Neurotic Tasmanian devil cleaning freak
WSG 58 I’d better get off my bum and go for the walk & Yvonne Lefort: Learn to live with confidence!
Ever sit there staring at your phone, at your computer, at the TV, at your eyebrows, tweezers in hand, and think, “I am frozen.” Like, I cannot seem to get myself to do anything. Any thing. Nothing. I am staring at whatever it is so that I don’t have to do what it is I should be doing. Paying the bills. Cleaning the house. Making calls for this newsletter. Following up on pretty much everything. Raking out the kids’ mind blowingly cluttered rooms (see above). I have had trouble with this lately. Is it the diminishing estrogen?
Have you found yourself increasingly putting off doing things? Perhaps you catch yourself wandering around aimlessly when you know you have things to do? Menopause could be behind it.
Dr Clare Spencer, The Menopause Center 07/04/2021
I don’t know about you but the one good thing, and I mean the only good thing about my menstrual cycle (accepting producing kids) was that twice a month I would get wicked OCD. My husband’s nightmare. I’d start neatening and moving piles, decluttering and throwing away, all over the house. As scary as it probably was for my family each month, that neurotic tasmanian devil cleaning freak could get shit done. Now, the kids are in college. They float in and out with all their stuff and the house feels like this irritating nowhere land between happy home full of family and a bus station.
What to do? How to shake off this ennui? Well, I don’t really know. To be honest that’s the point of why I write this newsletter. To help you all get motivated by my talking with lots of people who have been doing cool things or work in professions that might be helpful to you. From accounting (Meg Wellborn), to elder care (Katherine Vanderhorst). Skin (Rose Prieto) to self confidence (see interview below!). Or they do cool things like write (Liz Ziemska). Or write and teach (Claire Messud).
What happens when I feel like a stalled car? A deflated balloon? A loser or worse, a time waster? Go for a walk. I mean not like Lilea Simis, but just to get outside no matter the weather. There isn’t bad weather, just bad preparation. Or something like that. I’m going to grab a cup of coffee on the way back and I’m going to get myself to do a tiny bit of housework. Maybe it will lead to more.
When my house is a wreck I feel like I am a wreck. Makes sense. So, I’d better get off my ass and go for the walk. Then come home and deal with my house.
FYI, I need to discuss the empty nest home sprucing phenomenon! That’s a huge topic in itself full of de-crapping and spiffing. Anyone want to be part of that discussion? I think talking to lots of people who are experiencing mid-life home sprucing jags would be fun!
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Next up…Yvonne Lefort….Learn to live with confidence! Toot your horn!
If you’re looking for your Valentine or just a job, you’re going to like the following interview with Yvonne Lefort! She is a career counselor and life transition guru who will help you discover you! Keep reading to discover what it takes to toot your own horn!
Maven of the week! Yvonne Lefort!
Career and Intercultural Coach and Trainer
Yvonne Lefort was teaching her class called Creating A Fulfilling Life in America® at UC Berkeley to the spouses and partners of postdocs, visiting scholars and graduate students. Most of the spouses were women and all of them were international. The idea of the class was to give the spouses, who had left their lives behind to follow their very busy partner to UC Berkeley, a way to build a new life. At least temporarily.The schools found that an unhappy spouse makes for an unhappy postdoc or scholar. The class touched upon seeking volunteer work or employment, for those who were eligible.
When talking about best interviewing practices, Yvonne told the students they needed to “toot their own horns.” They told her they didn’t understand what she meant. She has seen the same challenge in workshops she’s been presenting for postdocs themselves and in her private practice.
Cultures are different, Yvonne points out. In America, we are an Individualistic society. We have all heard the tried and true Americanisms: Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, Self made, Self reliant, God helps those who help themselves. Individualistic. We do know what ‘toot your own horn’ means even if we women aren’t always so great at it. More on that later.
Here is an excerpt about women and self promotion:
"As women, we're socialized to fulfill a caregiver role and make sure everyone around us is comfortable," says Jessica Broome, founder and president at Southpaw Insights. "We heard from so many women that they don't want to be seen as conceited or boastful, but 83% of women had been inspired by hearing other women's achievements. We have to see the big picture and remember how helpful it is to women, especially young women, when we let our own light shine."
