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Who are you when you're alone?

who am iHere's a post especially for those who use extraverted Feeling in their first or second functions. You know you're using extraverted Feeling preferences when...

  • you try to please others, a lot
  • their needs tend to be more important than your own
  • their opinions tend to seem more correct than yours
  • you avoid confrontation (unless it's something you really care about)
  • disharmony stresses you out

Every once in a while I ask my hubby how he would describe my type preferences. Last time, he said he had a hard time answering that because he's seen me behave in so many different ways, always depending on who I'm with. Was there a type that always changes depending on context?

I said I wasn't sure, but that that is something I've noted as well. I used to wonder who I'd be if I were alone. I wanted consistency, clarity. A no-nonsense direct answer to the question, "who are you?" It's a tough question. I'm an ENFJ, who's like all other ENFJs, like some other ENFJs, and like no other ENFJ. I'm a German who's lived in Scotland, England, Spain, the Canary Islands, Mexico, and the USA. I am and always will be a daughter, sister, cousin, friend etc.

Today I recognize and accept that I am multitudes. I am yes, and. That, and more. Depends on the context. My truth is that I'm never alone, so asking who I'd be on my own doesn't make sense. I'm always in one of the roles described in the picture, and there are probably many more relationships I haven't even mentioned on there.

No Doris is an island.

Still - do you know what my friend Sarah said? She had just had her appendix out when she heard me talk on the phone in three different languages. She said, "you talk and behave differently in German, English, and Spanish, but you always laugh in Doris."

What do you think? Are you always the same no matter where you go or who you're with? Or can you relate to the adaptation?

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Mind the Gap between what you Think you want and what you Actually want


Mind the Gap between what you Think you want and what you Actually want

This one's inspired by one of Brené Brown's Daring Greatly read-alongs. It's about paying attention to the gap between your aspirational goals and actual behavior and values. Here are some strategies you can apply to various topics. 

1st Question: How do you want to feel?

If it's joyful, get clear on what makes you feel joyful. If it's abundant, get clear on when you feel abundant. If it's balanced, get clear on what makes you feel balanced.

How can you get clear?

Pay attention, write a list, align your values, and make the choice.

What are you doing when you're the happiest?

Be mindful when you're happy and figure out which choices got you there. Do they have to do with buying gadgets or spending quality time? Reading a book or going to a party? Might take a few months of observation and becoming aware, but it's well worth the effort.

What are you doing when you're the most generous?

What are you doing when you're feeling balanced?

Next step: assess if your values align with what brings you joy.

What level or importance are you allocating to the actions that go you to feel what you wanted to feel? How much of a distance or congruence is there between what you think makes you happy, what actually makes you happy, and what you do?

It's your choice.

Remember it's ok to work at it. It doesn't have to be perfect from Day 1. When you compare yourself to others, know that you are enough, no matter where you are. In fact, try to compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself, and acknowledge how far you've come. 

There was an episode in The Cosby Show where Denise wanted to be a teacher. She had a conversation with a teacher at their kitchen table, and it became clear that Denise hadn't really thought things through. She'd have to go back to school, study, get a degree, pay her dues, work for years before getting paid. I think it was Mercedes Ruehl who had the line, "people have to work really hard to make things look easy".

Don't let anybody fool you into thinking that it's all talent, or that what you want isn't worth working for.

Image by raghavvidya, Flickr, Creative Commons License.



Start the year off right

20121224-201148.jpg In Germany, we don't generally like boasting or exaggerations. Better to tell it like it is, even if it hurts. Some German managers I've worked with thought it was praise if they did not point out suggestions for improvement.

In the States, I'm confronted with a new "the biggest the best the fastest the you-name-it superlative" every day. Marketing and PR have become individual activities, and everyone's an expert or guru.

I'm going to try this year to find a happy medium, like the quote implies, and invite you to do the same. No reason to hide your light under a bushel, and hey - you got three PhD's? Well, it ain't braggin' if it's true.

Happy New Year!


Sensory Acuity


Sensory Acuity

Sensory acuity goes beyond sharpening your eye sight. It's a phrase mostly used in NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) and describes how being aware of your surroundings with all your senses can impact your leadership and communication skills, among other things.

Effective non-verbal pacing can help resolve conflict 

When was the last time you paid attention to your body language, and that of the person you were talking with?

We're all generally involved, if not trapped, in our own little worlds. That's perfectly fine and normal. But when you're talking with others and actually want to make sure a correct and effective transmission of message is achieved, little things like posture have a big impact.

Situation: someone is coming at you yelling and arms flailing.

Try and resist the urge to also make yourself appear bigger. Standing up straighter and planting your feet in a wider stance indicates you're ready to engage, showing your strength.

Solution: drop your speaking volume to a reasonable level, open your arms and let them hang loosely by your sides, indicating willingness to communicate. This message will register subconsciously with the other person, and ideally they'll eventually try and match your stance and volume.

As with everything, practice makes perfect. Next time you enter a room, I invite you to try and pay attention to your surroundings. Check out how everyone is relating to one another. See the art on the wall. Is that wastepaper basket overflowing? How does the upholstery feel? What smells emanate from the kitchens?

