hopeful that the epic shit show that is he will be the wake up call that people in this country who voted for him must need. He is not making this country great again – all he is doing is causing division after division….there is no unity. We need to stand up for what is right, we need to speak for all – not just those with piles of money, and we need to be better people. It’s for the good of all of us.

xxx

Only the Good Die Young

Continuing on with the best music week ever, I went to see Billy Joel in concert on Friday evening – and he absolutely did not disappoint! I saw him once before – in 1990 – and he sounded as good now as he did then. What a show!!! Here’s a couple of pictures from the concert:

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Sadly my seats weren’t the greatest, but it didn’t matter at all…I still loved every moment. What are your favorite Billy songs? I’m partial to these ones:

 

 

I had better stop….I could keep you here for hours listening to Billy’s music. He’s awesome!!

Happy Monday, my friends! 🙂

Xxx

That’s What Friends Are For

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I’m watching “When Harry Met Sally” as the rain pounds against my windows, for the third day in a row. The air is so wet and cool, I feel like I’m back in England…but it’s done a lot to get me in the spirit of Christmas. I love it! I’m finally starting to feel festive – ho!ho!ho! Oh, by the way – this movie totally stands up…it’s still fantastic. The back and forth between Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal is so absolutely delightful – even though I’ve seen this movie 264 times (at least), I still feel like I’m falling in love, too, as I watch this. Awesome! 🙂

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I came across this article recently, and I couldn’t wait to share it with you! 🙂

How To Get People To Like You: 7 Ways From An FBI Behavior Expert

Meeting new people can be awkward. What should you say? How can you make a good impression? How do you keep a conversation going?
Research shows relationships are vital to happiness and networking is the key to getting jobs and building a fulfilling career.

Robin was head of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Program and has studied interpersonal relations for over 27 years. He’s an expert on how to make people like you.

1) The Most Important Thing To Do With Anyone You Meet

Robin’s #1 piece of advice: “Seek someone else’s thoughts and opinions without judging them.”
Ask questions. Listen. But don’t judge. Nobody — including you — likes to feel judged.

Studies show people get more pleasure from talking about themselves than they do from food or money:
Talking about ourselves—whether in a personal conversation or through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter—triggers the same sensation of pleasure in the brain as food or money…

2) Suspend Your Ego To Get People To Like You

Most of us are just dying to point out how other people are wrong. (Comment sections on the internet are fueled by this, aren’t they?)
And it kills rapport. Want to correct someone? Want to one-up them with your clever little story? Don’t do it.

Contradicting people doesn’t build relationships. Dale Carnegie said it many years ago — and modern neuroscience agrees.
When people hear things that contradict their beliefs, the logical part of their mind shuts down and their brain prepares to fight.

3) How To Be A Good Listener

We’ve all heard that listening skills are vital but nobody explains the right way to do it. What’s the secret?
Stop thinking about what you’re going to say next and focus on what they’re saying right now.
Be curious and ask to hear more about what interests you.
What you do is this: as soon as you have that story or thought that you want to share, toss it. Consciously tell yourself, “I am not going to say it.”
All you should be doing is asking yourself, “What idea or thought that they mentioned do I find fascinating and want to explore?”
Research shows just asking people to tell you more makes you more likable and gets them to want to help you.

4) The Best Question To Ask People

Life can be tough for everyone: rich or poor, old or young. Everyone.
We all face challenges and we like to talk about them. So that’s what to ask about.

Questions are incredibly powerful. What’s one of the most potent ways to influence someone? Merely asking for advice.

5) How To Make Strangers Feel At Ease

First thing: tell them you only have a minute because you’re headed out the door.

Research shows just asking people if now is a good time makes them more likely to comply with requests:
The results showed that compliance rates were higher when the requester inquired about respondents’ availability and waited for a response than when he pursued his set speech without waiting and inquiring about respondents’ availability.
Nobody wants to feel trapped talking to some weirdo. People are more likely to help you than you think, but they need to feel safe and in control.

