Tag Archives: personal growth

How to Plan Your Perfect Year

The end of the year is fast approaching. How happy were you with your year in 2018? What were your accomplishments? What areas do you want to improve on next year? Before you start setting goals for the new year, take the time for an assessment of your 2018. List at least one accomplishment in each of the six goal areas. Keep a positive focus to celebrate your accomplishments, and use those to help plan your perfect year in 2019.

Plan Your Perfect Year Today!

My new goal book/journal for 2019 arrived last week. I plan to block out about 90 minutes to customize the book for me and lay it out for 2019. Over the past 30 years, I have kept a goal book and regularly updated and monitored. I believe this has helped me accomplish many of my life goals and stay balanced and focused.

To set up the book, divide it into 6 categories.

The categories I use are:

  1. Social
  2. Spiritual
  3. Intellectual
  4. Physical
  5. Family
  6. Financial

By splitting the goals in this manner, it helps you stay balanced in the important areas of your life and not obsessed with just a couple of categories like financial or family.

Take each category and break out by these time frames:

  • 3 years out: Dec 31, 2021
  • 2 years out: December 31, 2020
  • 1 year out: Dec. 31, 2019
  • June 30, 2019
  • March 31, 2019

How To Keep On-Track with Your Goal Book/Journal:

1. Start filling out your goal book one category at a time.

Your inclination to plan your perfect year is to start with the most immediate date, March 31, 2019. Instead, start with the furthest out date December 31, 2021. This helps you visualize the future time span for each goal. Next, write your goals for two years out December 31 2020, then back up to the 2019 goal timeframes. A couple of bullets for each area should be sufficient. I add my age at each point in the future. It helps me visualize my life, as it will be for me.

2. Go live with your book.

At the beginning of each month list a couple of items you want to accomplish for each of the 6 goal areas. As you go through the month, record your accomplishments. Keep a gratitude page and write down the areas and people you are grateful.

3. Each week, list a few items you want to accomplish for the week.

This is not a TO DO list. Several days throughout the week, as your time permits, list a couple of items you want to accomplish that day.

4. Find a book for you to record this information.

You may have a favorite calendar which will work for you. I found a journal that works for my routines, and I’ve been using it for the last 30 years.

Weekly Rituals Planner, $28

Here are some other planners, as each attacks life from a different perspective, so take a look to see which style fits you best!

Pursuit Goal Journal, $19

Goal Getter Productivity Journal, $8

Bullet Journal Method, $17

If all of this has your head swimming realizing the answers to the questions above are not something you’re attune to, then take a look at the following options to refocus the mind and spirit. Getting to know you, and the you you’d like to be can require a little soul searching, and luckily these books have made that a fun, creative journey that happens to include a bit of a coloring-book structure. “Adult Coloring Books” have become a staple in many people’s lives, as it is proven that spending time coloring can reduce stress, anxiety and retrain the brain while exercising the brain, as well!

Good Days Start With Gratitude: A 52 Week Guide To Cultivate An Attitude Of Gratitude, $6

Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration, $10

Present, Not Perfect: A Journal for Slowing Down, Letting Go, and Loving Who You Are, $13

Notice: the term NEW YEARS RESOLUTION has not been used in this article. This is no resolution; this is your life plan. One of my mottos is

“Life is not a dress rehearsal.”

Enjoy the ride and make every day matter. With good planning and focus, you can make 2019 the best year of your life.

Happy New Year!



Reinvention: Making the Most of You

On the morning after the latest royal wedding, I reflect. I reflect on a generation of new royals who have transformed the British Monarchy. I reflect on a serenely beautiful, independent woman who walked herself down the aisle, proud of her roots, her heritage, her story, in front of the watching world. I reflect on a service that was almost paradoxical in its nature, modern yet steeped in tradition, raising eyebrows as well as smiles.

