Is Someone Stepping on Your Toes?

boundaries for midlife happiness

Stepping on your toes, invading your space, crossing a line, ignoring your wishes – whatever you call it, when somebody does it to you, it feels bad. It means they went beyond your personal limits, also known as boundaries. Your boundaries are a reflection of your personal Identity. They define who you are and area measure of your self-worth.

Boundaries are Important for Women’s Empowerment

Boundaries are important for you to have. When someone doesn’t respect them, it says that person doesn’t respect you. You feel like you don’t matter.

Also, and more often than you – or anyone – would like to admit, when someone doesn’t respect your boundaries, you feel powerless, even unsafe. Safety is a too-often unexpressed or hidden fear, especially in women.

In the workplace, it could be anything from office gossip or dumping extra work on you to asking you to do something inappropriate. In relationships it can include interrupting, over talking, muzzling, criticizing, yelling, and physical violence….and those are just the big ones.

When it happens to you, what do you do? I used to suck it up. Then, in therapy, the therapist told me I had terrible boundaries. He was correct, and I knew it. I needed to make a change. I did.

If you know what I mean, and want to make a change too, read on…

How Midlife Women Can Create a New Boundary

The thing about boundaries is that very often you don’t know what your boundaries are. You can turn that around. Here are four steps you can take:

  1. Decide on the boundary or boundaries you want. Pick a period of time (a week or a month). Notice what happens and pay attention to how you feel. Do you have a co-worker who consistently interrupts you during meetings, You’re annoyed, yes, but why?
    Does one of your friends talk down to you, and when s/he does, you feel “less than” or stupid? Is it the words, the tone of voice, or something else?
    When you and your spouse argue, does s/he go from 0-10 on the anger scale fast and starts yelling? What happens inside you?
  2. Once you identify the offending behavior, figure out what you want instead. This is is important because  you can’t just complain. It’s unproductive. For example, you want the co-worker to hear you out before speaking, or your friend needs to change the tone, or nobody – not even your spouse – can yell at you.
  3. Decide how you will tell the offending person. When you have a boundary, you have to know what to do when someone crosses it. That can be a challenge – especially if you were raised in “good girl” mode. So you have to know what to say.
    Start by giving the other person the benefit of the doubt; many people don’t even recognize what they’re doing. So sometimes a simple “I don’t know if you realize it but you [behavior] and when that happens, it makes me feel [your reaction]. I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t’ do that anymore.” Chances are that person will be surprised, and apologize. And then you can let them know that you’ll have to stop them if it happens again.
    If the offending behavior doesn’t change, create a signal –  word (like STOP!) or a gesture (Like a “talk to the hand” sign)
  4. Practice. Like anything you do in life, you aren’t going to get good at boundaries right off the bat. You’re likely to experience stressful signs, like a red face or fast heartbeat. That’s normal. It’ll get better with practice.

Live a Life You LOVE!

You deserve to live the life you love with a good sense of self-worth and the feeling of emotional and physical safety. Boundaries will go a very long way in giving those to you!
Start now! If you need help creating a life you love, check out my Savvy Sizzle “No Regrets” Workshop!

#victoriousWoman #Women’s Empowerment #MidlifeREinveniotn #confidnece #Self-Worth

What's Love Got to Do with It?

What’s love got to do with it? That’s what Tina Turner asked in her classic hit. It was the song that was playing in my head when I was putting together this month’s Valentine Challenge…you know, an earworm… playing over and over. I couldn’t make it stop, so it got me thinking about love.

A Question for Newlyweds and Long-time Married Couples: What is Love??

What is it – the love thing?  You and I say we love. We love people. We love our pets. We love places, events, and things..

But sometimes “love” gets a little confusing. Like…several women and men have told me they love their spouse, but don’t like them. That always gets me scratching me head. Of course, I guess it makes for an interesting marriage – and one I personally believe could use The Five-Year Marriage® treatment.

But here’s a question for you….Have you ever thought about what love really means to you? I don’t know that I ever did until I wrote The Five-Year Marriage.

