Next Chapter-Becoming A Single Cook

I want to thank you all for following my stories over the past year. When I started blogging over a year ago, I really didn’t have any direction but wanted to get back into writing somehow. Your comments and words of encouragement lifted me up so much and I felt that we have become a community of writers and shared voices. 

I believe that we should write what we know and be honest with ourselves. My life has undergone some massive changes recently and I struggled for a while to figure out how to incorporate these changes into my writing. I was initially nervous about being open about my situation but then again I wouldn’t be writing the truth.

After alot of soul-searching, I decided to launch The Single Cook . This site opens me up to exploring my cooking skills further while also being open about my new-found independence. Cooking is my passion and I want to show that single, career women can eat healthy (and affordably).

But I don’t want this new venture to be just about me. I welcome your comments, recipe ideas, and cooking tips that have helped you in the kitchen. I consider you all my friends and blogging family.

Thank you for your continued support and please follow me along on the next chapter.

 

Andrea

True Strength

Yesterday at the gym I made a new personal record in my weightlifting…at 6:30am in the morning no less!

I will admit that I struggle with strength in more ways than one. I don’t consider myself a tough woman at all. In fact, I can easily burst into tears when prompted (sad movies and cute puppies don’t help either).

When it comes to weighlighting, I’m the lowest in my group and I have to make small increments to go up in weight. I’ve been weightlifting over a year and I’m just now hitting more PRs with my one rep max. People wonder why someone as small as me cares so much about weightlifting to begin with.

The lessons learned from my weightlifting classes can easily be applied to how we handle life’s challenges. Lifting 70 pounds overhead and back squatting 90 pounds is pretty strong..but sometimes life can feel like a 70 pound barbell over our heads. We try so hard to maintain our stance, keep lifting the bar higher and higher but the weight continues to bear down on us. Even worse is when we don’t feel we have control over the situation and feel weak.

Not everyone handles adversity the same way as others. To be honest there’s really no right way to handle all the bad stuff that happens to you. Don’t beat yourself up for not meeting the expectation of what a strong person is. Similar to weighlifting, sometimes your strength comes out in certain milestones or you have to continue to build on your strength.

Holy S&^% this is heavy!!

Holy S&^% this is heavy!!

More importantly, being strong also means knowing when to let go. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to know I  have the option to dump out of a lift when needed. 

Bottom line: Everyone is a lil’ ass kicker in their own way and don’t worry about living up to an ideal! 

Letting Go and Letting Live

Geez! Are we at November already?

Around this time last year, I participated in See Jane Write’s November #bloglikecrazy challenge. This challenge sparked a longtime passion for writing that I had let fall to the wayside.

And, I’m doing this challenge again which is very much needed!

Rather than set a laundry of to-do items, I want to focus on two things this month…letting go and letting live

Letting go of what you ask? There are a couple of things right now that I’m struggling with which are fear and expectations.  Because I have a fear of the unknown, I try to plan as much in advance as possible.  I’m a natural planner so it gives me a sense of control and comfort.

However, this methodology can backfire when life throws you a curveball…or two…or three. I can “expect the unexpected” but truthfully that scares the hell out of me.

This month, I am focusing less on having predetermined expectations and instead focusing on how to live each day with enthusiasm and a sense of adventure.

Hence…I’m letting go and letting LIVE!

fll-improve-the-world

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can Feelers Be Good Leaders?

I’m an ENFJ.

According to Myer Briggs, my dichotomies are Extravert, Intuitive, Feeler, and Judging.  Basically, I get energy from being around people. I also see possibilities and prone to trust my gut instinct when absorbing information.  But, more importantly, I  make decisions based on my feelings. ENFJs tend to value personal considerations above objective criteria.

Believe it or not, most women are Feelers in their personality:

Males: 70% thinker and 30% feeler
Females: 30% thinker and 70% feeler

source: http://www.themindbehind.net/mbti/assessment.html

Feelers are naturally nurturing and emphatic toward other people.  Most Feelers become nurses, teachers or work in a career where they are helping people.

All of this sounds really nice, but can a Feeler also be tough as nails and objective in a business setting? Or do they get emotional when criticized and rather be your BFF rather than a boss?

heart-sleeve

Do you wear your heart on your sleeve? 

Raise your hand if you are a Feeler and proudly show that heart on your sleeve….

From personal experience, I have a natural tendency to want to “mother” people and do take criticism personally. And, there are moments where I need to go to the bathroom to have a good cry after a stressful day at the office.

But, I can also push aside the Feeler aspects and adopt more Thinker strategies in handling business situations. There’s a great book that I recently read called Quiet: The Power of Introverts. The author, who is an introvert, discusses how an introvert’s strengths can be applied by anyone to be a better listener and participant of society. (Most thinkers are also found to be introverts in their personality).

One of  the benefits of being a Feeler is passion.  A Feeler puts their heart and soul (no pun intended) into their work or causes they care about.  Feelers are very value-driven and believe in a set of values that they’ve adopted for themselves.  In fact, you may have heard a Feeler say on more than one occasion “This isn’t fair!”

Feelers have capabilities to grow into good business leaders but it does take getting a handle on emotional reactions.  Feelers have to make a conscious effort to take a step back and observe from a practical standpoint.

