Are Your Goals a Casualty of Comfort?

Comfort Zone a Problem?
Janice was in tears and her voice was shaking.  She was back at the popular weight loss meeting, for the third January in a row. Embarrassed, she told the group how, two years ago, she lost twenty pounds in the first part of the year but gained most of it back in the second half.
She said she joined again last year, but, with frustration dripping on every word, she confessed, “When the new program started last year, and they said I could eat anything I wanted, I was more hopeful.” But it wasn’t that easy and she admitted, “I had a hard time getting used to the new way and I wasn’t losing as fast as before. So I dropped out after a couple months. Now I’m six pounds more than this time last year.”
The group understood, especially the nine women and men who, like Janice, were back. Each one hoping that (maybe this time) they would finally accomplish their New Year’s goal to lose weight. Will they do it this time? The odds aren’t in their favor.
Losing weight and getting fit annually tops the list of “most common” New Year’s Resolutions, along with paying off debt and saving money. Yet only about 8% of the people who SAY it actually DO it. That means that for every 100 people who make those promises, 92 of them fail.  Will you be one of them?
What is it about losing weight – or any other resolution – that makes success so elusive?

There’s a little-understood but simple secret to success that almost everyone ignores. The secret is in learning how to conquer your comfort zone.

Here’s the thing: Your comfort zone is that “inside” place you’re familiar with, where you know what you’re dealing with and know how to handle it. When you leave your comfort zone, even for something better, it’s  uncomfortable. You can’t ‘have the luxury of auto-pilot in the new place. As s result, you have to think about what you’re doing. It’s an effort…work.
When you make new choices, not only does it take time to think about them, but maybe those choices don’t push that emotional satisfaction button in your head right away. So you feel a variety of emotions: scared, unsatisfied, agitated, etc. Here are some examples:

  • Dieting: Instead of just grabbing something you like from the fridge, or off a fast food menu, you have to stop and think about what what you can have and make different choices.
  • Money: You can’t just pull out your credit card to pay for that dress or dinner or show tickets. You have to think about your budget and maybe say “no” to that thing you want or want to do.
  • Growing your business: If doing the same old same old is getting you business but not growth. You have to step out of your comfort zone to step up.

Here’s the kicker: Until you develop a comfort level with your new behaviors, a part of you yearns to go back to that familiar space. For a while the effort seems like more pain than gain. And that’s why you quit.

Dealing with your comfort zone is probably your biggest obstacle you’ll face when you have a new goal. It’s also the one that most people ignore – which is why only 8 out of every 100 people stick to their resolutions.

The good news is that it’s one of the things that’s totally in your control.

The Victory Stretch

Facing obstacles is how you get the opportunity to victory. Victory is the stretch you make out of your comfort zone into that greater, more fabulous expression of who you really are.  That’s what you want – to be all of your best self. Right? So do it. Start by conquering your comfort zone using these three tips:
1. Recognize the Resistance. You’re going to experience some negative feelings as you move out of your comfort zone. In the past, how did you act just before you quit? Were there things you said, like, “This isn’t working.” or “Why bother?” and “I can’t do this.”

Do you have a pattern? You probably do. What is it?

Your pattern of resistance could show up as sadness, stress, tiredness, anger, disgust, passive-aggressiveness, or something else. It can be a combination of things. Write them down so you heighten your awareness.

2 .  Prepare for the Challenge. When you start working on your new goal, and your resistance pattern starts showing up, what will you do? Knowing in advance what your triggers are and how you will handle your discomfort will create a new comfort zone for you. That will boost your chances of pushing forward and being victorious. Here are a few ways to spit in the face of resistance:

  • Set up a “yes set”. Seeing results is motivating, BUT it takes a while to see them. In between, you need to give yourself some motivations, like:
    • YES! I exercised three times this week. That’s better than last week
    • YES! I set up auto-deposit from my paycheck to savings and I didn’t even notice the difference
    • YES! I networked with six new people this month – double what I did all last quarter.
  • Remember your “why”. Make a list of all the positive outcomes that will result from achieving your goal. Read them each morning, and whenever your resistance shows up.
  • Acknowledge yours feelings. Talk to them like the friends they are. “I know you’re here to help me stay in my comfort zone. I appreciate that you want to make me feel safe and secure. But I really want to [whatever the new thing is]. I’d rather that you help me get comfortable with that and, if you can’t, go away.” Sounds a little airy-fairy, but give it a try.