Love Comes in Many Forms

Five year marriage relationship success

Then I got thinking about it. When I was a kid, love was someone being nice to me. When I was older, love got tangled with sex. When my parents needed caregiving, doing that was love. How could it be all those things? Yet it is.

So I got quiet one day and started poking around in my head and heart. How do I know what love is – what it feels like? My thoughts surprised me; my conclusion didn’t.

What Love Means to Me, and Many Midlife Women

To me, love is feeling safe with the person/people I’m with. That feeling of safety allows me to be who I really am, my unguarded self – to laugh out loud, to be emotional without censor, to say something stupid, be teased, and a bunch of other things that don’t happen when I don’t feel safe.

It was so interesting that I decided to poke around in other people’s heads and hearts. Turns out love is something very different to everyone. Here’s what some other women said love is:

  • Kate: feeling like home to each other
  • Maggie: comfort in uncomfortable places
  • Caitlin: being with someone who pays attention
  • Missy: being alone but not feeling lonely

Knowing what Love is can help you Clarify your Relationships

What about you? Have you ever thought about what love is to you? Once you get really clear about what love is to you, it’s easier to identify the best places to give and get love. It’s easier to decide who is friend, acquaintance, or just a PIA you have to have in your life.

During this “love month” it could be worth a little time poking around in your head and heart. And not just for clarity. There’s something else to make it worthwhile. Tina sings that love is a “second-hand emotion.”


Love also has Health Benefits for Midlife Women!

Did you know that love has actual health benefits? It does – and it’s probably the reason the American Heart Association chose this month for its heart-health “Go Red for Women” campaign.
People in Love reap some cool rewards.  Here are just a few:

  • Fewer colds
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer heart attacks
  • Faster recovery from heart attacks
  • Fewer complications from pneumonia
  • Shorter hospital stays Longer life   Impressive, eh?

The Answer to What’s Love Got to Do with It?

The answer to “what’s love got to do with it” is, apparently, love has a lot to do with everything!

What if you don’t have a sweetie to love and love you? No worries! You can get the same health benefits by having a beloved pet, a strong girlfriend tribe, or a close knit social circle.

So, in your best Victory Chick mode, make some space in your thinking, meditating, walking, or praying to take a few minutes of soul-searching this Valentine’s Day. While love isn’t always hearts and flowers, it has a real place in your life. What is it?

And maybe by the weekend that song will stop rolling around my brain. Damn earworm… 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day!
With love and in victory,

#Valentine’s Day. #Love, #What’sLoveGotToDoWithIt, #Victorious Woman Project, #Victorious Woman, #WomensEmpowerment,  #VictoryChicks, #AnnmarieKelly, #FiveYearMarriage

Is Hollywood Keeping Women Down?

Why is Hollywood painting strong midlife women as victims?

Jackson said he loved Ally. But he humiliated and demeaned her. It’s a “that’s what you get for trying to be a success” message to women.

Does Hollywood’s latest remake of A Star is Born make you nervous – for yourself or for your daughters? It makes me nervous!

The Typical Damsel in Distress Premise

You know the story – a very talented woman is busting it, but can’t seem to get a break. Then some man, a drug-addicted alcoholic star, gives her one…and she’s all starry-eyed because of it, and with him.

With that boost, she becomes a star. And, she decides with love and loyalty, that she’s save him from himself. But…she can’t.

Success Breeds Jealousy

Then, because he’s jealous or something, the guy embarrasses her in front of the whole world, stealing her thunder and ruining the biggest night of her life.

Afterward, he apologetically goes to rehab and gets clean. But, in the end, kills himself – leaving her guilt-ridden and forlorn. Wooo-hooo!!

The Successful Woman Portrayed as the Victim

Here’s the thing: At the end of that movie, you cry – not because Lady Gaga is on top of the world and you’re happy and hopeful. No, you cry because you feel sorry for her…the poor little victim. And you feel sad and powerless. It’s like getting the message “see, that’s what you get for being successful.”

