The Path to Happiness

flikr, evil erin

Have you ever spent time with someone who INSISTS at looking at the dark side of things? Aren’t they exhausting?

(Confession before we go any further – I have, on occasion, been that person.)

I had good reason to be unhappy. If you had had my life back then, you’d have been unhappy too.

Unless, of course, you weren’t. Because you had already figured out what I didn’t know.

But then, I discovered it too. It’s a secret that’s so incredibly magical, I absolutely MUST share with you.

Happiness is a CHOICE!!!

Oh my goodness, I want to scream it from the rooftops, because I think there are still a lot of people who don’t know that.

But it gets better . . . As soon as I discovered that happiness is a choice, a whole other host of truths revealed themselves to me.

Did you know, for example, you don’t have to dwell on stuff that upsets you? Yes, you do need to think about stuff long enough to respond with right action, but you don’t have to ruminate on your fears, your injuries, your sorrows, the injustices that have been done to you.

No, love, you really, really don’t.

Here’s another one — Did you know that you don’t need anyone else’s permission to make choices about how you want to live your One Beautiful Life?

Nope. You really, really don’t.

If you are unhappy right now, YOU need to change. Stop looking at the other person. They aren’t gonna change. Nope. Not one whit.

Unhappiness can only manifest with your permission. Misery needs a co-conspirator in order to thrive – you! (click to tweet)

When I found out that happiness is a CHOICE, I was all fired up to make it. But it didn’t come automatically. I progressed in fits and starts.

Oh, my library is FILLED with books on happiness. But, I didn’t need a better moral psychology.

What I needed was a PROCESS.

And, though each of the “experts” I consulted had some good ideas, NO ONE had created a PATHWAY that fit my circumstances – a woman, over 40, trying to find a new life direction while dealing with all the pressures and hormonal changes that are UNIQUE to my age.

We got the kids, we got the parents, we got the work, we got the community involvement, AND we got changing and unpredictable hormones.

So, I resolved to forge a pathway myself. It took several YEARS to figure it out, but eventually I came to understand what works and what doesn’t.

I’ve created a NEW model for women over 40 and I’d love to share it with you.

In March, I’m leading a Brand New self-paced workshop called, “UNSTUCK.” There’s no charge for the workshop, but you do have to let me know where to send your lessons in the contact form below.

It’s Free. Cause You’re Priceless.

But it’s like everything else in life, you have to enter to win.

 

Love, Jen

P.S. Here’s where you enter to win —

photo: flickr, evil erin

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In Praise of Crappy Beginnings

5 of 7

 

If you want to move forward with your life – but can’t because you’re afraid you’re gonna “pick wrong” and, after all, it’s not like there’s a ton of time left and we can’t really afford mistakes at this point, cause you only have so many do-overs left, and won’t you just look silly for starting and then stopping and starting stopping AGAIN . . . I say this to you:

Let’s Here if For Crappy Beginnings.

One of the false beliefs we need to overcome is that we need a fully-formed idea in order to BEGIN. We don’t.

You may not know this, but Life After Tampons was NOT my first website.

Nope. It wasn’t even my 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or even 5th idea.

Life After Tampons was my SIXTH shot at this.

That’s right, I had FIVE other Training Bra Blogs before we got to this one.

I share this with you because I want you to understand that often, CLARITY comes as a result of TRUSTING THE PROCESS.

As far as Life After Tampons goes, here is a snapshot of the process of discovery that came before:

Training Bra Blog/Idea #1:  I started with a Twitter account called, Fifty Chicks.  Since I was just 49 then, and on a personal pilgrimage to take a meaningful turn in my own life, I got an idea to interview 50 older women about turning 50.  Get it – ha, 50 women, 50 chicks. About turning 50?

Pretty silly, right?

Well, I wasn’t really into that project from the start.  I only sort of half-assed interviewed one person and I got really really bored with the idea.  I didn’t really care about anyone else’s experience.  I wanted to just create my own, sorta free style.

 

Training Bra Blog/Idea #2:  Then, I got an idea for a fusion personal/business blog called Fairy Brandmother.  My idea there was to combine my 30-years of marketing experience with some kind of mystical spiritual wise woman site.  I would be helping women find their personal brands and use those to create their own legacies.

(I still do that work, by the way, I just let go of the tacky Disney-name that didn’t suit my own brand (which is “Sassy, Soulful Strategies for High Impact Results”)  If you are curious about developing your own brand, email me at Jennifer@lifeaftertampons.com.)

About this time, I took a new COMPLETELY HORRID job.  This job was EXTREMELY AWFUL and out of alignment with both my gifts and my values. But, it gets darker before the light, and this was just about the professional bottom of my life.

One thing that was really really good about this job, though, is that I was responsible for all Social Media for this little firm.

