Tag Archives: career

I’ll Take It

I’m an old mom – I didn’t have my kid until I was 40. I had been married, had a fine career, traveled, etc. I knew some stuff. So I figured I could work out the whole “have it all” thing. No problem.

Problem! Baby, house, job, husband, friend, gardens, laundry, dishes, dinner…I actually could do it, but I sucked at it. Everything was (in the words of my father) half-assed – I felt like a failure in every aspect. It was pretty low point in my life, about when my son turned 3 (the 2s are nothing, by the way). I was at my wit’s end.

At about this same time, we moved into a new house and had done some renovations. I invited my real estate agent/friend over to see what we had done to the house. She hung out, perfect in her blow-out, designer clothes, fabulous shoes and fantastic heart. She was amazing: three kids, a husband running his own business, her own top-notch real estate agent business. I could barely take a shower.

After chatting for 30 minutes or so, I finally broke down in tears about how sucky I am at everything. She was so kind and calming. I finally just asked her, how do you do it all? She cocked her head and smiled a little bit and said, “Oh, honey…I outsource everything!” She proceeded to tell me about the cleaning lady, carpooling, the nanny, the lawn service and stack of takeout menus in the kitchen.

It was a light went on in my brain. It was okay to ask for help, it was okay not to do everything myself, it was okay to feel overwhelmed. Outsourcing was the best advice I ever got…and I took it: we have a cleaning lady come every other week, we eat out at least once a week, we use after care programs at school. And life is so much better – I am so much more relaxed and happy and able to enjoy my son and my husband and my life.

I know not everyone has the resources to access this kind of outsourcing and that life looks different. But there are still ways to outsource: local and county services, school programs and, family, friends and neighbors. The ultimate lesson is to ask for help. Even with help you’re still doing it all – someone has to coordinate all those helpers, keep the schedule, mind the store.

Bottom line: If there’s help to be had, I’ll take it.

– Libby Bingham

About Libby

Libby used to have a stuffed bear named Alan as a child and recently found him in her parents’ attic. She now understands what it means to “love the stuffing out of something.” You can reach her here

Always On and Always Connected

I got my first cell phone in college, back when Nextel phones were still a thing and I paid by the minute, paid long distance charges, and certainly didn’t text. And I only bit the bullet after a stalled car made me late for work and I didn’t have a way to let them know I wasn’t going to be on time. This was strictly an emergency phone (though perhaps the definition of emergency shifted as the cost of my minutes went down…but I digress). About 5 years after that, I got my first smart phone through work and I’ll admit to being thrilled because as a young professional, it was a sign that I was important (the naivete of youth is adorable, isn’t it?). Fast forward to 2015, and 92% of adults in the U.S. now have cell phones. And don’t even get me started on kids having phones…

This leaves us facing etiquette challenges that just simply didn’t exist ten or fifteen years ago. The Pew Research Center, a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, recently released a report, Americans’ Views on Mobile Etiquette. It’s fascinating stuff.  I share this not to reminisce about the good ol’ days before cell phones ruined our lives or propelled us into the greatest technological era of all time (depending on your view), but I do find our attitudes interesting when it comes to the appropriateness of using our phones.

When asked for their views on how mobile phone use impacts group interactions, 82% of adults say that when people use their phones in [social] settings it frequently or occasionally hurts the conversation. Meanwhile, 33% say that cell phone use in these situations frequently or occasionally contributes to the conversation and atmosphere of the group. Women are more likely than men to feel cell use at social gatherings hurts the group: 41% of women say it frequently hurts the gathering vs. 32% of men who say that the same. Similarly, those over age 50 (45%) are more likely than younger cell owners (29%) to feel that cellphone use frequently hurts group conversations.

