Feeling Good When Life Sucks –

Feeling Good When Life Sucks - Linda Franklin, The Real Cugar WomanFeeling good when everything is going your way is easy.  But what about when the s**t is hitting the fan, you feel like you have no control and nothing is going your way?

You can choose to throw your hands in the air, be a victim and forever proclaim the world to be a bad place, out to get people.

OR you can choose to ask what lessons the Universe is sending your way.  What lessons have you missed in past experiences that the Universe is now slamming you over the head with?  What lessons do you need to learn?

The principles below can be applied to all of life’s challenges – facing divorce, job loss, major financial difficulties, loss of a close family member and so on.

1.       You’re not a victim.  Take responsibility for your life.

If “these things” keep happening to you or you keep attracting the same kind of negative people, stop being the kind of person that attracts those kinds of people and circumstances.

Find people who seem to be immune to these things, spend time with them, study them.  Emulate them.

Take responsibility for your part in the situation.  This does not mean being the martyr and assuming responsibility for everything.  You’re only taking responsibility for your actions.

2.       You can’t control other people or your environment.  Stop trying to control.

If other people let you down or don’t do what you expect of them, ask if your expectations are realistic.  If you were the other person, would you appreciate someone writing a script for you and getting mad when you don’t follow it?

The only thing you can control 100% is you – your thoughts, feelings and actions.  Focus on that and let the rest go.

You can’t control the results or outcome.  You can only do your best and let the Universe handle the rest.

3.       Find the joy in the journey.

What’s great about what’s happening?

What are you learning?

How are you better because of what happened?

4.       Smile – even when, or especially when, things aren’t going how you would like.

Whenever I’m feeling down, the first thing I do is smile a great, big smile for thirty seconds.  It’s hard to feel bad when you’re smiling.  If it only helps a little, rinse and repeat as often as it takes.

If you’re doing something that seems difficult (mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually), smile and relax your jaw.  The task will become much easier.

5.       Don’t take anything personally.

Whatever people say and do is all about them.  They’re trying to satisfy their own agenda.

If they’re upset with you, it’s because you’re not following the script they wrote for you (and forgot to tell you about).

If they blame things on you, it’s because they’re not willing to take responsibility for themselves.

If they can’t accept you as you are, it’s because of their own limiting beliefs.

6.       Decide to be happy, no matter what.

This doesn’t mean that you should be blissfully happy all the time.  How boring.

You need up’s and down’s to keep life exciting.  Without challenges, how would you learn and grow?  Without negatives, the positives wouldn’t feel as good.

Your attitude toward life has everything to do with your feelings about life.  If you have a positive attitude that things will eventually work out for the best and you act on that belief, you can feel good about the situation.

You can choose to be happy, regardless of what’s happening around you.

Putting Principles into Practice

I realize that these principles are simple but not always easy to implement.  They take practice.

In order to fully implement them in your life in a way that results in more happiness, you’ll need to become more mindful, more aware of what’s happening in the moment, without reacting according to your old scripts.

You’ll need to pause in the midst of chaos to take a deep breath and become aware of those old scripts and consciously change them.  At first this might mean simply doing nothing – not reacting, being silent, reflecting in the moment.  With practice, you’ll develop alternative responses.  Sometimes these will help and sometimes they won’t.  Learn from the experience and continue to experiment.

There will never be a point where you’ll always know the perfect thing to say or do that will quickly lead to bliss.  There will always be too many new variables with which you’ll contend.

But, with practice, the process of resolving issues and moving away from chaos will become easier.  These principles will guide the way.

The Real Cougar Woman is a 5-carat diamond who knows the importance of taking care of her health, beauty, relationships, finances and spirituality. Linda Franklin says, ”there’s no stopping a woman who has a strong belief system, passion and a dream. All things are possible”. Linda’s book, Don’t Ever Call Me Ma’am helps women of all ages tap into their power and live life to the fullest.

Greedy Wife Leaving Husbands With Nothing

Greedy Wife Leaving Husbands With Nothing  Linda Franklin The Real Cougar WomanDivorce is an ugly business!  Nobody wins!  Wives are left hurt and looking for revenge and many husbands are forced to leave a house and children to live in a  furnished studio apartment.
Women seem to be  living by the principle of ‘don’t get mad, get everything’. And often, they go on getting everything for years, long after time has been called on their marriage.

