Category: Uncategorized (page 2 of 22)

Kristen Tsetsi – The Girlfriend Takeaway

Kristen Tsetsi is one of those award-winning authors that I long to be more like. Not only has she written more than one novel (if my second one ever gets done, I’ll rejoice), she’s also super disciplined.

Waking at 6:00 a.m. daily, she gets a few tasks out of the way before religiously sitting down at her keyboard. It’s a Monday to Friday gig, and if she isn’t writing by noon, or isn’t finished writing by noon, she considers her writing day shot. Wisely, she takes weekends off.

Her process is obviously working. With three novels under her belt and another in the works, this prolific young woman leaves us veraciously turning pages.

Where do her ideas come from?

“Usually from an argument I want to make or something I really happen to have particular insight into.”

The latter was the case with her novel Pretty Much True, one I’ve started and struggle to put down. Semi-autobiographical, it tells the story of deployment from the perspective of a loved one left at home. Brilliant.

“I just thought it was an emotional experience that really needed more raw, intimate, maybe ugly exploration so that people would know more when they saw things on TV. Like those happy homecomings that they like to cry about.”

Her other two novels, The Age of the Child and The Year of Dan Palace, (written under the pseudonym Chris Jane) are also on my list, and they should be on yours, as well.

Why the pseudonym? She wanted to write something from a male perspective, and she didn’t want her readers to pre-judge the book based on the author’s gender.

Another pseudonym, Sylvia D. Lucas, has also served her well on a couple of non-fiction books. What Every Woman Wishes Modern Men Knew About Women and No Children, No Guilt.

“I wanted to establish that person’s identity and voice separate from my fiction voice, because all that Sylvia D. Lucas stuff had to do with being childfree, and a lot of it was first person, personal experience, so it was part privacy, but mostly it was a branding decision just so that she would have her own place.”

Kristen is also a member of a three-woman team that hosts a web series, Childfree Girls, that focuses a childfree lifestyle. It virtually includes herself in Connecticut, LeNora Faye in Alberta, Canada, and Isabel Firecracker in Columbia.

“The series is really designed to make anyone feeling weird about not wanting kids not feel weird, to ignore the pressure, and to not enter into a life they really don’t want to enter into just because people think they should.”

Love that!

Every time I interview an author I get more inspired to continue my own writing journey. Kristen was no exception. In fact, she gave me a huge kick in the ass, whether she knows it or not.

If you’re a writer (or reader), you’ll want to hear more about Kristen’s process and about her thoughts on indie versus traditional publishing. It’s all in the interview, and it’s all just a click away.

ACCESS INTERVIEW HERE

Thanks again for being on the show, Kristen! I can’t wait to see what you do next!

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Cindy Wahler – The Girlfriend Takeaway

“If you regard millennials as clients, then you have a different perspective as opposed to regarding [them] as employees.”

Clients? Who is she kidding?

Well, no one. Cindy Wahler is a psychologist and expert in human behavior, and she knows a thing or ten about this now dominant generation. Yes, they have outnumbered us all, so we need to get onboard if we want them onboard.

“Resistance is common, depending on the generation that is hiring and making decisions around promotion or advancement.”

I was excited to have Cindy on the show to talk about this challenging topic. So many people, and organizations in particular, appear to be going about engagement and retention in the wrong way. I liked the idea of shifting our mindset, and you can bet that millennials do too.

“We need to look at millennials very differently in terms of what we provide that generation versus previous generations. […] Many of the brilliant minds behind some of our innovative companies and products are millennials, because they’re innovative and take risks. They’re great change agents. They’re able to flex, and they have courage.”

By why do we have to do the changing? Shouldn’t they be more like us? We’re the ones with the work ethic!

Man. If I had a dollar for every time I heard a statement like that!

Milliennials are hard workers. It’s just that their expectations and motivations are completely different. Gone are the days of “Do as I say,” while waiting for the gold watch. They’re not going to hang around blindly doling out dedication and loyalty. The organization that employs them has to be aligned with their beliefs.

“They want to make a societal difference, and they want the organization they’re connected to to make a societal difference.”

