Hey friends! Please check out our latest project, The Universe in Ecstatic Motion – we would love to see you there, and, as always, we appreciate your support. Love you! ♥️✨♥️
Hey friends! Please check out our latest project, The Universe in Ecstatic Motion – we would love to see you there, and, as always, we appreciate your support. Love you! ♥️✨♥️
This week has been a real ripper, eh? It’s like end of days shit everywhere you go – things are shutting down, we are all figuring out how to continue doing our jobs remotely…and focusing on how to keep ourselves and our families safe (while trying to scare up enough toilet paper to wipe our asses). However, out of the mist of doom that has swamped our media coverage this week (a low point for me was hearing the news that Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson had tested positive – it’s like we can’t have nice things) comes this gem of a story – check it out:
This young man is 19 years old, and possesses a most beautiful, thoughtful heart – it’s incredible. Most young people his age wouldn’t think to do something so kind – his family must be so proud. He gives me hope for the future. 🌟
Stay safe, friends. ♥️
Check out this performance by British artist Dave at last night’s BRIT Awards – powerful perfection:
I came across this article this morning – the title is “How to be as Likeable as Mister Rogers”, and I kind of love it. Growing up with three TV channels in rural Canada, Mister Rogers was not part of my childhood (we had the Canadian version of him – Mr Dressup – who was just about as fantastic, let me tell you!). Once we got cable, though, I began checking out his show (yes I was 17, so what?) to see what the fuss was all about it…and I LOVED it. I found him to be everything that a person who hosts a show for kids should be – kind, sweet, caring, with such a lovely sense of joy and fun. I appreciated the cadence of his voice, the speech patterns he used were rhythmic and comforting…and don’t get me started on his magnificent puppets. I’m here for puppets anyway (I seriously love them – I don’t know why I don’t work at the Children’s Television Workshop on Sesame Street), but his were extra special. Sigh. I love him. Anyway, back to the list of ways you can be as likeable as Fred Rogers – and I hope you follow it and become as likeable as him. We need more of him in the world. For realz.
How to be as likeable as Mister Rogers
Make light of dark topics
The TV show that made Mister Rogers famous was called “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” It was a kid’s TV show and often contained dark topics which Mister Rogers was able to present in a positive way.
His ideas about death and the inevitable event we will all face were spoken about using puppets, a dead goldfish lying in a tank that was later buried, and through the use of songs and puppets.
He took a dark subject like death and found something positive in it both for children and for the adults that would watch his show with their children. One such example saw Mister Rogers reflecting on what his mother used to say to him about death:
“Always look for the people who are helping.”
“You’ll always find somebody who’s trying to help.”
Even with a dark topic like death, there is a way to find the positive if you take Mister Rogers’ advice that he learned from his mother. It’s easy to find a horrible outlook from a dark topic — but it’s much harder to see the good and that’s one way to become more likable. Because people fall in love with those that can find the good in every situation.
Make everyone feel good
The whole way through watching both films, the viewer is left feeling good. You feel good for many reasons and most of them tie back to one central theme: it’s so easy to be a good person if you try hard enough the way Mister Rogers did.
There is so much to feel bad or guilty about in life and the internet only amplifies this problem. People that make us feel good are uncommon and so when we’re introduced to such an individual, we like them.
By making us feel good about the world, we feel good about ourselves.
And when we feel good about ourselves, we can achieve outcomes that we may otherwise of believed to be impossible. Make people feel good.
Give everybody your full attention
Ever spoken to someone about an important topic and they are looking at their phone or computer and giving you a small amount of their attention? You feel horrible and wish that they would just listen.
Mister Rogers was different — granted, technology was not robbing us of our attention during his era the way it is now. During many scenes reenacted by Tom Hanks in the film about Mister Rogers’ life (and confirmed by the journalist he was talking with, Tom Junod), Rogers takes a deep interest in everybody he talks with. He asked them questions about themselves and leaves them pondering thoughts long after the conversation is done.
He takes pictures with people he meets and calls them friends, making them feel important.
People love it when you pay attention to them and the way you do that is by being genuinely curious and asking questions about them, rather than talking about yourself.
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less — CS Lewis
Plans don’t always work out
It one scene of the film, Mister Rogers says, “I want kids to know that plans don’t always work out.”
For a typically positive man, this may seem like strange advice. What makes Mister Rogers likable is that he tells the truth and doesn’t sugarcoat brutal life lessons.