Time for ChangeI reflect on a scene that has shown that an institution, a nation, a society and a global community has more than reinvented itself, more than transformed its beliefs—it has transcended. The happiness of a young royal has risen above the ordinary and typical limitations. He married for love rather than convenience, status or power. As the passionate Bishop Michael pronounced during the service “There’s power in love to show us the way to live.”

With that, my reflection and thoughts turn to my own story of transformation and transcendence.

When we are honest with ourselves, our purpose in life is to be happy, and I believe that happiness stems with all things love. Put love at the heart of the change and you will find happiness. It took the death of a loved princess and beloved mother to trigger a change in the royal family, their love for two young men opened up their beliefs around tradition and a royal lifestyle. It took the death of my mother and of my first marriage to prompt a radical change in my life and in my beliefs. I had to lose love in order to love myself. To love myself, I had to understand and get to know the stranger I had become and ‘reinvent’ the new me.

TransformationAt 18 or 21, we travel the world to ‘find ourselves.’ I ask, why not at any age, why not every decade? I had just turned 40 when I embarked on my transformation journey, a time that perhaps many would say they were most confident in themselves.

I see myself today and I am a stranger to past friends, but more authentic for having found myself again. I have been reborn a more joyful person; I am comfortable in my own skin, with my thoughts, my beliefs and excited for whatever lies ahead.

In the afterglow of transformation, it can be easy to forget that the journey can be a rocky, uphill road, fraught with challenges, stumbles, failures and even roadblocks.

It took nearly two decades for the public and the establishment to be comfortable with a wedding that would have once been seen as fraught with controversial rule breaking and it has taken me 18 months to be in a situation that I never thought would be possible and feel what I once believed would be impossible.

How do you overcome the hurdles, how do you see the roadblocks as useful diversions, how do you take the impossible leap to start your own reinvention at any age?

Even with love at the heart of any transformation, I strongly believe there needs to be elements of creativity and spirituality too. They are all interlinked: You can be creative with love and find spirituality in love. You can fall in love with creativity, and spirituality can lead you to be creative.

As the new Duke and Duchess have shown us, love is the only place to start. Love is at the heart of healing and health and it is the greatest form of nourishment when it comes to our well-being.

1. Love what you do.

JoyDo what brings you joy and you will bring joy to others.’ These words inspired me to write my ‘Joy List.’ I knew I didn’t want my pain, fear and sadness for the past to grow, but I did want my joy to grow. The first question to myself was, ‘what brings me joy?’ By focusing on what and who brought me joy, I could refocus my mind on those, rather than who and what brought me pain. I wrote a list of approximately 8 things I loved to do and pinned them by my mirror. At the beginning of each day, I would set my intention on doing at least one of the items on my joy list so that I knew by the end of the day, I would have spent some time focused on doing what I loved and enjoying precious moments of joy. What I focused on grew. Today, I still have my joy list, and I find at the end of the day, my time has been filled with the majority of items on that list.

I reinvented a life doing joyful activities and eventually, these activities formed a new purpose and a new career as a Holistic Health Coach.

2. Love who you are.

Self LoveI used to mistake, and therefore dismiss, this suggestion as vanity and arrogance. But in a time when I felt unloved and unloveable, I discovered the words ‘Love yourself so others may love you,’ and they shed light on the true meaning of self love. This self love became a form of self respect; I began to treat myself how I would wish others to treat me. Brene Brown talks about being in the Wilderness. When you are there, the only person you need in order to not feel alone is yourself.

In some ways, this part of my journey turned into a form of spiritual practice. To have self love, I needed to connect with my spirit and understand the purpose of my being, which really is the definition of spirituality.

To do this, I became clear on my personal values by completing an exercise in his book ‘Turning Point’ by Dr. Rohan Weerasinghe. With my values written down and pinned against my mirror, alongside my joy list, I could see the person I wanted to be for that day ahead. I knew I liked that version of me and she gave me a reason to get up and out of bed in the morning. I knew how to live, by my values, I knew who I was, what I stood for and I knew my purpose in life.