In these days of equal education,  opportunities and access to professional careers, women are still expecting (and receiving) huge and continuing settlements when a marriage  ends.

I consider myself an advocate for women,  but I don’t see why today’s divorcing women should expect any kind of settlement at all.

If modern marriage is an equal  partnership, divorce should be the same, surely, with both parties getting out what they have put in, as when any other type of contract ends.

Yet modern women are still positioning  themselves as the weaker of the two sexes having to be kept by a big strong man, whether married or divorced. We have fought for equality, and many battles have been won, but divorcing women are still portraying pathetic little housewives unable to fend for themselves, before ruthlessly fleecing the men  they once professed to love.

Want to secure a juicy settlement?  Based on the Heather Mills principle, have a kid.   The presence of a child will ensure generous maintenance payments for years, maybe decades, to come.

It’s easy for an attractive woman to use her  charm and wiles to entrap a rich man, all the time calculating the cash they  receive when they can call time on the marriage. Why can’t they women give that kind of forethought into developing careers and financial independence rather than  sponging off someone else?

The bulk of women are married to ordinary earners and they too can be set up for years with the house, car, custody of children and a regular lump  sum in their accounts.

Some divorcees are reluctant to remarry, in case they kill the goose that lays the golden egg — maintenance usually stops when you have another husband to support you — so they are content with boyfriends and lovers.

When a wife has been brutally dumped, there might be greater grounds for sympathy. But these days, an estimated 70 per cent of  divorces are brought by women. What are these women being paid for, when no  longer married?

One woman, let’s call her Jane, was married for about 20  years when she decided she wanted a divorce. There were no particular  grounds, and no one else was involved. Both parties got a lawyer, and Jane was awarded 85 per cent of the joint assets. There were no children and she had never worked.

In 2013, women who demand everything and expect maintenance forever after, should hang their heads in shame.  We must prove to ourselves that we are not simpering victims, but proud, strong and, above all, financially independent females.

The Real Cougar Woman is a 5-carat diamond who knows the importance of taking care of her health, beauty, relationships, finances and spirituality. Linda Franklin says, ”there’s no stopping a woman who has a strong belief system, passion and a dream. All things are possible”. Linda’s book, Don’t Ever Call Me Ma’am helps women of all ages tap into their power and live life to the fullest.

Six Paradoxes Women Leaders Face in 2013

by Jill Flynn, Kathryn Heath, and Mary Davis Holt  

 

Six Paradoxes Women Leaders Face in 2013 The Real Cougar WomanEasing into the New Year, one big hope we have for 2013 is that women continue to bridge the gender gap in terms of pay equality and access to leadership positions. So much of the news was good last year: women were better educated than ever, we continued to claim coveted CEO roles at companies such as IBM and Yahoo, and one study even reported that women were the primary breadwinners in a majority of households in the US. That sounds like progress.

Yet, in order to clear a path for greater advancement and parity in 2013, we need to address the difficult paradoxes that women leaders continue to face — these are the mixed messages and uncomfortable realities that complicate an arguably positive picture of progress.

1. The Pay Paradox. According to the latest figures, women are better educated than ever, earning almost 60 percent of all college degrees. Yet, we are paid 23% less than men on average. Some of the gap can be attributed to career choice: more women than men choose to go into teaching and social work, for example, which pay less relative to “male” professions such as finance and technology. But career choice does not fully explain The Pay Paradox. An analysis of full-time workers 10 years out of college, for instance, found a 12 percent difference in earnings that was entirely unexplained by choice of profession. The bottom line is that progress in wage equity has hit a wall.

2. The Double-Bind Paradox. Women must project gravitas in order to advance at work, yet they also need to retain their “feminine mystique” in order to be liked. Perhaps surprisingly, of all the stereotypes that women encounter, this is the one that most women tell us about in coaching situations. Research by Catalyst confirms that gender stereotypes make it difficult for female leaders to feel comfortable taking a commanding stance because they are perceived as either competent orliked — but rarely both. As Forbes recently noted, “Studies show that assertive women are more likely to be perceived as aggressive; that women usually don’t ask for what they deserve but when they do, they risk being branded as domineering or, worse even, “ambitious.” These are the double-bind dilemmas that we as a society need to banish before women can contribute fully within organizations.

