Thursday, January 28, 2010

Are You Too Old?

I've had it in the back of my mind that in addition to my blogging and novel writing I wanted to add one more something to my repertoire. My plan from the moment I left Corporate America has always been for multiple streams of income.

I haven't talked about it here. But I have been planning another stream. In face I have been working just this week to add a page to this blog with more information on what that will look like. Then this morning as I was sitting at a table at the 85Broads breakfast, when it was my turn to introduce myself, out of my mouth slipped my first soft launch. I am a novelist, blogger and coach.

Yes, Coach.

One of the things I have learned in the last year and a half is that many people just don't know what to do when faced with a pink slip. Others dream of having the courage to leave their job on their own and go off and do what they have always wanted to do. Others still don't know what that is. Some like what they do and where they are but are feeling stagnant and ready to reposition themselves for what's next. Then there are those who just think they are too old to do anything different.

It is such a scary place. Trust me, I have been there more than once. Too scary to navigate on your own. A person needs guidance, a road map and most of all coaching that yes, they will win at whatever they create as what's next. Which is how I came to decide to add on a coaching practice. But more about that in another blog. Let me get back to the point of this one.

I offered up my experience and vision for my coaching practice. One of the women fell into the category of worrying that she was too old to do anything different.

I cringed as she said it. I remembered when a few years into teaching school I thought I was too old to try something new. I was twenty four! In retrospect that was an insane thought. But it was my thought then as it was hers now.

But it got me thinking, what is too old? Are you ever too old to make a change? Or is change the antidote to aging?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Lesson in Passion From Betty White

Betty White is 88. She got into the business at the age of 17 and has never stopped working. In an industry that does not look fondly on women as they grow gray, she has managed to keep herself gainfully employed. Her most recent big screen role was in The Proposal with Sandra Bullock. According to IMDB there is a TV series in pre-production and another movie scheduled for a Fall release. Did I mention she was 88?

I watched her as she was honored for Lifetime Achievement at the SAG awards this weekend. It was clear what propels her and what has continued to keep her interested in what she has done for the last 71 years. You could see it in her face before she articulated it. Passion. She found work that she was passionate about, work that never ceased to surprise and inspire her. Her desire to continue to find people who would give her the venue in which to work her craft has been stronger than the industry who prefers youth.

Watching Betty White inspired me. She reminded me that when you are truly passionate about your work you never stop wanting to do it. There is a line in one of my very favorite movies, Dangerous Beauty that came to mind. "It's the wanting that keeps us alive." In Betty's case it's kept her young and kept her working.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Elusive Search For Security

There is a great quote by Eve Ensler in her interview in the magazine section of today's
New York Times. When asked if she ever yearns for security now that she is 56 her answer is "Security isn't what I hunger for. I hunger for change. I hunger for connection. I hunger for good sex."

While the response followed a previous question concerning her marital status, it occurred to me that the search for security is also what stops so many from reinventing where they are. "Security", if there really is such a thing is what ties people not just to relationships that are not good matches, but to jobs. The idea of security is an elusive search. Yet we think it is something we need to have. And once we get to what we think security is, we hold on desperately, afraid it might slip through our fingers. In that holding on, we stagnate. We fail to grow. And too often the grip makes our hands hurt so much that it breaks whatever we thought was our security.

But if like Eve Ensler, your response is to hunger for change, connection and of course, good sex, you stay in the flow. You grow, you open, you live joyously. And in a bizarre twist, you are given much more than the illusion of security could ever give.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Circling My Keyboard

I told a friend of mine who is a new blogger the other day that blogging is good writing practice. I don't always listen to my own advice, but I am going to today. You see, Monday I sent off the latest version of my manuscript to my agent. Since then I have been wandering aimlessly, circling my keyboard, unable to write much of anything. That's where I've been in case you were wondering. Circling my keyboard.

It's a dance I have become familiar with since I started writing full time. I sit in front of the computer, my hands cannot move, and suddenly I am convinced that there is not another word left in me to say to anyone. ( I hear you laughing, but it is the truth!)

I keep thinking I need to go back to the manuscript. Read it again and try and guess what my agent's feedback will be. Hope she loves it! Hope she says it is ready to put on the street, or at least very close. But I know better. It's only been a day and a half. I need to let it simmer and go write something else. So I wander near that keyboard and instead of sitting in front of it, I do my circle dance. The one in which I think I have no more words to write.

I admit to feeling a little lonely without my characters, especially Darlene. She is the protagonist in the story. I have spent the better part of the last fifteen months with her. It feels a little strange not to be thinking up her next scene, dressing her in an outfit, or wondering what she is thinking.