3. Get Support. Find a class, mastermind group, coach, or accountability partner. It will help you in your quest. Having one makes a huge difference. When you make a commitment to someone else, and know that are rooting for you, they create a type of comfort zone. As a result, you are more likely to deal with your resistance effectively.
OFFER: If you are looking for help and support in achieving a new goal, you’ll want to be a part of the EMPOWERING and BEST #midlifemakeover. Join me for the Savvy Sizzle Workshop, starting in the new year, just in time for your comfort zone melt down.
Learn more at Annmarie Kelly’s Savvy Sizzle Master Class
# Victorious Woman Project, #Victorious Woman, #WomensEmpowerment,  #VictoryChicks, #AnnmarieKelly, #FiveYearMarriage, #MidlifeMakeover

Cathy Sikorski on Friday Happy Hour

Happy Hour friend, Cathy Sikorski is back this week to talk caregiving, women in midlife, and more. Cathy will also be giving us some tips right from her newest book, Who Moved My Teeth,. And, while our conversation always has some jazz and sparkle, Cathy always brings a little spice. Join us this week for some Happy Hour fun!

Here’s the article I talked about: Barbara Bush and Me
Want to join the party with me and the other Girlfriends this year? We’re still in early discount mode, so get your tickets now: Girlfriend Gala
Here’s info about the bridal fair: Wed Local
Here’s a flyer for Cathy Sikorski is doing near Reading:
 
#VictoriousWoman, #FridayHappyHour, #AnnmarieKelly, #CathySikorski

Annmarie is “live” every Friday, from 3-4pm EST.
Call-in: 610-701-9243

You won’t want to miss Happy Hour with Annmarie Kelly …and you don’t have to!

  • In West Chester PA: turn your radio dial to 1520AM
  • Anywhere in the world: listen online from at www.WCHE1520.com (click the microphone that says “listen live” – uses Windows Media Player).
  • On your mobile devices at Tune-In Radio.Call-in: 610-701-9243

Not sure when Annmarie is on in your time zone? Find out here: Time Zone Converter

Miss the show? Listen to the Podcast!

RadioWrapUp.7.7.17: What's Your Brand?

What’s your brand? Whether you know if or not, and whether it’s business or personal, you have a brand! Your brand is the way people see you and how they identify you. Are you in control of your brand? If you aren’t, others are. How are they defining you – and is it what you want? Megan Driscoll is joining Annmarie Kelly to talk about you, your brand, and how to use it to shape your next chapter – or reshape your current brand.

EvolveMKD founder and CEO Megan Driscoll is a sought-after strategic media and communications professional with nearly 15 years of experience in healthcare, aesthetics and dermatology, and prestige beauty. In just 2.5 years, Evolve has grown to 18 employees with a near-perfect retention rate, over $3 million in revenue, and is currently serving 20 brands. Megan has also earned numerous industry accolades in the last year, including Agency Professional of the Year, PR Pro Under 40 by Bulldog Reporter, and Female Entrepreneur of the Year. Her agency was also named Company of the Year, Startup of the Year, and Women-Run Workplace of the Year by the Stevie’s Business Awards, and was one of the Top Places to Work in PR by PR News. Megan’s Website: www.evolvemkd.com  and Facebook: @EvolveMKD

Here’s a link to one of Megan’s interesting blog posts:Female Entrepreneurs
Here are some of those Newsies links:
Video of a Newsies dance number: YouTube
Newsboys Strike: Historical Reference
Upcoming shows: Theater Info


 Miss the show? Now you can: Listen to the Podcast!


Annmarie is “live” every Friday, from 3-4pm EST.

You won’t want to miss Happy Hour with Annmarie Kelly …and you don’t have to!

You can tune in to the Friday Happy Hour:

Call-in#: 610-701-9243

Not sure when Annmarie is on in your time zone? Find out here: Time Zone Converter

Did you miss a show or an interview you really wanted to hear?
Do you want MORE Happy Hour?
No problem! You can listen anytime, anywhere:
VICTORY CHICKS RADIO podcasts! Now on YouTube!

Gettysburg and Ghosts on the Friday Happy Hour

Gettysburg is famous for two things: what happened there on July 1-3, 1863 and President Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address four months later. The battle of Gettysburg was the turning point of the Civil War. Around 50,000 Confederate and Union soldiers lost their lives at Gettysburg and it’s said that many of their souls are still around.

This week we’re mixing history and the supernatural with historian Mike Nesbitt. Mike says that Gettysburg is the most haunted town in the country. I’m going to ask him why…and so much more.