I reinvented myself by being who I really was, by listening to my heart and spirit.

3. Love who you are with.

FriendsJim Rohn says that ‘you are the average of the five people you spend your time with.’ A reinvention of yourself can often cause ripples and rifts in your social life. With a new found self respect, armed with a Joy List and a Values List, sailing through this storm can be less turbulent. I found  I was drawn to friends and people who shared common values and I no longer felt obliged to conform. I found myself choosing to be around people who wanted to see me happy and it became easier to politely decline invites that no longer aligned with my new attitude and approach to life. It became very clear that to love who I was becoming, I needed to be around people who loved that version of me too.

I reinvented a life where it was no longer just about loving myself on my own in the Wilderness but loving myself and who I was, whoever I was with and without having to change who I was to ‘fit in.’

With love at the heart of a reinvention, you can transform your life. Mixing the love with elements of creativity and spirituality, you can go beyond the limits of your imagination and in doing so, achieve transcendence.

Congratulations to the Harry & Meghan for showing the world how it can be done.

building self confidence

How to Never Give Up When You’re Feeling Down

While Winston Churchill may be well-known for saying, “Never, never, never give up,” it is actually another one of his quotes that may be more meaningful for you during disappointing and somewhat depressing times.

Just as the growing green grass and bright blooming flowers have become dormant over the past few months, so may have some of the goals you set for yourself. But, spring always promises the rebirth of budding green leaves and blooming colorful flowers; thus, it’s important not to give up on a renewal of belief that you can achieve your goals as well. In that vein, another of Winston Churchill’s quotes comes into play: “Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.”

No matter how down and dejected you may have felt about not moving forward over the past few months and how much thought you have given each day to changing that situation, it’s important to focus your thinking on your potential to meet those goals going forward and to simply not give up.

So, how do you continue building self confidence when you may be feeling so down? Here are a few concepts to get you started.

  • Stop focusing on the negative and begin picturing the positive daily. This actually works. It’s what athletes call “mental rehearsal;” seeing things as you want them to be and picturing them vividly in your mind. If you start this exercise every morning and every night before going to sleep and maintain the process for just one month, don’t be surprise to see positive results begin to manifest.
  • Control what you can, dismiss what you can’t. Whether it’s trying to change an individual who can’t seem to see things your way or a policy you heartily disagree with, give it up. Focus instead on the many other things you can control. Your time will be much better spent and your attitude will greatly improve, while building self confidence.
  • Smile more. Become extremely conscious of the amount of time you smile. Without even realizing it, people all too often walk around looking way too serious and glum and at the same time expect people to respond positively to them. Wake up and take a reality check. No one likes to associate with someone who appears to lack confidence and seems down on life. Remember the old adage that when you smile, the whole world smiles with you. There’s more truth than not to that.
  • Avoid hanging out with negative people. Sure, it’s realistic that during difficult times like this there will be discussions involving the problems that may be encountered. But don’t get bogged down in negative, woe-is-me conversations. Spend the majority of your time with people who are positive, looking for alternative ways to hurdle the problems and being innovative in their thinking.
  • Finally, take time to treat yourself; be good to yourself. Maybe that’s going to a funny movie; abandoning adults altogether and hanging out with some playful kids; pampering yourself with a soothing massage or buying that new pair of shoes you told yourself were just too outrageous to buy. Most of all, take time to take care of you so you are in the right place to take care of those who depend on you—your family, your friends and your loyal supporters.

In nature, spring always brings forth new life in fresh and magnificent ways. Leverage the advent of spring and let it also be a time of building self confidence and great expectations for you.


Editor’s Note: March – When it Rains, It Pours

I don’t know about where you are, but here in Dallas, spring appears to be making its way to us. Temps are still cool, but the rain has started. Great for sleeping. Not great for driving. (Or dog walking.) As we’ve been trapped indoors under the withering glare of frustrated hounds, the editorial calendar for March has been completed. We are excited to share a few items with you that will be pouring in from our wonderful contributors this month. Rest assured – there are a lot more where these came from, too.

