Archives for the month of: April, 2014

My first job out of college was teaching Spanish to grades 7-11 at a private school in New Jersey.  I started right before I turned 22.  I left way before I turned 23.

 

Fast forward many, many moons and this past month I found myself in a high school classroom again, this time in one NYC public school’s 9th grade to talk about social media

 

Don’t ask. Those of you who know me will find this laughable since I am a recovering technophobe who does the bare minimum online only because in my type of work I kinda have to.

 

It all happened very quickly – I was asked on a Wednesday if I would start the first of six classes the following Monday, and without much thinking said yes, I guess because I trusted the person and wanted to see if I could now handle the critters that gave me so much grief way back when.  Besides, I’ve been speaking/teaching for years, and I remember ninth grade being my favorite at the time, so why not? Social media? Apparently the entire curriculum would be provided, I just had to deliver it. 

 

HAH!  After the first day, with little to no preparation or training, it was like being thrown into a tank with 40 cranky sharks – what did I get myself into?!?!  I held my own, but nearly quit. Other days it was like wrangling cats. But there were a few days of pure magic.

 

After surveying the students and finding out they spend nearly 100% of their free time on social media, I realized that a., that’s the first problem.  And b., beyond the general predator and online reputation issues along with their celebrity obsession, when looked at through the lens of cyberbullying and the associated psychological and physical tolls – as in murders and suicides – it quickly occurred to me that having them understand the proper and positive use of social media, texting and the internet could not be a more important and serious assignment – and that it was quite literally a matter of life and death.  In other words, I realized that since they live most of their lives on social media, I was really there to teach them about life.

 

Ah-ha! Now that made sense, since that is what I do for my day job.  Let’s just say I tweaked the lesson plans I was provided.

 

It was an eye-opening experience to say the least. I could go on telling you how much I learned about kids, education, their future, our future, the culpability of adults, and the upsetting things I discovered about how they behave, what they think, what they do to each other and how they only care about being famous; how I tried in our short time together to turn some of those things upside down and instill them with completely new empowering ideas and perspectives (yes, the Golden Rule was one of the ‘new’ concepts introduced after you could hear crickets when asked if anyone could tell me what it was), and how I held their attention with my knowledge of Justin Bieber (yes, I saw Never Say Never and was impressed – don’t laugh – relevant how he used YouTube to become famous – but he is/was extremely talented and worked hard even though he’s having some trouble lately…not to mention second highest amount of followers on Twitter etc…..).

 

I know this is probably the first and only time some of these kids will hear about such things, and I’m pretty sure I reached at least a few who will now think a little differently about their lives and the consequences of their actions, both online and off.  But I know for sure there was at least one who truly got it.

 

After the third lesson, which was the first on cyberbullying and the aforementioned wrangling cats day, I was caught off-guard when after class a soft spoken but confident kid from the back of the room came up to me, shook my hand and said Miss, I just wanna let you know I really appreciate you.”  He had me at appreciate!  But then he went on to say how disgusted he was with his classmates, that they weren’t taking this seriously and that he had been listening to a lot of Bob Marley lately and looking for his purpose, how he wanted to be a leader and that today he found his calling.  STOP THE PRESSES.  “Purpose” and “calling” were the exact words he used. I cannot make this up. And you can imagine to someone who does a talk called “Who Are You and What Are You Supposed to Be Doing with Your Life” it was like winning the lottery. 

 

My work was done, (or as my new friend Karim goes: Boom! While gesturing the dropping of a mic and exiting stage left.) even if no one else got it and they did not listen to the next three lessons!

 

Junior and I talked about how he might accomplish such a mission, and I asked if he would like to start by talking to the class.  Our final day together he did just that – the first time he ever spoke in front of a room – and an unlikely candidate to do so according to both him and his teachers who say he’s not a great student and he admittedly wasn’t even the best kid, but recently had a change of heart and my class helped to solidify and confirm his new direction.  With no coaching from anyone he spoke for almost 15 minutes about how his peers need to wake up and take life and education ‘fa real’ and do something that helps others. I couldn’t have been more inspired and proud, as I know for anyone, especially at that age, to get up in such an environment and speak his truth was quite remarkable.  It was one of the best days of my life.

 

I tell you all this because I did not do anything special – all I did was LISTEN TO MY GUT, SHOW UP, BE MYSELF and DO MY THING, which is all you can ever do, regardless of the context.  You never know what the bigger plan is and how affecting just one person can make a huge difference. The Universe knows what it’s doing – and what it had to do to get me in the same room with that 14 year old Black boy was nothing short of a miracle. 

 

Still not a Belieber? Whether you’re 15 or 51 you’re never too young or too old to take responsibility for your life, discover who you are and be confident enough to share it with the world.  Give me a buzz and I’ll help you offer more than just a #Selfie to have a positive impact in the Twitterverse and beyond.

