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Monthly Archives: December 2009

Happy Holidays – A Musical Wish

Wishing you and yours a beautiful holiday, and a new year full of peace, joy, and prosperity.

Here’s a little musical gift from my husband, jazz percussionist Arthur Lipner (on vibes), and me (on vocals).

Click here to listen:

Arthur Lipner/Kathy Caprino – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Enjoy the season!

Kathy

A Beautiful Season

As I’m sure you have, I’ve been receiving skillions of “Happy Holidays and New Year!” newsletters and emails, many of which are beautiful and touching.  I’m grateful for these lovely reminders and chances to reflect on this past year, and what my hopes and dreams are for 2010.

 

I’ve decided not to send a “Happy Holidays” email, but instead, to write to you here, and thank you for being a part of my cherished community.  It’s quite a blessing – to blog regularly and to receive fascinating, diverse, often passionate comments from steadfast readers who follow your words and thoughts, and care enough to share their insights.  It’s a privilege, and I’m most grateful for it.

 

This season carries with it beautiful childhood memories for me – of fuzzy, fat Christmas tree lights, of smooth skating on frozen ponds (I grew up in upstate NY after all!), of the splendor of snow falling lightly on trees, of out-of-tune caroling with young friends around the neighborhood, and of family basking by a fire dancing with multicolored flecks (created by a “magic” powder my dad would throw in!).  When we have these warm and comforting childhood memories, they color our experiences well into the future, giving us rose-tinted recollections to savor for many years.

 

For me, this is a beautiful season.  No matter what challenges have come before, this season softens the rough edges and rounds out the year with celebration, family, reflection, and gratitude.

 

I hope this season — that brings to a close such a deeply challenging and humbling year — has been beautiful for you too. 

 

May your 2010 be what you dream it to be — as expansive and glorious a vision as you can hold.

 

Happy holidays to you.

“Bad Dancing Will Never Hurt the Ground”

Friday night, my husband Arthur Lipner held a screening of the first-cut of new upcoming documentary, called Talking Sticks, to an enthusiastic and appreciative crowd in Wilton, CT.  It was quite a wild night, complete with Brazilian and African food, dance, and percussion.

The film is about Arthur’s journey to find and express himself through his “talking sticks” (he’s a jazz percussionist playing marimba and vibes – instruments that aren’t well known in the U.S.).  It also reveals some stunning lessons he’s learned about life, culture, art, personal connection and creativity, through his amazing world travels and experiences in places such as Ghana, Rio, Mexico, and Norway.

One key message of the film is that each of us has creative gifts and abilities that are waiting to be shared.  Many of us display these gifts throughout our childhood, but then life takes over, and we let our gifts go underground and we simply stop focusing on them, much to our sadness and regret later in life.

Much of my coaching and seminar work with clients today – many of whom are highly “successful” in the business world – is around discovering the answers to these vital questions:

–          Who am I uniquely in the world?

–          What makes me special, happy, fulfilled?

–          What would bring me “knock-your-socks-off” joy?

It’s amazing how infrequently the majority of folks I meet with know the answers to these questions.   I’d love to do a study of American cultural evolution, and understand more clearly why so many of us in the U.S. have lost the connection to our special creativity – to expressing ourselves authentically, uniquely and powerfully – in ways that make us know and remember why we’re on the planet.  It’s not like this in other countries – America is somehow very different in this respect.

If you used your creative gifts as a child, and miss them in your life as it is, I implore you to bring your creativity forward again.  It doesn’t require a major life reinvention…it requires focus, commitment, and an “I can do this!” mentality.  You CAN fit creativity in your life – and when you do, your life will change for the better.

Despite your skepticism about your abilities, I know this to be true – every person on this planet IS creative.  Bernard Woma – a renowned master of the Ghanaian xylophone and leading music educator from the Dagara Tribe in Ghana, who’s featured in Talking Sticks – told me last night that when a child says to him, “I want to dance, but I’m embarrassed – I’m not a good dancer,” Bernard replies, “Bad dancing will never hurt the ground.  The ground will not complain!”

How beautiful is that?…

A key question I’d love to encourage you to think about is this: “Do you care enough about yourself and others to share your creative gifts?”

Coaching question of the week: What are the creative gifts you used to LOVE expressing?  What latent creative talent is inside you, waiting to burst forth.  Creativity is there inside of you, I know it!

 

Please make 2010 the year that you say YES! to your special brand of creativity.  The world wants and needs it.

 

 

When “Nice Girls” Negotiate

In a recent Harvard Business Publishing blog on Can “Nice Girls” Negotiate?, Whitney Johnson writes about the negative repercussions of women negotiating for themselves in the workplace.  Her piece is right on, from my perspective, and reflects the volumes of both qualitative and quantitative research recently about women, culture, expectations and the challenges they face in the nation’s workforce.

 

I’m always fascinated by the range of comments these posts elicit, from complete agreement to vitriolic dissension to something in between.  One individual wrote:

 

“I’m not sure this is a man vs. woman thing. Men can ask for a raise/promotion and don’t get it as well. The trick is to ask for something that you know you’re able to get (studying your value in the company, as well as the company’s financial stance). Note that you don’t have to deserve the raise in order to get it.”

 

I’d bet you anything that this comment is from a man.  Women know exactly what they’re facing in the workplace, yet men are still slow to recognize and acknowledge it. 

 

My two cents:

 

I couldn’t agree more with this article.  As a women’s career coach and work-life researcher, and from my national study with hundreds of professional women about the 12 “hidden” crises working women face today, it’s abundantly clear – with research to support it.  Women are often viewed and evaluated negatively when displaying the same traits that successful professional men exhibit – speaking up, challenging, negotiating, using powerful language of leadership, etc. 

 

It IS a gender thing, folks.  But this doesn’t mean men are out to get us.  Not at all.  This means that women are dealing with deeply-ingrained cultural stereotypes and gender role definitions that create challenges in terms of what women can successfully say and do in business, and how they’re judged when they do it. 

 

So what to do about this?  Just what Ms. Johnson suggests…women must speak up for themselves, and be completely prepared for the consequences. We simply can’t change this dynamic and these stereotypes if we stay mum.  It’s time for a breakthrough movement for women, and for that to occur, women have to act. 

 

Question of the week – As a working woman, are you able to speak up and negotiate for yourself well?  How does it go for you when you do?  Please share – all comments are welcome!

What is Abundant Success to You?

In launching my new national research study on Women Succeeding Abundantly: Why and How They Do It, one key question we’re addressing is: What is abundant success to you?

 

Here’s my personal working definition:

 

Abundant success means that you are:

  • Confident and complete in who you are
  • Fully aligned and authentic in all roles you play in life and work
  • Deeply appreciated and valued
  • Comfortable, confident and empowered in your relationship with money
  • Earning exactly what you want to be earning
  • Outwardly honoring your inner values and principals
  • Living full-out, with passion, power, and purpose
  • Making a positive difference in the lives of others
  • Consciously stretching to your full potential
  • Aware of why you’re on the planet, and living that purpose
  • Conscious of the fact that you have full responsibility, ownership, and accountability for your life, and feel good about that knowledge
  • Having a great time living the abundant life you’ve created, on your terms

To me, if you can say these things about yourself, abundant success is yours!

 

Please share your unique definition of abundant success.  I’d love to hear.  What is it, and are you living it?  If not, why not?  And if you are living your version of abundant success, please write to me at Kathy@kathycaprino.com.  I’d love to interview you!

 

Thanks, and here’s to your abundant success,

Kathy

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