3. The Promotion Paradox. It is as plain as day that women are equally qualified to lead in terms of skill and talent, yet we capture far fewer job slots at the top. Only four percent of the CEOs in Fortune’s top 1,000 companies are female and less than 20 percent of Congress is female. Even worse, progress has been relatively flat over the past several years. This is a sticky wicket because there are a dozen different ways to explain this sad situation and each one rings true to some extent: Women are less aggressive than men in stepping up to ask for the big jobs they want. Men at the top are more likely to pull other men up by their collars into the C-suite to join them. Women have fewer leadership role models and they arguably have greater demands outside of work competing for their attention.

Regardless of whether the mitigating factor is discrimination, the leadership pipeline, society, or something altogether different, the extreme disparity of women versus men at the highest levels provides fuel for many of us to push harder. Unfortunately, it also leads many of us wonder if the struggle for career parity is truly worth it. The effect is that the pool of qualified female candidates for top jobs gets smaller when the best women leave to raise families or pursue part-time work or other endeavors.

4. The Networking Paradox. Women are consummate relationship builders, yet we don’t use our contacts to get ourselves promoted. The women we coach say that time spent networking with each other leaves them feeling renewed. It gives them the strength to face the day, the next meeting, or the next crisis. Social exchange not only grounds women but it also allows them to share information and solutions to the common problems they face. Yet, our strong social networks also represent a tremendous, untapped opportunity. Men network in a much more transactional way — they exchange business ideas and establish a quid pro quo of career favors. They actively seek out sponsors and they ask for jobs. For women, networking is largely social. We are not as effective as men at using our strong networks to advance our careers. Women spend more time interacting with each other, yet we fail to ask for favors. In short, we hesitate to trade on our relationships because it feels crass. What this means for 2013 is that women have a huge opportunity to convert their connections into career advancement.

5. The Start Up Paradox. Women make great entrepreneurs, yet we have a tougher time getting VC backing. A 2012 analysis by Dow Jones VentureSource shows that women launch nearly half of all startups and the most successful startups have more women in senior positions than unsuccessful ones. Yet, despite these findings, less than seven percent of executives at the 20,000+ companies in the Dow Jones study were women. This tells us that the gender gap is even more pronounced in venture-funded start-ups than in corporate America. This points to the scarcity of women pursuing careers in technology and science, as well as the need for venture firms to wake up and acknowledge the leadership potential of female entrepreneurs.

6. The Careful-What-You-Wish-For Paradox. Women have more opportunities to work today, yet they are opting-out in high numbers. It has been nearly a decade since Lisa Belkin’s article “The Opt-Out Revolution” made headlines in 2003, yet recent statistics illustrate that more women than ever aspire to walk away from work to stay home full-time to raise children. This paradox underscores the reality that women today still feel pressure to have it all and can become stressed and discouraged when that dream is revealed to be impossible. All women (and many men) feel the pressure from conflicting priorities, yet when good women leave work it is organizations that suffer the most. Study after study proves that companies with more women board members perform better.

These paradoxes are important to address for a great many reasons — fairness being the most obvious. But even beyond creating a fair and just system that allows more women into the leadership pipeline, the practical problem created by mixed messages is that it robs women of confidence and squashes their desire to jump into the fray and become leaders. The world needs the best qualified women to step up to the plate, and women need to be able to weave their way through these most difficult of challenges.

Yet, the fact is that these paradoxes are not going to disappear in a year. What, then, is the solution in the short terms? The women we coach who manage to sustain and fuel their ambition amid so many mixed messages use two tools.

First, they remain true to their own leadership style. The skills that many women bring to business naturally — a collaborative style, a talent for listening, and a natural ability to manage interpersonal relationships — are some of the aptitudes that all leaders need now and in the future. Women don’t need to imitate men in order to be persuasive and authoritative, they simply need to be authentic. Second, we coach women to have their own definition of success. The reality is that, historically, men have been the ones to define ambition — and so that leaves it to women to redefine it for themselves in 2013. When we ask women what ambition looks like to them it runs the gamut, from becoming the CEO to leaving the corporate ladder behind altogether to start a small business. If ambition leads one woman to Wall Street it may lead another to Silicon Valley. Who is to say which of these endeavors will require more ambition or have more impact?