  

P.S. Whew! If you’ve gotten to the end of this post – thanks for indulging me! I know it’s a little longer/different than normal but really wanted to share my story since it was a special experience for me.  Thanks again for reading! 🙂  

 

P.P.S. Remember my post All Roads, Same Place?  This could be an addendum to that one….

Click here for a pretty version of this PGG including a photo of me in action

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If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person!  Click on above links for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today!

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Massive quakes, record rainfall, perilous flooding, topsy-turvy temperatures. There is no doubt that Earth – displaying her power with last week’s volcanic eruption as a kick-off to her special “Day” – is going through something. Whether you think of it as climate change, global warming or that crazy concept Al Gore invented, shifts happen.

If you think of each human as his or her own self-contained world, you could say our North Pole is our mind with its thinking/rational way of doing things, and our South Pole the heart and gut, our more intuitive, creative M.O.

We have always looked to the North Star to lead the way, but what about the Southern Sky? There would be no North without the South! One is not more important than the other. And what if the North is a little tired of doing all the heavy lifting, and is starting to pass the baton to the South?

In honor of Earth Day this week, think of yourself in the process of shifting and changing, just like the planet – be aware, take care, go with the flow and notice what happens. The Earth is crying out for ways to heal, and if you have been living a less than balanced life, so will you.  I’m here to help, so think of me like Mother Nature with a super-special compass that can reset the magnetic North and South within you.

P.S. Visit your own personal  ‘South Pole’ this Saturday, April 26th at  TWM’s Visioning Workshop!  Click here for more info and to register.

(Today’s PGG was originally posted on April 20, 2010)

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If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person!  Click on above links for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today!

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Congress ushered in a new Speaker of the House, Queen Elizabeth is thinking about abdicating so that Prince William may actually get a shot at being King; Tunisia did, and now Egypt is on the brink of overthrowing their longtime leaders; American television staples Larry King, Regis Philbin and ET’s Mary Hart, whose careers took off around the same time as Hosni Mubarak came into power, are all retiring as well. *[2014 update: Jay Leno, David Letterman, Barbara Walters, Derek Jeter….] What is the world coming to?!

Change is certainly in the air and we just had a Lunar Eclipse, so it’s another good time to start fresh for the next twelve months. What are you ferociously guarding in your life – and is it worthy of protecting, or are you just doing so because it’s been that way for the past 30 years? What people, ideas, jobs, things, ways of thinking might you be holding on to that are old, stagnant, outdated, served their purpose, overstayed their welcome or just need to step down so that something better and fresher can take their place?

What about that old persona you’ve been wearing?  We’re usually our own worst enemies, so maybe it’s time to take a look at the dictator who rules our lives – benevolent or not – and see how we might be restricting ourselves or abusing our power; where we’ve gotten into a rut, how we might have outgrown our ‘schtick’, or perhaps need a new audience to reflect back to us different facets of who we are.

 

Often things are so ingrained in us we can’t easily recognize them ourselves, so we need some deep reflection and outside perspective. After participating in a  Visioning Workshop* and then working with me the following four months, a client has completely turned her perspective around, resurrected the true essence of who she is, embraced her new direction, and in turn literally looks like a different person and ten years younger!  

 

Need a little help toppling your own personal outdated regime? Give me a buzz and I’ll help all the repressed parts or yourself rise up to have more say in governing your world, or at least get higher TV ratings.

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(*Today’s PGG was originally posted on February 1, 2011)

P.S. The next Visioning Workshop is coming up just in time – Saturday, April 26th! Click here for more info and to register. Current clients can attend at the TWM Member Rate!

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When the Universe speaks, I listen. Not in a burning-bush-on-a-mountain kind of way, but through some combination of random Facebook postings, TV shows/commercials, signs both literal and figurative and people, known and unknown.  Always repetitive.

In fact, most of the time I try to think as little as possible, and instead pay very close attention to the world within and around me to get the answers/direction I need. I find that the best information we have often exists in this 3D experiential form more so than in the grey matter between our ears, and that there is much wisdom in receiving and perceiving what comes our way. (Plus it’s more fun and takes less effort to operate like this!)

Anyway, after the stock market crashed, ‘it’ hinted to me in several ways that I should start some sort of group thing; when a third person, point blank raised his hand in my breakout session at an NYU symposium for laid-off financial professionals and asked “Can you put a group together?” I could no longer ignore the request. So exactly 5 years ago this month, Thursdays at Three was born and has been going strong without a break ever since – first weekly afternoons during the height of the recession, and then eventually bi-monthly with an evening session for folks who had found employment but asked to continue with coaching and support, and for others who wanted to make a career change or simply manage their work and life better.

It’s been quite the journey – and one of the most rewarding and important things I’ve done to grow both personally and professionally. It has made me a far better coach and facilitator, so thank you to all have participated, especially those four brave souls who ventured out and trusted me that first day! (Click here for info about the next session)

As many of you know, my path has been a long and varied one. In January 2001 I founded a nonprofit organization called The Women’s Mosaic (TWM) after a lot of soul searching and the result of a random workshop I picked from a Learning Annex catalog out of sheer desperation four months earlier. Among other things, that workshop was exactly what I needed to confirm and crystallize an idea that was floating around in my subconscious – 13 years,100 events, a coaching and speaking career later, the rest is history!

