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Lights On! A Reflective Journey

LightsOn Book by Claire Knowles"Here's a quick peek at the Table of Contents" of this exciting new book! Women in Leadership...focus your attention to Chapter 10 especially!

Sample Chapter - "Sometimes we all need a little push."

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Lights On! Why a Summer Reading List? Because…

Written by Claire Knowles on . Posted in Choice, Empowerment, Lights On!

You are lounging at the beach, or you’re swinging in the backyard hammock, or just relaxing on the porch….The sun is shining….The scents of summer surround you. You’re on your second glass of your favorite beverage. All you want is a book that doesn’t make you work too hard. Or really, at all. You want one of those books that if you put it down, you can easily pick it back up again.

There are few things that go together as well as a relaxing day and a good read. It is in the summer time that I find myself most able to enjoyably devour books. I don’t know if it’s my inner child coming out and telling me it’s time to pursue that summer reading list (remember those from middle school?). But the summertime is definitely the time of the year when I read the most.

Who doesn’t want to lose herself in a good book then? And why is it important to pick the right book for relaxation? The key difference for summer reading is the word, “relaxation.” That’s the word that delineates summer light reading from heavier novels, mystery thrillers, or heart-pounding adventure sagas. Themed short-story collections, romance, art/gardening, and positive motivational books tend to fill summer reading lists.

So what type of books fit that “relax in the summer” description for you? If you haven’t decided yet, I’ll share my list—certainly not as extensive as Oprah’s, but definitely sufficient to bring me joy. And therein is the key…what are the summer reading books that just want to jump off the shelves and find their way into your hands and heart?

I’m re-reading (again) Rosamunde Pilcher’s “Flowers in the Rain” and “The Blue Bedroom”…(short story collections). Beatriz William’s fast-paced love story, “A Hundred Summers” is on my list. Paula McLain’s “The Paris Wife” of Ernest Hemingway’s days, should prove to be an intriguing historical novel. “Monet’s Passion”—Ideas, Inspirations and Insights from the Painter’s Gardens, by Elizabeth Murray will stay on my porch side-table all summer.  As part of my health focus, I have “The Complete Guide to Women’s Heart Health” (American Heart Association) as a new protocol read, and in my continued pursuit for a meaningful life, I’ve added “And Never Stop Dancing” by Gordon Livingston to the list…which may go to the front of the line! It is important to continually hone my consulting skills, so books on “Influencing with Integrity”, “Coping with Difficult People” and “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” round out my reading list!

I would be remiss if I did not bring up my own best-selling book, “Lights On! A Reflective Journey…Illuminations to Move Your Life Forward with Ease” as a suggested “positive lifting read” for your summer list. It meets the criteria: Wisdom-filled Vignettes, Heart-warming stories, Reflections on Everyday Life, Bursts of Positivity, and Guidance for women and women in business leadership roles…all of which are intended to propel you forward with your Lights On!. It became an Amazon best-seller 18 months ago. I’m pleased to share that “Lights On!” has been recommended for summer reading by the On-Line Healing Circle/The Heart Speaks (Atlanta, GA), specifically because it is a compendium of positive, self-help, articles that propel you forward. How neat is that?

I grew up in the country – on a farm in Western New York. My parents were dairy farmers. And our summers were busy. We had one of those big old farm houses with a wrap-around porch. And when my siblings and I were not working—fulfilling those assigned and demanding chores and being responsible…guess where we were? And what we were doing?
Yes, we were on the front porch. And if that front porch could talk, it would share stories of many pitchers of lemonade, comfy chairs and always, always, good books to read!

A wonderful memory I have of my Dad was that he always asked us, when we finished a book, to tell him about the most important piece of the book—specifically how and in what way did it speak to us? In modern day language, that means, “what did we take away from the book.” I think of Summer reading books, as those books that generally “lift us up a bit”—are gentle like the breeze, bring smiles and sunshine—positivity in to our lives, or transport us to those emotional levels of joy, peace, tranquility, and comfort.
Perhaps there is something about “summer” being not just a season, but also a metaphor for light, warmth, and sunshine…..and soft breezes. (Unlike the harshness of winter, or the renewal of spring, or the readiness of Fall. Summer is about our softer, gentler side of rejuvenation. )

Lastly, there’s another great reason for light reading in the summer for relaxation. And this is to stimulate deep, abdominal breathing. Yes, if you nod off , while relaxing and reading on the hammock or the chaises lounge, did you know that having a small book on your stomach, actually helps to make visible the rise and fall of one’s diaphragm…and the more the diaphragm works with our breathing, the deeper our breathing becomes—a practiced relaxation technique. (Shallow breathing…be gone! Bring on the diaphragm expansion technique! After all, It’s summer!) Lights On!

What was Happening in Your World when You were 10-12 years old?

Written by Claire Knowles on . Posted in Authenticity, Empowerment, Leadership for Women Leaders, Lights On!, Moving Forward

images  Whether they be Good or Bad, Your Cultural World Experiences at

the age of 10-12 Matter!

