What do you call yourself?

I need a new business card.

So I went to LinkedIn to see what to put on my card. Also, I wanted to update my publications with that recent newspaper commentary.

I noticed I called myself a Communications Consultant and I thought Multimedia Journalist sounded better. And Blogger sounded better than Writer. Consultant was better than Freelancer.

Also, I was Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Boot Camp for Writers, but, in a way, that sounded like I owned a health club so I changed it to Creative Director.

And then, I saw that I hadn’t really done justice to my teaching. Yes, I’m an Afterschool and Substitute teacher. (Today I had so much fun teaching science and digital music!). Should I name the fabulous schools where I work? And what about my recent work art handling at the art gallery? Do I mention that? How about my videography work at Columbia University? Too part time? Is it all just too confusing?

I confused myself. I don’t know if we find out who we are by looking at what we do.

So I decided to resolve this by staring at Facebook and taking an online quiz, over at 16Personalities. I did the Myers Briggs test years ago, when I was splitting up from my exhusband, in 1991? And I was an ENFP then, and I’m still an ENFP.

They tend to see life as a big, complex puzzle where everything is connected – but unlike Analysts, who tend to see that puzzle as a series of systemic machinations, ENFPs see it through a prism of emotion, compassion and mysticism, and are always looking for a deeper meaning.

ENFPs are fiercely independent, and much more than stability and security, they crave creativity and freedom.

… Few personality types are as creative and charismatic as ENFPs. Known for their idealism and enthusiasm, ENFPs are good at dealing with unexpected challenges and brightening the lives of those around them.

Awww, that was really fun. It did explain me — even my weaknesses — too many jobs and talents! (I was a little worried when I noticed that Robin Williams was an ENFP too.)

I wonder if I can put ENFP on my business card. Nah, that’s just silly.

I may not know who I am by what I do. But I do know how to have fun.

Here’s a fountain near my house. It has nothing to do with this post.
 

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Body Pride

I have been tall and slim.

I have been dumpy and short. (The first stages of a twin pregnancy is not known for its svelte-ness. But something wonderful was cooking in me and that made me gorgeous.)

Recently a friend of mine visited the Fashion Boudoir Project in Seattle – a few sexy pics appeared on her Facebook stream. I wondered if I could do it – bare all or some?

Mom and I once went to a topless beach in Hawaii once. No biggie. (I did feel free.)

On Beauty

The most beautiful women I know have some beautiful physical unique style – my Great Aunt Marie had a big nose – my friend DeB is completely bald. It’s what’s cooking inside — intelligence, humor, kindness, creativity — that make us beautiful.

In the car, the other day my friend said, “The positive thing about Kim Kardashian is that she brings body pride to women with large booties.” (I did not know this.)

And I recently saw this way-cool Tweet from Lorde — she posted a pic of herself without the photoshop. Yup, still beautiful. (Amazing young woman!)

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(Lorde from her Twitter feed)

I stared a Pinterest board – “I Look Forward to Getting Old.” These women (and a few men) are uniquely beautiful.

One of my darlings saw my Pinterest pins and asked, “This is where you celebrate aging?”

Yup, that too!

Three Words

A couple of years ago, I spotted a sign in the trash. It was the same day I was thinking of making New Year’s resolutions. Maybe some wise people and shepherds see signs in the sky. I see them in the trash.

My sign read, “Become Your Dream.” And I have done this – by pursuing teaching, coaching, and writing work.

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I also have looked for and found signs on social media.

I love social media – I love the short expressive forms of WordPress, Twitter, and Facebook. Status updates guide and inspire me.

In 2012, social media marketing guru Chris Brogan chose three guiding words: Temple, Untangle, Practice.

He meant:

  1. Treat your body like a temple.
  2. Untangle yourself from distractions.
  3. Practice mindfulness.

I want to do those three things too.

And for this pre-Christian season I want these three words: Simplify, Joy, Kindness.

I want to:

  1. Simplify my holiday by focusing on the things and experiences I love, like light, music, creativity, and time with family. And jettison clutter and consumerism.
  2. Give and receive light and joy to and from everyone I meet. And let go of judging.
  3. Practice kindness. Know that the Christmas season is stressful and so I vow to perform daily acts of kindness.

Isaiah 7:14 says, “Therefore the Lord will give you a sign.” Look for your sign. Look for your three words. They may be in the trash, the sky, or on Twitter. Let three simple words guide you through the holiday season and then through the New Year.

What are your three words?

I wrote this today for an upcoming Advent Devotional for the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew United Methodist Church. 

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Oh No, My Mother Just Joined LinkedIn

My mother just requested to join my network. What should I do? Soon she’ll be telling me to change my profile picture, get a hair cut, rewrite my status update, stop cursing. (I tell my son that last one!)

On the other hand, I may need a job recommendation and we have worked together. Seriously. I was a guest lecturer in her college classroom. And she’d be there if I needed her. It’d be a way for us to be linked if our phones went down.

I’m not sure. I’ve just felt that social media was my realm, my playground. And I’m doing great without her. I’m growing up, Ma.

I know Facebook is not far behind. Facebrag has a competitive edge. Who has the cutest kids? The most friends? The wittiest comments? Me, Joanne Woodward, Lou Stellato.

Yes, she’d get to see a lot more photos of her grandkids. And read a lot more of my writing, including this post. So I better stop writing now.

I do write to be read. And I do love my mother. So, yes I’ll accept her request to connect to my network on LinkedIn. After all, their tagline is: Relationships matter. Yes, they do. Especially the online relationships between parent and child.

How Lucky — To Work So Hard!

My fake spouse reassured me, “It takes a long time to become an overnight success.”

We were at a call back for a Kodak commercial. I was auditioning for the part of a young mother. I didn’t get the part, but I got that awesome advice!

I had been bitching about my slow-moving talk show career to the actor who was auditioning as the father. I said, “You know I worked so hard on my cable show, Mary Beth & Friends, and honestly, I am surprised I haven’t become the new Katie Couric.”

This was years ago. I never forgot my pretend husband’s wisdom. It kept me going. Success takes time. Fake husbands (and actors) can be so smart.

But now it seems the whole world is discussing this wisdom:

Luck is out. Hard work is in.

Last night, I was listening to the Ted Talk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xE6lWGzO_7A from David Shenk, author of The Genius in All of Us. http://geniusblog.davidshenk.com/

Here’s what I got. Genes don’t matter a hill of beans unless you work hard. There’s no such thing as born smart!

This is a difficult revelation for me – me! The daughter of a genius (okay, two geniuses)! I always felt I had a slight genetic, intellectual advantage — swimming as I was in the Mensa gene pool. But no, sorry, not so.

My working 3 jobs, auditioning for commercials, and producing and hosting my own cable show probably mattered more to my current success (ahem!) than my brainy family tree.

I was thinking about this today, when from the LinkedIn group, LinkEds & writers, Indy Quillen, emailed her introduction.

Indy said, “Many years ago, when I excitedly showed my martial arts teacher my first place trophy, he smiled and said, ‘See how lucky you are when you work hard?’ I’ve never forgotten that lesson!”

Love that!

I don’t know how to fit in my awareness of the importance of hard work to my Rules for Living.

Maybe Rule Number 3? Remember your hoops of steel (priorities) — even when you think success should occur magically and quickly. Success takes time.

And hard work is 1 of 3 parts that makes up community:  https://mbcoudal.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/what-is-community/