And the environment needs to adapt to their needs, as well.

“If you’re old school as an organization and you expect a millennial to sit in their cubicle from Monday to Friday, then that isn’t going to resonate. As long as they meet their deadline, where they do it shouldn’t be that critical.”

Preach! There is absolutely no need to be in house to do a job. As long as the work is getting done, who cares? Being continually under someone’s watchful eye if you’re doing a good job is an insult as an adult, pure and simple. I’m convinced I was born too soon.

Honestly, the discussion I had with Cindy was super insightful. Too often I hear employers complain, ad nauseam, about how their employees are driving them nuts. Well, it’s time to adapt, and it’s time to admit that we could learn a thing or twenty from them, as well.

“Just because they’re younger doesn’t mean they don’t have knowledge or insight. […] Organizations need to embrace reverse mentoring.”

Amen!

If you really are serious about hiring great employees, ones that will take your organization to the next level, then it’s crucial to get with the times. Not sure how to do that, or afraid of losing your position of authority? Ask for help from someone who’s got it figured out. Guess what. They might be right under your nose.

“We need to think about the value that they [millennials] have and the difference that they’re making, because they’re our viral carriers for the sustainability and future of the corporations they’re working for.”

For some seriously cool tips on shifting the climate of your organization, be sure to listen to Cindy’s interview HERE.

(Also found on iHeart Radio, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or anywhere that your favorite podcasts live).

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Kristen Ali Eglinton – The Girlfriend Takeaway

“I spend so much time pondering home.”

A gem of a quote from this week’s podcast guest, Kristen Ali Eglinton, PhD. You may not relate to what she said, but my blood has always pumped equal parts wanderlust and imagination, so I had one of those visceral reactions when I heard it. You know, the kind that lead to a slight weakening in the knees? As I look around my comfy little digs right now, all decorated to express who I yearn to be, I want nothing more than to ditch it all and do some global pondering myself.

Kristen is on the move so much that she can’t remember the last time she’s been in one place for more than a year. But her wandering isn’t aimless; her travels not without purpose.

Kristen is Co-founder and Executive Director of Footage Foundation, which launched in 2009. It’s an international non-profit that works to amplify the voices of underserved communities through storytelling. She and her fellow co-founders, four women colleagues (“beloveds” to Kristen), were all attending Cambridge University at the time of this brainchild’s arrival, and, as social scientists, they recognized the need to improve the lives of young people (particularly young women) through media arts and social science.

“We figured out from the beginning – what are the needs, what are the voices, what are the pieces? But then in getting this really gorgeous, rich data, we were also intervening. […] Suddenly, there were young people being heard and being of service, so all of these benefits were coming out of it.”

It is now an extremely dynamic non-profit that uses unique multi-media tools to amplify the voices of youth, which, in turn, inspires change. That change comes not just to the individual but to their communities, as well. And it’s literally global, not to mention incredibly inspiring.

“I see young women in countries around the world, feeling so deeply connected to others they’ve never met.”

Within Footage Foundation are a list of interventions, including Girl-Talk-Girl, which focuses on gender-based violence, and Her{Connect}Her, a program for refugee women and the forcibly displaced.

“Just because someone’s in a refugee camp, doesn’t mean they don’t want to feel good about themselves. It’s a matter of dignity.”

This is serious and impactful work that encompasses all levels of compassion, something our current social climate needs a hell of a lot more of.

“We talk a lot about compassion and connection in our work and narrative form, and I think sometimes people think these things are fluffy and they’re not. They change your brain; they change your life. They can change our global landscape.”

As you can well imagine, this is demanding work, but Kristen considers almost all of what she does to be a creative act, whether writing (she’s a textbook author among so many other things), the work that she does with Footage, or as a consultant working with other organizations. It comes, she says, from her personal development, curiosity, and the desire to know herself better.

“I had a colleague tell me once that sometimes we think of the programming as a trip down my pathology.”

Another damned fine quote! And did I mention her sense of humor? Only matched by her intellect and abundant curiosity.

