For the Joy of Dancing

We learned last week James is sort of famous with the fans of the Michigan Women’s Basketball team.

  • While at the open team practice, people were excited to chat with him.
  • “You’re the guy who loves to dance!”
  • And it’s true.

James LOVES to dance and the dance camera at the game usually loves him.

  • James brings his pom poms for extra flare.
  • Will step into the aisle way.
  • And shake his booty.

The crowd around us is usually in stitches laughing.

  • Including me.
  • Sometimes someone will get up and have a dance off with James.
  • Most of us just enjoy the show.

I admire James for his willingness to dance with joy.

  • He doesn’t care what others think.
  • He does love when his dancing is projected on the big screen in the stadium.
  • And if it doesn’t happen, he still dances with all his heart.

What do you do with unrestrained joy in your life?

A Year of Ruby

20140815-Ruby-and-GiGiOne year ago today, Ruby joined our house.

  • She was originally from Orange County, California.
  • She travelled across the country in a truck with 50 other dogs.
  • And found her forever home with us.

Ruby is a smart girl who loves to teach us lessons.

Here are a few of her favorites rules about life.

1. Don’t let people ignore you.

  • Ruby makes sure her message gets across.
  • For example: If she wants to play and GiGi ignores her, Ruby gives her a little nip on her back leg.
  • Ignoring Ruby is not an option.

2. Don’t buy into other’s limitations of you.

  • GiGi has some hound in her and howls quite nicely.
  • Ruby is a chug – chihuahua/pug mix – not built to howl.
  • Ruby decided she wanted to howl like GiGi.

At first, her howls barely made any noise.

  • We laughed at the idea of Ruby howling.
  • Unfortunately, GiGi kept coaching her.
  • Now, Ruby can howl like a pro and loves to do duets with GiGi.

3. When things aren’t going your way, change your perspective.

  • Ruby is a master of shifting perspectives.
  • If something isn’t going her way, she quickly flips on her back.
  • It is usually a game-changing strategy.

4. You need to regularly shut out the rest of the world to recharge.

  • Ruby is big into relationships and being there for us.
  • And, almost daily, we find Ruby snoozing with a blanket over her head.
  • It’s her favorite way to recover from a stimulating day.

5. Love heals a lot.

  • Hurt lingered in our home for several months after Raindrop died.
  • Ruby rushed into hearts one year ago today.
  • She has treated us all with a daily dose love and snuggles to bring the joy back into our lives.

We are lucky Ruby was willing to travel across the country to join our family! 

 

Take the survey on women and power. Would love to hear what you think. 

Which is Scarier?

Halloween James

James dressed up as a killer pumpkin or the idea of you owning your power?

Hopefully the answer is easily James in his goofy Halloween glory.

  • Yes, there is a pumpkin on the side of his swim cap.
  • He wears this every year.
  • It is scary.

That said, I also know owning your power is not something everyone knows how to do – or necessarily feels comfortable doing.

  • I’ve been researching owning personal power for years.
  • Especially for women.

Would love to hear how you feel about being powerful.

  • Will you please take my survey?
  • It’s just a few questions.
  • Will take only 2-3 minutes to complete.

Click here to take the survey.

Thanks in advance for sharing your insights with me!

 

Does Your Power Leak When You Introduce Yourself?

2011-08-15_cynthia-blueI attended a networking event yesterday.

  • Enjoyed the educational program.
  • Then it was time for the all exciting networking introductions!

Next, everyone was invited to introduce themselves to the room.

  • Using a microphone.
  • Should have been easy – stand up, share your information, smile.
  • And yet one person after another gave away their power.

Here are some of the ways people presented themselves as less than they really are.

I turned them into a list of things to avoid.

1. Speaking while your chair is making noise as you rise.

  • Wood chairs on wood floors are noisy – even if you have a microphone.
  • Don’t start speaking until everything is quiet.