6) The Best Body Language For Building Rapport

Your words should be positive, free of ego and judgment — and your body language (“non-verbals”) needs to match.

From Dale Carnegie to peer-reviewed studies, everyone says smiles matter. (In fact, to increase their power, smile slower.)
It makes us happier too. Neuroscience research shows smiling gives the brain as much pleasure as 2000 bars of chocolate — or $25,000.

Depending on whose smile you see, the researchers found that one smile can be as pleasurable and stimulating as up to 2,000 bars of chocolate! …it took up to 16,000 pounds sterling in cash to generate the same level of brain stimulation as one smile! This is equivalent to about $25,000 per smile…

7) How To Deal With Someone You Don’t Trust
Don’t be hostile but be direct: ask them what they want. What are their goals in this interaction?

I watch for validation. If someone is trying to validate me and my thoughts and opinions, I am alert to it. I love doing that as well. So now I’m looking for intent. Are you there for me or are you there for you? If you are there strictly for your own gain and you’re not talking in terms of my priorities ever, that’s when I’m seeing someone is there to manipulate me.
Want to build a connection with someone? Focus on trust, not tricks. That’s how you earn respect. Trust is fragile. And mistrust is self-fulfilling.

Sum Up

Here are Robin’s tips:
The single most important thing is non-judgmental validation. Seek someone else’s thoughts and opinions without judging them.
Suspend your ego. Focus on them.
Really listen, don’t just wait to talk. Ask them questions; don’t try to come up with stories to impress.
Ask people about what’s been challenging them.
Establishing a time constraint early in the conversation can put strangers at ease.
Smile, chin down, blade your body, palms up, open and upward non-verbals.
If you think someone is trying to manipulate you, clarify goals. Don’t be hostile or aggressive, but ask them to be straight about what they want.
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I love this article, don’t you? I find that I feel so ridiculously awkward 99.7% of the time, and I feel like it’s nearly impossible for me to make connections with people, and I have no idea why. This never used to be a problem, but somehow as I’ve aged, it has become one. I just don’t get it. I think I’m interesting and kinda fun, but…this is not a popular opinion that is shared by many, sadly. Boo! Hiss! That’s kind of why I liked this article – maybe if I apply some of these tips, I will have more success with people. I’ve never thought that I was a person who monopolized conversations talking about myself, but…perhaps I’ve become one? (I bloody hope not – I loathe that quality in people) I try to be a good listener, but maybe I am not 110% present and engaged – this could actually be part of my problem. I’ve been thinking about presence lately, and trying to stop with the distractions that are always running rampant in my head. I like it when someone I am with looks at me, speaks to me, pays attention to me – and not their phone/the tv/whatever other distractions are going on around them. I am trying to learn to be present, to give those around me the same respect and attention that I want from them. This article from Zen Habits has some great suggestions on being present – they suggest a small regular practice of meditation (I downloaded some Gabby Bernstein meditations yesterday, I am SO trying this one this week!), work with others (on meditation, on whatever you are working on within yourself – three cheers for accountability partners), have mindfulness bells (set alarms on your phone/computer to remind you to pause and pay attention to what is going on around you), set an intention before an activity (I want to set intentions for my days as I begin them in the morning – how will you know if you’re where you’re supposed to be unless you know where it is that you want to go?), reflect daily (I’m such a fan of a few quiet moments at the end of the day – I really ought to get back to journaling, though), and finally, see everything as a teacher, meaning step out of the moment and see what you could possibly learn from these moments by being present. I’m not sure if these tips will do much, but…what harm is there in trying, eh? I’ve been working hard on cutting down on my technology consumption lately, and I’m finding that a) it has me feeling better, and b) I’m also becoming increasingly annoyed at how dependent those around me are on the technology in their lives – which is stupid. What other people do is none of my business, so why get worked up about it? Time for more zen….or perhaps Zinfandel? 😉