Mark Nesbitt was a National Park Service Ranger/Historian for five years at Gettysburg before starting his own research and writing company. He has published over twenty books including the national award-winning Ghosts of Gettysburg series, two Ghost Hunters Field Guides and Civil War Ghost Trails. In 1994, he created the Ghosts of Gettysburg Candlelight Walking Tours based on stories from his books.
Learn more about Mike, including his books and ghost tours: Gettysburg Ghosts
You can also find Mike’s books on Amazon: Ghosts of Gettysburg

Annmarie is “live” every Friday, from 3-4pm EST.
Call-in: 610-701-9243

You won’t want to miss Happy Hour with Annmarie Kelly …and you don’t have to!

  • In West Chester PA: turn your radio dial to 1520AM
  • Anywhere in the world: listen online from at www.WCHE1520.com (click the microphone that says “listen live” – uses Windows Media Player).
  • On your mobile devices at Tune-In Radio.Call-in: 610-701-9243

Not sure when Annmarie is on in your time zone? Find out here: Time Zone Converter
Miss a show? Catch up on the VICTORY CHICKS RADIO podcasts! Now on YouTube!

Get Ready: New Year BEST You

Stop Wishing and Start Doing
Stop Wishing and Start Doing


Everybody’s talking about “New Year New You” Resolutions. But you don’t need a NEW YOU. You worked hard to be who you are, right? So ignore the NEW YOU stuff and go for BEST YOU. What does your BEST YOU look like? What do you want for 2017? If you don’t know, how will you get it?

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 have to know what that means – MORE of what, BETTER how??

If you don’t get clarity about your wants-needs-desires – your goals – who knows what zigzag path you’ll take or where you’ll end up. Maybe that’s already been happening to you. 2017 is the year to change that pattern.

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.

And then you’ll make a plan. Once you have a plan, you’ll know what to do. And it will be easier to take action.
Even small changes can have big results! Now is the time to focus. Forget New Year New You. Instead focus on your BEST YOU!

What’s YOUR big picture??

 
Need help? I can help you! Starting January 10…
I’m offering two Savvy Sizzle Workshops. One is in person in Wayne PA and the other is a teleseminar. Each one is five weeks and each one offers personal help in addition to the group.  And, if you signup now, you’ll get an additional $200 off using the code VW2017
Check them out:

What Was It About Florence Foster Jenkins?

Attribution: Anonymous
Attribution: Anonymous

Was it her charisma? Her social status? Her sense of purpose? Whatever made Florence Foster Jenkins the toast of the town, it was certainly NOT her singing. So why are we fascinated with now, seventy years after her death?
What was stunning about Florence Foster Jenkins 1944 performance (as portrayed brilliantly in the latest Meryl Streep movie) was that, though she loved singing, Florence couldn’t carry a tune to save her life (neither can I, so I felt an immediate kinship). While vanity keeps me from singing in public, nothing stopped Florence from performing, and doing it with great aplomb!
After watching the show recently, I left the movie theater a little obsessed and wanted to know more. An online search revealed that Jenkins was from Wilkes Barre Pennsylvania. She was a trained pianist who was so good that, as a young child, she played at the White House for President Hayes.
As a teenage newlywed, Jenkins contracted syphilis from her much-older husband; she divorced him after getting sick. But, since there were no antibiotics in her day, she was treated for syphilis with mercury and arsenic. The combination was so toxic that it affected Jenkins central nervous system and rendered Jenkins both bald and with a host of medical problems. She ditched the guy, but what he did to her plagued her for the rest of her life.florence_foster_jenkins_program
In the late 1800’s, there was far less acceptance for divorce and disability than there is today. Most women would have retreated into an obscure and regret-filled existence. Jenkins didn’t. She fused her passion for music with her social status to become a powerful force in the musical community, gaining a positive reputation in Philadelphia before moving to bigger and even better things in New York. One of her creations was the Verdi Club, a social club that focused on opera. It grew to over four hundred members.
“Music is my life,” she said, and neither her health problems nor her musical shortcomings stopped her from doing everything she could to fill her life with what she loved. Given her many physical challenges, Florence Foster Jenkins personal and professional victories were astounding!
In her seventies, and in spite of her screeching hot mess of a voice, Jenkins recorded a record album which became her record label’s biggest seller of all time. When she gave her one and only performance at Carnegie Hall, some in the audience actually thought she was a comedy act. But Jenkins gave herself to that night with everything she had. To this day the Florence Foster Jenkins performance is still Carnegie Hall’s most requested performance of all time.
Movie Poster
Movie Poster

