Monday, December 30, 2013

Extraordinary People and Their Lessons for Success

We know you are out there gearing up for a new year and we thought you would be motivated by this blog post by Harvard Business Review with "10 Extraordinary People and Their Lessons for Success".

Here's our favorite by Historian David McCullough:


McCullough on hard work: “When the founders wrote about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, they didn’t mean longer vacations and more comfortable hammocks. They meant the pursuit of learning. The love of learning. The pursuit of improvement and excellence. I keep telling students, ‘Find work you love. Don’t concern yourself overly about how much money is involved or whether you’re ever going to be famous.’ …In hard work is happiness.”

For more lessons on success from Maya Angelou, Sandra Day O'Connor, and more, go here.

Curva-Lish Team

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cultivating Wholehearted Living and Letting Go

Our post inspired by Brene Brown titled "Vulnerability: The Key to Wholeness?" was so popular that we decided to have a follow-up that references her book "The Gifts of Imperfection". The book includes guideposts on how to cultivate the characteristics of the woman you want to be and letting go what prevents you from enveloping these characteristics. 

To give you a high level review of the book, the top rated review on Amazon (one of our partners) summarized the book as:  "The Gifts of Imperfection is a little gem of a book that offers readers a way to change their lives through adopting the practices of "wholehearted" living. Brené Brown shows us how to live more authentic and compassionate lives, while learning to embrace our imperfections, and recognize what issues get in our way, such as shame and fear...The author challenges long-held notions and helped me see the world in new ways. She unpacks concepts such as the difference between happiness and joy and courage and heroics...She is brutally honest about her own strengths and struggles, so her words come not from an elevated plane, but from walking right beside, or maybe a little ahead, of the reader." (written by Beverly Mcphail)

Here are the wholehearted living guideposts that we love:

Guidepost #1  Cultivating Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think

Guidepost #2  Cultivating Self-Compassion:  Letting Go of Perfectionism

Guidepost #3  Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness

Guidepost #4  Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark

Guidepost #5  Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty

Guidepost #6  Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Comparison

Guidepost #7  Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth

Guidepost #8  Cultivating Calm and Stillness:  Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle

Guidepost #9  Cultivating Meaningful Work:  Letting Go of Self-Doubt and "Supposed To"

Guidepost #10  Cultivating Laughter, Song and Dance:  Letting Go of Being Cool and "Always in Control"

Remember, if you want to find a professional certified in Brene Brown's work, go to Daring Way.

We hope you are continuing on your journey of authenticity, vulnerability and cultivating wholehearted living while letting go.  To your continued evolution always...

Curva-Lish Team

Thursday, October 31, 2013

25 Inspired Ways to Wear a Scarf in 4.5 Minutes!

It is Fall and Winter is coming in many parts of the world.  No matter where you live, a scarf is a necessity but doesn't have to be stale, unimaginative or unfashionable!  It is an accessory that can be purchased at multiple price points, in many styles and worn in many ways!

With over 20 million views, we love this simple YouTube video on how to wear a scarf 25 ways with different tie options you may have heard of and some that you probably have never heard of!

Here are some great scarfs from our retail partners:

Forzieri has the most covetable and luxurious accessories that includes a Vivienne Westwood black and gold scarf and Missoni zig zag scarft that we are in love with! Use their drop down menu in the upper left hand corner to shop in your home country...they deliver globally!

China print Vince Camuto unique option: China Print Scarf

Saks Fifth Avenue (UK) has a great Plaid Cashmere option for our European Curva-Lish readers

An Alexander McQueen Skull scarf from Nordstrom is a statement piece that you can wear forever

If you love Polka Dots or Tribal Print, then Hobbs Ltd (UK) offers a great option

Most people know Amazon as selling strictly books or electronics but they have a huge selection of greatly priced fashion and we found these Mixed Infinity Brick and this gorgeous Leopard Print Cashmere scarves that are cute and highly functional for day or night!

Happy scarf-ing!

Curva-Lish Team

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How-To Inspired Wreaths: Football!

Yes, we know it's the holidays and when you first saw wreaths you thought about Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Well, we wanted to do something a little different.  What about wreaths that celebrate Football that can also be a fun family project you can do with the kids, your community group or as a fun activity with some girlfriends and wine!

