Learning For Life

Yes, This IS All About Me

People have told us they're using our sisterly banter to start conversations with others (family, friends, and even in classrooms), so Black created "Conversation Starters".


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I never really thought about self-advocacy until Black brought it up in a conversation about “advocacy,” and, even then, I wasn’t sure what she meant. But after she explained it’s speaking up for yourself and your needs, my first thought was how that might be OK for others; for me, it totally goes against my nature. Black might be able to toot her own horn, but I’m definitely more reserved. (There’s an understatement!) Until I realized that I was creating roadblocks in my mind that didn’t need to be there. OK, maybe I’d need some practice, including how best to communicate my message, but even I could potentially become a self-advocate.

In fact, I realized my daughters were already self-advocates. For example, my older daughter, Natasha, has learning challenges (Black calls them “DIFF-abilities”, meaning she has different abilities) and in high school learned to self-advocate by asking for accommodations. While my younger daughter, Sawyer, was a good student so in high school was put on a college prep track; until she self-advocated to be allowed to take some CTE (career and technical education) classes. I was merely in attendance at these meetings yet saw the power of recognizing your strengths and/or weaknesses and respectfully stating what you need and why.


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Red’s other default setting is thinking she cannot do something until she tries it and realizes she can. It is similar to when she thought she could not “do” personal finance until she was forced to, and lo-and-behold, she could. As with any skill – with practice and preparation (think of it as building your case), it becomes easier.

I will admit that I never stopped to think about the importance and power of self-advocacy, as my entire life I have always been a self-advocate, although it was only recently that I learned there was a (nice) term to describe assertively speaking up for yourself. Since I have always focused on where I wanted to be in the future and worked backward, I would identify what I needed to get there. In the workplace, I kept a file where I accumulated examples of my skills and strengths and would look at any potential “shortcomings” as opportunities to learn something new. And, if I needed help from others, respectfully communicated that need to the appropriate people.

THE CONVERSATION STARTERS

  • What does self-advocacy mean to you? Do you think you could be a self-advocate? If so, for what? And why?
  • Why should you learn to advocate for yourself?
  • What are the potential benefits of advocating for yourself? What are the possible risks?
  • List three of your successes/accomplishments (in the workplace or your personal life). What strengths or skills do they demonstrate?

People have told us they’re using our sisterly banter to start conversations with others (family, friends, and even in classrooms), so Black created “Conversation Starters”.

Do you feel like January and New Year resolutions are a bit like the movie “Groundhog Day”? Many people are like Red, beginning the new year with old goals that always seem to end the same way … a year later, you feel like you didn’t make much, if any, progress. So, why even bother making resolutions? Well, Black looks at things differently (it’s a good thing that never changes), which might make all the difference …



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I love the holidays but definitely have mixed feelings about the start of a new year. On one hand, it's like a clean slate, a fresh beginning, where you can try to do things better – whether specific things like dieting, exercise, keeping the piles of paper from accumulating or "big picture" things like trying to spend more time with friends and family, and being smarter about money. But on the other hand, I hate feeling pressure to have a list of goals and resolutions, especially since I know it'll be an overly ambitious list and I'll soon "slide back" into old habits. And then I'll feel like a failure.


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If it makes you feel any better, I suspect you are not alone in your approach. Many people have lists of New Year's resolutions that are too long and too ambitious. Which means you are setting yourself up for failure, not success. What would happen if you took your list and picked a few that you think are the most important, or would have the biggest impact on your life? Then set realistic year-end goals and work backward which will let you stay focused on where you are going. Then if you "slide back" it is a temporary situation not a total failure.
THE CONVERSATION STARTERS
  • Try to think back to your most important goal pre-COVID. Why was this your #1 goal and is it still important to you?
  • If you could only have two or three things on your New Year's resolution list, what would they be and why?
  • Do you look at New Year's resolutions as what you want to start doing on January 1 or what you'd like to have accomplished by December 31?

People have told us they're using our sisterly banter to start conversations with others (family, friends, and even in classrooms), so Black created "Conversation Starters".

It’s that time of year. Yes, it’s fun and festive, and filled with traditions. Including Red lamenting that it’s full of stress and seemingly endless “to-do” lists. Black can’t help but point out that in addition to rereading her checklist on how to survive and thrive during the holidays, she should also reread this short “Conversation Starter” (and talk about it with her daughters) about how to put the “happy” in Happy Holidays!


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I can't believe how quickly the holidays are flying by. On one hand, all I want to do is enjoy them as I love this time of year. But I can't because there always seems so much to do. And I'm afraid that if I don't do everything on my holiday "to-do" list, I'll disappoint people, including me. You don't have this problem as you don't have kids and you live alone, plus others aren't looking to you to make the holidays festive and memorable.

Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io


You seem to start with your "to-do" list, whereas I think about the significance of the holiday and what will make it meaningful and memorable. Yes, it is a more pragmatic approach, but it makes the planning so much easier. You know that I dislike the over-commercialization of holidays, but it does provide a reminder that it is important to let others know how much you appreciate them.

THE CONVERSATION STARTERS

  • What's most important to you during the holidays? Why?
  • Describe your "perfect" (yet realistic) holiday celebration. What it would take to make it come true?
  • If you celebrate with others, have you ever discussed what's important to them?

P.S. – Since this is being posted in the midst of the December holiday season (what Red refers to as the "silly season"), you might be interested in these recent posts:

    Events in our lives (both personally and in the world around us) may change from year to year, but amidst the joy and festiveness of the holidays, there’s always a certain amount of stress and challenges to get everything done. This year’s no different, and I’m sure Black would suggest (sarcastically, of course) I might want to reread my tried-and-true holiday survival list …

    It's official! The holiday "silly season" (as I call it) is now underway and before I know it, it will be New Year's Day and I'll be looking back and asking, "Where did December go?!" This year's holiday goals …

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