My Gray Hair Matters: Don’t Count Me Out

Gray Hair Matters

Recently, I talked to a friend about my ongoing job search. I’m job hunting at the age of 55 and it’s been an interesting experience.  My friend suggested that I dye my beautiful gray hair to decrease the chances of discrimination based on appearance. Then, this got me to thinking that my gray hair matters! Don’t count me out of the game.

Firstly,  let me say that I am a proud woman of color and Baby Boomer. Boomer Love! Secondly, I am proud to have an AARP card. Most of all, I am proud of every gray strand of hair on my head, because I earned them. Also, I am a part of a very viable market, women over 50. Marketers and employers should not count out this important market.  Continue reading “My Gray Hair Matters: Don’t Count Me Out”

It’s Time to Feed Your Entrepreneurial Spirit!

What’s Your Big Idea?

Do you have a big idea? Have you dreamed of taking that idea and starting your own business? You know that this idea could provide a service or resource to consumers. You have an entrepreneurial spirit: however, you’re scared to step out on faith and your comfort level. Perhaps, you’re afraid to leave a good paying job for the unknown. Yet, you feel the strong pull and hunger of starting your business. Then it is time to feed your entrepreneurial spirit.

Recently, I spoke with a close friend about why we never started businesses. We’re Baby Boomers, in our mid 50’s and have known each other since high school. Currently, both of us are in job searches in markets that are virtually closed to people our age. So, we talked about all of our ideas, skills, knowledge, and experiences. Clearly, we have an entrepreneurial spirit. Then, we both agreed that it’s time to reinvent ourselves and take the leap.

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It’s Time to Reflect, Refresh and Reboot

It’s Summertime

It’s June! That means it’s summertime!  It’s time to reflect, refresh and reboot. For six to eight weeks, there are many possibilities and opportunities waiting for you. You have probably made a to-do list of all the things you wanted to do during throughout the year.  However, does that to-do list include time to reflect, refresh and reboot? You’ve been waiting a long few months for summer! So, now it’s here!

Women look forward to summer moments. Often, it’s usually a time to plan for the upcoming family events, vacations, etc. It’s time to put the kids in a summer camp, enrichment programs or send them to grandma’s house. However, as mothers, you don’t take the time to reflect on your physical and emotional health. Are you one of those mothers, who never stop thinking about your children, spouse job,  and other responsibilities? Do you often forgo your health, because you’re busy taking care of everyone else? Continue reading “It’s Time to Reflect, Refresh and Reboot”

Sisterhood: A Path to Relationships, Bonds and Empowerment

It’s Called Sisterhood

When a woman needs to talk or commiserate, she usually calls on another woman. She can be a sister, cousin, aunt, mother, friend or colleague. Who understands a woman better than a woman? It’s called sisterhood!  It’s our path to each other.  Also it is a path to relationships, bonds and empowerment. Women, we need each other in good times, okay times and not so good times. Surely, you too have a sisterhood network that you can turn to when needed.

Recently, I was feeling kind of meh about a recent career setback and how life as I planned it didn’t quite work out. So, I called a longtime friend who knows all my moods. We’ve known each other for over 35 years. That’s a long time and we’ve seen and heard it all. Anyway, I consider her to be a major part of my sisterhood network. We’ve helped each other through relationship breakups, divorces, loss of employment, financial crises, illnesses and more. Moreover, sistership and friendship have withstood differences of opinions, politics, and sometimes fashion hiccups.

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Create a Quiet, Sweet Spot in Your Home

You Need a Quiet, Sweet Spot

A woman’s work is difficult.  Some days are harder than others. Depending on the day and time, you just want a quiet, sweet spot to hide out. Whether you’re working inside or outside of the home, life can get overwhelming. You don’t think, you have no place or space to seek quiet time. So, you hold in all of the emotions and stress until you’re ready to burst. 

You want to decompress; however, you have an active household filled with children, chores, and more. Kids call your name, the dog barks, or the TV is blaring. Your spouse or mate is getting on your nerves, too. Where can you hide for a few moments in your own home? How can you create your sweet spot or quiet space?  Continue reading “Create a Quiet, Sweet Spot in Your Home”

Milwaukee is Perfect for a Nearcation

The weekend of April 21-23, 2017  I attended the Women In Travel Summit (WITS) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Hundreds of women came together for support, networking opportunities and sisterhood. I had a great time and my stay turned out to be a wonderful nearcation.