I asked my talented friend Meredith to share her how-to tips and give us a few steps to make a wreath with a football/sports theme that's a different twist than the traditional holiday theme (we'll also cover that in a November post). 

Since we are in the great state of Texas, of course Meredith selected a University of Texas at Austin (UT) (whose chant is "Hook 'Em" and mascot is the Longhorn) and Texas Christian University (TCU) themed wreaths to share with us!

Here are Meredith's tips and steps to make a "Too Easy Tutu Wreath":

Step #1 Start with a styrofoam wreath form and 3-4 6 inch x 25 yard rolls of tulle in the colors and patterns of your choosing. You can find it in a wide variety at most craft stores (or see our links below).  I find that 2 or 4 colors work best.  You will also need accent ribbons and letters or pieces to glue on to accent the wreath depending on your theme.

Step #2 Begin by cutting the tulle into even strips roughly 15-17 inches long.  The easiest way to do this is to wrap it around cardboard lengthwise and cut the ends.

What You'll Need (Step #1)
Step #3 Double knot each strip of tulle around the wreath form as shown, alternating in a pattern of your choosing.  For two colors, I typically do an AABBAABB pattern, for three I've found that ABABCABABC works well.  I used purple, black, and white in the TCU wreath below, and just orange and white on the UT one.

Step #4 Make sure that each knot is very close to the one before it, and continue tying knots until you've gone all the way around the wreath--no hot glue or sewing needed!  When finished, give the wreath a "haircut" to trim any long tulle pieces that are sticking out.

Step #5  Cut your accent ribbons (if you want to use them) into pieces a little shorter than your tulle and knot them around the wreath as well.

Step #6  Finish by gluing accents or letters onto your wreath--whatever your heart desires to match your theme or decor!  You can do a sports team theme, a hobby theme, a family reunion theme, a birthday theme, a best friend theme, a vision/goal theme, etc...the possibilities are endless!  Use your imagination!

To purchase accessories like what Meredith suggests, our partner Amazon has some great options in their Arts, Crafts, and Sewing section for your own "Too Easy Tutu Wreath":

Happy wreath-ing!

Que and Meredith

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Run Your Own Race

The motivation for this post came to me as I walked along the lake one morning. As I came towards the end of my walk, a guy passing by on a bike yelled, "Get moving and go faster!"  After I got over the shock of how rude I thought his comment was, I sat down at a nearby bench and pondered what would make a total stranger yell something like that?  I was doing my best and running my own race.

When I sat down, that was the first time in the countless times I've been to the lake that I noticed it's beauty.  I always went to the lake with a specific mission in mind: exercise.  There were athletes walking, running, biking, hiking and some parents playing with their children. In other words, everyone was running their own race doing what gave them satisfaction.

This made me think:  the longer I live, the more I am convinced that true, authentic victory in life comes from running your own race.

Then what happened next really surprised me...I realized that I am extremely grateful to be out on that lake walking!  You see, I had major reconstructive knee surgery a few years ago and since moving from Seattle (a colder climate that made it painful to just walk) to a warmer climate in Texas, my quality of life and health has improved tremendously!  I've been living in Texas for about 10 years and this was the first time I could recall sitting calm and still, thankful for better health and greater mobility in my knees.

I started Curva-Lish for exactly this same reason: to figure out how to focus on running my own race.  I love fashion, I love style and home décor but I also love learning new things in the areas of self development, purpose and tools to create greater happiness and self awareness.  After searching for a blog that would help me with being a "work in progress" and not finding one, I created Curva-Lish to be such a resource for all those who felt the same way I did!

Inspired and Authentic Life of Style, Purpose and Grace

What's also interesting is I created Curva-Lish's first post on the one year anniversary after I resigned from my corporate job so that I could replace that date with a memory of not being scared to death of what life would unfold but of a memory when I dared to create something believing that my experience wasn't the only one.

It has been a little over a year since Curva-Lish began and I am always startled at who reads the posts: our top 5 locations where Curva-Lish is read is the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Russia and India. This proves what I thought from the beginning...the experiences of being a woman is universal no matter your country. We are all seeking out tools, resources and ways to live the most inspired and authentic life we can.