By knowing that our plans won’t always work out, we can be prepared for it and not be disappointed or have our thoughts turn to trash when our plans fail. The corporate world has long told me that I must have a business plan (helpful advice), but what is often left out is that even with a plan, things generally don’t go accordingly.
Having a plan is not a way to prevent failure or even prevent it.
Positive ways to deal with feelings
Mister Rogers’ key theme of his TV show that made him likable was to find positive ways to deal with feelings.
We are going to have unhelpful feelings and learning to deal with them is far more useful than trying to suppress them or numb them with alcohol, drugs, binge-watching tv, being unkind on social media or eating junk food.
You deal with feelings by facing them head-on and looking inside yourself at the good and not-so-good parts of who you are.
Get people to tell the truth
Good luck ever trying to lie to Mister Rogers. He was known for getting people on and off camera, to tell the truth. There were the pauses and the stares into their eyes that unconsciously helped them to say what needed to be said.
Talking with Mister Rogers was refreshing because you knew that he wasn’t going to judge you or force you to agree with his view of the world.
Helping people tell the truth is useful and you do that, mostly, from listening to them and letting them know that you’re not going to judge them.
Know everyone’s name
One of the simplest hacks to be likable, that is often overlooked, is to remember people’s names. Cast, crew, journalists and the extras on set were often surprised by Mister Rogers’s uncanny ability to remember their first name and it made them feel valued.
No matter how famous or influential you are, do your best to remember people’s names.
Researching someone before you meet them shows you care and they’ll like you for it. When Esquire journalist Tom Junod met Mister Rogers, he was surprised at how much research he had done on him.
Their conversations were deep and the friendship that developed later on was partly made possible by the research Rogers had done prior to meeting Tom. With social platforms dominating our lives, we can use them to be well-researched and incredibly curious when we meet someone for the first time.
I personally like to read up on the hobbies of business clients before I meet them to understand them from a different angle. You can tell me about your business, but I’ll learn more by hearing about your hobbies and why you chose them. Because hobbies and business are closely linked.
Give people a chance
Tom didn’t exactly have a brilliant reputation as a journalist with the way he wrote and it was risky, in a way, for Rogers to be followed around and written about by Tom.
But Mister Rogers gave people a chance and lets his character do the talking for him. Even with Tom’s controversial style of writing, it was impossible not to be inspired by Mister Rogers and share that truth with the audience.
See who people can be and not who they currently are, and trust your character to do the talking for you.
Show huge amounts of empathy
Another key theme of the TV show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, was the teaching of empathy. It was a key theme throughout many of the 900 episodes and was acted out by Rogers himself and then portrayed through some of the characters featured in the show.
Joanne Rogers, widow of Mister Rogers, mentioned an interesting idea in an interview with NBC:
“Listen, it’s important for you to know that he was not a saint. Because if you think of him as a saint, then his message is unattainable.”
Being a saint makes the idea of empathy and kindness unattainable and the fact that you have made many mistakes and don’t always see the good in people is perfectly fine.
We’re likable because of who we are, not for unattainable perfection.
Work at your way of being
You may think Mister Rogers was never angry, given his outlook on life. In both films it becomes clear that he was, at times, angry. When asked about his children, he would admit that they were not perfect either.
Everything Rogers does is a work in progress. The reason his anger didn’t dominate was because he learned to work at it and deal with it. The same opportunity exists for you. You’re going to get angry, especially when you’re tired, and working with those feelings is useful. How can you channel that anger into something positive?
Rogers teaches us that we can choose how we respond to anger rather than have the default option selected for us and be held back by it. Working on yourself is how you become more likable and minimize anger that turns people against you.
Write back to people that support you
Mister Rogers would write back to his fans and meet them in real-life. He was generous with his time and gave it to people that needed it.
This is a huge learning for me. Lots of people will support you in your life as it progresses and when they reach out, you have the opportunity to connect with them. People find you more likable when you take the time to respond to them, even if it’s a brief response.
It’s one of the key reasons I do my best to respond to any reader that contacts me directly.
Don’t take the people who support you for granted, and you’ll be more likable for it.
Ever met someone with a giant mansion and a Lambo in the driveway? It’s hard to relate to them, isn’t it?
Mister Rogers was known for taking the subway each day to the TV studio even though his fame meant that he didn’t have to. Like the viral footage of Keanu Reeves riding the subway, Mister Rogers did the same because he lived modestly. You could relate to him because he was just like you.
He let his character shine rather than let his ego be polished and put on display with the accumulation of money. Perhaps Keanu learned this life lesson from Mister Rogers.