In Health and Wellness, you’ll be seeing articles on that most popular of items these days – gut bacteria. Also, posts on taking “Me Time”, the importance of female friendships in our lives, and the latest trend in fitness retreats.

In Fashion and Beauty, look for the latest (and most convenient) palettes, spring trends, and how to make anything look more expensive.

Our Career and Second Act contributors are working on stories that include how to fall in love with your job again, what brings us to a career crossroad, and honing your negotiation skills, just to name a few.

Other stories include how to live like a local, travel to the Falkland Islands, the secret spots you can find in San Francisco, aging alone, a book review on Manchester Beach and some delicious recipes.

So, join us in March and make sure you are signed up to receive our email every Thursday so you don’t miss a thing.

February was a short month, but we didn’t slack on great content. We hope you agree. Readers were drawn to these articles from our fashion, health, fitness, and career/second act categories. If you missed them earlier, check them out now.

20 Outstanding Things Women in Their Prime

Embrace Your Inner Critic , part 3 of the series by Dr. Jena Field.

Do You Know What’s in Your Protein Powder?

Treggings: A Fashion Must

The Golden Years: Coming into Our Grand Finale Age

Is Eating Carbs Bad for Your Diet?

Can’t Get Good Sleep? Help Beyond “Turn Of Your iPad”

Consider and Exciting Second Act: Tour Director

This Season’s Romantic Fashions

and an Inspiration Women story on Jane Saginaw

Thanks for being the best part of Prime Women! Happy March!

– Prime Women


Editor’s Note: Wrapping January and Things to Love in February

Hello, everyone! February is here – and so are the Winter Olympics. Will you be watching this year? I’ll be glued to the ice skating and ski jump, myself – and trying to not cry over those athlete profiles that are so emotional!

Now, it is a short month, so our editorial calendar is packing a lot into the coming days. Of course love and relationships are on the agenda (or editorial calendar), so you’ll want to read relationship expert, Nicole DiRocco’s take on being single. Look for it the week for the 5th! Also, if you or a friend is single, make sure you sign up for her upcoming free master class webinar on February 11: 5 Essential Steps to Create the Relationship You Deserve.

Back by popular demand – we also have an upcoming post by our sommelier Tricia Conover, with some sexy food and wine pairings. You know, you don’t have to wait until Valentine’s Day to enjoy them either.

We’ve had such a great response to Dr. Jena Field’s series of articles on rewiring your brain for happiness. Make sure you read the first two, and finish with this month’s last submission that asks us to embrace our inner critic.

Our fitness guru Debra Atkinson will be introducing us to a delightful concept that will help us sleep better. AND it involves carbs.

You’re going to get makeup tips and recommendations from our experts Elizabeth Rist and Giella, and fashion finds from Dorthy Shore, and romantic looks from Judy Ninman.

We’ll also be learning some tips and tricks for landscape photography from Lisa Erdberg. You’ll have time to practice before the first beautiful days of spring draw you outside to snap those gorgeous pics.

And if you ever thought about visiting India – or maybe thought you DIDN’T want to visit India, you’ll love the post coming from Debbie Johnson later this month.

In January, Prime Women were reading:

How to find shoes that are fashionable yet functional – who doesn’t need that? Becca Bowen takes us shopping.

The upsetting but true tale of financial elder abuse from our own Bette Price.

Shannon Perry introduced us to 6 unusual ways to increase your life expectancy.

In Ladies Your Vintage is Showing, Mary Carpenter explored the truth about women, alcohol and aging.

We also talked about wearing the Pantone Color of the Year for 2018 – ultra violet, and we mused over short hairstyles and the 5 makeup steps to a more beautiful you.

Other big topics for starting the year on the right foot included letting go of negative thoughts, how to design your second act, and tips to improve your love life.

Thank you all for your support. Let’s make it a February filled with love and laughter.