I hope you all will continue to read and support the blog by signing up for updates via email and forward to your girlfriends!  You can also support Curva-Lish by shopping with our partners who took a chance on what started as a small blog whose future is bright with a readership that grows every month! (You must be viewing the full web version to sign up for the newsletter and shop with our partners)

Curva-Lish is a labor of my absolute purest love and although I really hope you are enjoying it, the interviews, research, time and reading I have to do to write the posts have a way of opening up a new door for me which I consider to be priceless!

I recently ran across this book that I'd highly recommend to help you on your journey for inspiration and authenticity:  How Good Do You Want to Be?

And remember, run your own race (even when there are jerks yelling at you to go faster!) and I'd love to hear your thoughts on the posts, ideas for future posts, guest posting or anything else that is on your mind!  Send us an email or comment below...thanks!

Curva-Lish Team

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Vulnerability: The Key to Wholeness?

I watched the OWN Lifeclass on Sunday with Brene Brown discussing her revealing research on our inadequacies with Vulnerability.  My first thought was that I would likely not get very much out of it but wow, was I wrong! 

Within the first five minutes I scrambled to my office to get my journal and pen to take notes!  I was so blown away by what was shared that I wanted to share some of the notes I took and also share some of the tools they mentioned that can help you on your vulnerability journey.

You can choose courage or you can choose comfort but you can't have both.
You get from this life what you have the courage to ask for.  There will always be someone who wants you to fail.  Press on anyway.  Even if only you and God believe in what you are doing, continue to believe.
We are often the most afraid to be vulnerable because we use armor to protect ourselves from hurt.
Armor we use to protect ourselves:
  • Perfectionism:  when perfectionism is driving, shame is always riding shotgun and fear is the annoying backseat driver.  It is a way of thinking "If I could look perfect, live perfect, work   perfect then I can minimize criticism, ridicule and shame.  There is a difference between healthy striving and perfection.
    • Healthy striving: internally focused and wanting to be the best I can be
    • Perfection: Asks and is driven by what will people think of me
  • Numbing:  using outlets such as food, drugs, gossip and social media to numb fears and put on armor.  Asking for help is a bid for connection (vulnerability) and is asking "I am in pain/trouble, can you make space for me." 
  • Forboding:  joy is a vulnerable emotion we experience; if you can't tolerate joy, then you start dress rehearsing tragedy...for example, you stand over your sleeping child and think "I love you" and then your mind starts to think of a tragedy.  People who can Lean In to joy and settle into present moment and fill yourself up with gratefulness is exhibiting vulnerability.
  • Cynicism, Criticism and Cool:  the biggest armor is disengagement...our world is experiencing this at unprecedented levels due to anonymous social media comments, etc.  You also have permission to live in the moment and be is an armor. 
Why should you care about dismantling your armor?
Armor truncates the story of your life
Again, you get from this life what you have the courage to ask for and it comes down to worthiness.  There are no pre-requisites to's AS-IS.

Wholeheartedness is about engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.  To be a person who believes they are worthy, you have to go back to "Where did that come from?"
So how to do you take steps to get rid of "Gremlin" (negative, unworthiness) thinking?
  1. Know what you triggers shame for you
  2. Reality check the Gremlins
  3. Reach out and share your story (with trustworthy people who have earned a right to hear it)
  4. Speak Shame (counterintuitive but talk to yourself like you would someone you love; secrecy, silence and judgment are three things that shame needs to grow exponentially)
Our collective loss of capacity for vulnerability comes from the need to believe that everything is supposed to be comfortable and happy all the time...that is not the way we are built.
One key step to take your vulnerability journey suggested by Ms. Brown:  every morning tell yourself "Courage is my value and it could get uncomfortable today".
To find a helping professional certified in Brene Brown's work, go to Daring Way
Oprah and Brene are partnering to bring a six-week eCourse titled "The Gifts of Imperfection" which starts October 20, 2013.  You can sign up here

I've started my journey to vulnerable living by starting with the simple question "Where did that come from?"...I hope you join me/us.
Curva-Lish Team

Monday, October 7, 2013

Cultivate a Better Belief in Yourself

I recently read a great article in Career Brazen that had us thinking about how our audience could benefit from this great information. I am constantly amazed at how much people are un-willing to admit that life and leadership does not have a manual that guarantees that if you follow the steps, success is imminent. Life, career, motherhood, friendships, marriage, board service, etc. is filled with seasons of strength, seasons of confusion, constant learning and eye-opening aha moments.

