Archive for the ‘Time to Reflect’ Category

  • Six Reasons Why It’s Time for You To Write a Book!

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    You’ve done all the right things to try and secure a job. You’ve honed your experience and qualifications to create a brand for yourself and retooled your old resumé into a pro-active working proposal. More, you’ve networked your socks off and beefed up your interviewing skills.  Yet – and yet, and yet you’re still unemployed. You may feel you have every right to be blue, but why waste the time?  As Confucious said, “To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.”

    Why not take advantage of this hiatus and write about all those “right” things you’ve accomplished in your job search.  Writing a book can be a terrific new self-marketing tool.

    Here are six great reasons for you to hit the keyboard, start typing, or even take pen in hand:

    1. Share your expertise – Expand the experience that you’ve bulleted in your resumé. In a book you can include a story or two to bring that expertise to life and help others.

    2. Build Your Authority – Nothing beats authority like having a published book. You can become the go-to resource in your area of expertise.

    3. Separate yourself from the competition – Writing a book provides an opportunity for people to hear your thoughts and insights. Don’t be afraid to say what you really think. Be authentic and your voice will stand out.

    4. Expand your network – Too often we limit ourselves to who and what we know. Your book can introduce you to individuals who you never thought would be interested in your passions.

    5. Break down your protective/self-limiting walls – If you’ve never written a book before you, the experience will jolt you out of your comfort zone. Acting outside the box you’ve created for yourself is a great experience. As we’ve said before, “You have to step outside the batting cage to hit a home run.”

    6. Change your life – Even though you began with the idea of sharing your expertise with the world, the very act of writing is introspective. As you review what you’ve done and strategies you’ve designed, you may come up with a brand new idea of what you’d like to do next!

    And the best part about writing a book is that you don’t need to wait for someone to read your resumé, to invite you to an interview, or for that next networking event. You can “Just Start!”

    Happy Thanksgiving, and we look forward to seeing your name in print.

  • Rosie the Riveter – Still Riveting and Relevant at 93!

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    I was amazed to read NBC News Correspondent, Mike Taibbi’s, report “A Rosie the Riveter Still on the Job at 93” and learn that one of the original Rosies continues to work and not just at any job but at the Boeing plant in Long Beach California. Taibbi interviewed, Elinor Otto, 93,  who still gets up at 4 a.m. each morning and drives to the Boeing plant, where she inserts rivets into the wing sections of C-17 cargo planes.  It’s a job she’s been doing at various aircraft assembly plants since 1942 when she was part of the original Rosie Brigades.

    “We were part of this big thing,” Otto said. “We hoped we’d win the war. We worked hard as women, and were proud to have that job.”

    Otto’s first job paid 65 cents an hour, about $38 less than she makes now, and she had to pay $20 a month for her young son’s childcare.

    At war’s end, the “Rosies” disappeared. “Within days we were gone,” Otto said.

    And with bills still to pay, Taibbi notes, Otto tried other lines of work.  But office jobs didn’t appeal to her, and a short stretch as a carhop fell by the wayside when they told her she had to do the job on roller-skates.  A stroke of luck though: Southern California had come out of the war with a booming aircraft industry and Otto’s skill set — she was an ace with a rivet gun — brought her back into the game.

    Otto’s story inspired me to do a little more “Rosie Brigade” research and I discovered there really was a riveter named Rose who worked in the Willow Run Aircraft Factory in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Neither that Rosie or our Otto, however, was the famous character depicted in the well-known 1942 poster by J. Howard Miller with the title ”We Can Do It.” Miller’s character was a fictional representation of all the Rosies, and his bandanna-clad Rosie became one of the most successful recruitment tools in American history, and remains an iconic image of working women.

    Rosie-the-Riveter-poster-s

    Another iconic, albeit far more political, Rosie poster was created by Norman Rockwell for The Saturday Evening Post May, 1943, cover. Rockwell portrayed Rosie with a flag in the background and a copy of Adolf Hitler’s racist tract “Mein Kampf” under her feet.

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    Though the images are fiction the working Rosies were certainly real. American women entered the workforce in unprecedented numbers during World War II, as widespread male enlistment left gaping holes in the labor force. More than 310,000 women worked in the U.S. aircraft industry in 1943, making up 65 percent of the industry’s total workforce (compared to just 1 percent in the pre-war years).