Xxx

Repost: It’s a Hard Knock Life

I began building a database recently, using data collected from some questionnaires that our seniors filled out a couple of weeks ago. As I was doing this, I so admired the ambition of some of our students – ER/Trauma Medicine, Social Justice Attorney, Petroleum Engineering (I don’t even know what this is, but I can imagine…however, when I was 17 years old, I wouldn’t have had a hot clue), Creative Writing degrees (AKA The Barista Program)…there were some really beautiful, lofty ideas there – and reading all of them made me so envious of the opportunities a lot of these kids have. When I was in school, I couldn’t have imagined having the belief in myself to decide to pursue a degree in Creative Writing, Fashion or something else that may not be the most ‘practical’ choice (but man alive were those the things that I most wanted out of life) – I was full of hopes, and things that I wanted to study and learn…but, they seemed to be flights of fancy, and I knew that I didn’t have the time and/or money to pursue anything that wasn’t going to get my through my education in the quickest way possible – so I chose to study in the Faculty of Education, with a concentration on Secondary Education, Double Major in English and French. I decided to become a teacher because it was something I knew, something I knew that I would be good at, and I would enjoy the variety of working with kids – because they’re funny and learning is just plain awesome. I have never regretted my decision to study Education, but I have always been full of the feeling that I am meant to do other things as well. I would never turn my back on my career in Education – one way or another, I will always have a toe in this pond, because I believe in Public Education very passionately, and we desperately need people around who do still believe (there aren’t enough of us, let me tell you). However, I somehow find it difficult to believe that this is all that I’m meant for – I don’t mean that in a snobby way at all, I just feel that there is SO much more out there for me to sink my teeth in to. This is probably why I do a lot of the things I do – I’m always studying something (whether it’s for my job or my own amusement), I live to try new things, I read constantly…there are so damn many beautiful, glorious things out there and not enough time to get to them all, so I think we owe it to ourselves to stick our straw in as many experiences as we can and slurp them up, don’t you? 🙂
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I also didn’t know that there were so many options available when I was in school – probably because I grew up in the Middle of Nowhere, Canada, so I wasn’t exactly exposed to much. (True Story: One of my earliest ambitions was to be a writer on Degrassi – it still is, come to think of it…I figure I would be perfect for the job: I’ve watched every series of Degrassi since Kids of Degrassi Street began around 1980 or so, I know all of the characters and storylines, I’m Canadian (so I’m down with the vernacular, eh), and I’ve spent the last 20 years working with teenagers (so I know the scary things that go through their minds)…I think I’d be awesome! If anybody knows anyone on Degrassi, PLEASE SEND THEM MY WAY AND HELP A GIRL’S DREAMS COME TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) 🙂 One of the kids I work with this year is interested in getting in to Public Relations – I had NO idea that such a field existed when I was in school, did you? I suppose that so much of what we know depends on where we are from, what we’ve been exposed to, etc.. although the Internet revolution has certainly changed that up considerably. I love that our students today have the world before them, and so many opportunities that we didn’t have even 20 years ago – but, at the same time, there are so many more hoops for them to jump through these days…if you get yourself into a good college, you deserve a big ol’ pat on the back, because getting there is NOT easy. Between the FAFSA and the rest of the Financial Aid finanglings, the application process and the SATs/ACTs…it’s like a full-time job just working your way through all of this. We hosted a Financial Aid information session for our parents recently, and I was overwhelmed with feelings of wanting to hug each set of parents that attended. They were all there because they desperately want to help their children get a good education, but watching their faces drop and become considerably paler as they learned all about the complicated processes involved in Financial Aid made me feel physically ill – it shouldn’t be this difficult. Getting an education should not be as hard and soul-destroying as it is…it just shouldn’t. 😦

As I’ve been working on this database project and learning more about the hopes and dreams of those around me (it is seriously fascinating stuff), I’ve been listening to some music….and the song “Try” from P!nk came on:

Where there is desire
There is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame
Someone’s bound to get burned
But just because it burns
Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die
You’ve gotta get up and try try try
Gotta get up and try try try
You gotta get up and try try try

That’s kind of the message that I want to send out to my students as they are preparing to leave the safety net of high school and stare down the real world and make it their bitch – things are going to happen, you’re going to get kicked around a lot, and everything is going to seem impossible at least once an hour, but…whatever you do, DON’T GIVE UP. Just get up and try try try. I need to hear those words myself from time to time….don’t we all? 🙂

xxx

Master of the House

What skills and talents do you have? I bet you have tons of mad skills, friends….crazy talented peeps that you are. Are you an expert at anything? Singing? Dancing? Typing? Golf? Basket weaving??? What are you the very best at?

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This is a tough question for me. I don’t know of one single thing that I am an expert at – not one, which is rather sad, when you think that I am 42 years old (gulp) and have worked in the Education industry for 21 years…and I’ve not mastered anything yet to the point of feeling like an expert. Have you? I bet you have. 🙂 The other thing that’s interesting about this topic is this: for a lot of us (women in particular), even if we have mastered something and have mad skillz coming out the wazoo (a technical word), we totally downplay the whole thing. Let me explain – when I am in a job interview (which I totes suck at, by the way), I have zero ability to sell myself. None. When I try, I end up stuttering and tripping over my words, feeling awkward AF because I think I sound like a pompous windbag…it doesn’t end well. So, I generally try to downplay everything, and make it sound as if the things that I do are no big whoop – when, in reality, I do lots of whoop-worthy things. Some researchers call this “impostor feelings”, where women feel like they are fooling others, faking everything that they do, or getting by because they are just lucky. Jodie Foster said that before she won her Academy Award for “The Accused”, she felt “like an impostor, faking it, that someday they’d find out I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t. I still don’t.”

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So what do those of us who believe we are impostors do? (Yes, for the record, I am TOTALLY this) (Pathetic) (Shame on me) We impostors play things safe, fly under the radar, hide our skills and abilities. We pretend to be less – less capable, less intelligent, less everything….anything we can to disappear into the crowd. Some of us hide our talents as a way of getting those around us to underestimate us – then they will be pleasantly surprised when they see how awesome we can be! (This is my favorite trick) Let’s take a look at an article about this very topic:

Despite their relative success, many bright, talented women no longer maintain their confident youthful enthusiasm. Criticized by high-profile authors like Sheryl Sandberg for not climbing the career ladder, women are often reluctant to promote themselves in the workforce or pursue higher paying careers, such as those in engineering or computer science. Some even feel like impostors, tormented by self-doubt and insecurity.


Why do gifted women lose confidence?


The self-doubt and insecurity start out gradually…

Those bright, energetic gifted girls often start to downplay their talents by middle school in an attempt to fit in. They mask their abilities and “dumb themselves down” to appeal to boys, fit society’s image of an attractive woman, and avoid conflict with friends. Their self-esteem starts to decrease, and they begin to lose confidence in their abilities, especially in math and science. They may steer clear of the more difficult math courses, believing that boys are intrinsically “more gifted.”

Insecurity and self-doubt often persist throughout high school. One study, for example, found that feelings of hopelessness, discouragement, emotional vulnerability and perfectionism increased for gifted girls from 1st through 12th grades. In another investigation, 3/4 of girls who graduated from a school for the gifted did not think they were smart.

Women in college continue to doubt themselves. Many gifted women are challenged for the first time once they arrive at college, and rather than embrace this opportunity, they view it as confirmation of their inadequacies. One study found that female valedictorians lost confidence in themselves when they were in college, despite getting good grades, and that their insecurity increased as they got older.
What are some reasons gifted women hold themselves back?