These paradoxes and others mean different things to different people. What did they mean to you this year?\

The Real Cougar Woman is a 5-carat diamond who knows the importance of taking care of her health, beauty, relationships, finances and spirituality. Linda Franklin says, ”there is no stopping a woman who has a strong belief system, passion and a dream. All things are possible”. Linda’s book, Don’t Ever Call Me Ma’am helps women of all ages tap into their power and live life to the fullest.

Would Oprah Turn Her Back on Women Over 50?

By Barbara Hannah Grufferman

I read this article written by Barbara for AARP and wanted to share it with you.  I believe many women will feel the same way. 

An article in the New York Times about Oprah Winfrey and the declining readership of  O, The Oprah Magazine, her 12-year old publication, stopped me in my tracks.  Here’s the paragraph that leapt off the page and gave me my own “Aha!” (but not in a good way) moment:

Ms. Winfrey wants that audience for the magazine, but she wants its readers to be younger. The median age for O readers is 49, according to data tracked by the audience measurement company GfK MRI. (By comparison, Vogue’s median is 35.6 and Real Simple’s is 46.3). Ms. Winfrey said she would like to attract women “in their 30s or perhaps their 20s, to be able to reach people when they are looking to fulfill their destiny.” She added, “By the time you’re 40, 42, you should have kind of figured it out already.”

I could be mistaken, but wasn’t it women over 50 (those who are over 50 now) who made Oprah rich, famous, and an American icon? Weren’t we the ones happily tuning into her television show and then the shows of all her former guests who became superstars (such as Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, Suze Orman and so on)?  Didn’t we rush out to buy all the books she recommended in Oprah’s Book Club (which then made those people famous, too)? Didn’t we applaud and embrace her as one of our own when she turned 50, welcoming her into the best club in the world?

And now Oprah wants to direct her message to our daughters’ generation because, in her words, “they are looking to fulfill their destiny.”  Could she really believe that once you’ve hit your mid-40s, all that stuff about discovering who you are or finding your next chapter no longer applies?

I’m not mad. I’m just disappointed.

Every one of us who is over 50 knows that life still holds meaning, magic and a bit of mayhem thrown in for good measure. Life at any age is filled with challenges, triumphs and change, and contrary to what Oprah said in the New York Times interview, we don’t always have it figured out already. But even if we did, can’t we change our minds and try something new with our lives? Of course we can and we do! Didn’t Oprah convince us that even in our 50s, 60s and beyond we can find our best lives ever? Perhaps Oprah thinks we don’t need her anymore. The truth is, though, we always need to hear smart ideas, a compassionate voice, encouragement, and strong role models–like Oprah–to inspire us.

Instead of sounding as though she has complete faith and trust in our abilities and maturity to forge ahead without her directions, giving her the freedom to move her attention away from us to appeal to the younger generation, why doesn’t Oprah just come out and tell the truth, which is this:

Oprah is following the lead of the vast majority of advertisers in this country who still view the 18 – 49 year old market as the only group that matters (the same advertisers who support her magazine, XM Satellite radio show, and OWN television network) even though Americans over 50 are part of the largest demographic in the history of the world, are living longer than previous generations, have tremendous political power, and can afford to buy more cars, iPads, TVs, computers, skin creams, financial products, wine, boxes of cereal, laundry detergent, and just about anything else that’s for sale . . . than any other demographic. Any company who isn’t specifically targeting the over 50 market is short sighted, indeed.

It seems those of us who are over 50 have “aged out” of the land of Oprah and have outlived our usefulness. I don’t even think Martha Stewart would come out and publicly announce that people over 50 are past caring about entertaining, baking or decorating their homes and therefore her new mission in life is to focus on those who truly need her: women 18-49.  Martha wants to appeal to those younger readers too, no doubt, but would she push her core constituents aside to get to them?

My question is this: am I the only one who read that article and felt let down?  Let’s get this dialogue going right here and right now.  Please think about this question: “Is Oprah right in wanting to move away from the “over 50″ market in favor of a younger audience?” Leave your comments below. Maybe this conversation will go viral and Oprah, along with the advertisers who support her, will perk up and listen.