Florence Foster Jenkin’s passion attracted a cadre of loyal friends and staunch supporters who advocated for Jenkins even after her death. Her long-time companion, St. Clair Bayfield said, “She had star quality…You could feel that in the applause. People may have laughed at her singing, but the applause was real.”
Meryl Streep, in an interview for UK’s Mirror, said: ­“Florence kept something we all have when we are children, when you can’t really do anything that well, but you hurl yourself into the imagining of it and take delight in the doing.”
To my way of thinking, Jenkin’s victory flourished through the persistence with which she embraced what she loved. It pushed her to overcome a host of challenges. The most victorious thing about Florence Foster Jenkins can be summed up in her own words: “People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.”
I think I, and actually every woman, can take a page from the Florence Foster Jenkins playbook. When your passion flows through you to others, you attract all the right people and situations around you.
What are you that passionate about now?
Listen to Florence Foster Jenkins sing
 
Interested in bringing your personal vision to life? Join the Victorious Woman Project and see where it will take you. I have a Vision Board Class starting next month in Wayne PA, near King of Prussia Mall, an Optimal Living for Couples class in November and, a Savvy Sizzle teleseminar in January. Join the Victorious Woman Project to learn more:

Do You Need A Change??

GrandCanyon.Am
Annmarie at PA Grand Canyon

Last weekend I slipped in the mud while hiking in the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. I was hiking the “Turkey Path” with my spouse, Joseph. The path is a steep and difficult one-mile descent through a forest, past a waterfall, to the canyon floor.  We expected a challenge, especially for the way back up, but we were up for it.
As we made our way down the mountain, I noticed dangerous wet spots on the trail. I was careful and the tread on my hiking boots seemed to grab the ground and kept me upright…until the last one. That’s when, just like slipping on a banana peel, my feet flipped out in front of me
?
PA Grand Canyon from Colton State Park

and down I went, with my curvy right hip slowing the fall. Nothing was broken, but it hurt.
Hikers came over to see if I was OK and one, noticing my hiking boots, questioned the tread. “How old are your boots,” she asked. I dunno,” I replied, still a little shaken up. “Probably six or seven years.”  But, on the next hike, I ditched the boots and wore new, well-treaded running shoes.Later that day Joseph and I tried to remember how long we’ve actually had what we called our “new” hiking boots. We were shocked to realize that it’s probably been fifteen years. I started thinking about how things wear out or become outdated without me noticing or even realizing.
Do you do that too? Time moves fast these days, doesn’t it?
Suddenly that savvy hairstyle and that you love is outdated. The oh-so-comfortable yoga pants now look like they belong in the donation bag. That special tablecloth that your mom gave you for your wedding is old-fashioned. And your kids have started teasing you when you tell them that story for, what seems to them, the one-millionth time.
So what? You love sharing your special things and your memories.
The problem with doing the same old same old is that you lose relevance. In today’s world, especially if you’re in the job market, relevance is key to your success now and later, for your next chapter.
If you’re starting to notice some staleness in your life, here are five ways to give yourself and your life a breath of fresh air.

  1. Make a decision about aging. As long as you keep waking up every morning, you’re going to age. How do you want to do it? Do you want to be the wise sage, the in-the-know older woman, or the stereotypical old lady down the street?
    • What you decide will influence everything from what you read to how you act.
  1. Focus forward. You have what a younger woman doesn’t have – history and experience. But neither one will be important if you live in the past and allow your words to drip with age.
    • Find a new goal or project, something you are truly excited about doing. It could a bucket list trip, learning a new dance or language, following a long- suppressed passion, or something else. Whatever it is, choose it, plan it and do it.
  1. Reverse Mentor. Remember when you knew all the latest music, fashion trends and “what’s hot” news. Knowing them made you feel connected and alive, right? Now, unless you have kids or grandkids who will keep you up-to-date and in the know, you’re falling behind.

Reverse mentoring connects Millennials with aging Boomers and GenXers, both in and out of the workplace.  Alan Webber, co-founder of Fast Company, explains,  “…by the time you’re in your forties and fifties, you’re not in touch with the future the same way the young twenty-something’s. They come with fresh eyes, open minds, and instant links to the technology of our future”.

That doesn’t mean you have to adopt or adapt, but knowing makes a difference. And, in the process, your Millennial mentor has the opportunity to learn something from your experience. It’s a win-win.

