College Bound

1, SF_52WeeksOfWisdom_FINAL COVER_022215, front_edited-1, squareFarrell_Don'tActLikePrey_FULLCOVER_FINAL_090714, cropped_edited-1Are there any women in your life that are going to college this fall?  Someone who has graduated from high school and is starting the next phase of her education?  Someone who has been in the “real world” for awhile and has decided that a college degree is what she needs to accomplish her career goals?  Someone who is going back to college for an advanced degree?

If so, my books would be great gifts to let them know you are thinking of them, as well as assisting them in meeting their goals through self reflection.

Don’t Act Like Prey! A Guide to Self Leadership for Women uses stories and metaphors to discuss the costs of being passive, the costs of being aggressive, the benefits of being assertive, and how to find the delicate balance of assertiveness.

52 Weeks of Wisdom, A Guide to Self Leadership for Women provides 52 short stories to encourage the reader to think about what she does, why she does it, and does she want to change.

For additional information, and to order from your preferred supplier in your preferred format, go to SusanLFarrell.com.

Show What You Know

dreamstimefree_2404805My husband and I went to a baseball game recently.  Listening to the National Anthem brought back a memory from grade school.  The experience turned out to be one that probably shaped my life more than I thought.

I was in 5th or 6th grade.  The teacher gave us an assignment for the next day:  learn “The Star Spangled Banner.”  I was more than a little concerned—that’s four long verses!  When I got home and told Mom, she told me I’d better start working on it.  After supper, she helped me.  By the time I went to bed, I had the entire anthem memorized.  I didn’t really understand all of it, but I had the words memorized, and in the right order.

At school the next day, the teacher called on my classmates to recite the song.  One by one they went to the front of the class and recited anywhere from a few words to a few lines.  A couple may have recited the first verse.  That was it!

I remember wondering what I should do.  I knew the entire anthem.  That was the assignment and so that’s what I did.  Part of me thought I should stand up and demonstrate what I had done and what I knew.

But part of me wanted to belong.  I didn’t want to stand out from everyone.  I didn’t want to be different.  It would be easy to recite less than what I knew—maybe one verse.  That would be a good compromise, wouldn’t it?  Demonstrate some of my knowledge while not being too different.

I still hadn’t decided what to do when the teacher called my name.  As I was walking to the front of the class, though, I decided to do it.  I had spent the entire evening learning it, Mom had spent time helping me, why shouldn’t I show what I knew?

When I finished all four verses, there was a brief silence (and I thought, “Oh no!  What did I do?!”) and then wild clapping.

My classmates didn’t care that I learned more than they did.  They weren’t going to shun me for that.  It was all good!

I think it is good to show what we know.  If we don’t, no one will know except us.  And others need to know if we are going to succeed.  I have since learned that it’s important to be respectful, to use a certain amount of courteousness and tact at times, but don’t be afraid to show what you know.

Ask for What You Want

dreamstime_xs_76643212Sometimes we don’t ask for what we want or need.  We somehow expect others to intuitively know.  That doesn’t happen.  Telepathy or mind-reading only exists in science fiction and fantasy.

I’m rather embarrassed to admit this, but recently I was irritated with my husband.  It seemed that he was doing much more than normal to help others, but wasn’t doing anything (or, more accurately, doing any more than usual) for me.

When I started thinking about it, I realized that the difference was that they had asked for his help.  I hadn’t.  When I asked, he gave me more assistance.

How many times has this happened to you?  You didn’t get what you wanted from your employer, employees, customers, suppliers, or associates because you didn’t ask.  You didn’t get what you wanted from your spouse/partner, parents, children, friends, or neighbors because you didn’t ask.  If you don’t tell them what you want, they won’t know.

Sometimes all we have to do is ask.

Did You Do Better?

dreamstime_xs_83897954When we tell ourselves that we did something well, that’s positive.  Maybe we did well in an interview, in a discussion, or in confronting an employer, employee, or customer.  Maybe we did well in something that benefits our health, such as exercising.  Maybe we handled a difficult situation with a friend or family member with respect.  When we give ourselves credit for doing something well, that helps our self-esteem and helps us to do well again.

Sometimes, though, we do not do well.  We handle a situation poorly.  Unfortunately, when this happens we sometimes focus too much on how poorly we did.  We then sometimes extend that into other areas.  If we are bad at “A” then we must be bad at “B,” for example.  This, of course, hurts our self-esteem and makes it more difficult to do well next time.

When we do not handle a situation well, or do not do as well as we could at something, it’s important to recognize it and learn what we can from it.  But it doesn’t do us any good to beat ourselves up over it.