Can you identify who are the Feelers you work with on a regular basis?

Why I Need to Fail

A few weeks ago, I was having coffee with a friend of mine who is a entrepreneur. We ended up talking about her business and its challenges. During the conversation, she confided to me quietly, “I just don’t want to look like I’m failing.”

After four years of running an online marketing consultancy, I had to face some hard facts about myself and my business. Ultimately, I needed to take a step back from being a businesswoman so I could learn more about becoming a more successful businesswoman.  That was an extremely difficult decision to make because I didn’t want to seem like a failure nor that I was quitting. For some reason, I felt like I had something to prove to the world that I was capable of being an entrepreneur.

This wasn’t the first time I heard a fellow female entrepreneur tell me about their fear of failing. I hear similar reasons why failure isn’t an option but mostly because women do have an inherent need to prove their capabilities.

Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves? Apparently, fear of failure is a top concern for women entrepreneurs.  In the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2012 Women’s Report conducted by Babson College, entrepreneurship is becoming a top career choice for a growing number of women. However, women were also more likely to have lower perceptions of their entrepreneurial abilities than male business owners. According to the report, this fear of failure is also linked to lower rates of entrepreneurship among women because of the inherent risk of starting a business.

My second startup is using a Lean Startup methodology toward our product development. Basically, our focus is on learning as much as we can about our potential clients by conducting a series of experiments with our minimum viable product. The purpose of these experiments is to “fail fast.” Now, why would we want our product to fail? With the Lean Startup approach, the faster that your experiment doesn’t work, the quicker you can pivot toward another experiment that does work.

You could say my first business was a part of a series of experiments in my entrepreneurial journey. Instead of spending five more years tolling away on a business that wasn’t growing, I made a pivot based on the data and chose a different route that could eventually lead me to my goal.

If you are faced with the same nagging fear of failure regarding your business or career, take a step back and tell yourself the following:

1.    I Shouldn’t Be Afraid To Fail

Have you ever faced a fear in your life? Whether it was getting a shot, going on an airplane ride or jumping out a plane, how did you conquer your fear? Don’t let a fear of failing hold you back from pursuing a lifelong passion.

2.    Failure Has Nothing To Do With My Capabilities or Intellect

Failing is not about being smart or dumb. But it is smart to learn from your past mistakes so you can further improve yourself.

 

3.    Failing Will Teach Me How To Do It Right

Sometime the best way we learn is by screwing up first.

Managing My Crazy

I felt compelled to write this after one hell of a week and alot of soul searching later… 

quotes

Let me just say first and foremost…I am crazy. Does that shock you? But I’m not crazy in the conventional sense. In fact, if you’ve ever met me or talked with me, you probably think I have my head on straight or I have “my act together.” And if you do, then let’s you and me talk for awhile. Cause I got some stories to tell!

Crazy is my deep down burning desire to follow my dreams but being pulled back into reality when my husband and I get the monthly bills.

Crazy is going against convention

Crazy is constantly looking at the world in color when everyone else just sees black and white.

Crazy is a roller coaster of emotions that can make you sick to your stomach.

Crazy is the world right now…and we seem along for the ride.

Crazy is just not being happy with the norm.

There are days I used to cry in frustration or scream in anger. But instead of wasting my energy being mad or upset, I go work myself into a sweaty frenzy.

When I feel that panic in my throat and my heart pounding furiously, I tell myself it ain’t all that bad.

I don’t take a pill but I take a heaping dose of calm and sensibility. Some days it works…other days I have to try harder.

Let me tell you that crazy is okay, and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. But ignoring it or pretending it’s not there won’t make it go away.

If you’re trying to manage your own crazy, I hope sharing mine was equally helpful for you.

Can You Learn Everything?

As a natural learner, I’m constantly seeking out knowledge in books, articles, lectures, and conversations. I get excited at the prospect of learning a new skill or topic I’m interested in. This appetite for learning can also lead me to tackling too many learning projects at the same time.

The phrase “the world is our oyster” is quite right but where do we start when we want to learn something new?

I have a big learning curve when it comes to my coding challenges. And, I easily became overwhelmed with all the options for online tutorials.

I came across this really interesting interview with Josh Kaufman, author of The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything…Fast!. He also taught himself to program among other learning adventures as an entrepreneur.

One of the biggest takeaways from his interview is putting your learning into practice. The best way we learn is by actually working on a project that holds us accountable and alot of people can see.

One of the biggest reasons I wanted to learn how to code was because of my increasing interest to create a new site full of content to help career women and entrepreneurs manage stress, share my own stories of stress management, and help women battle their own crazy lives. As a yoga instructor, I also teach people how to overcome negative emotions and thoughts related to our sense of self. It’s amazing to see the positive transformation people undergo from when they first walk into a class.  I’ve thought about this site for awhile and how it could really help women in their work/life balance. I’ll eventually be moving my blog to this site but I’ll keep everyone posted on my progress.

If there’s something you’ve been wanting to learn but haven’t pursued, maybe you can work it into a project that you can show people or even teach people how to do themselves. If you get a chance, check out the interview as well as his book.