– Prime Women


“We’re All Jock Tamson’s Bairns” – Compassion and Scottish Values 

We’re all Jock Tamson’s bairns” is a popular saying in Scotland. The Reverend John Thomson (Jock Tamson) was a much-loved minister of Duddingston Kirk, Edinburgh, from 1805 to 1840. He called the members of his congregation, “Ma bairns,” (my children) and this resulted in folk saying, “We’re all Jock Tamson’s bairns,” which gave a sense of belonging to a small, but special group. Nowadays, the phrase is often used to indicate we’re all the same under the skin.

Every country has national pride, and sometimes it’s very hard to understand each other’s but I have never been more proud of Scottish values than I have been this month, and it all has to do with compassion. Let me explain…

Increased taxation – yay!

I’m not remotely political, nor can I understand anyone who wants to be a politician as it seems to me that the vast majority are willing to sell their souls for expediency and political gain. So this has nothing to do with politics but everything to do with humanity and compassion.

Scotland is part of the United Kingdom but has devolved powers of government. One invoked for the first time in December is the right to vary tax rates from UK national rates. As a result, an extra 1% tax was added to the charge for most people in Scotland on middle income and upwards.

I’m sure you’re still waiting for the GOOD news here, as extra taxation isn’t welcomed by anyone – unless they are Scottish, apparently.

All week, I’ve been watching news reports about the tax increase and listened to politicians bumping their gums about whether or not it’s good for inward investment or bad for business (or perhaps the other way around). I’m happy to leave that debate to the more politically inclined.

What I’ve found humbling, awe-inspiring and a source of immense pride, however, was the sheer number of ordinary folks who not only welcomed the tax rise but said they’d have been equally happy if it had been doubled.

These are not wealthy people. In fact many of those interviewed were pensioners and working families for whom life is pretty far from pampered and Prosecco fuelled.

Their quiet acceptance of increased taxation isn’t down to being downtrodden or necessarily liking the government of the day either – it’s down to their love of the National Health Service.

Free healthcare for all

Of the many interviews I saw, there was never more than a little good natured grumbling about taxation, followed by heartfelt insistence that funding a rambling and undoubtedly inefficient institution which provides free healthcare for all, is more than worth the sacrifice.

The UK National Health Service is far from perfect. With an ageing population, it’s creaking at the seams and sometimes waiting times for treatment are downright unacceptable. We have private healthcare available too, but frankly it doesn’t FEEL right to most Scots to be able to purchase better health than their poorer relations.

There’s also a valid argument that free healthcare, without restriction, hardly encourages people to live the best way they can.

I get all that, and I’m all for health education and for people taking responsibility for their own outcomes. But for anyone who cannot, or for whatever reason does not manage to live well, eat well and exercise, there is a safety net. Not only that, but it’s broadly the same safety net for a successful lawyer as for someone who has fallen on hard times.

The fact that Scots are downright enthusiastic about reducing their disposable income to maintain this facility, is the kind of wonderful folly that makes me immensely proud to be Scottish.

Civic responsibility – an old fashioned notion?

A North American visitor recently explained to me the unfairness of being expected to pay more in health insurance to subsidise people who, “Didn’t look after themselves.”

“We have a gym at home and we go cycling in the hills most days,” was her argument. “We eat well too, so why should I pay more for those who eat fatty foods and sit in front of the TV all day?”

Frankly, I don’t have an answer for that, except for compassion, and the feeling of, “There but for the grace of God, go I.” There is no justification for to having to subsidise others, except perhaps that it’s a better model for society.

One interpretation of being “All Jock Tamson’s bairns” is that anyone can find themselves in unforeseen circumstances. Someone finds themselves in a road traffic accident, say, or falling victim to an acquired brain injury which suddenly pulls the rug from under their lives.

With a National Health Service, saving lives takes no account of wealth or social standing, or the rights and wrongs that brought someone to that place. It merely scoops them up and does its best to make things better.