What’s the Lesson for Successful Women here?

If women want strong role models, why does this movie keep getting made over and over – and starring strong and successful women (currently Lady Gaga)? It paints the woman as a victim at almost every turn. Yes, she’s a strong woman, but she pays a huge price for the success her talent gives her. Guy movies are seldom like that, right?

Hollywood and ‘Strong Women’

A generation ago, Thelma and Louise was touted as a “strong woman” movie – and it always seems to come up in those online lists. You’ll recall how two women go away for a weekend. One almost gets raped and the other one kills the guy. In the end, the women decide the best thing they can do is kill themselves. Apparently that’s the only way Hollywood can see a woman’s outcome.

From my Victorious Woman view, I made my own list. And today, for International Women’s Day, I’m sharing it with you…and maybe you can add it.

Annmarie’s “Strong Woman” Chick Flicks

  1. Hidden Figures (Katherine)
  2. Waiting to Exhale (Glo)
  3. Steel Magnolias (M’Lynn)
  4. Legally Blonde (Elle)
  5. The Color Purple (Celie)
  6. The Sound of Music (Maria)
  7. Silence of the Lambs (Clarice)
  8. Dirty Dancing (Baby)
  9. The Help (Aibileen)
  10. His Girl Friday (Hildy)
  11. The River Wild (Gail)
  12. Hunger Games (Katniss)
  13. Adam’s Rib (Amanda) and nearly every movie with Katherine Hepburn
  14. Erin Brockovich (Erin)

That’s my two cents…let me know what you think…

If you want MORE VICTORY in your life, and aren’t already part of the Victorious Woman community, join us! When you get my newsletter, you get the latest about upcoming free teleseminars and classes. as well as newest posts, trends, episodes of Victory Chicks Radio, and more. Go here: Yes! I want to be a Victory Chick!

#Victorious Woman Project, #Victorious Woman, #WomensEmpowerment,  #VictoryChicks, #AnnmarieKelly, #FiveYearMarriage

Should You Act Your Age?

How to transform in midlife“Nan didn’t like a lot of people,” the lovely college student said at Susan’s memorial service on a rainy Saturday afternoon, “In fact, she barely tolerated them.” The mourners laughed in recognition, lightening the somber mood at the historic old-English-style Bryn Mawr church.

She was right. Eighty-year-old Susan wasn’t a warm and fuzzy woman. She didn’t sugar-coat anything. She would rather “tell it like it is” than wrap her words in a pretty package that didn’t convey her point – and she always had one. Susan’s straight-forward talk, competitive behaviors, and those recent tattoos weren’t always comfortable for a lot of people in her upper crust crowd.

Yet, on that rainy December afternoon, Susan’s granddaughter stood before the congregants in the pew-packed church and showcased Susan’s forthright energy as shared three things she learned from her grandmother, starting with “Never Act Your Age.” She shared how much she loved that her grandmom kept up with college lingo and always gave her a straight answer. “Nan was my ‘go-to person’ when something happened,” she said, fighting back tears. And she seemed amazed – and tickled – that her grandmother got both her tattoos in her seventies.

When she finished, three of Nan’s other grandkids spoke. They expressed childlike delight in Susan’s “boundless energy and appetite for adventure.” They told the mourners how they loved that, “no grandchild’s game, play or project was too small to warrant a road trip.” And how, when two of Susan’s granddaughters ran the most recent NYC Marathon, “Susan scrambled from borough to borough on foot, cab, and subway to catch as many sightings as she could of her two granddaughters running.”

About about those tattoos…one of them was on her ankle. It said, simply written in beautiful cursive, “Grace.” When I saw it a couple years ago, I asked Susan why “grace” and, without missing a beat, she said, “Because that’s what we all need.”

You know, we Victory Chicks are sometimes admonished to “act your age” and dress “age appropriate.” Okay advice if you feel like moving into [what I call] Alfred Dunner style. Susan didn’t. She didn’t act her age. If she felt like swimming and didn’t have a bathing suit, she’d take off her shirt and swim in shorts and a bra. Susan’s no-holds-barred behaviors served her until the day she died.