There is no recipe... That's why the Career Brazen article stood out to was an honest write-up with tips on how to empower your journey to cultivate a better belief in yourself!

Ever had an event so big and devastating you felt your dreams and ambitions were shattered in one fell swoop? I have and it has threatened every ounce of esteem and past accomplishments that I could feel good about often replacing them with thoughts that my successes were accidents! Or maybe it’s not one event, but a succession of life circumstances that make you doubt your potential, causing you to question yourself and hesitate.

The article also pointed out another factor:  Too often we’re led to believe the lot we’ve been cast dictates who we become — that we’re a product only of our environments. People put us in boxes and stereotypes, claiming our possibilities are dictated by who our parents were, where we were born, what our skin color is, how pretty we are, how much money we have. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. These sweeping statements create a belief culture where people focus more on who they’re expected to be than who they want to be. And these restrictive beliefs have the tendency to become self-fulfilling prophecies. Other people’s limitations are only prophetic if you give them credence. 

Lastly, the article pointed out: If you let your environment dictate your future, you’re reinforcing your own glass ceiling. You’ll only go so far and so high. But if you foster a healthy belief culture, you’ve already exponentially increased your chances of success. Think about it this way: You have a small garden in your backyard. It’s just a small plot of dirt. In it, you plant flowers — little seedlings with the potential to bloom. But, as with most gardens, weeds creep in. They start to encroach on your flowers’ growing space. You have a couple of options. You can either let the weeds remain, killing off your flowers and littering your garden space, or you can weed them out. You can remove the junk and cultivate a space where your flowers can bloom.

Creating a healthy belief system is like that. While it would be great if we went through life with only positive people and situations around us, that just isn’t possible. Life is real and it can be hard. You’ll come across people who doubt you and want to hold you back. You’ll have discouraging experiences that will make you second-guess yourself and your ambitions. But all of these negative people and events are weeds. Remove them or you’ll never be able to see your dreams bloom. To move forward, you’re going to have to revolutionize your beliefs.

Here’s how to remove your weeds:

1. Take inventory of your self-talk Think about how you internally describe yourself, good or bad, and write it down: I’m not good enough. I’m too fat. That could never be me. Nobody’s better than me. I’m super smart. I’m very shy. I’m not a good test-taker.

2. Identify the self-talk that isn’t serving you Go back to your inventory, and for every statement, ask: Is this going to serve me to meet my goals in the future?

3. Replace negative self-talk Change your thoughts to a new dialogue that will move you forward toward your ultimate goal: I used to be very shy, but I’m more outgoing than I’ve ever been. Will you be your own glass ceiling, or will you accept and fully embrace — no matter what happens — that there’s more out there for you than what you’re settling for?

Que representing the Curva-Lish Team

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Life Advice Not from a Birth, Wedding or Funeral: Best 2013 Commencement Speech Quotes

We are amazed that the only time there tends to be great advice given is during life's elations or tragedies.  Well what about the kind of advice that happens when you are able to sit at the doorway of your biggest life opportunities and that advice comes from a well experienced person hoping to give you their best advice right before you are released with all the opportunity and courage that you will likely be able to muster before life gets more complicated?

This advice normally only comes during commencement!

As we perused the different pieces of advice shared thus far from commencements occurring across the United States from some of the most intellectual, seasoned and knowledgeable leaders of the highest influence, we wanted to give you nuggets that we think are applicable to anyone no matter what season of life they are in...

Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter (University of Michigan)

"As you get ready to walk out under the bright lights of the improvisational stage of the rest of your life... be bold. Don't always worry about what your next line is going to be."