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1. Impostor syndrome:

Women may doubt themselves and think they have fooled others. Talents and accomplishments are denigrated. Women who feel like impostors assume that it is only a matter of time before their “actual” incompetence and lack of intelligence will be revealed. Social psychology studies have shown that men consistently overestimate and women consistently underestimate their abilities and subsequent performance. As long as they view themselves as impostors, they will continue to doubt and disparage their accomplishments.

2. Attribution error:

Women often attribute their success to luck or effort, and any failure to lack of ability or an internal flaw. There is a widespread assumptions that gifted men are intrinsically “smarter” and that women’s success is due to hard work. In one survey of professors, presumed brilliance was identified as the reason why women were underrepresented in certain fields in both science and liberal arts (e.g., STEM, philosophy, economics), and their prevalence in other fields (e.g., molecular biology, neuroscience, psychology) was attributed to hard work.

3. A higher standard:

Women often hold themselves to an unreasonably high standard. They expect themselves to perfect a skill, have complete knowledge of the facts or master an argument before they assert their authority. Women often lack confidence, hold back on asking for a promotion, expect to earn less, and ask for less when it comes to salary. According to Kay and Shipman:

“Success, it turns out, correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence. No wonder that women, despite all our progress, are still woefully underrepresented at the highest levels.”
4. Identity conflict:

Adult women also doubt their right to engage in focused, competitive goals. They don’t want to be labeled as “bitchy” or bossy, and worry that success will be seen as a threat to friends, family or men. Women have been raised to focus on relationships and to put others first, and a single-minded emphasis on career is in conflict with their sense of self. Even self-identified feminists may feel guilty winning an award, surpassing colleagues for a promotion, or being the breadwinner in the family.
But, sometimes, it’s not about confidence…


Self-doubt, sexist stereotypes, prejudices, an absence of workplace support (e.g., no child-care or family leave), and the glass ceiling all impact women’s progress; yet one of the greatest dilemmas many gifted women face involves finding a meaningful work-life balance. This not only includes an ability to combine work, relationships and child-raising, but also pursuing a career that is both meaningful and challenging.

Many women feel torn between pursuing a career that is personally meaningful (such as one focusing on social justice) and a job in a lucrative or competitive field. A challenging career may be compelling, but women also want flexibility, autonomy, the ability to make a difference, and options for including family needs in the equation.

Rosenbloom reported that interests and preferences explain 83% of the gender differences in choosing a career in information technology – not confidence or math ability. Women were identified in this study as being less interested in inanimate systems, and more concerned with plants, animals and people.

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Pinker also concluded that women made an active choice to avoid STEM careers, suggesting that women may not want to sacrifice personal interests for salary, are less willing to tolerate the relocations often required in these jobs, and may want to focus on people and the arts rather than objects.

Mohr referred to a frequently quoted Hewlett-Packard internal report indicating that women applied for promotions only when they thought they met 100% of the qualifications, whereas men applied as long as they assumed that they met 60% of the criteria. Mohr claimed that women’s lack of confidence was not the only interpretation to consider: fear of failure, a tendency to strictly follow rules, and lack of familiarity with the hiring process also hold women back.

In the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youths, those who scored in the top 1% were tracked down in their 50’s. While most were highly satisfied with their lives, earned more than others, and were more likely to have doctoral degrees, gender differences were identified. Men were more likely to be CEO’s, work in IT or STEM, to have pursued higher pay and freedom as career goals, and earned more than the women in the study ($140,000 vs. $80,000 on average); the women were more likely to work in health sciences, arts or education careers, and sought fewer work hours and greater flexibility in their work.

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What smart women need to know…


Smart women need to appreciate their talents and recognize their right to accomplish whatever goals they set for themselves. Negative stereotypes and expectations that either they or others impose need to be challenged and relinquished. Decisions based on values, needs and personal goals rather than conformity, external pressure or a desire to please others is critical. Women do not have to pursue a highly competitive career; they just need to know that are entitled to choose that path, or to turn it down for something equally meaningful.