2. Starting to speak before you are fully standing.

  • It looks funny. Sort of like a jack-in-the-box.
  • Most people were done with their intro by the time they were fully standing.
  • Those of us across the room couldn’t see who was talking – created a much weaker connection.

3. Grimacing at people as you speak.

  • Yes, you may be nervous and hate doing this kind of introduction.
  • It doesn’t matter – you still need to smile.
  • Grimacing will scare people away.

4. Adjusting your clothes while you speak.

I saw two different women adjusting their clothes as they spoke.

  • Pull the sleeves up or down.
  • Pull the shirt down.
  • Flip the hair back.

Grooming happens before you touch the microphone – not while you are speaking.

5. Using words with lots of syllables that no one really understands but you.

  • If I can’t understand what you are saying, I can’t value what you do.
  • Your intro needs to be simple enough even a kid can understand.
  • If you talk over me, you are rejecting me.

Little things that make a big difference – and serve as a power leak for you.

  • Awareness is the first step.
  • Can you think of anything else people do that leaks their power when introducing themselves to a room?
  • Share them in the comments below.

To Know Us is to Love Us

2014-15-MI-Womens-Bball-PracticeLast night we attended an open practice for the University of Michigan’s Women’s Basketball team.

  • I was curious to see how the athletes work out.
  • Wanted to “meet” all the new players.
  • And hoped to win season tickets to the games by answering trivia questions!

First, we watched the women play competitive skill “games”.

  • Broken into two teams, they raced the clock for shooting the most three-pointers.
  • Or practiced shooting and rebounding as a team by racing through a slightly twisted game of horse.
  • The losers of each round had to do five push ups.

The coaching staff made working on basic skills fun to do.

  • The coaches explained why they had the women do what they were doing.
  • There was great attention to detail about what was reinforced with each drill.
  • For example: Counting baskets aloud by team helped the women learn to communicate with each other.

2014-15-MI-Womens-Bball-team

Head Coach Kim Barnes Arico closed the program by introducing her team.

  • Each player took center stage.
  • Coach Kim shared some scoop about the player and gave them an opportunity on the microphone too.
  • I loved how the coach shared personal information, like family fun facts, about each player.

Last night the basketball team became more real to me.

  • Watching them drill made me think about how returning to basics can have big pay-offs in the work I do as well.
  • The players became individuals as I learned more about each.
  • It made me want to support the team even more.

The first game is this Sunday.

  • We have at least three conflicting activities on our calendar.
  • And yet, how can we not go to the game?
  • Especially when freshman team member, #23 Maria Backman, made a point to come way up into the stands where we were sitting to shake our hands, thank us for our support – and invite us to the game.

How do you help people know you so they want to be part of your team – whether personal or professional?

If You Could Do Anything What Would You Do?

What Should be the Next Move?Yesterday we talked about my shock of hearing a woman say, “I rarely do anything I don’t want to do.”

  • There was some good discussion in the comments.
  • Some mentioned attempting this in the volunteer world – in spite of the perils there.

Today I want to share a little exercise I found helpful.

  • I’ve been overly responsible for a great portion of my life.
  • As I lean into what can be, I’ve been embracing a more playful approach.
  • It helps me to think in ways I don’t normally think.

To break myself of doing what others want or expect me to do instead of what I want to do, I had to figure out what I enjoy doing!

  • When you live a life in service, that’s not a question you ponder a lot.
  • I certainly didn’t.
  • Did you?

Forget my heart Show me the MoneyAs an overachiever in recovery, at first I wanted to get the right answer.

  • What should someone like me want to do?
  • Could it change based on options?
  • What about whim?

My head hurt with all the variables I “played” with in my analysis.

  • It was the perfect way to keep me in my box.
  • And dedicated to my life of rules.

So I tried again, and just asked myself to fill in the blank, “If I could do anything, I would…”

  • At first I stumbled and struggled.
  • Then I said what the heck and let myself go.
  • (After all, I didn’t plan to post anything publicly about my list!)