I did ask if there had been a key interaction or person who inspired her belief that sharing stories is a basic human need, but she said that it’s just something she instinctively knew.

“My background is in art, so I’ve always been a maker and an expresser. I write daily, and I’m always creating stuff. I see these as forms of expression, storytelling through whatever medium. Maybe simply oral histories or recounting the past – how the past can shape us. These are tools of our identity, these are the mirrors that we hold up to see our strengths and, of course, to see those sticky areas, those things that are kind of holding us back, imprisoning us. That’s how I’ve always looked at stories and media arts and expressive arts.”

Empowerment. That’s what I’m seeing here. Young women having the freedom to express – the freedom to find their own inner strength – the power to bring it out in others. These are the voices that need to be heard. This is the change we’re in need of.

Kristen is changing our world through her work, and it’s work that she’s obviously very passionate about. In the spirit of sharing stories, I’ll be forever grateful that she came on this podcast and shared hers. She may ponder home, but it’s very clear to me where she lives: Anywhere and everywhere she can walk through the door carrying what’s needed most.

“I think that if you continue doing the authentic work and the kind of work that you’re meant to do, and you just keep your eyes ahead, and you work with compassion, it keeps going, doesn’t it? It keeps growing.”

If you haven’t listened to Kristen’s interview, you still can by clicking HERE.

Also available on iHeart Radio, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever your favorite shows live.

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Teru Clavel – The Girlfriend Takeaway

“How are your kids being educated, and who are their role models? This is stuff that should be discussed on a regular basis and dissected.”

When the opportunity arose in 2006 for Teru Clavel and her family to move to Hong Kong, they jumped at it. She had two small boys at the time and would deliver her daughter while there. Further opportunities then took them to Shanghai and Tokyo before their eventual return to New York in 2018.

Following each of their moves in Asia, Teru enrolled her children in local public schools. This led to many insights and the ability to objectively compare approaches.

Now, as a comparative education specialist, speaker, and author of the book World Class: One Mother’s Journey Halfway Around the Globe in Search of the Best Education for Her Children, she’s sharing her observations for the benefit of parents and educators.

Among the many differences we discussed, which also included government mandated textbooks and a more organized system, I was struck by the marked difference in use of technology.

“Japan and China use less […] than almost any other country or economy. That’s in the classroom; not outside the classroom. Here, a lot of schools try to have a one-on-one tech policy where every child from kindergarten has access to an iPad or Chrome Book. […] These very students, who have limited technology exposure in the classroom, actually become some of our world’s strongest mathematicians and scientists.”

I was genuinely surprised by this information, and the extent of my own stereotypes. She also corrected me on another: I assumed creativity to be something only we were encouraged to express.

“The US has this misperception that it’s all rote learning and direct instruction and they don’t have any creativity, but it’s actually the complete opposite. When we think about budget shortfalls, what gets cut in the US? It’s typically the arts, and it’s a fundamental part of the curriculum in Japan.”

In hindsight, I remembered my interview with Betty Edwards, author of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, where she expressed the exact same findings in Japanese culture.

Teru does make a point of adding that she doesn’t want people to get the wrong impression.

“The last thing I want is for anybody who reads the book to think that we’re behind or that these other countries have it better.”

Her recommendation?

“Talk about the value of an education. What does it mean? What are your goals? What are your expectations? How do you meet those expectation?”

And advice?

“What books have you read? What kind of books are they? How much time are you spending reading? And if your kids aren’t reading, are you reading? Are you showing them that reading is actually important?”

If you have children, or plan on having children, her book is a great place to start. But while you’re waiting for it to be delivered, listen to her full interview HERE.

Teru’s inspiring interview is also available on Apple Music, Google Music, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever your favorite shows are hosted.

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I Need Your Help!

Okay, so I’m shamelessly asking for your help. I recently competed in the virtual game show FunkQuest out of the UK, which you can watch HERE (short clip), but the only way I can win is to get the most votes!

Yes, that’s where you come in. All you have to do is watch the clip, and if you like me the best (how could you not), you just email “I vote for Leana” to Leana@funkythinkers.com And it has to be done by January 20th. It’s that easy!