That would be a real “Aha!” moment, wouldn’t it?

The Real Cougar Woman is a 5-carat diamond who knows the importance of taking care of her health, beauty, relationships, finances and spirituality. Linda Franklin says, ”there is no stopping a woman who has a strong belief system, passion and a dream. All things are possible”. Linda’s book, Don’t Ever Call Me Ma’am helps women of all ages tap into their power and live life to the fullest.

Divorce – Think Financially Not Emotionally

Women Conquering Divorce - Think Financially Not Emotionally Linda Franklin The Real Cougar Woman

Divorce is incredibly difficult.  After the emotional and financial struggle that accompanies a breakup, women are left drained and their confidence shattered into a million pieces.

Jeffrey A. Landers, founder of Bedrock Divorce Advisors, LLC, wants to change all that. In his new book, Divorce: Think Financially, Not Emotionally, he offers women the tools we need to emerge from divorce with our finances intact and our financial future secure. The tools he offers can be particularly empowering for women in abusive marriages.

“We all know that even under the best of circumstances, divorce is complicated and emotionally trying. For women in abusive marriages, however, the process is exponentially harder–and proceeding safely is absolutely essential,” Landers says. “These women, and all divorcing women, need to empower themselves with knowledge. They need to learn how to protect their assets as they put the pieces in place for a secure financial future.”

In Divorce: Think Financially, Not Emotionally, Landers helps women navigate the difficult divorce terrain by offering practical, step-by-step advice on a wide range of topics, including how to:

  •     Build a top-notch divorce team
  •     Organize financial documents
  •     Protect businesses, intellectual property, and personal assets
  •     Determine if a husband is hiding assets
  •     Manage pension plans, 401Ks, and other retirement accounts
  •     Negotiate alimony
  •     Disinherit a husband

Landers is donating 50% of all profits from his book to the Bedrock Divorce Fund for Abused Women, Inc., a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity he recently launched to help female victims of domestic abuse and the organizations that support them.

“Over the years, I’ve worked with many women who, at the time, were in physically and/or mentally abusive relationships,” Landers says. “I’ve seen how these relationships can leave women feeling trapped emotionally and financially, and I’ve seen how all that can change once they take steps to secure their financial future.”

Every women needs a support team during a divorce. Jeff is offering us the help we need to break away and start over successfully.

The Real Cougar Woman is a 5-carat diamond who knows the importance of taking care of her health, beauty, relationships, finances and spirituality. Linda Franklin says,”there is no stopping a woman who has a strong belief system, passion and a dream. All things are possible”. Linda’s book, Don’t Ever Call Me Ma’am helps women of all ages tap into their power and live life to the fullest.

Woman’s Emotions Determine The Size Of Their Bank Accounts

Women's Emotions Determine The Size of Her Bank Account Linda Franklin The Real Cougar Woman Women can be the worst sort of money martyrs.  Otherwise, Intelligent, competent females who have got it together in other areas of their lives, have finances that are a disaster because they melt down and revert to childish passive behavior when it comes to money.Women and men treat money differently.  I am the last person to put down women. but I have to agree with the experts who say “a woman’s attitude toward money is shaped by her emotions”.

It was recently revealed that for the first time, the number of women plunged into bankruptcy is equal to the number of men. Debt experts say it is not driven by women buying Ferraris or luxury holidays, but a sign of how they are struggling to survive this double-dip recession.

One in five single women risk living in poverty when they want to retire.

Our emotional response to money could also be the reason why women, on average, earn 15 per cent less than men and are more likely to be made redundant in a downturn. Now, more than ever, women need to get their house’s in order and be honest, or at least pinpoint where our complex psychological patterns around money originate.

Why do many women find it so hard to say: ‘I’m stretched a bit thin right now,’  or ‘I had an expensive month, so can we go somewhere cheaper?’

We think, as good girls, we shouldn’t let anyone down. Money isn’t just dollars and cents, it brings up passions and desires and fears and insecurities.

‘If we just paid attention to the facts staring us in the face  — we need to spend less, we need to budget — we could start to charge our behavior.  But in our heads it’s a lot more complicated than it is.’

When you ask for a raise and your boss tells you, ‘my hands are tied’. women are all too ready to accept that overused excuse and walk away with a smaller pay package.