Several decades ago, a leading psychologist, Morris Massey, noted that culturally, the experiences that we have at about the time we are 10-12 years old, shape our lives in pivotal ways…and tend to define whole generations…with those shared experiences. His work was detailed in a video called, “What You Are Is Where You Were When….”

What was happening in your world when you were about 10-12 years old?
World War II and Victory Gardens? The Cold war? Hiding under desks during nuclear drills? (False sense of security?); Vietnam? (Loss of confidence in leaders?); Neil Armstrong/man on moon? (Yes, we can do it! Triumph!); JFK/Martin Luther King Assassinations? Columbine? Challenger? (Need for self-reliance?)  The “Yes, We Can”…dream team Lake Placid (Hockey) Olympics?  Did those years hold positive experiences or more negative ones for you?  Is there a shared experience that defined your generation during that time?

Do you recall positive social/cultural events or negative social/cultural events? Or both? How did these influence you? Your generation? Recognizing that such socio/cultural events do have an impact (as do those of your community, your family, your ethnic value experiences), still, think about what was happening when you were 10-12 years old—it can be an important introspection.

Postscript:  I’m a Boomer. My 10-year old experiences stem from the late 1950’s and I can certainly trace certain opinions I hold, to certain shared experiences of that time. I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to contact me at: Claire@ClaireEKnowles.com  or Claire@LightsOnBook.com

 

Where Do You Stop? What’s that Wall All About? What’s Really Holding You Back?

Written by Claire Knowles on . Posted in Empowered by Choice, Empowerment, Leadership for Women Leaders, Lights On!, Moving Forward

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Where Do You Stop?  What’s that Wall All About?

What’s Really Holding You Back?

~ Claire Knowles

In our Tai Chi class, there is a stretch move called “Lifting Up the Cauldron.”  In performing it, you stretch your arms high into the air with your hands pretending to hold a giant bowl—a cauldron. During the stretch, an added dimension is to also stand on one’s toes. It is a wonderful stretch for the body. Our instructor, in conjunction with leading this position, also stretches one’s mind. He might ask, “What’s stopping you from reaching higher?” or, “What is that barrier you have to break through?”

Are you grappling with barriers that are keeping you from reaching higher?  To higher positions?  To higher arenas of leadership?

For women, there has been much written around our internal barriers….yes, internal barriers that we each have—within our own control—to  break through to the next level—to proactively make good things happen in our work and life!

  • Overcoming the Imposter Syndrome.  The Imposter Syndrome makes us think that our success is luck, or that we are frauds, and therefore, unworthy. The fact of the matter is, that you earned your position and your title.  So break through that psyche-ridden barrier and act like you belong there!   As they say…”Fake it ‘til you make it!”
  • Overcoming Risk Aversion.  There have been many studies that show    women are more likely to avoid risk—which is rooted in our early nurturing. Women tend to hold back out of lack of confidence, or discomfort in taking a stand in the midst of conflict.  Reward doesn’t come without risk; and fear of failure only stifles one’s career.  One can learn “command skills”….to develop “managerial courage”…to learn not to waffle, to discern wisely,  to shed defensiveness, to accept criticism, to move forward with confidence. There are lots of courses available to you to hone these skills!
  • Ambition without a target. Do you really know what you want from your career?  Do you see your end point?  Your target?  Your path?  I often use the example of looking through a pair of binoculars with the lens cap still on….you cannot see anything!  But once you have a vision of what you want, and you have that target to shoot for, the universe conspires to help move you towards it…because you can see it, grasp it, feel it….and your ACTIONS will move you forward toward that which is in your “sight-line.”
  • Hiding our Greatness!  Sometimes we cling to mediocrity!  It may be because we are too timid to speak up,  or to negotiate our salary.   It may be that we self-sabotage, or we cannot garner, for whatever reason, the will, the energy, the know-how, the clarity, the resources, or the gumption to move forward.  Yet we know that Grandma Moseswords ring true:  “Life is what you make it, always has been and always will be.”

We all know that an un-lived, unsuccessful life is littered with “could haves”, “should haves” and “if only’s.” Each moment greets us full of possibility and leaves us hoping we are better for having had the experience. Are you stretching forward and upward and embracing all that is beckoned by your life cauldron?  Are you breaking through to the next level? Personally?  Professionally?  Organizationally? As a Leader?  And most important, as Your Life Manager?

Your cauldron rests in your hands alone.  Let’s get stretching! Break through that wall!

 

Claire Knowles – Lights On!  I know what struggling to make good things happen with individuals and groups is all about. My career was in Corporate H.R. and Labor Relations. Now I work with leaders and organizations, helping them get focused and hugely effective in what they want to accomplish together. Learn more about my Leadership Success Programs for Women at www.LightsOnLeadershipSuccess4Women.com or www.LightsOnBook.com

 

 Award-winning books by Claire Knowles

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