The world doesn’t need another rich dude flaunting their money and making us feel like a failure.
We need more people riding the subway and using their money to make a real difference.
Live within your means. Avoid the temptation to buy fancy stuff and you’ll be more likable because you’ll be relatable.
Sharing your problems is bravery
Mister Rogers wasn’t afraid to talk about his problems. It was a small act of bravery that helped the audience understand their own problems through his.
Demonstrating you’re imperfect through talking about your problems is useful. This insight was what inspired me to talk more about mental illness and it may have the same effect on you.
It’s okay not to be okay.
No normal life is free from pain
“There is no normal life that is free of pain. It’s the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth” — Mister Rogers
All great advice, eh? I know!!! I love this so much! I’m on my way to start putting this to practice right now. 😊
I’ve been listening to podcasts in the car A LOT lately – not sure what has prompted the change, but since my drive to work is SO MUCH LONGER (argh the traffic blows around San Antonio these days), and I have a lot of time to fill while driving, so…I’m trying to learn stuff. Get smarter. Become a more interesting conversationalist. Podcasts are the way! 😊
What podcasts are you listening to these days, friends?
Happy Hump Day, friends! ♥️
Three Times a Lady
I read the book “Three Women” over the weekend – and let me tell you, that was some time seriously well spent. Are you familiar with this book? It was written by journalist Lisa Taddeo – she traveled around the country until she met three different women that she was interested in writing about. She followed their lives for eight years (talk about a time commitment!) – she moved to the towns were two of the women lived, she tells their stories through interviews, diaries, legal documents…all of these artifacts are pieced together to tell the story of these women, their desires, and how their lives play out. The book is FASCINATING. ♥️
One of the women she profiles is Maggie (actually her real name) – she has an inappropriate relationship with a teacher while in high school, eventually goes public with it…and is branded a whore. Of course – people can be so cruel. Her story plays out in Fargo, and after an administrative leave suspension, the predator who took advantage of her is back at work in a classroom (he was the North Dakota State Teacher of the Year in 2014, in case you’re interested)…and she has had struggle after struggle. This shit breaks my heart, for real – Maggie deserved better than the treatment she received. I hope that her life turns around, and that things are looking up for her – she SO deserves it.
The second woman profiled is Lina (not her real name) – she’s an Indiana homemaker and mother of two kids, and she is deeply unsatisfied in her marriage. I understand her problems, she’s starving for affection… but I’m not sure about the lengths she goes to when it comes to getting what she needs (digging up the bones of a relationship from high school, one that’s probably better left dead and gone). The way that her high school flame treats her makes me very uncomfortable, likely because I’ve let men treat me in that shitty manner as well. I think Lina’s story cut too close to home for me…I felt squirmy and awkward while reading it. It was tough…but SO well written.
The last woman profiled was the least relatable, at least to me – Sloane (again not her real name) is gorgeous, thin, successful, runs a fancy-pants restaurant, comes from wealth, and happily married…to a husband who likes to watch her have sex with other men and women. I found NOTHING relatable about her, to be frank, and most of her issues screamed of #firstworldproblems to me, but… I’m likely bitter because I’m not gorgeous, thin, nor successful! 😉 I wouldn’t be cool with someone who could only feel thrills by watching me get it on with someone else, though…that would be a hard pass for me. I found her personality in the book to be quite cold, calculating – and such a contrast to Maggie, who came across as passionate, sensitive, and invested in the life she was trying to make for herself. The contrast was an excellent dimension of the book, and really spoke to the depth of research the author did. Mind blowing!
Overall, this book was one that I couldn’t put down…I THOROUGHLY enjoyed it. Happiness is a good book! I have tremendous respect for the author and the work that she put in to telling the stories of these women, all driven by their own desires (what do desires even look like in women?), but taking dramatically different paths. ARGH! Such a great book! Get reading – you’ll love it! 😊
Here’s a post from December 2016 – let’s walk down memory lane together, shall we?
What skills and talents do you have? I bet you have tons of mad skills, friends….crazy talented peeps that you are. Are you an expert at anything? Singing? Dancing? Typing? Golf? Basket weaving??? What are you the very best at?