I don’t want to live in any place where that’s not important. What sort of society would want to avert its gaze from the less fortunate and still sleep easily?

“Civic responsibility,” is such an archaic phrase, yet I heard it time and time again in response to the tax hike. And again it made me proud to be part of an old fashioned, slightly socialist inclined populace for whom civic responsibility is still “a thing.”

In tune with humanity

I’m praising Scots here, but I know there are many people; the vast majority worldwide, who share the humility and instinct to put themselves out for others.

It’s the creed of most religions and it’s what we celebrate when we laud services and emergency personnel. It’s what creates heroes when bad things happen and individuals rush to help strangers or to donate what they can to assist survivors.

So, maybe what I’m saying is that I truly love those bits of humanity which are instinctively unselfish, and put the needs of others on a par with their own, at least in some practical ways.

In Scotland today, it’s a penny on income tax, smilingly borne.

negative thinking

To Gain Confidence, Kick Out Your Roommate

I hinted around that it was time for her to find a new place to live. I politely asked her to leave. Several times, in fact. Of course, she did not leave willingly and fought to maintain the upper hand; the control she’d always had in our relationship. She resorted to her usual tactics – belittling me, pointing out my flaws, using my secrets and my fears to chip away at my self-esteem and confidence.

I just finally had to kick the “witch” out.

negative thinkingI’d known my roommate since my early teens, so she knew all my secrets and my deepest, darkest fears. She had been there through my lowest of lows. She’d seen me crunch through a family size bag of Lay’s barbecue potato chips while binge watching the Housewives of Atlanta, not House of Cards, as I led people to believe. She knew that my “C” cup was really a “B” cup with padding. She was standing by my side on my wedding day, during the birth of my daughter, when I was promoted to vice-president, and during the dark months after I lost my husband.

You know someone like my roommate. Most women have lived with, and had long-term, intimate relationships with someone like her. Unfortunately, many women still do, which is horrific because she is a true CONFIDENCE KILLER.

She’s the voice in our heads because she IS the voice in our heads. My pastor, Shanté Buckley, has a name for her – the Ratchet Roommate. The Ratchet Roommate resides in our psyche and is a crafty piece of work. For those unfamiliar with urban slang, the word “ratchet” derives from the word “wretched” and is generally used to describe someone who is nasty, vile and über tacky. She’s the monkey on our backs. She provides the running, negative commentary that critiques our every thought, decision and action.

“Why’d you say that? It was dumb.” “Your behind is too big for that dress!” “There is no way that you’re going to get selected for that board.” “Your friends didn’t invite you because you’re a drag.” “You’ve made your children neurotic.” “You’re not smart enough…You’re not attractive enough…  You’re not…enough.” 

Who Let Her Sign a Lease?

How do most women ending up living with this confidence stealing Ratchet Roommate? Those closest to us let the fox into the chicken coop. She’s usually invited in by our loved ones and our teachers when we’re young, long before we are aware of the danger. Think about it. Girls are taught to work hard, be accurate, error-free, precise. Get the gold star. We were educated and rewarded for pursuing perfection. Pointless perfection. Remember how the girls in class excelled on spelling tests and with handwriting practice? Both skills have been rendered slightly irrelevant today with spellcheck and the increased use of computers. What if we’d been encouraged to question the obvious or to lead our classmates, instead?

My grandmother took great pains to teach me how to make a bed with hospital corners. Her thinking was that if someone checked underneath the comforter, the sheets would have a crisp, smooth finish, thus assuring my status as… the perfect homemaker, I suppose? Marriageable? We practiced over and over. To me, it made no sense. It made the bedding too tight to comfortably sleep. By morning, the bed was messier, due to my incessant tugging, than if we’d employed a more relaxed approach. (Plus, no one I ever invited into my bed has been particularly concerned about hospital corners.)

But, if I’m honest, I do feel “less” on those days that I drag the comforter catawampus over the sheets and call the bed made up. To make matters worse, I feel a twinge of guilt every so often that I’ve not taught my daughter how to make the “perfect” bed. See? Even though I kicked the Ratchet Roommate out, she continues to pay me unexpected visits.