    So why is Elinor Otto, one of the original Rosie’s still working today?

    She says, “I’m a working person, I guess. I like to work. I like to be around people that work. I like to get up, get out of the house, get something accomplished during the day.”

    One of the things she’s accomplished, Taibbi reports, is to serve as an inspiration — to her co-workers, her boss, and to those who honored Otto when they founded the Rosie the Riveter Park in Long Beach, CA this past September.

    Perhaps the greatest accolade came from her boss, Don Pitcher, who said, “Otto is still on the job because she can still do it!

    To remain so relevant at age 93 – that’s truly an inspiring accomplishment!

     

     

  • All that Is New Is Old: Celebrating Vintage and Resilience

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    “The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different.” — Aldous Huxley.

    I was struck , today, by the incongruence of three recent articles: two about the sadness of losing, in one case, and the shrinking of, in another, two highly successful, beloved, media institutions, and a third celebrating  5 Vintage Versions of Modern Social Media from Centuries Ago.

    Our loss of the venerable, weekly Life magazine, was a salient point in the NY Times obituary of Life’s last Managing Editor, Ralph Graves. The obit hails Graves’ valiant efforts to keep this American institution afloat in its turbulent final years.

    “Life,” the obituary notes, “was one of a number of general-interest magazines — among the others were Look and The Saturday Evening Post — that both informed and entertained large numbers of Americans throughout the 1940s and ’50s.

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    Life, in particular, with its emphasis on photography, was said to be the country’s chief source for learning what the world looked like.” Until the advent of TV…

    Another headline, PBS News Hour Facing Cutbacks, Layoffs and Office Closings, mournfully reminds us of the rapidly shrinking halcyon days of in-depth news coverage.

    Then, thank heavens, Maria Popova’s, weekly edition of Brain Pickings popped up in my in-box. Popova’s celebrating  5 Vintage Versions of Modern Social Media from Centuries Ago assures us that all that is new in modern start-ups definitely has roots in all that is old. Positively music to the ears of this 60+ start-up entrepreneur!

    Popova covers everything from Voltaire’s status updates to Edison’s viral videos, including what Diderot has to do with data visualization as she notes, “We’ve previously made the case that everything builds on what came before yet our human tendency is to inflate and overestimate the novelty of our ideas. Today, we turn to five concepts from the centuries of yore remarkably similar to the central premises of five of today’s social web darlings [Twitter, Facebook, Quora, YouTube, and Tumblr].”

    Popova’s insights are, as always, brilliant in their clarity. I’d only add one more “modern darling,” infographics. In another illuminating posting, The Lives of 10 Famous Painters Visualized  as Minimalist Infographic Biographies, Popova visually distills the lives of artists, Pollock, Dalí, Matisse, Klimt, Picasso, Mondrian, Klee, Boccioni, Kandinsky, and Miro, in modern infographics!

    We never stop learning. The format may be completely different, but our curiosity never changes.

    Vintage is vintage and Resilience is key!

  • 5 Strategies to Beat those Extended Unemployment Blues and Re-boot Your Career – Indeed Your Life!

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    These strategic steps are designed to help you to use this downtime to invest in yourself. These are not soothing tips to help distract you from your feelings of anxiety. If you’re out of work and don’t want to be, the loss of identity can be overwhelming, but, as the late, John Gardner said, “you have more power in you than you know, so pull up your socks and get on with it.”

    In this case “pulling up your socks” requires more than pluck and optimism. To proactively and purposefully re-boot your career, you need to begin with some hard-core introspection. You need to assess the depth of your experience, to understand how your skill sets relate to and can be applied to what you’d like to do next, to identify what you don’t know that you need to learn, and to have the courage to move forward.

    1. Accept the reality. We’ve all read the stats that, if you’re over 40, it could take a year or more to find new work.

    2. Explore what makes you tick. Do a formal assessment such as: Myers Briggs, The Birkman Method or Clifton Strengths Finder to determine your strengths, values, priorities, motivators and align your goals.

    3. Mine your hidden talents. Someone once said, “The greatest wastes are unused talents and untried ideas.” What ideas do you have quietly percolating on a back burner?  Do you have a hobby that could be a good business venture? Here are 3 ideas to get you started:

    1) Rebuilding the world one toothpick at a time. Stan Munro was out of work, when he began building things with toothpicks. He started with small churches, progressed to cathedrals, and then whole cities made entirely of thousands of toothpicks. He was invited to display his artwork at a museum in Spain and is now exhibiting his toothpick masterpieces in museums all over the world.