Many of us self-sabotage around money, whether it’s an overwhelming need to be liked, fear of confrontation, being uncomfortable with the concept of success, or even a sense of false pride that we can manage.

Becoming aware of the psychological triggers is the first step to getting them under control.

Women need to share financial insecurities and start by mentioning the M-word to friends.‘If we can talk about a friend’s sex life, we can discuss their take-home pay. That way we can tell who is having a tough time.

‘In the current economic climate it’s easier. People are more concerned about affordability, it’s giving us an excuse to be frank, because everyone’s struggling.’

The Real Cougar Woman is a 5-carat diamond who knows the importance of taking care of her health, beauty, relationships, finances and spirituality.  Linda Franklin says,”there is no stopping a woman who has a strong belief system, passion and a dream. All things are possible”. Linda’s book, Don’t Ever Call Me Ma’am helps women of all ages tap into their power and live life to the fullest.

Six Ways to Keep Money from Sabotaging Your Next Marriage


by Terri Orbuch PhD

Six Ways to Keep Money from Sabotaging Your Next Marriage The Real Cougar WomanMoney is more worrisome to newlyweds as a source of conflict than any other topic or concern. In second or third marriages or serious relationships, however, partners are so gun-shy about sharing bank accounts and expenses that a majority of them simply don’t.

That’s one of the surprising findings from my landmark study of hundreds of married and divorced individuals, which has been ongoing for more than 25 years.

You can find love again after a serious relationship or marriage has ended. And when you do, here are some ways to keep money from straining your new love partnership.

1. Acquire a new money vocabulary.
Examine your past–how your parents dealt with money, what money meant to you growing up, and how you dealt with money in your former relationship. Look for patterns in how you think and talk about money. For example, “I can’t catch up,” or “I’m afraid I won’t have enough,” or “I can’t stick to a budget.” Try to change your typical money vocabulary into more positive action statements. So, “I can’t catch up” becomes “It’s time to get control over my finances.”

2. Think like the opposite sex.
One of the reasons money is a source of conflict in marriage is that men and women view and interact with money differently. Studies show that women tend to see money as a sign of security. They like to save for emergencies and they become worried when financial problems arise. Men, on the other hand, take more risks with money and see money issues as a threat to their self-esteem. Try to understand the role of money in your partner’s life so you can meet differences with compassion rather than anger.X

3. Keep money matters simple the second time around.
In my study, almost 6 out of 10 divorced singles (57%) who are now in healthy new relationships don’t share living expenses with their partner. Many recognized that shared bank accounts and expenses weren’t worth the trouble, so they keep these separate in their new partnership. They discover that with kids and property from previous marriages, money matters can become unnecessarily complicated in second marriages.

4. Toss out assumptions; ask questions instead.
Don’t assume your partner wants to split everything 50/50, even if he or she did this in a previous relationship. And don’t assume that you understand how your partner feels about money. Instead, have a dialogue with each other and talk about what money represents. Listen carefully to your partner’s answers to see if there are deeper, older issues going on that have been unresolved.

5. Share financial knowledge and decisions.
Money is such a hot-button topic that 49% of those who divorce and remarry in my study still worry that money will become a monster issue in their new relationship. Even if you keep your money in separate accounts, studies show that couples have less tension when they each weigh in on big financial decisions. It is also essential that you know about each other’s assets, debts, retirement plans, and large purchases. Secrecy or lying about money, incidentally, is perceived as a betrayal of trust–similar, emotionally, to an affair.

6. Get off to a new money start.
My research shows that in the early years of a relationship, money is the number one source of conflict. You’ve learned a lot from the mistakes and missteps in your previous marriage. In addition to all the other new, healthy behaviors you intend to try this time around, make money honesty and money openness one of them. Talk often about each other’s money so that it becomes routine. Come to agreements about spending. Set ground rules and expectations that will help you avoid conflict about money later on.

The Real Cougar Woman is a 5-carat diamond who knows the importance of taking care of her health, beauty, relationships, finances and spirituality. Linda Franklin says,”there is no stopping a woman who has a strong belief system, passion and a dream. All things are possible”. Linda’s book, Don’t Ever Call Me Ma’am helps women of all ages tap into their power and live life to the fullest.