This is a tough question for me. I don’t know of one single thing that I am an expert at – not one, which is rather sad, when you think that I am 42 years old (gulp) and have worked in the Education industry for 21 years…and I’ve not mastered anything yet to the point of feeling like an expert. Have you? I bet you have. 🙂 The other thing that’s interesting about this topic is this: for a lot of us (women in particular), even if we have mastered something and have mad skillz coming out the wazoo (a technical word), we totally downplay the whole thing. Let me explain – when I am in a job interview (which I totes suck at, by the way), I have zero ability to sell myself. None. When I try, I end up stuttering and tripping over my words, feeling awkward AF because I think I sound like a pompous windbag…it doesn’t end well. So, I generally try to downplay everything, and make it sound as if the things that I do are no big whoop – when, in reality, I do lots of whoop-worthy things. Some researchers call this “impostor syndrome”, where women feel like they are fooling others, faking everything that they do, or getting by because they are just lucky. Jodie Foster said that before she won her Academy Award for “The Accused”, she felt “like an impostor, faking it, that someday they’d find out I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t. I still don’t.”
So what do those of us who believe we are impostors do? (Yes, for the record, I am TOTALLY this) (Pathetic) (Shame on me) We impostors play things safe, fly under the radar, hide our skills and abilities. We pretend to be less – less capable, less intelligent, less everything….anything we can to disappear into the crowd. Some of us hide our talents as a way of getting those around us to underestimate us – then they will be pleasantly surprised when they see how awesome we can be! (This is my favorite trick) Let’s take a look at an article about this very topic:
Despite their relative success, many bright, talented women no longer maintain their confident youthful enthusiasm. Criticized by high-profile authors like Sheryl Sandberg for not climbing the career ladder, women are often reluctant to promote themselves in the workforce or pursue higher paying careers, such as those in engineering or computer science. Some even feel like impostors, tormented by self-doubt and insecurity.
Why do gifted women lose confidence?
The self-doubt and insecurity start out gradually…
Those bright, energetic gifted girls often start to downplay their talents by middle school in an attempt to fit in. They mask their abilities and “dumb themselves down” to appeal to boys, fit society’s image of an attractive woman, and avoid conflict with friends. Their self-esteem starts to decrease, and they begin to lose confidence in their abilities, especially in math and science. They may steer clear of the more difficult math courses, believing that boys are intrinsically “more gifted.”
Insecurity and self-doubt often persist throughout high school. One study, for example, found that feelings of hopelessness, discouragement, emotional vulnerability and perfectionism increased for gifted girls from 1st through 12th grades. In another investigation, 3/4 of girls who graduated from a school for the gifted did not think they were smart.
Women in college continue to doubt themselves. Many gifted women are challenged for the first time once they arrive at college, and rather than embrace this opportunity, they view it as confirmation of their inadequacies. One study found that female valedictorians lost confidence in themselves when they were in college, despite getting good grades, and that their insecurity increased as they got older.
What are some reasons gifted women hold themselves back?
1. Impostor syndrome:
Women may doubt themselves and think they have fooled others. Talents and accomplishments are denigrated. Women who feel like impostors assume that it is only a matter of time before their “actual” incompetence and lack of intelligence will be revealed. Social psychology studies have shown that men consistently overestimate and women consistently underestimate their abilities and subsequent performance. As long as they view themselves as impostors, they will continue to doubt and disparage their accomplishments.
2. Attribution error:
Women often attribute their success to luck or effort, and any failure to lack of ability or an internal flaw. There is a widespread assumptions that gifted men are intrinsically “smarter” and that women’s success is due to hard work. In one survey of professors, presumed brilliance was identified as the reason why women were underrepresented in certain fields in both science and liberal arts (e.g., STEM, philosophy, economics), and their prevalence in other fields (e.g., molecular biology, neuroscience, psychology) was attributed to hard work.
3. A higher standard:
Women often hold themselves to an unreasonably high standard. They expect themselves to perfect a skill, have complete knowledge of the facts or master an argument before they assert their authority. Women often lack confidence, hold back on asking for a promotion, expect to earn less, and ask for less when it comes to salary. According to Kay and Shipman:
“Success, it turns out, correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence. No wonder that women, despite all our progress, are still woefully underrepresented at the highest levels.”
4. Identity conflict:
Adult women also doubt their right to engage in focused, competitive goals. They don’t want to be labeled as “bitchy” or bossy, and worry that success will be seen as a threat to friends, family or men. Women have been raised to focus on relationships and to put others first, and a single-minded emphasis on career is in conflict with their sense of self.Even self-identified feminists may feel guilty winning an award, surpassing colleagues for a promotion, or being the breadwinner in the family.