As we grow from girls to women, we’re often socialized in ways that are not confidence building. Assertiveness historically has been met with a frown of disapproval. Even today, women pay a personal and professional penalty for being perceived as “too aggressive.” We’re encouraged subtlely, and not so subtlely, to be careful, to be safe, be polite, wait our turn, get more experience, to be… good girls. What successful startup was ever led by a person aspiring to these anemic attributes?

How Can I Evict Her?

A few years ago, I happened across a book called The Confidence Code, written by Katty Kat and Claire Shipman, two journalists who, through their research into neuroscience, uncovered how dramatically a lack of confidence affects women’s leadership, success and fulfillment. They learned that a woman’s confidence is partly influenced by genetics but that, thankfully, there are strategies to overcome our genes.

That led me to do my own research and to talk to people in the field of neuroscience. It was freeing to not only know that I’d come to this planet hardwired with a certain confidence (or lack of confidence) level. Translation: It wasn’t totally my fault, for example, on those days when I could not live up to the “strong black woman” persona and that on Thanksgiving eve, I usually stayed up until 3 a.m., obsessively adjusting the place settings so they were all perfectly spaced on the table.

Here’s a fascinating fact on brain wiring. Studies show that female brains work a bit differently, physiologically, than the male brain. Women’s brains are wired to ruminate. The thing that makes us better multi-taskers and better at seeing connections with information also causes us to obsess over mistakes and to constantly re-play scenarios. Ruminating is a confidence killer. 

Yes, indeed. I was the perfect guinea pig for the strategies suggested in the book to build confidence. I share a few that worked for me below.

Reframe your negative brain loops (Get mind control back from the Ratchet Roommate!)

Review accomplishments: Think about things you did well that day or positive feedback you’ve received from others. I actually use the Success Vision Board app by Jack Canfield of the Chicken Soup series to create a vision board of my goals. I can look at them from my phone or iPad when self-doubt kicks in or I feel unmoored and need to re-anchor.  Create another explanation for your negative thinking. Maybe you haven’t heard back about the board position you’re up for because a decision has not been made, not because you weren’t selected.

Think about your relationship with social media: If you regularly feel dissatisfied with your life after checking your Facebook or Twitter account, curating may be helpful. On my low days, I stay off Facebook. I feel like an outsider peeking into the window of lives that look infinitely more exciting than my little ole one and my confidence nose dives. Instead, I hop on my personal Instagram account where I only follow people, places and things that delight me and bring me joy. Lots of videos with visually and spiritually striking things, exotic places, the antics of little kids… Curate your social media to carve out a sanctuary that is self-affirming.

Rewire your brain (Kick the Ratchet Roommate out!)

Rewire your brain through thought exercises. Use positive ACTION-BASED affirmations to stop negative thinking. When the Ratchet Roommate insists you can’t get the funding for your nonprofit, turn that negative thought into 2-3 actionable steps toward your goal and ACT on them quickly. Studies show that action-based affirmations, unlike mere positive affirmations, serve to rewire the brain, and when acted upon, to increase confidence.

Get a pushy friend group (Keep the Ratchet Roommate out!)

Do you have an honest girlfriend group that speaks “real talk” to you? If not, get one. This group is often not your besties, but resourceful women who know how to get things done. They push you outside your comfort zone. They provide a new approach when you hit a wall. They gently push you past your rationalizations for “why I can’t,” and help you reframe them to “Yes, I can.” Just as we sometimes need pushy girlfriends to block Mr. Wrong’s re-entry into our lives, we need that same group to keep the Ratchet Roommate away.