What is a nearcation?

What is a nearcation? According to www.lotsofwords.com, a nearcation is a destination relatively close to one’s home. Well, Milwaukee is only 90 miles from my hometown, Chicago, Illinois. However, depending on traffic and the speeders, more or less a two-hour drive. The location for WITS was a perfect excuse to get into my car and head up I-90/94. I also had my friend and road dog with me. So, Milwaukee was a perfect destination. More important, I had a perfect weekend with perfect weather!  Continue reading “Milwaukee is Perfect for a Nearcation”

You Need to Find a Hobby!

You Need to Find a Hobby

“You need to find a hobby?” Has anyone ever said to you,   If so, what was your response? It probably went something like this. “ I know but it’s never enough time.” Or your response was, “I’m too busy taking care of everyone else. I don’t have time to take care of myself.” Well, those responses are not uncommon, but you really need to stop for a moment. However, you often wish that you had more time to do things to make you happier and more relaxed. Therefore, it means carving out some time for you. During that time, find a hobby that fits your needs and personality.

A Hobby is Not Work

A hobby is an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation. Remember, work is not a hobby! Don’t get it twisted. Frequently, people will say, “Work is all I do.” That will be a big, NO! Work is something you do for a living. It is something you do for pleasure. So, you’re still asking yourself, why do you need a hobby and how do I find one. Here are a few reasons why you need a new pastime.

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Bounce Back from the Bottom and Learn from Failure

What is Failure

At some point in life, everyone experiences failure. Yes, hitting the bottom it is a part of life. I’ve learned that lesson a few times. However, failure means different things to different people. According to Dictionary.com definitions include:

  • Lack of success or proving unsuccessful
  • Non-performance of something due, required or expected
  • A person or thing that proves unsuccessful

What does failure mean to you? Does it mean losing a job, being in a toxic relationship or failing at business? For me, failure really took me for a loop when I was fired from a job that was very important to me. I was totally blindsided and defeated by the loss. I didn’t see it coming and couldn’t understand how or why it happened. After all, I gave the company years of loyalty, hard work and dedicated service. Was this the reward I received for being a good employee?

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What’s Your Favorite Color

I attended a funeral service and listened to a young woman speaking about her relationship with her mother. She asked her mother, “What is your favorite color?” The mother responded, “I don’t know what is my favorite color.” The young lady went on to say that her mother was so busy taking care of everyone else that she never recognized her own wants, needs or personal things that made her happy. Also, as a daughter, she did not take the time to find out her mother’s wants or needs. It was a poignant moment.

Let’s dissect it a bit. First, mothers and daughters have a very special relationship. However, sometimes the relationship can be very tumultuous. Although there is great love for one another, the turmoil usually begins in the teen years and continues throughout the aging process. Mothers know best and daughters think that they know it all. It’s a bad combination.

Dr. Janice Hooker Fortman wrote a book titled, The Secrets of How Not to Throw Mama From a Train: The Relationship Between Adult Daughters and Their Aging Mothers. In this book, Dr. Fortman states that a mother-daughter relationship is “frequently extremely difficult and unpleasant and at other times, it is loving and great.” The relationship can be complicated, emotional and full of love. Yet, sometimes mothers and daughters do not know enough about each other. Somewhere and sometimes there is a communication glitch.

This happens worldwide and across all races and ethnicity. The glitch comes in when everyday life, routines, work, and other demands become priorities. Days are filled with too many tasks and not enough time to take a moment to call or stop by to visit mom, dad or anyone that is important to you. When a visit or phone call occurs, everyone is on a schedule and the conversations are all too short and bittersweet. There is no time to get down to the crust or no time to ask what is your favorite color.

Now let’s make it personal! One day you will run out of time and you will not be able to ask the important questions. So starting today, ask this question to one or more loved ones. “What is your favorite color?” I asked my mom today and she answered, “It’s navy blue!”

Are You Out of Focus?