David Brooks, NY Times Columnist (Sewanee, University of the South)

"Don't think about what you want from life. Think about what life wants from you. If you're observant, some large problem will plop itself in front of you. It will define your mission and your calling. Your passion won't come from inside. It will come from outside."

Carson Kressley, Fashion Celebrity (Philadelphia University)

"If you live your life only following the path you think is approved or acceptable, or the one you think is expected of you, you'll be making a huge mistake. Not a single successful person... has ever done great things because they played it safe. You've got to be true to yourself."

Darius Rucker, Hootie & the Blowfish (University of South Carolina)

"..find something that makes you want to give 'til it hurts."

Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark (Yale University)

"Get out of bed. Keep going. I will not quit. I will not give up no matter how dark the days, no matter how big my failure. I won't lose lessons that I could gather while on my knees. I won't lose the lessons I can find in my lowest pits of despair, because when I emerge, it's those lessons that will define my being.'"

Mark Shields, Political Analyst (Saint Michaels College)

"Call your mother...not text, not e-mail--call her. She wants to hear how you sound." [If you become parents,] "spend more time than you judge to be reasonable with your children. Please know that no one in recorded history, on his or her death bed has ever said, 'Gee, I wish I had spent more time at the office.'"

Rick Hodes, Physician and Author (Brandeis University)

"Remember this: Run to do good. Create a momentum in the right direction. Get your hands dirty. Wear out your shoes. Don't try to get too comfortable, please!"

Carlos Eire, Author and Professor (Midland University)

"If it weren't for my failures and my painful experiences, I would not be here today speaking to you...It's a way of saying the risks I took brought me here. Failure has brought me to his podium, more failures than I can count...These failures are my trophies."

Steve Case, Co-Founder of AOL (University of North Carolina)

"Be curious. Be open. Be flexible. Let your life unfold as a series of chapters. Don't be so fixated on a specific ending that you neglect to open the door when opportunity knocks."

Arianna Huffington, Journalist and Author (Smith College)

"And remember that while there will be plenty of signposts along your path directing you to make money and climb up the ladder, there will be almost no signposts reminding you to stay connected to the essence of who you are, to take care of yourself along the way, to reach out to others, to pause to wonder, and to connect to that place from which everything is possible."

No matter your age, stage, season or past, these quotes are still applicable in the life that wants to be impactful and fulfill its purpose...

Curva-Lish Team

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In" Interview Summary

We have been surprised at the intensity of opinions regarding Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg's perspective in her new book "Lean In".

We are huge fans of PBS' MakersWomen series on YouTube whose mission originated from a clear premise that over the last half century, the work of millions of women has altered virtually every aspect of American culture.  Makers features groundbreaking women who have sparked change, been first i in their fields and paved the way for those that followed.

We at Curva-Lish wanted to not only include a short video highlight of Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead" message but also include a summary transcript of her full interview.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Some consider the book a kind of feminist manifesto, but her writings and interviews have spawned a flurry of news headlines across the media world, a major criticism, that Sandberg, a multimillionaire, Harvard graduate, protégé of former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, and one-time executive at Google, is too much a part of the elite to provide advice that's useful for many working women.

SHERYL SANDBERG: I am not saying that everyone has the resources or opportunities I have. I'm not saying that everyone's husband is going to wake up tomorrow, read a book and start doing his share. We need to help women own the power they have, learn how to negotiate for raises, get the pay they deserve.

JUDY WOODRUFF: On ABC's "Nightline," Sandberg said even she realized that she needed to be more aggressive on her own behalf when she was first offered the Facebook job.

SHERYL SANDBERG: It was my brother-in-law who said to me, what, are you kidding? No one takes the first offer. Go negotiate. And I said, well, if I negotiate, maybe he won't like me. Maybe I won't get the job. It won't work out.
And he said to me, why are you going to take this job and make less than any man would take? And that was motivating.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Sandberg insists she is not letting employers off the hook. But her emphasis is on motivating women to help themselves by thinking and acting differently.

We dive deeper now into the reaction with perspectives from three women who have written on this. Katha Pollitt is a well-known writer, essayist, poet, and critic who writes a column in The Nation. Danielle Belton is the creator and editor of a blog on pop culture and politics called The Black Snob. And Jody Greenstone Miller is a businesswoman who has served in senior roles in both the private sector and government. She is the founder and CEO of Business Talent Group, a consulting firm.