I envision a world one day where women of all ages burst into the song from the Wizard of Oz:

Ding Dong, the merry, oh sing it high and sing it low
Let them know the wicked witch is dead!




surviving grief

The Grief Project: Surviving Grief Through Acceptance and Appreciation

Following her husband’s death, Lore Powell, PRiME contributor, kept a journal she refers to as “The Grief Project.” Over the past few months, she has graciously allowed us to share her entries with our readers as she moves through the process of surviving grief and acceptance of a new life path. You can begin with her first essay here

“And it has been one hell of a year. I have worn the seasons under my sleeves, on my thighs, running down my cheeks. This is what surviving looks like, my dear.” – Michelle K.

So what does a woman do when all others don’t quite add up? Well OBVIOUSLY you accept a dare and sign up for a month-long trial on e-Harmony; that’s what you do. Within my first week on e-Harmony I was accidentally matched with a woman named Ruth. She would have been great, but she had horrible taste in clothes and I suspect she was gay.

Once I got that little snafu figured out, the rest was high school all over again. He sends a “smile” icon at you, you respond with a “smile” icon. The he asks you a series of predetermined questions – you answer carefully as to not come off as crazy or needy – and then he never responds again. I, unfortunately, always come off as crazy and needy. But, you begin to notice that the need to share a moment, a laugh, a meal or your deepest thoughts is a pretty common need. Then you don’t feel so bad about having in depth conversations with your dog.

I’m not one of the “cool” girls on e-Harmony, but I did not expect otherwise. Just the other day I wore a pair of shoes to Target not realizing that my dog, Cece, had chewed on them and removed the rubber sole from the heel. I quickly realized that the rubber is crucial to keeping you from sliding across the room. Three times I fell flat on my back in the middle of Target.

By the third time, people stopped helping me and assumed I was drunk. I must admit, by the third time, I just lay there for a few minutes and re-evaluated my life choices. You see, I was in Target to find a replacement dog bone canister for the doggy day care. During a visit, Cece broke free and knocked a ceramic container off of the reception desk. It broke into a million pieces and caused all the dogs to start a riot. It was pure chaos. I think they wanted to call the police.

Surviving grief

It’s been one hell of a year. A grief so deep it feels like an illness. A pride for my children so great that I boast of their awesomeness. Surviving grief through a self-realization of my strengths and weaknesses with a comfortable acceptance of both and a great appreciation of the life we are all provided and the plan we are destined to follow.


Are You Informed or Transformed?

Our brains are hard wired to learn, from the moment we are born. And it’s fun to learn. My curious brain regularly checks out the latest research for ideas, facts and interesting topics. Intellectual stimulation keeps me fresh and current. I’ll never stop studying the newest trends or stats on Professional Presence and Leadership Branding. But what do I do with all this?

I can say with conviction that if what I’ve learned is important to me, it’s transformational.

When facilitating workshops, I’m intentional in developing the session with adult learning approaches that can be transformational to participants who absorb and apply the lessons; thus, be changed by what they read or hear. Assuming the attendees come wanting to learn, then, and only then, will they apply the principles that can change behavior, ways of thinking or how they make decisions.

When you learn, how do YOU use the material—or do you?

Example of Transformational Learning

Here’s the story of a committed client who made application in his personal life. (Now that’s super delicious!)

A client hired me to coach him in developing his social skills. He was recently divorced and dating was new to him. So, how could he become more socially savvy to attract dates who would enjoy his company? His transformational goals included communicating with pizzazz, leveling up his personality, developing a compelling elevator introduction, and upgrading his image and clothing. Now the test – did he just suck in the information or did it sink in? Practicing and deliberately demonstrating what he had learned, he met and married a lovely young woman and lived happily thereafter, just like in the movies. He took information and applied it in a way that became transformational in his life.

When new knowledge is applied and practiced, it shows growth and makes you a more interesting person. Being interesting allows others to have meaningful conversations with you, even sharing different perspectives. The more you communicate with others, the more successful you will be in life. The more successful you are, the more enthusiasm you’ll have for everything you do.

As the commercial says, “What’s in your wallet?” I’ll switch the word to “What’s in your knowledge”— that can become transformational?