And I had no clue what I was doing — but I did know how to get one.

I had to practice.

So every morning, before work, I showed up at the local Starbucks at 5:30 AM and worked for an hour and a half practicing.  I set up a free blog and then I learned about Facebook and Twitter and I set it all up and hooked it all together.

 

Training Bra Blog/Idea #3:  And then I started blogging.  And the name of that blog was Flourish.  And I LOVED the name of that blog.  And I LOVE that that is really what I teach at LAT.

But, it wasn’t exactly the end game I wanted.  I knew that I wanted to teach people how to flourish and thrive, but it didn’t say enough about BEAUTIFUL YOU!.

And I knew I needed that.

But, by now, I knew the basics of blogging and I needed to know that, of course.

Okay, so we’re still celebrating half-assery, but now I’m getting more strategic. Then, it occurs to me that I should call a Focus Group of my really savvy biz girlfriends and ask them what they thought I should do.

So, I made treats.  And a beautiful luncheon.  And I invited six or seven really brilliant girlfriends over to jam.  (That was an awesome afternoon, by the way.  Maybe soon I’ll teach you how to do that.)

Okay, so my friends gathered round and they all talked about me in front of me.

And one of my friends, Elaine, said, “You know, Jen, when I think of you and your life, I see all these beautiful little vignettes that don’t seem to connect at first, but do when you look deeper.  It makes me think of little sterling charms.  And charm bracelets are very “in” right now, so I’m thinking you should have something like that.”

 

Training Bra Blog/Idea #4:  And so, Plucky Charmed was formed. This was a blog where I just sort of riffed about life.  And none of it had to connect, because that was the whole point.  The tag line for that blog was “A Swarm of Boy-kin and a Smidgeon of Grace.”

Get it?

“Boykin” is my maiden name and I ended up with six sons and The Italian, which makes for a LOT of ‘boy kin.’  And, the smidgeon of Grace is a play on the idea of a spiritual undertone and my baby daughter who died, whose name was Grace.

Do you see how funky and sort of kitchsy and somewhat tacky a lot of this is?

Still half-assery.  Still throwing my stuff up on the wall.  Still not really having a good direction or plan – BUT I’M GETTING CLEARER.

I LOVED Plucky Charmed.  It just wasn’t easy to explain to others what it meant.  And, I knew that, if I was going to be successful at my entrepreneurial adventure, you needed to be clear about what I did (duh!)

 

Training Bra Blog/Idea #5:  About this time, I was thinking a lot about courage and – let no one say that making a bold move forward at midlife does not take Courage!!

I’ve also spent the last 30 years and more than a HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS on personal development stuff, and I loved the phrase “Courage to Change,” so I thought, “I wonder if a URL with that is available?”

And so I looked.

And, of course, it wasn’t.

But there were all sorts of other “courage” versions.

One of them was “courage to change (dot) u s” and that one kept sticking with me and sticking with me and sticking with me . . .

And then I thought, COURAGE TO CHANGE (dot) US – which is the only thing we CAN change.

And I loved couragetochange.us.  Sort of.  About 5 people read it regularly.  My mom.  My Aunt Susie.  My fella.

But it still wasn’t perfect.  It wasn’t cohesive.

On the one hand, it felt too – well—Massengill Disposable Douche, if you know what I mean.  It was too “hearts and flowers and costumed geese decorating the kitchen.”

On the other hand, my tag line was, “You’ll Thank Me for Kicking Your Ass,” which is ABSOLUTELY the funner way I would talk.

But the hearts and flowers coupled with the kick-ass tagline created BRAND CONFUSION – and Brand Confusion is the “death knell” for business growth.

But, I KNOW I’m getting closer.   A LOT closer.

Because now all these half-assed ideas are teaching me things!

I know that our work takes courage and I know that I want to teach people how to flourish.  And I know that my tribe is women who are spiritually and creatively open and I know that our work has something to do with identifying our core personal brand and I know that I want to work just with women.

And I know that its style will be plucky.  But it will also be “charmed,” in that it will be charming and adorable (age-appropriate style) and it will be charmed like spiritual.

Now, over on the sidebar to couragetochange.us, I had a little personal intro block.  There was a silly line drawing of a woman and  — really I didn’t know how to do anything super-professional looking – but it said, “Here at Courage to Change, we seek to answer the question of the ages, ‘Is there Life After Tampons?’”

And one night, I’m fast asleep and then I woke up with a JOLT of menopausal insomnia and this one idea kept swarming through my brain –

Life After Tampons –

Life After Tampons –

Life After Tampons . . .

Life.    After.     Tampons?

“No, It can’t be!”

And then I RUSHED to my computer absolutely TERRIFIED that someone else had already thought of it.