In MBTI language, I would correlate this skill of being aware of one's surroundings with the Extraverted Sensing preference. If you are an ESxP type, it will be your dominant function and may therefore come quite easily to you. Others like IxxJ and ExxJ may need more practice. Still, the effort will be worth it, just consider how the awareness of another person's state of mind can benefit your mutual understanding. :-)

Image by Christopher Octa, Flickr, Creative Commons License.


9 Characteristics of Millionaire Women


9 Characteristics of Millionaire Women

If you're a woman in business, you might benefit from checking out your local eWomen Network chapter meeting for networking and communication opportunities. I went to such an event in Dallas and am happy to share some of the key information the featured speaker presented. The topic was closely related to my goal this year: increasing my financial awareness, and the speaker was Ashley Parks.

Here's what we learned: among Millionaire women, the following mind-sets and behaviors can be observed.


Millionaire Women keep going, they don't easily give up.


Millionaire Women pick themselves up after set-backs.


Millionaire Women are aware and take care of long-term care-taking issues.

No trading up

Millionaire Women don't adjust their spending habits according to their increased income. For example, houses may be renovated, but not necessarily dumped for a bigger, better model. Same with cars.

Goal orientation

Millionaire Women are smart and realistic about planning, setting goals, and taking the necessary action steps.


Millionaire Women respect their resources and don't waste them.

Status is not a priority

Only a relatively small percentage of Millionaire Women is actually member of a country club.

Detailed tracking system

Millionaire Women are aware of their expenses, and periodically do a spring-cleaning to check for lower rates, e.g. of cell phone, cable, and utilities service providers.

Investment expertise

Millionaire Women research the investments they choose and use investment counselors. They know that at the end of the day, it's their signature on the papers that the IRS holds responsible.

What does this mean for us normal mortals?

Be pro-active in your financial planning and make sure the options you choose are a good fit for you. If you've been in the market for a while and there's been a change in your situation, e.g. divorce, new job, new house - check if your portfolio still fits you or needs an upgrade.

In relationships, talk openly about money and your spending habits, and especially long-term retirement and elderly care planning.

The call to action now is for you to commit to begin getting real about your financial status within the next 72 hours. Pull up your accounts, open your statements, even those dreaded credit card bills: you can only tackle what you know. To help you get started, check out the Allianz Women Money and Power Survey and do their worksheet.

What can you commit to getting more aware of your finances? Please share in the comments!

Ashley Parks has been helping families make smart choices for over 10 years. Her education as a Certified Financial Planner™ professional, and her role as a financial adviser and an insurance adviser has given her the ability to help clients with varying goals and resources. On a personal note, I found Ashley to be open, friendly, informative, approachable, and passionate about sharing her wealth of knowledge on the subject of financial awareness.

Image by Nosocksleft, flickr, Creative Commons License


"Divorce Piggy Bank"


"Divorce Piggy Bank"

This is a post I found in the Psychology Today blogs, written by Sam Marguiles PhD, Esq.Sam has been active in mediation for thirty years. He has written three books, numerous articles and has taught and consulted throughout the USA. I am re-posting the following with his permission, and will share here today that I owe about $780 for last week. You?

Having mediated thousands of divorces I have acquired some knowledge over the years of what acts and omissions reliably contribute to divorce.

I have also learned that marriages generally don't break over a specific event but rather erode over time as spouses fail to feed the marriage what it needs to thrive. I also know that most divorces are expensive and that is common for each lawyer to ask for a retainer of $3,000 to $5,000. So this post is designed to help you finance your divorce gradually as you engage in those behaviors that slowly damage and eventually destroy your marriage.

Here is what you should do. First, buy a good size piggy bank. Every time you commit one of the acts listed below, or anytime your spouse commits one, you deposit the required amount in your piggy bank. This way, by the time you need a retainer you will have saved it. You will want to count the money in your piggy bank once a year because it may serve as a guide to how close you are to divorce. Be sure to share this data with your spouse.

  • Go to bed angry with your spouse. $3.
  • Spend an entire day without expressing affection or praising your spouse. $3.
  • Make a sarcastic comment to your spouse. $5.
  • Raise your voice in anger to your spouse. $3.
  • Do the above and fail to apologize. $5.
  • Dismiss as unimportant an issue raised by your spouse. $7.
  • Install a TV in the kitchen. $20.
  • Watch TV while eating together. $10.
  • Spend a night in bed with your spouse and make no gesture of affection such as a kiss or caress. $5.
  • Refuse a request from your spouse for sex for the second time in a row unless you have a note from your doctor. $7.
  • Refuse a request from your spouse for sex for the fifth time in a row unless you have a note from your mother. $30.
  • Roll your eyes at something said by your spouse. $5.
  • Refuse a request to go to counseling with your spouse. $100. ( almost 100% predictive of divorce.)
  • Spend a year and not take a vacation with your spouse while leaving the children home. $25.
  • Schedule so many activities for your children that you leave no time for your marriage. Each week pay: $5.
  • Be upset with your spouse and not raise it because you believe it pointless to discuss it. $10.
  • When your spouse raises an issue stonewall and refuse to discuss it. $50.
  • You fail to learn what actions by you bring pleasure to your spouse. $50.
  • (Being made aware in due time to correct behavior: priceless - added by Dee.)

Although this list is by no means exhaustive it represents a good sample. Readers are invited and requested to add to the list.

Image by Die Gruenen Osterreich, Flickr, Creative Commons License.