What about you? Are you tired of acting your age? Do you find being “age appropriate” makes you feel bored out of your mind.
As you head into the New Year, here are three ideas for bucking the system and putting some jazz back in your life:

1 – Do something you thought was too late to do

What do you regret missing out on when you were younger? Some event or travel, starting a business, getting a certain degree? Susan got her Master’s Degree in midlife and, in like manner, I know one midlife Victory Chick who is studying for the LSATs with the intention of becoming a lawyer. Yes, she won’t have the career she might have had at thirty, but at sixty, with more experience, more compassion, less need to get to the top, etc., she will help people in a way she never could have in the past.
Or what about finally writing that book you always said was in you? Take a class, join a writer’s group, make an outline…whatever small step you take, do it!
What is it that your age is saying it’s too late to do? Screw it – do it anyway!

2 – Learn something new.

Neuroscientists say that you can create new pathways in your brain. If old ones are dying off, learning something new can make a difference. You can learn another language, take up quilting, become an expert in local history, study astrology or spiritualism, or anything else that you’ve always wanted to do but never got around to doing

3 – Revisit your childhood

Go back to your old neighborhood and see what’s still around…and who. What do those old streets make you think of? What did you and your friends talk about when  you shared your dreams for when you grew up?
Were you a reader? Then  make a goal to read the entire Nancy Drew series again, or Little Women, or something that will remind you what you dreamed about in those days.
If none of these things tickle your fancy, what does?

The truth is, age matters when you make it matter.

If you have the ability to do something and the willingness to take action, you can do it. Sure, it might take you a little longer than it might have twenty or thirty years ago. So what?

Don’t forget, now you have more self-confidence, polish, people skills, and lots of other things you didn’t have then. Maybe in those days, not having those things kept you from being your best self – and having your best life.

And, one of two things will happen: if you die, you will die doing something you love. If you don’t die, you’ll make your life richer, love it more, feel good, and have something to look back on when you are older.

Here’s your second chance – or third or fourth. What do you want to do that you think you’re too old to do? Take out a piece of paper right now and jot down a couple ideas. Then DO something.

If you need a way to get started, and some support, you can get it with me at the Savvy Sizzle Master Class. Take a look at what I have for you…and sign up today!

You can find me here:, on FB @VictoriousWomanProject, or on Twitter@AnnmarieKelly

