Space with Grace

A friend of mine, who has been going through a rough time, said at a meeting that she appreciated that people were giving her “space with grace.” I had not heard that phrase before, but I like it.

Some people, when they are going through a rough time, like having people around them, helping them, doing things for them, etc. That’s fine.

Other people, however, like to have some space to deal with whatever they are going through in their own time and at their own pace. That’s fine, too.

I am one of the latter people. Although I like to know that people are concerned about me, I don’t want them hovering over me. Gracefully giving me some space is what I want, need, and will forever appreciate.

If you want to help someone that is going through a difficult situation, give them what they want rather than what you would want. How do you know what they want? Ask them.

Learning to Live with a New Normal

When my mother passed away, I realized that I was going to need to learn to live with a new normal—a life without her in it. In talking with friends, I realized that in life we are continuously learning to live with new normal.

Life is normal when we are children and living with our parents. No matter what it’s like, it’s normal to us. It changes when we move out, for college or other reasons, and we learn to live with a new normal. It changes again when we marry, have children, the children move out, our careers change, other changes occur, and each time we adjust to a new normal. Our normal life changes when we lose someone, through death, divorce, or other circumstances, and once again we are faced with learning to live with a new normal.

Change is a part of life. And not all change is bad. Many changes we face are very positive and lead to a better “normal” life than what we had before. We might as well enjoy the “normal” life we currently have while we have it, because it will change, and we will need to learn, again, to live with a new normal.

Self-Care and Getting Rid of Guilt

At a women’s connection meeting we were asked, as part of our introductions, to tell what we do for self-care. As soon as the chapter manager told us this, I realized something new that I needed to start doing.

I was glad to be at the meeting, but also feeling guilty that I was doing something for me professionally rather than something personally, for me or for others. I do that quite a bit. And yet when I’m doing something personally, I feel guilty about not doing something professionally and growing my business.

Do you do this? No matter what you are doing, professionally or personally, for yourself or for others, you feel guilty that you are not doing something else?

This needs to stop. The best we can do is try to balance our time and then, whatever we are doing, enjoy it. Feeling guilty is non-productive and damaging. I’m going to work on this. How about you?

High Standards and Double Standards

Do you know people who say that they have high standards? If they have high standards for themselves as well as for others, then that’s good.

If, however, they have high standards for others, but do not meet those standards themselves, then it’s just a double standard.

Be wary of those people. If they expect you to meet certain standards for them, but are not willing to meet those same standards for you, why do you want to associate with them?

Self-Empowerment for Women: Special eBook Prices

During the month of July you can purchase any, or all, of my eBooks on self-empowerment for women for 50% off. That’s only $2.50 per book. That’s only $2.50 for the opportunity to learn something that can change your life for the better.

Go to my Smashwords Author Page and scroll to the bottom of the page for links to my books including 3 Good Choices: Change It, Accept It, or Leave It; 52 Weeks of Wisdom, Volumes 1 and 2; and Don’t Act Like Prey!

After purchase, go to my website for free materials to supplement the eBooks.

I write on self-empowerment for women. I provide ideas to encourage women to think about what they do, why they do it, and do they want to change.

Filling Time

Time is a limited resource. We each have the same amount each day, week, year. Since we cannot create more time, it’s important to use the time we have the best we can. To do this, we need to determine what is truly important to us. From there, we can decide how to prioritize what we do with our time, how we fill our time.

There are some things that we might not want to do, but we need to do. Going to work and earning money to buy the things we want could be an example. (Although, if you don’t enjoy your work, you might want to consider why and make changes.) Other examples include responsibilities like housework and yard work. (An option might be to hire someone else to do them.)

Some things to consider in prioritizing how you fill your time is to think about the impact for the future as well as for today. Will there be an impact a year from now, ten years from now? Will you remember it a year from now, ten years from now? Will your children and grandchildren remember how clean you kept the house or the Sunday afternoon ice cream runs? For example, making time for a family vacation is something that you and your family will remember for the rest of your lives.

Another challenge is that how we prioritize our time and how others want us to prioritize our time might not be the same. In fact, it usually isn’t. In these cases. remember that it is acceptable to tell people “no.”

It’s difficult to find the right balance between “need to do” and “want to do.” Don’t worry if you are not finding the right balance every day. Are you finding the right balance most days?

I feel like I am always busy, but I don’t always feel like I am doing what is most important. I might be doing what is most immediate, but that doesn’t mean that is necessarily a high priority item.

Don’t fill your time with things that aren’t that important. Focus on what is truly important, not just for today, but for the future. Just because your time is full, doesn’t mean that it’s leading to the life you want.

The Importance of Self-Reflection

If we want to change our life, we sometimes need to change things outside of ourselves, external to ourselves. We might need to change our job or even our career. We might need to change or even leave relationships if the person is no longer supportive of us. We might need to change where we live or change our lifestyle.

If, however, we don’t change what is inside of us, what is internal to us, we might find that external changes are not enough. Often, we need to change who we are to make lasting changes in our life.

Changing ourselves involves self-reflection. We need to look deep inside our hearts and minds to see who we really are. We need to shine a light in the dark, dusty corners to see what is there. We will probably find things that we are not happy with, that we are not proud of. That’s okay. We are human. We need to acknowledge and accept what we find. Once we do that, then we can decide how we want to change.

While we are looking inside ourselves, we will also find wonderful things. We need to take credit for and embrace the positives as well. Finding the light in us can help us in managing the dark.