And while those 82% said that using phones may hurt the conversation, 89% of adults who own a cellphone say they used it at their last social gathering. 89%. Yowza. Yet, before we mourn the loss of personal connection, of those 89%, 78% reported using their phone for what Pew termed a “group contributing” action: posting a video or photo about the gathering, sharing something that happened, looking up information to contribute to the conversation or connecting with someone at the gathering. My, how the times have changed from Zach Morris’ Saved by the Bell phone…

The report goes on to talk about always being connected, the types of activities for which we use our phones and how much usage we tolerate in different public spaces. As you would expect from a research study, Pew simply presents the facts. They don’t chastise us for our behavior, nor credit cell phones for bringing us together across the globe. Rather, they present the information and let you decide what it means to you. And it’s certainly had the wheels of my brain turning since I read it. What does your connectivity mean to you? And what do you think it says to others?

– Catherine Wemette

While Catherine does now have an iPhone, she still misses her Blackberry and has made peace with the fact that she’s a luddite. She is the founder of Good for Her Soul and you can reach her here.


I’m looking for Someone. Someone has been taking on a lot these days. Someone is very busy, yet not really seeming to get much done. And I’ll be honest – I’m a little frustrated.

Someone seems to get in our way with way too much regularity. Much too often, we look to Someone. Someone should do something about our rowdy neighbor. Someone should tell the boss she’s micromanaging us. Someone should take on that project we’ve been talking about for so long. Someone should organize that trip we keep meaning to take. Someone should do something. And yet, despite everything we keep assigning to Someone, nothing seems to actually get done. Huh.

In defense of Someone, he’s really gotten the short end of the stick. We’re quick to assign tasks to Someone because it’s easier than doing it ourselves. We may not take action for a variety of reasons. We’re scared, we don’t know how to fix it, we don’t have the time, we’re know if will be hard, we might hurt feelings…the reasons are endless. But we know there’s a problem and we want to get credit for pointing it out and then delegating to Someone. As long as we verbalize it and get Someone on it, our hands are clean.

Spoiler alert: Someone doesn’t actually exist, and you don’t actually get anything done by assigning anything to him. It’s up to each of us to pick up the slack that Someone has created by letting things slide. We certainly can’t pick up all the things Someone was supposed to do, but if each one of us can tackle one thing Someone was supposed to do, imagine how much we might actually accomplish. So let’s make an agreement to help Someone out and quit delegating things to him. I’m in!

Catherine prefers to read the book before seeing the movie since really likes to have the additional context. She is the founder of Good for Her Soul and you can reach her here.

Passionate People are Contagious

It’s been a busy week for me with projects, training and introductory meetings. And now that Friday has arrived, I’m feeling the downside of being so productive – I’m pooped. But there’s still a whole day left to go until I can call it a day and begin the weekend (which isn’t shaping up to be less hectic, but that’s another story). As I started my Friday, I had an introductory meeting with a new potential partner for a project. We had been in touch via email, but this was the first we’d spoken on the phone. And despite how tired I am from the craziness of this week, her positive energy was contagious and the thirty minutes we spent on the phone was just the boost I needed. My contact was passionate about her business and couldn’t wait to share it with me. The more she talked and the more we engaged the better I felt.

I’m drawn to the energy of people who are passionate about what they do, whether it’s their profession or in their personal life. I guess that’s where my true extrovert comes out – getting my energy from being around others. There’s just something contagious about that spark in their eyes or the joy in their voice when they’re talking about what makes them tick – you can’t help but be drawn in and get excited yourself. For me, that sharing of passionate energy is better than any caffeine boost, adrenaline rush or runner’s high. It’s a unique energy you can only get from a connection with someone else, and it’s truly special.

What are you passionate about?

Catherine’s favorite tea is Tension Tamer, though she worries she might be asking a bit much of her tea. She is the founder of Good for Her Soul and you can reach her here.