Katha Pollitt, you had a mostly positive reaction to what Sandberg has written. What does she bring to this long-simmering discussion?

KATHA POLLITT, Author/Essayist: Well, I think she brings optimism.

I think that's so important. I think a lot of the writing and conversation about women and work, it's a real downer. It's, oh, you will have a baby and then you won't be able to come back. And, oh, God, you're going to feel guilty all the time. It's really terrible. Your husband isn't going to help you. You probably won't get that job anyway.

And, you know, she brings to it sort of like, well, why don't you do what you can to make sure that that terrible fate doesn't befall you? Make sure you and your husband are on the same page about equality in the home. Don't marry a man who isn't equal. Be on the lookout for things like -- that drag down your own confidence like the impostor syndrome. Who doesn't have that? I'm a fraud and soon people are going to find out.

I think it's a very -- it's all framed in a very positive way. I think that's what people like about it.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Danielle Belton, you were saying to us that you think she has useful advice for a certain group of women, but that she doesn't reach a broad -- a broader group of working women.

DANIELLE BELTON, The Black Snob: Well, yes.

When she's talking about how there's not enough women leaders in some of these CEO positions, which specific women is she referring to? Often who fills these positions come from the Ivy League system. They come from the elite. They come from the upper echelons of society.
She's not necessarily talking about women who came from my alma mater, Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville. You know, it seemed like she's asking women of the elite to make a choice and to choose the harder path by pursuing these higher-level positions.

The problem is she wrote a book that was for all women, as opposed to narrowing the focus there. And so I feel like that's where a lot of this criticism and confusion is coming from, because a lot of things she says make sense if she is talking about her own peers. It doesn't necessarily make sense if she's talking about all women in general, because the plight of working-class, poor and middle-class women is demonstrably different.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Jody Greenstone Miller, how do you see that?

JODY GREENSTONE MILLER, Business Talent Group: Well, to me, everything Sheryl says makes sense. And I think people should listen to her.

I think if we listen to her, however, we will not solve the problem that she herself so eloquently states, which is how do we get to a world where half of our leaders are women? And I believe if that's our goal, which I think it should be, the problem is women aren't leaning in not because they don't know how to, but because they don't like the world they're being asked to lean into.

And until we really take steps to acknowledge that and address that, I think we're going to be having this conversation 10, 20, 30, 40 years from now.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Katha Pollitt, what about these points that there is a role for the work -- for employers, the folks who are doing the hiring and the promoting, and that there is perhaps a swathe of women who are left out of what Sheryl Sandberg is writing?

KATHA POLLITT: Well, the first point I think is absolutely true.

The main responsibility for changing this situation cannot rest on individual women. There are plenty of women who have leaned in very hard and are just invisible to people who do not want to employ women. They may think they do, but each individual woman, somehow, she's not the right woman.

That's why I would place much more emphasis than Sheryl Sandberg does on things like affirmative action, anti-discrimination suits, quotas. Do you know that the only countries where women are gaining in representation in legislatures are countries that have quotas of how many women should be there and parties that have quotas of how many women candidates they put up?

If things keep going this way in America, it is going to be 70 years before we get to parity in Congress.

That's a long time. The second point, I think, is also sort of true. But, you know, I'm not in the running to be a CEO. I'm a writer. I was a freelance writer and an editor at The Nation for most of my life. And I do find some of the things she says quite useful.

I think, for example, if you're a schoolteacher, why is it that the principal is usually a man? A schoolteacher can become a principal.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me stop you there and come back to Danielle Belton.

What about this point from Katha Pollitt that, yes, employers do have a role, but there is something useful for all women to take away from this about how they view themselves in the work -- in a work role?

DANIELLE BELTON: Well, the part of the book that I felt that really personally resonated for me was the one about women and confidence, women and being able to clearly state their power, because often women are socialized to really downplay their gifts. They're socialized to be polite. I often call it apologizing for existing.