Again, I know it’s shameless, but I really need my peeps to help me out.

Thank you in advance, and CHEERS to the amazing Jonathan Senior for making funky shows like this happen.

CHEERS!!

Wendy Gilhula – The Girlfriend Takeaway

“Kindness isn’t relevant.”

Yes, these are words that Wendy Gilhula once heard from a potential publisher. As an educator, writer, she knew that statement to be false. Regardless, she became discouraged and stuck her manuscript in a drawer where it sat for several years.

When each spring rolled around, she’d clean out that drawer and toss the typed manuscript in the trash. It always managed to make it back out safely, however, avoiding the dreaded curb. And so the cycle would repeat.

Later, while tutoring a middle school student, the child asked, “What do you do all day when you’re not tutoring?” She laughed, but in her head she heard, I write books that kids will never read. It was at that point that she took her words out of the drawer and dusted them off for good. She’d had enough.

She now has three books, all of which speak to the fears and concerns of children. Her latest is a book on bullying called Pika Bunny says EEP!, and she understands the sad implications of its popularity. Bullying is a very real and scary phenomenon.

“I get some beautiful responses from teachers, saying, ‘Thank you for giving them a voice,’ and I get a lot of hugs from kids.”

Wendy has now read in three countries, Canada, US, and England, and she offers virtual readings, as well. They are live and interactive sessions for kids, and she’s racking up some serious Skype miles due to demand. You can contact her on her website if you’re an interested teacher or librarian.

I love Wendy’s genuine spirit and desire to support children in our challenging cultural climate. It was a joy to interview her, and it’s just as fun following her journey. And if I’ve learned one important thing from this outstanding woman, it’s to take those ideas out of the drawer and do something with them!

Thanks for the inspiration, Wendy!

You can listen to Wendy’s entire interview HERE. Also available on iHeart Radio, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever your favorite podcasts play.

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Hear a real Pika bunny say EEP!

The Wise Jeweler

I had it all wrong. Completely backward.

For years, I’ve been using a river analogy, claiming that I’d once been passively floating in water that took me in the wrong direction. Not until I discovered the existence of ores did things start to change.

Today, while chatting with a local jeweler named Nazir, I discovered the error of my ways.

It’s not that the river was taking me in the wrong direction. It’s that my mindset was taking me in the wrong direction. I’d let other people’s well-intentioned suggestions for my life and career guide me with blind trust. When I discovered the ores, I started rowing in the direction I wanted to go, but it’s been a constant struggle to get on course.

What I heard today, following the statement, “Let me tell you my story,” was that the Universe has a plan for each of us, and we need to follow that plan with ease. No resistance. When we fight our gifts and talents, when we choose a profession that doesn’t speak to our souls, we live in a state of dis-ease. We live stressed.

He’d been there. He spoke from experience.

This jeweler, with the eyes of a sage and the soul of a mystic, spoke exactly what I needed to hear – and entirely without prompting. I hadn’t mentioned one thing about the internal struggles I’ve been dealing with, nor had I posed a single question. It was simply offered – as though on the very wind of which he spoke.

In the few hours since our interaction, I’ve been thinking. About ores, and water, and wind. About how my life became hectic and forced from the moment I picked up those damned ores, and how I’m tired of fighting the current. I know, intuitively (as most of us do), what I should be doing, and I haven’t trusted the truest form of guidance to get me there. That’s about to change.

What can I share of my own wisdom? When someone, unprompted, says, “Let me tell you my story,” listen. Live for these connections. Relish in their meaning and depth. Breathe deep and let the wind carry you to a place of great insight.

Nazir almost made me cry today, although I doubt he noticed, but only in the very best way. And, not surprisingly, I’ve been significantly calmer since.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I’ll hear more wise words in my future. With the wind at my back, I’ll be paying closer attention and will continue to share. Chances are, I’m not the only one who needs to hear them.

The Last of Fifty-Two!

