Verbs For My 53rd

March 2, 2020

I am excited. My package of new cool reading glasses from Peepers arrived. I bought some oversized ones that remind me of Iris Apfel! Reading glasses are my new accessory. I don’t wear chunky bracelets as they make noise during meetings. Dangling earrings, although super fabulous, can be distracting for workshop participants to watch swing around as I constantly gesticulate. But reading glasses are now a necessity. Might as well make’em pop!

I turn 53 this month and reading glasses are a constant, just like Spanx and tweezers. And my life is good. My father said to me long ago that he’d be alive for only so many years of my life on this planet so I better choose a life that I like, not one to please him. His comment was a gift, and I am creating a life I love, yet also one I bet he’d be proud of. Here are a few active verbs I am choosing to live out loud as a constant in my life this year that I know will go beautifully with my new 1.75 readers…

Staying curious

Dad gave me a note once that cited the great spirit, Auntie Mame. “Life is a banquet and very few people come to the table to eat. Make sure you are one of them.” And I do. “Consultant Walks into A Bar, Take 1000” is a favorite way to Facebook share my continuously interesting conversations with folks while on the road. And being on the road, period, helps me to stay ever challenged by new perspectives and ways to do life. I have been saying yes to going to the northern most part of Maine and to the most southern most part of Western Australia. I think Shonda Rhimes and I would be great friends.

Living with humility

Hard to admit, but here goes. I don’t like to be disagreed with. (Shock!) I don’t like being called out for not being my best adult self. I don’t enjoy having to acknowledge my areas of growth. Wait, Miss Hard Conversations?! Yes, me. Yet over and over again, I recognize that there is so so much more than my point of view. I need to suspend certainty and be open to listening to others without collapsing. I need to apologize more, to take up less space, to get a handle on my ego. You might think this is the opposite of a feminist’s mantra. I am not saying I will diminish myself and my voice; and I realize I am one of many. Polarity management.

Taking responsibility

Tag, I am it. I am responsible for me. I have folks that support me and check in on me yet in the end, I am it. I am responsible for my words, my actions, my choices. As I look at the year ahead, I need to take care of my body, put away for my retirement, and continually decide what I want to focus on every day and what I want to spend my time doing, without as much blaming and complaining in the mix. My friend, Jane, and I go out and do wine and whine afternoons…and then we move forward to solutions. It doesn’t sound quite as cool to do ‘wine and whine and next steps’ but it sure is the right thing for my health.

The world is really challenged right now (climate-wise, health-wise, politically, emotionally), and I am working on not contributing to the drama and pain. As a birthday gift, send me your being your best adult self live out loud verbs for 2020. Here’s to growing up!

If you have any questions, comments or topic suggestions, please feel free to email me at Jennifer@jenniferabrams.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Cool Resources

When I get time I will deep dive into these resources…if you do it sooner than later send me a review.

The Better Arguments Project equips Americans to reach across political, cultural and economic divides to have arguments that bring us closer together instead of driving us further apart. As a partnership between Facing History and Ourselves, the Aspen Institute’s Program on Citizenship and American Identity, and The Allstate Corporation, the project centers on the simple idea that America doesn’t need fewer arguments, it needs better arguments.

Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age by Edward D. Hess. From Amazon, “The crucial mindset underlying NewSmart is humility—not self-effacement but an accurate self-appraisal: acknowledging you can’t have all the answers, remaining open to new ideas, and committing yourself to lifelong learning. Drawing on extensive multidisciplinary research, Hess and Ludwig emphasize that the key to success in this new era is not to be more like the machines but to excel at the best of what makes us human.”

Pathways to Possibility: Transforming Our Relationship with Ourselves, Each Other, and the World by Rosamund Stone Zander. From Amazon, “Pathways to Possibility expands our notions of how much we can grow and change, whether we can affect others or the world at large, and how much freedom and joy we can experience. Stimulating and profound, it is the perfect companion to her beloved first book, The Art of Possibility.”

About Jennifer Abrams

Jennifer Abrams

Jennifer Abrams considers herself a "voice coach," helping others learn how to best use their voices – be it collaborating on a team, presenting in front of an audience, coaching a colleague and supervising an employee. Jennifer holds a Master's degree in Education from Stanford University and a Bachelor's degree in English from Tufts University. She lives in Palo Alto, California. Jennifer's latest book is Swimming in the Deep End: Four Foundational Skills for Leading Successful School Initiatives. Her previous publications include Having Hard Conversations, The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicating, Collaborating & Creating Community and Hard Conversations Unpacked – the Whos, the Whens and the What Ifs. She has also created a Corwin Press e-course by the same name.

Work with Jennifer

Name*

Email Address*

School / Organization

Questions/Comments

Praise for Jennifer

A thousand things are unspoken, implicit, buried in our educational lives. The invisibility of issues enforces the ineffective status quo. Change–personal, educational, institutional–requires that we speak OUT LOUD about what we know and believe. Jennifer Abrams brings decades of experience and years of training across the world to this usually overlooked essential act of finding our effective voice about what matters around learning.

Eric Booth, renowned art educator and author of Tending the Perennials: The Art and Spirit of a Personal Religion and The Everyday Work of Art: Awakening the Extraordinary in Your Daily Life