It's like you have gotten this great job. You do a great job at it. You work very hard and diligently. But then when someone asks you to speak up, you still have this fallback urge to downplay all the work, the hard work that you have done. But you don't say, “May I please have a raise?” You ask and demand for that raise.

And so that portion of the book, I feel, is applicable to lots of women in the career and in the work force.

JODY GREENSTONE MILLER: I think we have to open our minds and imagine that we can have a CEO who is working three days a week and structuring the world around her to accommodate that in a way that it will be good for her and good for the business and good for the men. And that's what I think we should aspire to do.

And, by the way, Sheryl is in a good position to try to do this. So, I would love to see her try to institute some of that at Facebook.

Curva-Lish Team

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

One Woman's Journey of 26 Acts of Kindness

In response to the tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newton, Connecticut, a movement caught on that was dubbed "26 Acts of Kindness".  It was spread through features such as the Today Show and during the months of December and January, millions of people took to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  As of this posting, people are still posting to the #26actsofkindness hashtag on Twitter and Instagram showed over 4,000 photos posted to #26actsofkindness and over 9,000 photos posted to #26acts.

We were so touched by the movement that we wanted to highlight someone's personal journey and what they learned in performing the 26 acts.  We selected Alyson because she is a heartfelt volunteer in the Dallas, Texas community.

There doesn't need to be a long bio to describe her...her Instagram account bio says it best: a wife, mother and friend.

Here is our interview with Alyson:

What made you decide to take action and get involved in the 26 Acts of Kindness movement?

After seeing the tragedy of Sandy Hook I was devastated. One morning I saw Ann Curry on television speaking about the 26 victims and I was bothered as a former teacher and as a mother who knows the stigma associated with mental illness from having a child with mental health issues.

What bothered you the most about the tragedy?

I was concerned that there would be a stigma regarding people who suffer from a mental health issue.  I also can't imagine trying to protect those innocent children and the devastation that the survivors have to continue to face...the innocence of those children will be forever changed.

When you got started, what was the first thing you did?

I first wrote a note that I knew I wanted to include and leave behind for each Act of Kindness.

I then set about getting gift cards because I knew both male and females would like them.  I then just started immediately with leaving the gift cards on cars as I went about running errands.  I knew that the surprise of seeing those gift cards on their cars and reading the note would create smiles even if I wasn't there to see them.

What was your favorite Act of Kindness that you performed?

It was a lunch where I gave the cashier $20 in order to pay for the orders of the next few cars and requested to have the note read.  That was fun!

I also had fun at a checkout at Trader Joe's.  The cashier was a guy who went above and beyond his responsibility to go find something that I needed but couldn't find.  I had an iTunes gift card with me so I gave him the card and note.  He was SO surprised!  He wasn't being nice to me to get a gift which is what made his surprise that much more special.

How has your participation in the Acts of Kindness movement impacted you?

I finished all 26 acts in December and it made me feel grateful that I was doing something to pay it forward.  I wanted to create something positive out of the negative tragedy that occurred.  It's like bringing light into the world amidst darkness. I also plan on continuing to perform Acts of Kindness all year and it truly will become a lifestyle for me.

I was also excited that the movement impacted others around me.  A friend brought treats to a doctor's office and that little surprise brightened their day.

Do you have any suggestions for others who will be inspired by your story and want to have their own 26 Acts of Kindness journey?

Yes.  It doesn't have to cost money to perform acts of kindness.  Just use a note, donate your time or clothes/food, etc. that you aren't going to use...the possibilities are limitless and the lives you will touch are limitless.

Any last words?

Yes.  I think it is very important for people to feel brave about acknowledging their own mental health issues.  Someone you may know also needs help.  Never give up on your ability to lead a healthy lifestyle while courageously managing your issues and getting help.  Also, I would suggest doing like I did and seek out help from a support group of other Moms if it is your child.

My favorite non-profit for "erasing the stigma" of mental illness is the Grant Halliburton Foundation. (To find out more about this organization and to donate please go to:  GH Foundation)

We hope you are inspired and don't just stop at being inspired...go out and make a commitment to perform your own Acts of Kindness not only in remembrance of the 26 victims of Sandy Hook Elementary but also to spread light in the midst of darkness.

Curva-Lish Team