High Maintenance vs. High Expectations

Someone recently asked me if I considered myself high maintenance. Before you’re offended on my behalf because we share an assumption that being high maintenance is a bad thing, let me say she’s a wonderful young women and I respect her a lot. I think she’s working on finding her place in this world and is interested in how others see themselves as she’s working on her own self-view. Her question really caught me off guard, however, because I do start with the assumption that being high maintenance isn’t a desirable trait. To me, it conjures up images of demanding whatever is best of you whenever it suits you. It’s complaining about not getting the perfect table. It’s whining about things not going exactly your way. It’s all about you all the time. Quite frankly, the thought of it being about me all the time is exhausting.

I thought about it and told her I didn’t consider myself high maintenance, but rather, I knew what I wanted and wasn’t afraid to go after it or ask for it. Perhaps that does make me high maintenance. When I’m excited, I want you to get excited to. When I work hard, I want you to work just as hard. When I prioritize something, I want you to do the same. And maybe that’s another definition of high maintenance. I think of it as wanting to share what I find interesting with someone else. And the people I keep closest to me do often share those same values, which makes it fun.

When relaying this conversation to another friend, he had a good laugh (clearly, I’m a little higher maintenance on his scale than my own). But he did think about it for a minute and reframed it this way – he said he believed I had high expectations. And unlike the label of high maintenance, having high expectations resonated immediately. Yes, I absolutely have high expectations of those around me. I expect you’ll be excited because I’m excited. I expect we’ll work hard together. I expect we’ll share similar priorities. I expect these things because we’ve chosen to come together in life – as friends, colleagues, or partners. We share a common purpose on some level, and that drives our expectations. I hold myself to those same expectations when it comes to you because you matter to me. Your excitement, work ethic and priorities matter to me. And I am more than okay with those expectations of me.

And sure, your high expectations may let you down from time to time. And that’s okay. But it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop expecting the best from people. I will proudly wear the label of high expectations, and I can’t wait for you to surpass them.

Catherine met a man at the post office today named Magic and is now seriously considering changing her name.  She is the founder of Good for Her Soul and you can reach her here.

Caring What Others Think

So often, we’re told not to listen to what others say about us – not to worry about what they think, pay no attention to their opinions. And while that’s good advice for some things, I think we miss out on some valuable intel. Set aside, for a moment, the notion of constructive criticism or looking for the gem of good feedback delivered in a mountain of shit. I’m not talking about those things (at the moment, anyway – I think we can get a lot out of feedback, even if it’s not delivered in the best way. But that’s another blog post from another day.).

What I’m talking about is what our friends and trusted advisers see in us. I wouldn’t have gotten into the type of consulting I do now if it hadn’t been for a friend who had a job and thought I could help her out. She described me as being good with teams and getting buy-in and consensus. These aren’t the primary ways I would have described myself, but she was right. I am good at those things, even if they don’t pop into my mind as the things I’m best at (they are now, thanks to her).

We know we’re usually our harshest critic, but why is it so hard to listen to those around us who have seen what we’re capable of? It’s easy to believe the bad things, but so much harder to believe we have talents we may not even know about or think of as strong skills. You value your friends’ judgment, so why not value it when it’s about you and your amazingness?

I was recently approached about a job opening and I believe I know the perfect person for it, so I connected the employer and the candidate. It’s not quite a job the candidate has done before, but there’s no question in my mind that she would knock it out of the park in this position. She was hesitant as we talked about it. As we talked through the skills and experience I thought she could bring to it, I think I was able to convince her, but it took some doing. From the outside, I don’t even see how that’s possible – this job was made for her. But the job title was making her uneasy. The job title was just the title. It didn’t get to the heart of her skills and passion, which were absolutely what the employer wants and needs. I’m happy to report they’re in discussions now, so we’ll see where it goes.

So the moral of the story – don’t listen to the haters, but listen to the people who have your back. They know your talents and abilities and want the best for you. And you have great taste in friends, so listen to them.

Catherine learned yesterday through a highly scientific Facebook test that she’s a Josiah Bartlett, which is a little surprising since she could have sworn she’s a CJ. She is the founder of Good for Her Soul and you can reach her here.