  1. Test and toss. Go through you house, your closet and your jewelry box. How many things have you had for years and don’t even realize they are worn out or outdated (like my hiking boots)?

That broken bracelet you loved twenty years ago? Get it fixed or sell it. That dress that went out of style years ago? Take that to a dressmaker for updating. The broken end table goes to a carpenter. Or have a flea market and sell-sell-sell.

  1. Practice gratitude and focus on the positive. There’s nothing that says “old” like being miserable. Misery taints your spirit and shows up on your face. If you can’t find anything to be grateful for, you aren’t looking hard enough.

Fifth generation coffee farmer and coffee evangelist, Aida Batlle, suggests this: “Realize what traditions you will need to carry forward but also question what is out there that will help make a difference and achieve new things.”
And take in the sweetness of that new breath of fresh air that’s making your life sparkle again.

Victorious Woman Contest: 1st Place

Petra Monaco
A Story of Overcoming

2016-04-11-04.55.44-1-e1462118673269-300x261My life and practice have been shaped by my own story. Growing up in foster care since the age of 2 and I have overcome many challenges and adversities despite the odds, always believing in finding a dream that leaves her fulfilled by living her life according to her own rules.
With a vision of owning my own business, 10 years ago I created her first business, Hippie’s Creations. Being very much a DIY person, I learned how to set up a blog and manage my social media, letting out my geeky side and leading me to create my second business, Unusual Bits.
My son was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder at the age of 4, and life became a 24-hour crisis, leaving his life in limbo until he underwent his third liver transplant.
Time for a Shift
I realized that life is too short and I needed to stop talking about my dream of helping others and start taking action. I became trained in mental health counseling but realized that in order to be present for my son’s medical needs and my own dream, that helping transform the life of others was my passion. I use what I have learned through life and my training to take a dream and turn it into reality and do this with my third business, Petra Monaco – Transformational Life Coach.
I believe that everyone deserves a shot at creating freedom however they envision it. I help women like myself move forward and overcome the challenges in making their own dreams real through her business, one-on-one coaching. I have written three books and continue to create my own freedom pursuing my own dreams.

Congratulations Petra!
Glad you shared your story!

To all you Victory Chicks:
There is victory in each of us – in you! You have what it takes to make the victory stretch out of your comfort zone from where you are now to where you want to be.

Can you relate to Petra’s story?

Making your dreams come true, achieving your goals, being successful – it isn’t always easy and sometimes, like Petra, you have to make a few attempts before you have the success you desire. But, with each attempt, you learn. You get smarter, bolder and sometimes more impatient. All of that pushes you forward, and you are more likely to put yourself “out there” in a way that you might have been too shy or reticent to do the first (or second) time around.

And you succeed.

I hope Petra’s story inspires you to look at what you’ve done until now and what you dream about doing to make your tomorrows even better than your todays…and, then, start taking action.
One way to start is by asking yourself:

  • Where’s my comfort zone? Is it by staying so busy helping others that I don’t have to think about my own goals? Is it watching too much TV or disappearing into a world of mystery or romance through books? Or, are you choosing to believe what other people tell you about what you are worth, or capable of, and let their negativity numb you into the comfort of the same old same old?
  • If you could, what do you need to do to stretch out of it and into that bigger, richer, picture of who you really are?
  • What’s one small thing you can do today to take a step – even a little one – out of your comfort zone?

For information and resources, including Annmarie Kelly’s upcoming teleseminars and Victory Groups, check out the Victorious Woman website. And for support and encouragement, join my private FB page at Victory Chicks Community.

4.15.16 RadioWrapUp: Kelly Hayes-Raitt

kellyphoto-300x198Kelly Hayes-Raitt and I chatted about her midlife reinvention from political consultant into her most interesting “bohemian” lifestyle.
Kelly is an activist and author who is passionate about protecting women’s rights, the environment and consumers’ rights. She is currently writing a book about her experiences in the Middle East with Iraqi and Palestinian refugees called “Living Large In Limbo:  How I Found Myself Among the World’s Forgotten.”  You can read more at her website: LivingLargeinLimbo and here’s Kelly talking about Iraq on YouTube
If you’re looking for a group and aren’t already familiar with the most popular conglomeration of groups, go here to find one – or start your own: MeetUp
If you want to get on my email list, you can do it here: VictoryEmail and please join me on Facebook
I hope you and your girlfriends will join me, Pat Ciarrocchi, Theresa Hummel Krallinger and some fascinating girlfriends at the The Girlfriend Gala on May 25, 5:30-8:30, Penn Oaks Golf Club. You can still get the early bird discount…so do it now! The Girlfriend Gala

Today’s quote was from Goldie Hawn, who said,

“You have to truly grasp that everybody ages. Everybody dies.
There is no turning back the clock.
So the question in life becomes:
What are you going to do while you’re here?”