# Victorious Woman Project, #Victorious Woman, #WomensEmpowerment,  #VictoryChicks, #AnnmarieKelly, #FiveYearMarriage

The Girlfriend Gala

10th Anniversary Cake
Girlfriend Gala 10th Anniversary Cake

The 2016 Girlfriend Gala was yesterday. It was our tenth Victorious Celebration. If you were there, THANK YOU for coming. You are part of the reason it was MAGICAL. If you missed it, mark your calendar now for May 24, 2017. We sold out this year, so you don’t want to miss it again!
Among the highlights were the special presentations by two fabulous women. My special guest speaker was Pat Ciarrocchi, a beloved anchor with the local CBS affiliate who is now writing her next chapter. Pat talked to The Girlfriends about her girlfriends and described how each one impacted her life in a different way. It was so perfect because we all resonated with what she said. We all know how much impact and influence our girlfriends have on our lives. Think about it…think about the feelings you share with them…and it’s different at every age. Remember what you talked about with your grade school friends? It was other things with your high school and college friends. As life changed so did your conversation with old and new girlfriends…at your first real job…the ones who were in your wedding, then the ones you met through your kids…and on and on.
I remember being in 7th and 8th grade and walking to school with my friend, Karol. We talked about the boys we liked, getting our periods for the first time, stuff our parents made us do. You know, young teenage stuff. OK, the talking about boys stuff – I’ve done that at every age…except now they’re men.
Anyway, Karol moved away in high school, but we still talk about once a year and you know how it is with girlfriends, when we talk, and once we catch up on the details of our lives, we talk like we saw each other last week.
My high school alums were at the gala. That was really wonderful because we weren’t friends in high school but we were together during those awkward teenage years. Over class reunion committee meetings, we’ve developed an interesting relationship over the years. How many of your current friends know you as the person you were then AND as the woman you are today? It’s a very special relationship. And I’m so appreciative that they support me and the gala each year.
So that’s what Pat Ciarrocchi helped each of us to remember. And she had The Girlfriends laughing and crying…and it was really just what we all wanted.
That’s not what comedian Theresa Hummel Krallinger did. She just made us laugh…and she was pee in your pants funny. It was Theresa’s third time performing at Girlfriend Gala. I can’t repeat most of her jokes; they weren’t dirty, just a little blue. Like, when she talked about her spouse giving her a cubic zirconia…a fake diamond…so, to thank him, she gave him fake sex. Theresa also talked about growing up going to Catholic school…and how the big sin was chewing gum. If you were a parochial school girl (and so many of The Girlfriends are), you remember.
Our beneficiary this year was Home of the Sparrow. Matrie Johnson is its Program Director and she talked to The Girlfriends about the Shared Housing and Pre-Senior Bridge Program for women over 50. That’s where this year’s gala proceeds are going.
We had wonderful sponsors and donors. The Girlfriends get excited because we have such great silent auction and raffle items and they know they get a good deal. And our SWAG bags this year…they were worth over $50!
However, what makes The Girlfriend Gala so special is all The Girlfriend energy. It feels electric!
I think part of it is because we have history together. Some of it is personal because we’re there with our actual girlfriends. But, also, women make connections at Girlfriend Gala so they have either new girlfriends or new business colleagues from previous galas.
Another part of it is that we have history that is gender-based. That is, we’ve shared a piece of history together, feminist history. It’s different than what women in other times of history shared…and that’s a bond we all have…even if we don’t know each other personally.
I also think it helps that Penn Oaks Golf Club does a wonderful job for us – from the setup to the good food (and the food got great compliments!). Desserts came from the wonderful The Prosperity Sisters, owners of Full-Spirited Flavours, and they brought us their incredibly good liquor cakes for our desserts. Also, this year, The Masters Baker made us the most beautiful and delicious almond-flavored cake (pictured in this blog post).
Thank you for coming!! Hope to see you again at the 2017 gala…and it would be great to connect with you in between at my private group, the Victory Chicks Community!

Public Noise: What Would You Do?

WomanScreamingDid you get your taxes done? I did, but much later than usual. As a result, I was in a very long line at the post office today. It wasn’t just with tax-payers. There were five people in line ahead of me who were mailing packages, four had multiple packages, so the line grew longer fast.
I’m a people watcher, so I watched the other people who did have their phone with them. I’m guessing they were answering emails or checking their social media because most of them were smiling and a couple chuckled.
Watching people do that always makes me laugh because I’m old enough to remember a time when, if you saw someone by themselves – in a line or in a car – and they were laughing or talking, you thought they were a little off. Now you realize they’re having a conversation with someone, either talking or texting, or joining a party on facebook or twitter. I sometimes think this is such a good time to be crazy because you can get away with so much more in public than you could even ten or fifteen years ago. And, yes, I know “crazy” isn’t a politically correct. But I have a very long family history with crazy and that’s what I call it.
Anyway, most of the people were quietly engaged. Except for one loud man, who had no idea how lucky he was to be several people down the line from me. I hate it when people are rude like that in public…like I should be impressed by his/her importance.
One time, also at a post office, the woman in front of me was on her phone gossiping. I felt she was making all of us join in the scandalous conversation. So, when she asked something like, “What do you think?” I answered her.
That woman spun around and looked at me like I was crazy. I said, “We’re all listening, and you asked, so I’m answering you.” She gave me the dirtiest look. But she got the message and told the person on the line she’d call them back.
I know, it was ballsy of me and, for a half second, I was waiting for John Quinones, to pop out and I’d be on the “What Would You Do” show. He didn’t. But that woman was having wasn’t a nice conversation and I felt like it was stressing people out. It was definitely stressing me out, and I can do stressed-out all by myself. I don’t need any help.
It’s the same thing when I’m near someone and every other word in the conversation is an f-bomb. I’m no prig, and no stranger to the language, but it’s uncomfortable in a public place. You know those signs that say no shirt-no shoes-no service. I think they should start including no cell phone and no “f’s” in public.
So I spoke up. I wish I’d do that more. I wish everyone would do that more. When people don’t have respect for other people, they should be told. I only did it once, but I’ll bet if more people did that, & I mean, a lot of people, more of those conversations would be taken outside the building or into a private place.
What would you do? Would you “join in” on someone’s loud phone conversation? Or have you already done it…and what happened?