FOCUS

Finding One’s Central Understanding of Self

As a kid, you were told by a parent or teacher to “FOCUS!”  Your mind wandered off somewhere while you were in class or your mom was telling you something important. You were thinking about something special you wanted to do for yourself or with your friends. As a child, there are no inhibitions to focus on yourself or what makes you happy. Growing up and becoming an adult with responsibilities changes the concept of focusing on yourself and what makes you happy. Sometimes, adulthood means losing focus of your true self. Are you out of focus? Think about it for a moment! What images of you came to mind? So now look at the word, focus in a different light. Think of it this way: Finding One’s Central Understanding of Self.

Finding One’s Central Understanding of Self simply means discovering who you really are or finding yourself. Other terms you may see or recognize around this topic is Self-Concordance Theory or Individuation. Sometimes who you really are gets lost in translation of the day to day issues and goings on of your life. Or you may think that self-discovery is a selfish goal when you have grown up responsibilities like family, career and more.  Sometimes, you may care about what others think about you.  However, to be the best person, you can be to your spouse, mate, children, friends or co-workers you must know who you are, what is your purpose and what can you offer. Focusing on you is not a sin or a selfish process, but a personal journey.

You wonder where do you begin in this journey called self-discovery. Well, connecting to your inner or true self can begin with these questions.

  • Who are you really?
  • What do you want or need to change?
  • Why do you want or need to change these things in your life?
  • Where will change begin?
  • When will change begin to happen?
  • How do you begin to make changes in your life?

Who are you really? This question is reflective.  You can answer by saying, “My name is Shelia Johnson.” Well, your first and last name don’t give a good clue to who you are. You are a complex human being. Your response to the question is based not only on your present but also on your past.  It may have been a happy past or perhaps a painful past. What happened physically, emotionally and spiritually in your past helped to shape your present. It can also shape your future, but that depends on how you let the past shape your future. Your past helped to determine how you respond to situations, people or events. Exploring the past is a very important part of the journey.

Afterwards, think about your present life. Who are you right now? Are you a wife, mother, sister, friend, successful career woman, etc.?  Are you a husband, father, brother, successful professional, etc. How do the responsibilities of these titles affect your life? Man, or woman, it can be a heavy load or a wonderful part of your life. Write down your likes, dislikes or so-so lists. Think about what can you change that will lead to a clearer discovery of yourself.

What do you want or need to change? Many people will respond with wanting to change their jobs, careers, or live in a different city. Go deeper than that! You looked at all your titles and responsibilities. Can you find you as an individual in there somewhere? You’re probably saying to yourself that it’s impossible to think only of you and what you need or want. What is your interest?

Don’t beat yourself up because there’s a human inside of you. Most people get so inundated with the rote and routines, that they cannot see past them. You are alive!! Find your happy space and what brings you pleasure, peace or excitement. Try new things. Explore your talents and passions.  Make a list or chart of things that will make you a happier and healthier person.

Why do you want or need to make changes in your life?  Needing and making changes is difficult. The unknown is almost always a scary thought. After making your list or chart, think about why you want or need to make these changes. Knowing what you want is fundamental to finding yourself. Jot down why your list of items will make your life more positive. Ask yourself why the effects of these changes will make you self-discovery a success.

When will change begin?  Change starts with you! Only you have the personal power to take up this challenge of FOCUS. Sometimes, people think if a spouse or mate makes changes, everything will be peachy. NOPE! You are the most powerful player in your life!  Start with you! Start today! Journal your experiences through your personal journey.

Where will change begin? Again, change begins with you! Change begins in your mind. It is where you start your personal journey of self-discovery. Clear out the clutter in your brain! Seek a counselor if needed. It is a choice that you have, too. FOCUS begins in your mind with asking, “Who am I?” From that point, you will continue the journey by answering what do you want and need to change.

How do you begin to make change happen? You can make change happen by not being hard or critical on yourself. Focus on the positives and do not let the Negative Nelly inside of you take over. Tell Negative Nelly to have a seat somewhere! Changing your outlook and mindset means thinking about what you truly want will strip down all the unnecessary stuff that’s weighing you down. As adults, it is difficult to change directions on this road called life.

Are you out of FOCUS, while on the road called life?  Finding One’s Central Understanding of Self is a process of asking yourself who, what, why, when, where and how. Your journey to self-discovery belongs solely to you. It is not an overnight trip, but a journey that takes time. Start your FOCUS journey today! Move forward and don’t look back!