    2) Decluttering your speciality? As you clear out stuff, think about selling those treasures on sites like eBay, Craig’s List, Tradesy.com, and Etsy, at yard sales or give away what you don’t need. Perhaps you have a real knack for it and can help others set up systems to declutter their lives. Then, too, you could set up a shop and sell their things online for a commission, if they’d prefer not to get into the online marketplace.

    3) Create a blog. Not only will it sharpen your social media skills, it could turn into other writing assignments, a book or maybe even a movie. The Meryl Streep movie, “Julie and Julia,” began as a blog about a disgruntled office worker blogging about trying every recipe in Julia Childs’ The Art of French Cooking.

    4. Become a Skills’ Learning Magnet.  Do not rest on your laurels. Yes, 25 years of solid accomplishments add gravitas to your resumé, but you could also sink like a stone under the weight of that gravitas if you do not convert past kudos into present-day assets. “Real knowledge,” Confucius said, “is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”

    First, determine what skills you need or need to re-tune. This might seem a daunting task, but good help is available at the O*Net Resource Center. The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is a free online tool developed under the sponsorship of the US Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA) through a grant to the North Carolina Employment Security Commission. The O*NET program is the nation’s primary source of occupational information. Central to the project is the O*NET database, containing information on hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors. The database, which is available to the public at no cost, is continually updated by surveying a broad range of workers from each occupation. The database also provides the basis for their Career Exploration Tools, a set of valuable assessment instruments for workers looking to find or change careers.

    5. Put a lid on your shy genes.  As we mentioned in an earlier post, “You have to step out of the batting cage to hit a home run!” Volunteer, but don’t just volunteer to stamp envelopes. Join a committee at your neighborhood school, church or business club. Get involved to connect, learn and use this opportunity to test market your idea or product. For example, if cupcakes or natural snacks are your passion, offer to provide refreshments and listen to your customers’ “feedback.”

    Don’t let your fear of being wrong paralyze you. Thomas Alva Edison did not think of his experiments in terms of success or failure, but rather as learning. In his efforts to create the first storage battery, he conducted 10,000 experiments!

    It takes courage to believe in your self, to start something new. Thinking of “The Wizard of Oz” celebrating its 75th birthday and record of the most watched movie of all time, I remember this quote about the cowardly lion from Mary Anne Radmacher, “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day, saying…’I will try again tomorrow.”

  • The Holstee Manifesto – Pithy, Poignant and Powerful

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    We found this manifesto through one of our absolutely most favorite blogs, BrainPickings.org, created by the irrepressibly curious, Maria Popova.

    Behind the Holstee Manifesto is a business launched in the heat of the recession in May 2009. Brothers Mike and Dave and their partner, Fabian  knew they wanted to create more than a business – the trio wanted to create a lifestyle. So the first thing Holstee’s three founders did was sit together and write down exactly what was on their minds. They wanted to create a company that breathes passion into the world everyday. It was to be a reminder of what we live for. The result became known as the Holstee Manifesto and, through all avenues of social media, the manifesto has been viewed over 80,000,000 times to date!

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    Starting in the summer of 2009, they dove head first into the world of design and production. After six months and a huge learning curve, Holstee launched its first line of Recycled Tees made of 100% recycled plastic bottles that were milled, cut and sewn within 150 miles of each other in North Carolina. Starting with this first round, 10% of all sales were lent to entrepreneurs in extreme poverty through non-profit micro-lending organizations like Kiva.org – a tradition they are proud to still embrace.

    Amazed and inspired by the community of individuals who have embraced the Holstee Manifesto as their own, the founders have created this My Life  project to capture, celebrate and share the stories that speak to the truth that life is indeed about the people you meet and the things you create with them.

  • What do you want to do with the rest of your life?

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    Courtesy, Elsa Franco - http://recreateyourlifetoday.blogspot.com

     

    It’s been many years since most of us asked, “What do I want to be when I grow up?”

    Now, at the grown-up age of 50 and more, it’s time to ask, “What do I want to do with the rest of my life?”