A question that helps me is, “Did I do better than I normally do?”  If the answer is “yes” then I know that at least I am improving and can do even better the next time.  It encourages me to keep trying rather than giving up.  As long as I am progressing, there is a good chance that eventually I will do well in that situation.

Often it is not a matter of doing “good” or “bad” but doing “better.”

Beginning and Ending of the Year

dreamstime_xs_59251764The beginning of a new year is a good time to review where we are, where we want to go, and how will we get there.

Something else of value is to compare the end of the year with the beginning of the same year and see if anything changed.

How does where you were in your professional and personal life at the end of 2016 compare with where you were at the beginning of 2016?  Did you go where you wanted to go?  Did you achieve what you wanted to achieve?  Why or why not?

What do you have to do differently in 2017 to make the end of 2017 different from the beginning?  Now is the time to develop and implement a plan.

To Create 2017, Learn from 2016

dreamstime_xs_63165764Many people make New Year’s resolutions.  Many of those who make resolutions do not achieve them.

I think one reason is that many of us do not learn from the old year.  What did we do?  Why did we do it?  Did our decisions and actions achieve the results we wanted?  If not, what could we have done differently?  What worked, what didn’t?  What have we learned?

If you truly want to achieve your goals for 2017, I suggest you first think very strongly and clearly about 2016.  Use that knowledge to develop goals and plans for 2017.

May you learn from the old to create the new!

Chasing Squirrels

dreamstime_xs_43448794I like dogs, or, more accurately, I like dogs I know and I don’t dislike dogs in general.  I’m more of a cat person.  I can appreciate, though, how dogs get distracted by the smallest things, such as squirrels.  No matter what the dog is doing, a squirrel shows up, and boom—she’s off chasing it.  (Okay, cats are basically the same.  We just can’t see some of the things that distract them.)

Unfortunately, we humans often “chase squirrels” as well.  We can easily become distracted from what we need to do to achieve our goals.  Little things constantly come up, and boom—we’re off chasing them.

If we want to achieve the professional and personal life that we want, it is important that we stay focused on our goals and ignore the “squirrels” that constantly chatter at us.  It’s acceptable to tell people “no.”  It’s acceptable to let unimportant things slide.  And although some squirrels are fun to chase, does doing so help you reach your goals?

Are you a squirrel chaser?  Could you achieve more if you ignored those darn squirrels?

2016 and Beyond

dreamstime_xs_489283562015 is completed.  It’s over.  Did you do what you wanted?  Did you accomplish what you planned?  Did you position yourself to be where you wanted for 2016?

If yes, congratulations!  That is fantastic!

If no, then take what you can learn from it and move on.  That’s all any of us can do.  It’s a waste of time to moan about it or berate ourselves for it.  Decide what you can do differently this year and do it.

What do you need to do in 2016 to position yourself to where you want to be in 2017?  2020?  2030?  Setting goals for the upcoming year is great.  But to really climb to where we want to be in life, we need to plan further out.  If you want to finish a degree in five years, what do you need to do this year to make it happen?  If you want to retire in ten years, what do you need to do this year to make it happen?

What do you need to do this year, next year, and the next, to achieve the life you want?

Accomplishing Your Dreams

Accomplishing Your Dreams (Video Link)

dreamstime_xs_38167609Previously we discussed that commitment is what turns a daydream into a dream. Creating and implementing a plan is what turns a dream into reality.

We can tell ourselves that we are committed to a dream. Unless we create and implement a plan to make that dream a reality, however, we are not really committed.

How committed are you to your dreams? What are your plans for achieving them? How far have you progressed in implementing your plans?

Dream or Daydream?

Dream or Daydream? (Video Link)

dreamstime_xs_29004175We hear a great deal on how we should never give up on our dreams. I think it is extremely important, however, to determine if they are dreams or just daydreams.

Daydreams serve a purpose. They are fun. They can get us thinking about “what ifs.” If nothing else, they are cheap entertainment.

The difference between a daydream and a dream is commitment. If we are not committed to turning our dreams into reality, then it is just a daydream.

For example, I had a daydream since I was a child to go to Ireland. It remained a daydream until I made the commitment to make it happen. When I committed the time to planning and going on the trip and the money to pay for the trip, then it moved from a daydream to a dream. Finally, the dream became a reality.

What dreams do you have? Are they truly dreams, are you committed to them, or are they daydreams? If they are daydreams, do you want them enough to make the commitment to turn them into dreams, and ultimately into reality?