But, sometimes, it’s not about confidence…
Self-doubt, sexist stereotypes, prejudices, an absence of workplace support (e.g., no child-care or family leave), and the glass ceiling all impact women’s progress; yet one of the greatest dilemmas many gifted women face involves finding a meaningful work-life balance. This not only includes an ability to combine work, relationships and child-raising, but also pursuing a career that is both meaningful and challenging.
Many women feel torn between pursuing a career that is personally meaningful (such as one focusing on social justice) and a job in a lucrative or competitive field. A challenging career may be compelling, but women also want flexibility, autonomy, the ability to make a difference, and options for including family needs in the equation.
Rosenbloom reported that interests and preferences explain 83% of the gender differences in choosing a career in information technology – not confidence or math ability. Women were identified in this study as being less interested in inanimate systems, and more concerned with plants, animals and people.
Pinker also concluded that women made an active choice to avoid STEM careers, suggesting that women may not want to sacrifice personal interests for salary, are less willing to tolerate the relocations often required in these jobs, and may want to focus on people and the arts rather than objects.
Mohr referred to a frequently quoted Hewlett-Packard internal report indicating that women applied for promotions only when they thought they met 100% of the qualifications, whereas men applied as long as they assumed that they met 60% of the criteria. Mohr claimed that women’s lack of confidence was not the only interpretation to consider: fear of failure, a tendency to strictly follow rules, and lack of familiarity with the hiring process also hold women back.
In the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youths, those who scored in the top 1% were tracked down in their 50’s. While most were highly satisfied with their lives, earned more than others, and were more likely to have doctoral degrees, gender differences were identified. Men were more likely to be CEO’s, work in IT or STEM, to have pursued higher pay and freedom as career goals, and earned more than the women in the study ($140,000 vs. $80,000 on average); the women were more likely to work in health sciences, arts or education careers, and sought fewer work hours and greater flexibility in their work.
What smart women need to know…
Smart women need to appreciate their talents and recognize their right to accomplish whatever goals they set for themselves. Negative stereotypes and expectations that either they or others impose need to be challenged and relinquished. Decisions based on values, needs and personal goals rather than conformity, external pressure or a desire to please others is critical. Women do not have to pursue a highly competitive career; they just need to know that are entitled to choose that path, or to turn it down for something equally meaningful.
I friggin’ LOVE this article, don’t you? There is so much truth here about why we girls keep doing the same self-sabotaging shit to ourselves over and over again. It’s nuts. And it needs to stop. I’m trying to think about this stuff as I am raising my Wee One, and I hope that you are thinking about you can apply this thinking to your life. I know that I’m just one person, and the possibility of me bringing meaningful change to the world is pretty slim – but every journey begins with one small step. So – let’s get walking.
PS: A final thought: I have struggled in the workplace over the years – and the past year has been particularly difficult. As I reflect on my career as a whole, I realize that the common element is little ol’ me. I know that I am a good employee – I work hard, I do have a lot to offer an organization…but I am not easy to manage. I can be like a cyclone, and it takes someone special to realize that, to nurture my winds (keeping up the cyclone metaphor, not a reference to me being farty, silly), and to get the hell out of the way and let me do my thing. Most people can’t do that, which is too bad – I can’t help but wonder what kind of a positive impact I could have if I someone would take a chance on me and let me do my thing.
I think a lot about going into business for myself – this is something I really want to explore. One of my dream businesses is owning a pub – I’ve wanted to do this my whole life, and it’s still on my radar. I KNOW that I would love it – and I am one hell of a good bartender. (Ask me to make you a paralyzer or a martini – it’ll change your damn life) Another thing I would like to do is make handmade beauty products – I have been dabbling for the past while, and I think I may be on to some pretty good formulas. I doubt I could ever make a living doing this, but it’s one heck of a relaxing, satisfying hobby. (**NOTE: Do you see what I did just there? Totally underplayed my work with the stuff I’ve been making – WTF, friends? For all I know, I may be sitting on the next Lush formula – grr! My mind is a frustrating entity, and I am a frustrating person.) (Grr)
2020 Update: Good news – I’ve made some progress since this was written. While I still frequent feel like a phony-baloney who doesn’t deserve all of the responsibility I have, I’m managing that better – and my work like has improved dramatically. Yaa! I have found a supervisor who enjoys me just the way I am, he doesn’t micromanage me – he just gets the hell out of the way and let’s me know he will help if I need it. Magical! I still wish I could work for myself, either in the pub or the cheese shop of my dreams (I would LOVE to own a cheese shop!!!)….perhaps someday! At least now I think I’m capable of it! Progress! Baby steps! Woohoo!!!!