I friggin’ LOVE this article, don’t you? There is so much truth here about why we girls keep doing the same self-sabotaging shit to ourselves over and over again. It’s nuts. And it needs to stop. I’m trying to think about this stuff as I am raising my Wee One, and I hope that you are thinking about you can apply this thinking to your life. I know that I’m just one person, and the possibility of me bringing meaningful change to the world is pretty slim – but every journey begins with one small step. So – let’s get walking.

Xxx

 

PS: A final thought: I have struggled in the workplace over the years – and the past year has been particularly difficult. As I reflect on my career as a whole, I realize that the common element is little ol’ me. I know that I am a good employee – I work hard, I do have a lot to offer an organization…but I am not easy to manage. I can be like a cyclone, and it takes someone special to realize that, to nurture my winds (keeping up the cyclone metaphor, not a reference to me being farty, silly), and to get the hell out of the way and let me do my thing. Most people can’t do that, which is too bad – I can’t help but wonder what kind of a positive impact I could have if I someone would take a chance on me and let me do my thing.

I think a lot about going into business for myself – this is something I really want to explore. One of my dream businesses is owning a pub – I’ve wanted to do this my whole life, and it’s still on my radar. I KNOW that I would love it – and I am one hell of a good bartender. (Ask me to make you a paralyzer or a martini – it’ll change your damn life) Another thing I would like to do is make handmade beauty products – I have  been dabbling for the past while, and I think I may be on to some pretty good formulas. I doubt I could ever make a living doing this, but it’s one heck of a relaxing, satisfying hobby. (**NOTE: Do you see what I did just there? Totally underplayed my work with the stuff I’ve been making – WTF, friends? For all I know, I may be sitting on the next Lush formula – grr! My mind is a frustrating entity, and I am a frustrating person.) (Grr)

 

 

 

Rockstar

Hey Hey
Hey Hey

Oh, Canada…you never cease to amaze me and make me proud to be a fruit of your loins! This latest story may be one of the very finest examples of the type of culture I hail from – behold:

Want to attempt to drink and drive in Kensington, Canada? (That’s a trick question. Never attempt to drink and drive anywhere, people.) The police force of the small town on Prince Edward Island wants to, as Chad Kroeger once famously crooned, remind you of what you really are — a law-abiding citizen who will happily take an Uber home after one too many whiskeys. Because if you don’t, the arresting officer will gladly handcuff you, read you your rights, and blare some classic Nickelback tunes in the patrol car on the way to jail as punishment. In a widely circulated post on the exceedingly cheeky Kensington Police Service’s Facebook page, the town outlined that anyone caught drunk driving during the holiday season would receive the gravelly wrath of Kroeger & Co.

“The Kensington Police Service will be out for the remainder of year looking for those dumb enough to feel they can drink and drive. And when we catch you, and we will catch you, on top of a hefty fine, a criminal charge and a year’s driving suspension we will also provide you with a bonus gift of playing the office’s copy of Nickelback in the cruiser on the way to jail,” the post, which features a photo of the band’s album Silver Side Up, reads. “Now, now, no need to thank us, we figure if you are foolish enough to get behind the wheel after drinking then a little Chad Kroeger and the boys is the perfect gift for you. So please, let’s not ruin a perfectly good unopened copy of Nickelback. You don’t drink and drive and we won’t make you listen to it.”

Brilliant, eh? I know. So proud of the home land. 🙂 I wonder how many people there will tempt fate…probably take someone who never made it as a wise man to try that…all of the officers will huddle around the Keurig the next morning, studying the dumbass’s mugshot, saying, “Look at this photograph, every time I do it makes me laugh”….While the poor shmuck who drove impaired is huddled in his cell, wondering if it’s true that a hero could save us, I’m not gonna stand here and wait….

Okay, I’m done. Enough Nickelback humor for one day. I don’t mean to make jokes, please don’t judge me, because…Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar. 😉

xxx