But the URL was there and I GRABBED it.

And the NEXT day I called all my best, smartest, truest girlfriends – and a client or two – and asked them,

“Life After Tampons – do I have the stones to name my business Life After Tampons?”

And half said “YES!” and half said “NO – that’s completely awful.”

And I sat with it.  And I got still with it.  And in my heart of hearts I KNEW I was at the center of the journey.

I KNEW that I was where I was supposed to be.

But it took a LOT of Half-Assery.

It took

  • Training Bra Blog #1: 50 Chicks, where I learned I wanted a community of women at midlife
  • Training Bra Blog #2: Fairy Brandmother, where I learned that part of my work was going to be helping my clients find their Unique Wisdom Brand
  • Training Bra Blog #3:Flourish, where I learned that that’s what I teach AND where I learned the rudiments of blogging and social media
  • Training Bra Blog #4: Plucky Charmed, where I learned the application of the business tool of Focus Groups AND I learned that my work was going to be soulful and whimsical and somewhat magical
  • Training Bra Blog #5: Courage To Change– where I learned that a big part of what I was going to teach was FEARLESSNESS and CHANGE – AND that I was going to give myself permission to “out” my own three decades journey into spiritual/personal development and recovery.

 

  • FULLY er, DEVELOPED BLOG: And finally, LIFE AFTER TAMPONS!!!

And here we are, three years later.

Today, Life After Tampons helps thousands of women each month from around the globe.

BUT I DIDN’T START THERE!

And, if I hadn’t started SOMEWHERE we likely would have nothing at all.

So, please, when it comes to your midlife reinvention, we need to abandon the idea of “all or nothing” thinking.

Simply pick a first action.

And BEGIN.

Love, Jen

P.S. Make sure you’re part of the Life After Tampons community. Sign up here and get Unstuck: our 12-part self-study course.

photo: flickr, 5of7

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LAT MashUp — Calling All Writers of Every Sort

Idris

So, I decided to write something for Beautiful You. It started out GREAT!

Here are the first two lines:

I lost four pounds. So I’m celebrating with a bagel.

And then?

Well, I got NOTHING!!

I really tried. I’ve been sitting here for nearly an hour trying to get the third line. And then I decided to let you write it.

Yep, we’re having an old-fashioned LAT Mash Up today.

Here’s how it works:

  • I’m going to post the first two lines below.
  • One of you writes the next two in the comments section (only TWO lines, please.)
  • The third person picks it up from there.
  • And, so on.

The last time we did this, it was with poetry and we had the most wonderful poem by the end of the day. Here it is: LAT Winter Poem

So here we go.

 

LAT MashUp

I lost four pounds. So I’m celebrating with a bagel.

photo: Idris Elba

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How to Leave a Legacy

united nations photo
Today, we’re talking periods. Actually, what we’re really going to do is talk about LEGACY – but periods will be involved.

Not ours.

The ones of women less fortunate than we.

Did you know, for example, that in some parts of the world, women and young girls have no access to safe sanitary protection?

I didn’t. I never even gave it a thought.

Did you know that, because of this chronic lack of access to sanitary protection, these impoverished women and girls have to step out of school and work for one week each month?

The problem multiplies exponentially in war-torn countries and during times of natural disasters. It’s just so hard to rebuild.

Somebody’s period shouldn’t get in the way.

Anyway, I didn’t know any of these things. And I knew that we just HAD to talk about it.

On Friday, February 13th, we are having a FIRST here at Life After Tampons. In honor of our 3rd anniversary as a community, we are going to take the conversation of LEGACY a little deeper.

We are going to meet a woman who is working to ameliorate this problem at the grass roots level.

Three years ago, when Life After Tampons was but a month old, I met Angela Devlen of the Mahila Partnership. Both Angela and I were part of Jonathan Fields’ first Good Life Project Immersion Group. (You can learn more about that here.)

Angela already had a successful business in public health. She was also a very busy mom and wife.

But, Angela knew she had to do more. Through her nonprofit organization, the Mahila Partnership, Angela found a way to solve the problem of access to sanitary supplies while ALSO helping these women improve their economic circumstances.

If you’ve even wondered how your one life can have a bigger IMPACT in the world, you won’t want to miss this conversation.

Angela has cracked the code on how to be a Difference-Maker beyond work and family. This conversation is for every woman who wants to create something that is uniquely hers but is confused about how to make that happen.

This live conversation is EXCLUSIVE to Life After Tampons email subscribers. If you’re already a member of our community, you will automatically receive a message about how to join us for this LIVE conversation. (On Friday, February 13th at noon EST.)

If not, no worries — just let us know how to reach you below.

Love, Jen

Let us know how to reach you here: 

photo: united nations photo

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