I have a love affair with words
The spoken, written, sung,
Though poetry I could not count
Among the things I’ve done

‘Twas on a whim, a moment’s call
Just something I would try,
To write a poem every week
Till fifty-two’d gone by

No formal training, teachings, prep
For which most judge, no doubt,
But good I never claimed to be
‘Twas just to try it out

And now all 52 are penned
And posted to be read,
With hopes you laughed, or cried, or both
But mostly that you’re led

To do a thing you think you can’t
And kick fear at its core,
Then share it with a world that needs
To take these chances more

So, now I lay my pen to rest
Though only for a while,
Occasionally, I’ll try again
If just to make us smile

And for those who have read each one
There are a precious few,
I thank you from my heart of hearts
With praise and gratitude

~ Leana Delle
Sunday, January 5, 2020
2019 Sunday Poetry Challenge – Number fifty-two of fifty-two – WOO HOO!!
Photo Credit: Neven Krcmarek

Christy Whitman – The Girlfriend Takeaway, Part Two

“It’s the small things that make a huge difference.”

Wise words from NY Times bestselling author and celebrity coach Christy Whitman. She’s so right, and what she’s referring to is consistency.

“With New Year’s resolutions, we create lofty goals but don’t do what we need to do on a consistent basis.”

I had to have this outstanding woman back on the show after her first interview in August. As CEO and Founder of Quantum Success Coaching Academy, who better to talk to about resolutions and a personalized 2020 vision?

“It’s time to start taking really deliberate control of our lives and realize that we’re not in any way, shape, or form victims – that we get to choose what we get to focus on. We then attract what we want, or don’t want, by where we put our energy.”

But beyond that, she advises that we concentrate on not just our desires but how we ultimately want to feel. If we can identify with that (be it freedom, abundance, joy, etc.), we can start to experience those things and draw them into our lives.

“When you really start to look at the why behind it, and ultimately how you want to feel once that desire has been achieved, then you’re coming from a place where now you can work with the energy. You’re actually inspired instead of having to motivate yourself.”

I love this, but my biggest takeaway came when she broke it all down into one kickass analogy: Similar to a spy movie where it takes two keys turned at the same time to unlock a secret passage, we have to insert our keys first. Once we do, the Universe jumps in to fulfill its part in opening the door.

BAM! I’m getting my key cut ASAP!

And what about setting actual resolutions? Christy theorizes that they may actually create more limitations for us (think the gym here).

“If it’s January 5th, and you wake up in the morning, that’s a fresh new day. This moment right now is different for the one that just passed. Right now you have a moment to hit the reset button and start.”

She advises a “new moment’s resolution” versus putting so much pressure on the first day of the year.

“Everyday when you wake up, it’s your birthday. You are giving birth to a brand new day. It’s the first day of your new year.”

Well, I love birthdays, so I’m all in on this concept. My favorite part is actually how birthdays make me feel, and feeling, according to my esteemed guest, is where it all begins.

I hope that each of you feels a true sense of opportunity in each new day of this new year, and that you never let discouragement get you off course. Let’s all start our mornings with a gentle “Happy Birthday,” in 2020, and then put a big red bow on our wildest dreams.

To hear more on how to make your dreams reality, listen to Christy’s full interview HERE or wherever your favorite podcasts play.

HAPPY 2020, dear friends!

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Yet Another Year

Another page is turning now
With twenty-nineteen passed,
Another mention from us all
On how it went too fast

Seconds, minutes, hours, days
Melted into one,
With all those worries, fears, and joys
Now setting with the sun

And as we raise our champagne flutes
We’ll briefly try to share,
The best and worst of all that was
And how we all did fare

For some will hate to see it end
While others will rejoice,
Regardless, right at midnight
Each soul will raise a voice

For old acquaintances we’ve lost
For new who’ve come our way,
For possibilities ahead
For keeping death at bay

Our lips will kiss and arms embrace
The ones our hearts hold dear,
And bravely we will face the dawn
Of yet another year

~ Leana Delle
Sunday, December 29, 2019
2019 Sunday Poetry Challenge – Number fifty-one of fifty-two
Photo Credit: Jamie Street

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