Self-reflection is an integral part of personal growth, of becoming who we truly want to be, and in creating the life we desire. It can be painful in the short-term, but it is well-worth it in the long-term. I encourage you to find the courage to reflect upon who you are and why.

Now Published! “52 Weeks of Wisdom, A Woman’s Guide to Self-Empowerment, Volume 2”

I am extremely happy to announce that the second volume of 52 Weeks of Wisdom, A Woman’s Guide to Self-Empowerment is now available.

We all have power within us. We all have the right to use that power. Often, however, we don’t give ourselves permission to do so. Self-empowerment is when we give ourselves permission, and take the responsibility, to become the person we want and to create the life we desire.

52 Weeks of Wisdom, Volume 2, provides 52 additional ides to encourage you to think about yourself and your life. Who are you and who do you want to be? What do you have and what do you want? Reflecting on these suggestions will assist you not only in answering these questions, but also in implementing plans to achieve the answers.

Topics include:

  • Respected or Liked?
  • “Why” vs. “What”
  • Personal and Positional Power
  • Dream or Daydream?
  • Expectations

No matter where you are in your journey of self-empowerment, this book will assist you in reaching your destination.

The book is available as a paperback from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It is available as an eBook from Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords. Go to www.SusanLFarrell.com for links for each supplier and format.

Pricing and Value

As an indie-author, I’m always trying to decide what to charge for my books in different situations. All businesspeople do this. What is the value of the product or service as perceived by the buyer? If we charge too much, not as many people will buy our product or service. If we charge too little, we won’t make as much as we could. It’s also possible that in the buyer’s mind low price equates to low quality. It’s always a balancing act.

I think oftentimes we underprice our goods and services. When we do, we might also be undervaluing our goods and services in the customers’ minds.

I’ll use my books as an example. My paperbacks retail for $14.99. I get about 70% royalty from Amazon, which is about $10.50 when people buy my books directly from Amazon. In the past when I’ve sold my books at book shows, I’ve usually charged $10.00 per book to encourage people to buy. Since I need to pay Amazon about $4.00 per book (including shipping), I would make about $6.00 per book. (Actually, this is inaccurate as it does not include the cost of copyediting, proofing, interior design, cover design, and everything else that goes into publishing a book, never mind the value of my time spent writing. However, it works for this example.)

Last month I did a book show with many other authors in Barnes and Noble in Madison. It is common for bookstores to keep 40% of the book sales to cover their costs of having a bookstore. I wasn’t surprised that B&N wanted 40% of what we sold during the show. I decided that with that in mind, I was going to charge the full retail price of $14.99, which would give about $9.00 per book, minus what I paid Amazon for the books, which would leave me making about $5.00 per book. (Which would be better than $2.00 if I discounted the price like I usually do.)

I sold just as many books at $14.99 as I usually do for $10.00. The higher price did not seem to be an issue. Interesting.

At the Lakefly Writers’ Conference this month, I decide to charge $14.99. Again, it did not seem to affect the number of books I sold. Price didn’t seem to be an issue for those that were interested in my books.

I also tried something else that worked well. I offered all three of my books for $35.00. That increased books sales more than discounting individual books ever had.

If you are in a situation where you think you might be undervaluing your goods and services, evaluate this closer. Charging more might be good.

“The Feminine Mistake” by Leslie Bennetts

The Feminine Mistake

I was raised to be independent and self-sufficient. I had my first job when I was 12. I loved that it gave me a little bit of financial freedom from my parents. Even as a child I knew that it would be my responsibility as an adult to earn the money to buy the things that I wanted. It never occurred to me to expect a husband to do it.

As a young woman I knew women who married and stayed at home, some with children and some without. Some of these women were my age, some my mother’s age, and some were older. I thought it was risky to be totally dependent on someone else, but I didn’t think too much about it beyond that.

That is, until I read Leslie Bennetts’ book, The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much? This book was such an eye-opener for me. It described, and backed up by research, all the risks associated with being totally financially dependent upon a husband. And the risks were not just for the present, but for the woman’s entire future.

Unfortunately, divorce happens. Death happens. Disability happens. Unemployment happens. If it happens in a family with two incomes, it’s bad enough. But if it happens when there is one income-earner, it’s worse.

Even taking a break from work for child-rearing has financial consequences. The woman who does is never going to be able to catch-up on ten (just to pick a number) years of experience that other people have that she doesn’t. She’ll never catch up on ten years of contributions to a company. She’ll never catch up on ten years of company or industry advancements. That will be reflected in her pay for the rest of her career. It’s also ten years of lost income that won’t be reflected in social security or retirement investments.

Bennetts also discusses less tangible advantages of working such as the intellectual, psychological, emotional, and health benefits of being self-sufficient.

We can’t make good decisions with missing or inaccurate information. Bennetts’ book provides information to help us make better decisions. It can help us in determining what the true costs of our decisions are. We might decide to make the same decision, but at least we will know what to expect.

Some of you reading this might think it’s too late for you. But it’s not too late for some girl or young woman that you know. Read the book for her sake, if not yours. If she is young, open her mind to what might be new ideas and thoughts—that she can have it all, that she can do it all. Encourage her to think about what different careers pay. Boys usually consider money when choosing a career. They are raised to think about supporting themselves and a family. Too often girls are not and choose careers that don’t pay well without considering the financial ramifications. Too often there is the subconscious thought that she will have a husband to support her and so her income won’t really matter. It will. If she is an adult, give her a copy of the book and discuss it with her.

She will thank you, even if she never tells you.