Of course when I told people how I started TWM, they all wanted to do the workshop, so we began offering it twice a year with amazing and profound results, attracting many repeat attendees with incredible stories throughout. The last one was in September 2012 and had been on indefinite hiatus since for various reasons. But, the past month, after various signs, in combo with not one, not two, but then a third person within a few weeks asked me when we were doing another I knew it was time – which means that many of you out there need this experience and it’s no coincidence that you are reading this right now!

I’ve already gone on too long in this PGG, so I will just let the video, invite and blog posts speak for themselves as well as these participant descriptions:

“TWM’s Visioning Workshop is a great way to spark personal growth by getting in tune with your inner-most desires. By putting aside what you think you want for yourself, and, instead, going with your gut, it is amazing what you fill find! The Visioning Workshop came for me at a time when I was trying to decide where to go with my life, and I am so glad I did it. Throughout the workshop, I was forced to believe in what I was doing and trust myself completely, and since then I have been able to look back on my collage for more guidance, for which I am very grateful. I highly recommend the Visioning Workshop for anyone trying to answer the simplest or most complex questions for themselves.” Sally M.

When I was doing my collage I was thinking about my future and about my job search…and it actually happened. I got a job in a fashion industry where everybody smiles and are very happy with their lives – as it was on my collage!!!! …I cannot really believe that it actually worked for me so well and cannot wait to see what happens next!!! Thank you so much for this wonderful experience!” Joanna G.

“I think of the collage I created at the Visioning Workshop as a map of my unconscious mind. At the time of the workshop, I was in a transitional phase and in need of guidance. The collage helped me to gain a sense of calm and clarity. I especially enjoyed taking a break from the intellectual, thinking side of my brain and opening up the side that is more intuitive. The visual representations of my thoughts and ideas gave me a sense of peace that I could move forward with confidence. I look forward to doing another collage soon. Suzanne G. 

“Great!  The workshop helped me to clarify what success looks like to me.” Sheraun B

Are you one of those folks who are supposed to be there on Saturday, April 26th?  You don’t need some shamanic ceremony or 80’s movie to help you decide.  Just listen to your Self, pay attention to the signs and heed the call to make some big changes in your life – this is simply a way to fast-track the process!

P.S. Yes, there are only women in the video, but men are most welcome to attend as well. You need some visioning, too!  🙂

CLICK HERE FOR A PRETTY VERSION OF THIS PGG WITH MORE INFO

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And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.  ~ Steve Jobs

Back in 2001, I visited a tech writer friend in San Francisco. He had a clunky gizmo about the size of a small hardcover book which he called an electronic jukebox; it allowed him to carry around and play his entire record collection on demand.  I was blown away.  Who knew that just a few years later I would own one myself,  only mine was sleeker, smaller and held even more songs?

I’m a PC, but one of my most essential possessions is my iPod, and Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement speech brilliantly articulates my understanding of life and how I try to express that through my own work and existence. Heeding his heart and intuition from an early age, combined with his intelligence and curiosity, allowed Steve Jobs to become the incredible innovator and visionary that he was. And because of it I’m sure there were many people along the way that thought he was a little coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs.

Last week the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize  went to three women, one of which was Leymah Gbowee.  Featured in the film Pray the Devil Back to Hell, Leymah was the main force behind the courageous movement that brought Liberia back to civilization and sanity in the midst of a barbaric civil war. She listened to her heart and intuition and then strategically called upon the united and unique position of women within the culture, the power of prayer and sheer will to transform a nation engulfed by darkness. Throughout the non-violent campaign she used innovative tactics that appeared crazy to many.  When I watched the film, I knew I was witnessing a modern day miracle; I was blown away

Yesterday’s holiday was named for an Italian fellow named Christopher Columbus who in 1492 not only had the guts to assert his belief the world was round and new lands were yet to be explored, but to actually go out and prove it.  Many thought he was insane to set sail into the unknown; even his native country would not fund his so-called folly.  But because he had the courage of his conviction supported by faith and reason to guide him, he literally opened up the world for humanity to discover each other; for better or for worse, things have never been the same. When I think about what it took to make that journey, I am blown away.

We never would have survived or evolved beyond the caveman era without the brave men and women like these who have stayed hungry and foolish throughout history. Because when you allow your passion and talent to be guided by a mind which receives direction from your heart, you can create something, be someone or do something extraordinary.   

Feeling a little too satiated and serious these days?  Give me a buzz, and I will help whet your appetite for life and discern whether the direction you’re going in and the ideas that you have are more of a wild goose chase or the kind that will one day blow me away!

(Today’s PGG was originally published on October 11, 2011)

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If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person!  Click on above links for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today!

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