    It’s much easier this time. Just think of all you’ve experienced: successes, failures, loves, losses, joy and sadness. You’ve learned a lot in those 50+ years that will help you focus on what you’d like to do next. As you ponder, it’s important to remember what John F. Kennedy said about aging: “It’s not just about adding years to life. More importantly, it’s about adding life to those years.”

    Your first question should be: “What would I like to do for an additional 20-30 years?”

    Then, after you’ve pinpointed a few options, you need to determine if your talents match your aspirations.  Inventory your talents. We’re not talking about tuning in to the blitz of bizarre “talent” shows on TV today but, rather, that you consider the parts of your essential make-up:  the gifts, passions, interests and natural aptitudes you were born with and which have been fine-tuned through years of experience and skills development.

    As one of our favorite bloggers, Joanna Maxwell, says, “If you want to find long-term satisfaction and success, it’s helpful to identify your talents (and equally, your non-talents).”

    She recommends: “Start by listing everything that comes easily to you, areas where you just ‘get it’, where you’re a ‘natural’. No matter how big or small, whether work-related or not, all these talents have a place. Maybe you are known for your sense of location, or your ability to read IKEA instructions, or your singing voice. Are you the one with no sense of rhythm, or a talent for saying the wrong thing when meeting with the boss? Are you the one who everyone relies on to soothe a disgruntled client, or organize the Christmas party, or wrestle with a problem til it is solved? Don’t include things at which you’re competent, but have no passion for…  if it’s not something you would do just for the pleasure of it, then leave it off your list!”

    To help get you into the nitty gritty talent analysis, you might, as Maxwell also suggests, look at Howard Gardner’s eight core intelligences, and identify which ones relate to your natural talents and which do not.

    1. Linguistic: words, spoken or written, including foreign languages. Adept at reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing words along with dates.

    2. Logical-mathematical:  recognizing abstract patterns, reasoning and numbers and critical thinking.

    3. Musical:  this goes beyond core musical talent and includes those who use underlying rhythms to structure a film or a teaching program, a book or a public event.

    4. Spatial:  ability to visualize with the mind’s eye and to use those images to conceptualize actions in the ‘real’ world.

    5. Kinesthetic:  excel in physical activities such as sports or dance; learn best by doing something physically, rather than by reading or hearing about it; good at building and making things; and keen sense of timing.

    6. Naturalist:  skilled in relating information to one’s natural surroundings; recognizing similarities and differences; detecting patterns; making distinctions; and categorizing things.

    7. Interpersonal:  knowledge of and ability to understand, anticipate reactions, work, connect, lead and influence others.

    8. Intrapersonal:  in-depth knowledge of yourself, what makes you unique; being able to identify your own goals, fears, strengths and weaknesses and use them to be effective in your life.

    After identifying your unique talents, you should create a profile, including such Maxwellian nuggets as:

    “I instinctively see the patterns in things, but struggle with too much fine detail. I love being with other people, but not too many at one time; I am good at one-on-one discussions or listening. I love the chance to do creative thinking in my work, preferably alone. I have a real green thumb and a way with dogs (but not cats!). I have a good ear for music, but am hopeless playing an instrument, let alone singing. I make a mean curry but have no hand for pastry, it’s too finickity for me.’”

    Inventory and profile in hand, it’s essential to focus on that key question, “What would I like to do for the rest of my life?” for, as Henry James said, “It’s time to start living the life you imagined!”

  • The More You Live, The More You Have To Express

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    Courtesy, www.gutenberg.org

    As I was driving out of Washington this afternoon, I was listening to an interview with the marvelous Trinidad-born, jazz musician, Etienne Charles, who is scheduled to perform at the DC Jazz Fest this month.

    His rich music is, as described on his website, “at least four generations deep: his great-grandfather, Clement Monlouis, emigrated to Trinidad from the overseas French department of Martinique bringing his folk music to the village of Mayaro; the young trumpeter’s grandfather, Ralph Charles’ distinct cuatro style can be heard on the classic folk and calypso recordings of the Growling Tiger; and, Etienne’s father, Francis Charles, was a member of Phase II Pan Groove, one of Trinidad’s most progressive steel bands and one that Etienne himself would later join. Immersed in his father’s vast record collection, and suffused with the sounds of calypso, steel pan, and African Shango drumming, Etienne imbibed many of the influences that presently constitute the diverse colors of his harmonic palette.”

    But, impressive as his musical heritage is, I was most struck when he commented on that heritage, saying,  “The More You Live The More You Have To Express.”