I came up with a lot of light-hearted ideas.

  • Some I was able to add to my life right away without a lot of effort.
  • My days became lighter.
  • Work done more easily.

It’s your turn.

  • Get out your pen and paper.
  • There’s something different about writing by hand versus a computer.
  • That said, use the computer if you want.

Age 2 CynthiaList at least 10 answers to, “If I could do anything I would…”

  • Tap into that inner little girl who believes all things are possible.
  • What did you discover?
  • Share below in the comments.

What if it is hard for you to do a list?

  • Try doing a heart map – a mind map with answers from the heart.
  • You could also create your list sending texts to a good friend.
  • Or have the friend interview you using the same question until your list is complete.

What about doing only what I want when I want it?

  • This is a powerful first step.
  • There’s more work to be done on only doing what I want.
  • We will figure it out together. ;-)

So let’s hear about your list! What did you learn?

Why Do You Do What You Do?

2012-02-25_cynthia-questioningI remember the conversation like it was yesterday.

  • She looked like she was such a nice woman.
  • A few of my friends were already friends with her.
  • I was doing coffee to get to know her better.

And then it came out of her mouth…”I rarely do anything I don’t want to do.”

  • Huh? The brakes in my mind screeched as everything came to a halt.
  • How is this even possible?
  • I asked her to repeat what she just said – and she did.

This conversation took place three years ago.

  • Originally it fried my brain.
  • I have spent my life being of service to my clients, my family, my friends – and even strangers.
  • I thought that was what all women did.

Then I started to wonder…

  • What made her so special she didn’t have to do all the work?
  • But she didn’t say she didn’t help.
  • Just that she rarely did anything she didn’t want to do.

I played with this fantasy-to-me concept.

  • What if I only did what I wanted to do?
  • What would that look like?
  • Would lightening strike me down?

What about you?

  • Do you only do what you want to do?
  • Or do you spend your life doing what you’re supposed to do?
  • How does it feel?

Let’s explore this a bit before I share the next chapter of this story.

  • Awareness of possibility is the first step.
  • Tomorrow, I’ll share a little exercise that was an eye-opener for me.
  • In the meanwhile, let’s talk in the comments below.

 

Who Cares About the Neighbors?

small-spy“What would the neighbors think?” was the caution I often heard as a kid.

(I’m not sure if this neighborly threat was just a Michigan thing…)

The high priority put on the neighbors’ concern and impression fractured life for us.

  • It often felt like we lived two lives.
  • The real one inside our house.
  • And the carefully staged play for the rest of the world.

As an adult, I thought I gave less care to what the neighbors thought.

  • I take the dogs out in the middle of the night with just a wrapper over my pjs.
  • We let the natural wildflowers grow instead of planting one-season plants.
  • And we don’t water our lawn in the summer – we let the grass go on it’s natural cycle.

Ahhh…freedom – or so I thought.

  • Recently I realized I was still living under the neighborly rules.
  • My neighborhood had just expanded to the world.

For the last 20 years as a leadership strategist, I let my clients and others know just parts of me.

  • I strived to be a trusted resource and above reproach professionally.
  • My real life was a little more creative – with several websites to prove it.
  • Every once in a while I would cross pollenate my worlds – but only on safe topics like working out.

I could never find an umbrella big enough to cover all my interests.

  • (After all, what would my neighbors think?)
  • Finally I opened my eyes to the obvious place to keep everything…me.
  • I’m unleashing me on the world and figure people can just love me or leave me.

Over the next few weeks, I’m bringing the various pieces of me to rest under cynthiadamour.com

There’s a childish part of me still a bit worried about what the neighbors will think if they see all my stuff.

  • But the woman in me is ready to be totally me.
  • So this is a farewell of sorts to the neighborhood spies.
  • And HELLO to the world!

Do you ever find yourself wishing you could just be you?