What ARE you going to do???

Tune into each week to the Friday Happy Hour at 3pm on AM radio 1520. You can also listen online at www.WCHE1520.com. Call-in: 610-701-9243

 

More Than Just Her Jeans

VanderbiltRemember those Gloria Vanderbilt jeans? Who didn’t love ‘em?
How funny is that, while the flamboyant Gloria was flaunting her famous name on those fabulous jeans, she faced a myriad of behind-the-scenes dramas. Not funny ha-ha…funny peculiar.
So last week I found myself mesmerized as I watched Gloria Vanderbilt talking about life and love with her son, Anderson Cooper.  They were promoting their new book, The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son Talk about Life, Love and Loss and their HBO documentary, Nothing Left Unsaid.
What started both the book and the documentary were emails between Gloria Vanderbilt’ and her son, Anderson Cooper. Then, after his ninety-two year old mom had a brief illness last year, Cooper realized there was too much unsaid between them. He didn’t want a repeat of what happened with his father, who died when Cooper was ten.
Cooper confesses that he always thought – hoped – that sometime, like when he turned sixteen or twenty-one, a letter from his deceased father would surface. He fantasized that father would tell son all the things the son didn’t know about his father, as well as all the father’s dreams for his son. But there was no such letter. And there was too much unsaid between father and son.
With that disappointment in his mind, and after his mom’s illness, Anderson Cooper decided he wanted everything to be out in the open. He thinks he’s like many adult children: that they don’t fully know their parent, but they want to. He decided to do something about it.
So the conversations between mother and son, which began as emails, started the process. In the documentary, Anderson Cooper rummages through his famous mother’s old letters, her attic storage and her own artwork. All the while mother and son chat about both facts and feelings, including the mother’s fears of abandonment, her low self-esteem and how much she regrets.
In the reflective tone of someone who has lived a full life, the nonagenarian reveals how distant her parents were and how she was raised – almost exclusively – by Nurse Dodo, who Gloria says was mother, father and everything to her.  One of the strangest and saddest revelations is Gloria describing how, after her father’s death, her mother took her to Paris to live. You might think she would say that the two bonded in Paris, but they didn’t. When mother and daughter went to Paris, Gloria’s mother rented two houses – one for herself and the other for Gloria and Dodo.
No wonder she has abandonment and self-esteem issues!
As she looks at pictures and tells stories, it’s interesting to hear how those same issues surface over and over again in her four marriages. Only seventeen when she was first married, Gloria says she was physically, mentally and verbally abused. She divorced him and, at twenty she married a man forty-years her senior (the father she never had). Spouse #3 was emotionally abusive. Her fourth marriage was to the love of her life (Anderson Cooper’s father), who died at fifty. Also, her second son from her second marriage detached from her some thirty years ago. Then her first son from her fourth marriage (Cooper’s older brother) committed suicide in front of her
As she talked about different people with whom she shared her life, Gloria confesses that she has many, many regrets. At one point in her life she said there were so many that she made a list. At the top of the list was regretting not being with Nurse Dodo when she died. The question of why, with all her money and resources, she let Dodo die in alone, penniless and in the care of Catholic Charities, hangs in the air like a bad smell. Still, it’s interesting to hear her stories.
On balance, Gloria Vanderbilt’s life has been more than interesting. Yet, according to her son, she never had a plan for her life. Doesn’t it make you wonder what it would have been like, what she would have accomplished, if she had stepped into personal leadership earlier in her life?
Overall, Gloria Vanderbilt’s greatest victory seems to be getting through her challenges. She did it because she developed an attitude, “I could survive things and I did.”
When you’re ninety-two (and statistically you have a great chance of getting there), how would you like to look back on your life? If you continue on your current path, is there anything you think you wish you had done differently now, while you’re in your forties, fifties, sixties? What do you think you might regret?
You’re still young enough to reverse most of your regrets. Will you?       
The next NO REGRETS workshop is scheduled for June. The date isn’t set yet, but you can be the first to know by following me on Facebook at VictoriousWomanProject