I am convinced, great books find us. Oh the euphoria of connecting to words which resonate so deeply with your own experience. A few weeks ago one of my best friends, Shannon (former Live In Color co-editor) blessed me with two books. One of them, Smart Women, Smart Choices: Set Limits and Gain Control of Your Personal and Professional Life by Hattie Hill, is transforming the way I think about lots of stuff.
Hill, an entrepreneur, international speaker and consultant, lived the lessons of this book, and after the dissolving of her first marriage, she reflected inward: “When did I cross the line from smart, independent woman to one whose cape was so weighted down with others’ concerns that I could no longer fly? In fact, I could barely walk.”
It’s taken me years to admit this to myself, but I am a pleaser, easily placing other people’s needs before my own. Yes, I know it’s detrimental, but until now, I had no concrete language for understanding these choices. With each section of Smart Women, Smart Choices, Hill helps me confront pieces of myself.
We meet women who do it all, and fit into various roles: “the juggler, ” “the achiever,” “the doer,” etc. Yet each shares a common trait, in addition to caring deeply for others, they carry them, shouldering more than their load with co-workers, friends, children and spouses. Oh, how well I relate!
Hill, though, is not satisfied for us to simply observe similarities, she demands change. At the end of each chapter there are questions and exercises. Clearly, we must do our work.
I am ready. For me, 2014 is about clarity, and doggedly removing obstacles which impede growth. Currently, because of my own busy life, I read a little at a time. Here are some of the passages that stand out:
Superwoman is a myth. No longer is stronger, faster, better, the formula for success in living a meaningful life. Women must discover a new way of meeting the overwhelming demands of modern times and that requires new choices.
We need to differentiate between carrying and caring.
Caring is an act of love. Carrying is a misuse of love.
Control is the illusion that we can make everything happen to perfection if we keep a firm grip on the reins. We really don’t trust anyone to get the job done but ourselves. As we take over the controls, either subtly or overtly, we begin to carry.
Loving starts with ourselves. If we don’t love ourselves, we cannot love one another.
Live In Color! – Emelda