I know, it's only been a day and a half and the chances that my agent and the editor she sells this to will not want at least a little tweaking are pretty slim. Yes, I am probably being melodramatic, but I am a writer. How could anyone be a writer without be able to conjure up a little drama on the spot? Besides I told you in advance this was writing practice. I wasn't promising a real blog. I just wanted to make sure I did still have some words in me.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My Crush

I have a crush on Seth Godin. It's been going on for a while. Since before I launched One Woman's Eye. A friend suggested I start following him. I was still new to the blogosphere. I'm not even sure I fully understood what a blog was. But I listened and Seth's blog became the first I ever followed.

He is not my usual type. A slight man with a bald head who will tell you he rarely watches TV. But that's the thing about a crush. You surprise yourself with who you are drawn to.

I signed up to have his blog delivered via email. I had not yet discovered the wonder of an RSS feed. Each morning I read his words faithfully. I liked what he had to say. He made me think. He inspired me to blog. He seemed to really get the changing business climate. The more I read the more I knew why I had not found him sooner. I was too mired in that changing climate, surrounded by those who did not want to see the truth of what was happening. Seth's ideas were too radical for them to even think about implementing.
So you can imagine my delight when 15 months into my crush, I got to hear Seth live at the Haft Auditorium for the launch of his new book, Linchpin. It didn't surprise me much to find Seth waiting as the doors opened to greet his five hundred guests. That's how Seth is. He makes himself accessible to his Tribe.

I've had a lot of crushes. I admit that sometimes when I have admired from afar, I have been very disappointed when met face to face. Not in the case of Seth Godin. In fact I think I like him more now. Not only is Seth a brilliant writer with an important message to say, he is a dynamic and entertaining speaker.

I didn't know what a linchpin was. Turns out it is a small gadget with an important job, to keep the wheels of the car from falling off. His book is about individuals striving to become linchpins in every aspect of their life. It is about the changing work environment, how to thrive in it, and the importance of Art in the process. Yes, Art. You know that word that corporations dismiss. The one that denotes there might be pleasure in the process and pleasure might take away from productivity. Seth suggests it just might add to it.

I am only a few chapters and a two hour talk into the philosophy of Linchpin. So there might be another blog on this topic soon. In case you were wondering, my crush on Seth continues.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Tale Of The NBC Forest

There were problems in the Forest. The biggest problem was that The Forest Keepers had stopped seeing it. All they could see was one tree. And that tree was The Money Tree.

It was looking a little sickly. It needed something but no one was quite sure what. Something before it started losing more leaves. Something to make those drying branches green again. Whatever it needed it had to be quick. Time was of the essence.

The Forest Keepers were so concerned about The Money Tree that they didn't notice any of the other trees in the Forest. Especially the ones that were healthy. They didn't think about how whatever they did might affect the others. They cared only about The Money Tree. That was most important tree in the Forest for them. They forgot this was a Forest with a lot of trees, trees whose roots touch each other. They forgot that the health of one tree can have an affect on another.

But there was that time factor. There wasn't a moment to think this through.

They didn't look to all the things they had done right over the years to keep their Forest healthy. True the climate in all the Forests had changed. But still, might they not take a moment to reflect and see how what they did right in the past could be used in combination with this global shift? Their Forest was the one that had been the home to many beautiful peacocks with colorful plumes. They had done a lot right.

But they were in a hurry. It was The Money Tree they were worried about. They needed a drink and a quick decision. Except there was no time for the drink. Maybe if there had been, if they had slowed down to think, they might have seen what everyone else did. That this was the wrong thing to do.

It was doomed to failure. Yes, it was cheap. Yes, it made financial sense. But wasn't what they had built an industry on more than just making money? Hadn't their Forest grown so big and so successful because of the quality of their trees? Hadn't that made financial sense?

They paid no attention. They were the Forest Keepers. They pounded their chests and told the world they knew better. The keepers of the other Forests were happy! They knew they would benefit from this colossal mistake. They would get new visitors to their Forests. Yes, everyone shook their heads and knew it was just a matter of time before disaster struck.

All watched as they chopped down the Prime Time Tree with a great big electric saw. With one fell swoop it was gone! No more 10-11P programming as the Forest had known it. They brought in the Transplant Team and moved the Tonight Show Tree to take it's place.

The Forest Workers knew this was going to be tough. Trees can't just be moved. The location, the soil, the sun all determine whether transplanting a tree will take. They couldn't see how this was the right thing. The visitors to the Forest didn't either. But those Forest Keepers kept saying yes. We'll give the tree a new name and all will be right. We'll call it The Jay Leno Tree.

They moved more trees around. And yes, as you can imagine, other trees, trees they hadn't even looked at before started to fall ill. Like the Late News Tree. The visitors to the Forest dwindled. Everyone was complaining. And that Money Tree. It really didn't look any better than it had before.