Thoughts about Women's History and You

NancyReagan.1It’s Women’s History Month and Nancy Reagan, US First Lady from 1981-1989, died this week at age 94. I think it’s curiously delicious that she died during Women’s History Month, don’t you?
As I read about her this week, I learned new things. I knew Nancy Reagan was an actress before marrying then-actor Ronald Reagan. What I didn’t know was that she was born in Flushing Queens – just like “The Nanny” (still playing in reruns on at least one cable station).
About Nancy Reagan, I remember two things. The first is how, as first lady, she was fiercely devoted to Ronald Regan. Politics aside, theirs seemed to be quite the love story. At one point, Nancy Reagan published I Love You, Ronnie, a compilation of letters the president wrote to his spouse. Some of the letters are silly things while, in others, the love between them practically jumps off the page; it’s quite beautiful. That love and fierce loyalty continued after the couple left the White House and during the president’s sad, slow decline from Alzheimer’s.
The other thing I remember about Nancy Reagan is how much she was vilified in the press. The only other first lady I can think of who got as much criticism when she was first lady was Hillary Clinton…and for very different reasons. Nancy was mocked because of her expensive taste in the white house, including her clothes and the white house renovations, and her devotion to her spouse.
With Hillary Clinton, it was more professional. In the beginning of the Clinton presidency, she went right to work on Hillary-care and was quickly trashed by all sides – which always made the criticism seem sexist and chauvinistic vs. substantive; it seemed unfair.
A couple years later, however, when all Bill Clinton’s proclivities surfaced, Hillary went all “Tammy Wynette ‘stand by your man.'” Frankly, that really disturbed me because, during Clinton’s first presidential campaign, Hillary was strong about insisting she wasn’t that kind of woman. Instead, she was a woman working out a problem situation in her marriage….like many women. I bought that story.
Even now, as Hillary talks about being for women’s rights, and makes it a centerpiece of everything she says she stands for, she continues to handle Bill Clinton’s serial philandering like the 1950’s housewife dependent on her husband’s money. While sex might be Bill Clinton’s thing, lying is Hillary’s. And not just lying to you and me, it seems she lies to herself, telling herself the stories that she wants to be true instead of the ones that actually are true.
I admit, it takes a lot to leave a bad marriage, especially when there is money, power and social position involved. But I also think staying sucks the life out of your soul. Because of Victorious Woman, many women have bared their souls to me and said that all the money in the world couldn’t make up for the empty life of their past (or current) relationship.
I know every woman doesn’t agree. When I express my opinion that I believe it’s incongruent for Hillary to stay in a marriage that belittles and demeans her as a woman and then talk about being for women’s rights, almost every defender of Hillary says, “what was she supposed to do, leave a sitting president?” Well, no, I don’t think she should have left a sitting president then. But, and I’m saying this because, based on the models I hope I’d follow, once out of the White House, I would have kicked his sorry butt to the curb. And then I would have become powerful without him.
Like Ariana Huffington did. She divorced Michael Huffington, who served in the US House of Representatives. The couple split in 1997 amid a myriad of rumors. A year after they got divorced, he came out in Esquire Magazine.
Ariana could have stayed. Instead, she went out on her own and made herself powerful in her own right. She decided that, to be successful, she didn’t need to hang onto a gay guy’s coattails, and face the (“poor Arianna”) pathos of her peers every time the couple was seen together.
It seems Hillary decided she did.
“What if” you might say, “in spite of all Bill’s sexual dalliances, Hillary still loves him?”
Of course she loves him. So what? You can still love the man, care about his well-being and still be friends with him. Ariana Huffington’s models demonstrates that point when her ex occasionally writes for Huff Post. They still get along, she can still love or care about him and work with him. At the same time, she doesn’t let someone else’s lies and scandals make her the butt of jokes and the target for unwarranted criticism.
Any woman can separate the man and the marriage. And, after you leave, not only are you free to empower yourself, you’re free to find someone who really loves you…just you.
Which takes me back to Nancy Reagan.
She didn’t stop enjoying her clothes or gazing up at her spouse. She adored her spouse, had great influence on the president and was his best friend. She could joke about the criticisms, which she did eloquently at one press club dinner. That night, after the press presented a skit that mocked her “style” and its expense, Nancy Reagan excused herself. She returned, on stage, dressed in mis-matched clothes and performed “Second Hand Clothes” (to the tune of Second Hand Rose). Nancy Reagan showed the press and politicians that she could make fun of herself…be a good sport.
A couple years later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy. Even that didn’t curtail her style…or her determination. After going public with the disease and her treatment, her forthright attitude encouraged many women to get mastectomies…and it saved lives.
During Women’s History Month I think it’s good to look at recent women in history- the ones whose stories we read while it was happening (vs. women that can only be found in history books). Current women give us samples of behavior happening in our time. We can think about them and watch and model what they do, or watch and reject their actions.
One thing is for sure. What Nancy Reagan figured out as she traveled through her life, “You learn something out of everything, and you come to realize more than ever that we’re all here for a certain space of time, and, and then it’s going to be over, and you better make this count.”
When your life is over, you’ll be the woman whose history others will remember. Maybe it won’t make front page news, like Nancy or Hillary or Ariana. Maybe it’ll just be small stories told by your children or grandchildren. But you’ll be part of Women’s History Month just the same.
What kind of stories will they tell…and are they the kind you want them to tell? If not, what will you do today to make that different?