USNews By Robin Madell, Nov. 27, 2019
In Asia, being overly general, she said the focus is on harmony, conformity and what’s best for the team. There is a Japanese saying, “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.” Not individualistic.
Europe has a bit of both. Spain and Portugal are more collectivist and group-oriented, valuing relationships with others. Germany and northern Europe are more like America in that they place a greater value on personal independence, generally speaking, of course.
Just the facts, Jack(ie)
In her class she explained to the students to “put their best foot forward” and to talk about themselves in a positive way thus, “tooting their own horns.” She told them she did not mean to “brag” about themselves, but to talk about themselves by presenting relevant facts. The ability to talk about oneself in this manner takes practice and may not feel comfortable at first. Yvonne and I talked about how girls were not taught to be assertive in the past, but things may be looking up.
She told me a great little side story about her friend’s daughter who is 27 and realized her value had grown at her company so she did something about it. After doing some serious leg work outside her firm, she arranged for a meeting with her boss. She went into the meeting well prepared. She asked for a raise and a promotion and presented her company with a letter from a competitor with an offer and position matching what she was asking for. She got her raise and position without having to leave her current firm. She did her homework and proved her value with facts. Go team!
The trouble with facts…
A lot of women do suffer from what Yvonne referred to as The Imposter Syndrome. They feel they aren’t as competent or intelligent as others might think. Some women also fear how they’ll be perceived if they self-promote. Assertive women can be considered vulgar and arrogant. Somehow assertive men are not thought of as such. If a woman is being told she needs to toot her own horn and name her strengths to land a job she cannot also have negative thoughts of “Am I good enough?” This line of thinking is not good for networking, or job applications, obviously. As Yvonne says, if you want to network, you have to give information about yourself, what you’ve done, how good you are at certain skills that are relevant to the job for which you are applying or seeking.
How to communicate what’s unique and interesting about you without turning the listener off: Practice.
With practice we get more comfortable. It makes perfect sense. This is one of the exercises she does in her workshops and in mock interviews with clients. We are meant to look at an interview the way an actress looks at a play. There is a script! There is rehearsal. It becomes natural.
If asked, “What is your greatest strength?” or “Tell me about yourself” you have your script ready. Yvonne has you look inside yourself. What are your strengths? Is it organizing space? Managing people? Writing? Then what are your three strengths as they apply to this job? You need to be able to answer for yourself, What are you good at? What do you enjoy? Then you need to learn how to communicate this in a story-like fashion.
We shifted gears to the empty nest, career change at midlife, retiring and general life transitions. Helping people “rediscover” themselves is one of the core challenges that people have when they’re in transition. She looks at the question, “who am I now that….” My kids are gone. I am retired. I am divorced. Etc. What is important now? She would have you answer the questions “what are my interests, values and skills” leading to a path of self-rediscovery. My work/life balance? Full-time or part-time? In person?
In addition to working with private clients, Yvonne has created a number of different workshops and women’s groups along the way that have paralleled where she is in her own life. From career into motherhood “Rediscovering Yourself in the Midst of Motherhood®” and then from motherhood into career “Crayons to Careers®”. A piece of advice to pass along to our friends and daughters from Yvonne: “If you’re going to step out of the workforce temporarily to raise kids, try to keep in touch with former co-workers and people in your field”. Go to conferences, go to lunch with colleagues. Try to stay up-to-date and relevant. Take classes.
Or, just find ways to expand your resume. For instance, when Yvonne was a stay at home mom and she was volunteering at her son’s pre-school planning events, she gave herself the title: Social Events Coordinator. See a need and fill it. Then name it, and stick it on your resume.
To learn more about Yvonne’s work or to contact her, visit her website: https://yvonnelefort.net
That’s all for now. I love this dress I am wearing below, it’s reversible! Black on one side, red on the other. On sale. Let me know what you think of the podcast. That’s a Bebe song in the intro called Helium. It’s coming out soon. I hope you have a good enough Valentine’s Day.