It didn't take long for The Forest Keepers to admit their mistake. They are scrambling now to move everything back. Looking for some Prime Time seedlings to plant right away. There are rumors amongst the Forest workers that some of the trees are even looking for a new Forest in which they might receive more care and attention. No one is surprised. They saw all along what the Forest Keepers refused to.

The lesson of this story is for Forest Keepers everywhere. Remember that you are in charge of a whole forest and not just one tree. Sometimes you need to step back to see what everyone else can. And remember, if the only tree you care for is the Money Tree the rest of the forest is doomed.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Googling Me

When I first started this blog I didn't know the first thing about the how to's . Like most technologically skewed things, I got a glaze over my eyes. Where was IT support when I needed them? How was I ever going to learn to do this by myself?

It was too much for me to sort out. I needed help. Lucky for me, I was referred to Carmina Perez. I signed up for one of her intro classes on Blogging. The next thing you know I have an operational blog.

One of her Carmina's tidbits was to set up Google alerts on yourself so you can get a read on where in cyberspace you and your blog are appearing. Yes, we've all googled other people. If you weren't aware you can set up alerts on subjects of interest, yourself included! I am a good student so I listened.

Yesterday's alert still has me smiling. Turns out I was selected as one of , drumroll please,

The path to reinvention is paved with a lot of bumps. Then there are the days when a road sign appears directly in front of you, that reminder that you are headed in the right direction. Thank You WE Magazine for my signpost! I am honored and grateful to be included on this list of fabulous women bloggers!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

NO To Resolutions!!!

I am not making any New Year's resolutions. Mostly because I hate the word. Resolution. It sounds as if there was a problem and now it needs to be solved. It implies that whatever I was doing was wrong and needs to be fixed. I hear Resolution and I think failure. The statistics back that up. Supposedly half of those who make New Year's resolutions will have broken them six months into the year. For some failure will have them resolving to try again. For others they will just give up, decide whatever they were doing trying to fix what they decided was wrong is useless. They give up. It all sounds rather dark and foreboding to me. That's why I'm not making any resolutions.

What I am making is intentions and I just happen to be starting them in January.

I hear intentions and I don't think of problems. I think of desires to do things a little differently, whether that is eating healthier or waking up a half hour early to meditate. The intent to change, to shake things up. Freshen things a bit. Look and act from a new viewpoint. An intention doesn't necessarily have a fixed outcome. Technically it is a noun, but I hear verb in the word. An action, a process with intent that may or may not arrive me where I envisioned. When I hear intention I feel as if I am conspiring with the Universe. Resolution sounds like I am pushing against it.

I'm working on my intentions for 2010. I intend to check in on them each month. See how I'm doing, whether they need adjustment or whether they need to be thrown out and substituted with a new one. Intentions allow for change. They're based on my desires which are constantly evolving.

How about you ? Resolution or Intention?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Twenty Ten

The tree is down. The decorations are put away. Yes, I know most Greeks like to wait until the Epiphany to pack it all in boxes until next year. But I couldn't wait two more days. I am ready to get on with 2010. My home is neat and organized and ready. Yet I have not been able to sit and write my first blog of this new decade.

I've spent a lot of time reading what others have to say about the year ahead and the decade behind from the doomsdayers to those who offer hope and inspiration and my favorite of all phrases, 'the best is yet to come'. But I've been having trouble with what I want to say.

Every time I see 2010 I feel this weight. This is not just another year. It is the birth of a new decade. We are no longer at the dawn of a new century. The sun is up. For better or worse.

I like that it is easier to say. Twenty Ten. 2000 was Two Thousand all the way to Two Thousand Nine. Now suddenly we are Twenty Ten. If it's easier to say, why am I having such trouble writing the first blog.

I've lived most of my life in the last century. 2010 sounded like science fiction when I was a student in the seventies. Yes, it makes me feel old. It makes me want to slow down and stop time from moving so fast. Maybe that's why it's taken me four days to get to here. I know that as soon as I publish my first blog of this year I will be in forward motion. Taking down the decorations was just the prep work. The first blog is the real thing.

Or maybe it is just that I am hexed at the prospect of keeping this blog full for the next year. Of being able to put out posts you will look forward to reading and enjoying. That is the thing about new years. They give you the gift of a brand new clean slate with no marks on it. It's all there for you to create whatever you want to with. Sometimes it's exactly what you plan. Other times you don't know what will show up. Sometimes it's a combination. Like today. I knew I would blog. I just had no idea what it would be about.

Happy New Year to all my readers!
Wishing you all a wonderful Twenty Ten!