Tip#3: Are Your Traditions Outdated?

Annmarie atop Cadillac
Annmarie atop Cadillac

Do You Love Your Traditions?

Some things we do just because we’ve always done it – even when they no longer serve their purpose.
I realized that on my last trip to Maine while hiking Cadillac Mountain.
Cadillac is the tallest mountain in Acadia National Park – 1532 feet – the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard. It takes about five hours up and down. I hike it with my sweetie, Joseph. We bring a sandwich and, at the top, enjoy lunch feeling totally at one with God and nature.
Hiking Cadillac is a tradition, not every year but every few years.
This year I noticed something different. I don’t know why. Maybe there was more vegetation, which obstructed some of the beautiful views. Or maybe it was because I hiked both up and down instead of hiking up the mountain but walking down around the mountain on the road (where every step shows some beautiful scene). Whatever it was, I realized in hour four that I wasn’t enjoying the hike.
That’s when I decided that there are plenty more hikes in Acadia. They are equally challenging with great scenery. Why use my vacation time doing a hike I didn’t love?
Here’s the kicker: the view at the top of Cadillac is outstanding. It’s one of the prettiest in the world. And I can get there by car.
It’s the same with holiday traditions. Some of them were great fun at other times, like your childhood or when you lived in another place. But now they are just plain outdated. You still love the memory of them, but you just don’t have fun doing them anymore. You still bake the cookies, but it’s a hassle. Or you have everyone over but, when they leave, instead of saying “it was a lot of work, but worth it,” you’re not feeling the good vibes or afterglow.
So, this year, challenge every tradition…

  • If the tradition has run its course, let it go
  • Some traditions are ready for the next generation to take over – Let them.
  • Keep the traditions that you most want to do and that make you happy
  • Make new traditions – ones that fill you with joy

BTW: Just because you ditch a tradition now doesn’t mean you can’t bring it back in years to come. Just make it your choice.
Read more: Ten Tips for Happier Holidays.