    How poignant, especially on this day when Queen Elizabeth, age 86, is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee. Not too long ago, we noted in this blog just how much you and the Queen have in common.

    Then, too, look at the stars participating in the Queen’s concert this evening: Sir Elton John, age 65; Sir Paul McCartney, age 70; and Dame Shirley Bassey, age 75, among many other “golden oldies.” Their performances, imbued with experience gleaned from the decades they have lived, were some of the most moving of their careers.

    May we all live – and express our lives – as well!

  • Advanced Style: A Sight for Sore Eyes

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    More than a sight, Ari Seth Cohen’s new book, Advanced Style, is a testament to the art of being oneself – forever!

    In his introduction, Cohen writes, “I have never considered ‘old’ a bad word. To be old is to be experienced, wise and advanced. The ladies [in their 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and 100's] I photograph challenge stereotypical views on age and aging. They are youthful in mind and spirit and express themselves through personal style and individual creativity. The soul of Advanced Style is not bound to age or even style, but rather to the celebration of life.”

    Ari Seth Cohen and Mimi Weddell

    In this blog we have often addressed originality and the important ways in which that originality or style is our unique brand and our selling point as we seek to remain active in the work force or re-invent ourselves. Most recently, we noted in our ode to Edith Piaf, No Regrets: Have the Courage to Live a Life True to Yourself.

    Creativity can and should be pro-active for, as George Eliot said,  “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”

    The Grande Dames photographed by Cohen share their own nuggets of wisdom:

    “Elegance is refined with age.”

    “Style is above all, the right attitude.”

    “Fashion says ‘me too,’ while style says ‘only me.’”

    “If you try to imitate too much, you will look like nothing. Never compare, you are you!”

    “We must dress every day for the theatre of our lives.”

    In her forward to Advanced Style, Maira Kalman, a fashionista in her own right , as well as an illustrator, author, artist, and designer, says, “Ari Cohen has done something very important. He has looked at our grand population and singled out the people that, in a way, are most invisible and have the most to offer.”

    “We are lucky,” Kalman continues, “when any older person crosses our path. Our lives are enriched just by proximity. The wisdom. The spirit. The saying exactly what they think. The dispensing of advice. The courage. The humor. The crankiness. The kindness. Or the iconoclasm. All of these come from people who have lived a long life.”

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    Ahhhh…. that “buy a hat” is also key for Mimi Weddell, one of Cohen’s many elegant ladies (pictured in the photo with Cohen, above), who said of her life, “I can’t imagine going without a hat. The only romantic thing left in life is a hat.”

    My grandmother always wore a hat and I adored her. My great Aunt Dell wore her hat at a saucy angle as she fearlessly maneuvered her ambulance across the battlefields of France in WW I. Here’s to all the Grand Dames in our lives!

     

     

  • No Regrets: Have the Courage to Live a Life True to Yourself

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    Lightning Striking Behind the Eiffel Tower, photo by Bertrand Kulik, Paris 2008

     

    I found this article, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, forwarded to me by a Canadian friend, profound, poignant and a call to action!

    The author, Susie Steiner for The Guardian (UK), writes about Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. Ware recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

    Steiner notes, “Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. ‘When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently,’ she says, ‘common themes surfaced again and again.’”

    She says her patients’ # 1 regret is,

    I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

    “This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”

    The question I’d ask, if you haven’t already done so, is how do we take charge of our lives to live the life we want to lead and not what is expected of us? It takes introspection first and for those of us healthy individuals 60+ it’s not a moment too soon to begin.

    A life examined is not an easy thing but, in today’s market-driven world where nearly everything is outsourced, some of you may be delighted (I was horrified) to learn we even have an opportunity to outsource our lives. The possibilities as noted in this essay, The Outsourced Life, by Arlie Russell Hochschild, a professor emerita of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of “The Second Shift” and the forthcoming book “The Outsourced Self: Intimate Life in Market Times,” are endless.

    Whether you do it yourself or you bring in some outside help, the important thing is that you Do It!

    When I reach the end of my life, I want to be able to say, “I regret nothing.” The French chanteuse, Edith Piaf, also known as “The Little Sparrow,” captures it best in her famous song, “Non, je ne regrette rien.” Even more than her words, study her face – especially her eyes – and listen to the passion in her voice. This is a life lived truly.

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