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Stop Sabotage #7: Toot Your Own Horn

woman.jumpingup.sunsetWhat’s So Good About You? Tell Me!

Brag? Not you, huh? Really? Why not?
Sure you hate those blowhards that do the littlest thing and, when they talk about it, make it seem like they saved the world. Conversely, you do big things but barely know how to say thank-you to compliments. You really aren’t comfortable bragging about your accomplishments. But you can learn.
If you don’t tell, nobody will know. OK, maybe your small circle of work friends will know what you do at work. Or a trusted confidant will know what you do at home. But the facts are that, unless you toot your own horn, you’re playing yourself small. In the process, you’re cheating yourself out of what you’ve earned and deserve. What a way to sabotage your life!
Peggy Klaus, in her book, The Art of Tooting Your Horn Without Blowing, says you don’t have to go around boasting like those blowhards you hate. Instead, she suggests you learn how to tell stories. Start with her “Take Twelve” quiz. It will help you create a “brag bag.” Peggy compares the brag bag to a candy jar filled with treats. You fill it with “brag bites” which are “snippets of information about you” and “bragalogues” which are short (30 second to 3 minute) stories.
You  can also set up a file. In it you can keep stories of the times when you had a great result, took a risk and won, or you solved a big problem. You can also file all those good things people said to you when those things happened. And don’t forget those heart-felt compliments about your kindness, intuitiveness, and your other good qualities.
Then, tell your story with confidence and pizazz. Think of tooting your horn the way Mae West explained personality as “the glitter that sends your little gleam across the footlights and the orchestra pit into the big black space where the audience is. ”
And tune in to hear Peggy Klaus give her tips for making bragging easy. She’ll be at The Friday Happy Hour with Annmarie Kelly today, September 19, 2014, 3-4pm eastern. Live and local on 1520am, live and global at  and on your android on

Do-Over Tip #1: Have a Big Picture

10.6.2010 021Can You Picture Your Do-Over?

Every time you get the opportunity for a second chance, a do-over, it helps to have a picture of what you want out of it. If you don’t, it’s like going to the bank with a blank check and asking them to cash it. The teller would look at you like you have six heads; s/he wouldn’t be able to do anything with it.  If you really want some money from your bank account, you have to produce a check that’s made out to you for a specific amount.
Cashing a check at the bank is very similar to getting what you want in life. If you don’t tell the universe what you actually want, it can’t give it to you. When you want something more and better than you already have, you must know where you’re going. If you don’t, who knows what zigzag path you’ll take or where you’ll end up. Also, if you don’t have a big picture of what you want, how will you know when you get there?
Here are some ideas for how to get to your own big picture:

  • Think about things that make you feel happy – what do they have in common?
  • Think about what you don’t like now – what would be the opposite?
  • Picture yourself living your best life…
    • what are you doing?
    • how do you look?
    • how do you feel?
    • who are you with?
    • where do you live?
    • what does your neighborhood look like?
    • where are you working?
    • what’s you office look like?
    • how are you getting to work?
    • what kind of car do you drive?

Don’t be concerned if you don’t know the answers off the top of your head. Brainstorm your ideas on paper, jot down some key words, tell yourself a “story” about your new life. Don’t edit…just go with it.
Then, cut out pictures and make a Vision Board. It doesn’t matter if what you’re dreaming seems impossible. Your picture will go through some refinements, but trust yourself. Eventually you’ll whittle it down to exactly what you want.
What’s most important is that you’re giving yourself the gift of a successful second chance. BRAVA!!
BTW: Have you ever thought about whether you live your life by default (go with the flow and whatever happens you deal with it) or by design (you choose what you want to and go after it)? Most people live by default. That’s why I wrote Victory by Design. It’s a 7-step starter program that helps you explore your values, vision, and strategies for getting what you want in your life. You can download it now at the Victorious Woman Project’s store: Victory by Design