Medium 9781576755594

Breakdown, Breakthrough

Views: 1500
Ratings: (0)

Helps professional women experiencing feelings of disempowerment and dissatisfaction regain the confidence, courage, and energy to take control of their lives
Identifies 12 crises professional women face today and offers specific advice and tools for overcoming them
Draws on interviews with over one hundred women, offering inspiring stories and practical advice for addressing and resolving disempowerment
Thousands of professional women, though outwardly successful, find themselves in the midst of a crisis, believing that they’ve sacrificed meaning, fulfillment, and balance in their lives to achieve work-related success. Their lives feel unmanageable—and they are confused, blocked, overwhelmed and unable to move forward effectively. Kathy Caprino sheds light on this growing epidemic of disempowerment and shows women how to reinvigorate and reclaim their lives.

Breakdown, Breakthrough uses a comprehensive coaching, behavioral, and spiritual framework to explore how women can restore their power and reconnect with their life visions as they awake from the paralysis of professional dissatisfaction and personal diminishment. Caprino outlines a new model for understanding disempowerment, one that focuses on women’s relationships with themselves, with others, with the world, and with what she calls their higher selves. She identifies twelve specific challenges professional women face and offers concrete, practical advice for overcoming each one—helping readers “step back, let go of what is holding them back, and say yes” to creating a compelling and rewarding next chapter of life and work.

This is also a deeply personal book. Caprino candidly discusses her own struggles with crippling feelings of disempowerment, and shares moving stories and heartfelt advice gleaned from her interviews with over one hundred women who experienced and overcame the crises she describes. Breakdown, Breakthrough offers working women who are stressed, stuck, and dissatisfied access to new inspiration, hope, and a definite plan of action.

List price: $16.95

Your Price: $12.71

You Save: 25%

Remix
Remove
 

17 Slices

Format Buy Remix

Contents

ePub

 

1. Breakdown in Professional Women—Why Now?

ePub

* * *

We shall not escape our dangers
by recoiling from them
.

WINSTON CHURCHILL

“Everything I’ve worked for has just lost its importance to me. I really have no idea what to do or where to go next. I desperately want to do something different, something more meaningful to me, but I can’t figure out what that is.”

“I feel so mistreated and unappreciated at work. What I really want to do is tell them all off, but I end up coming back each day, and stuffing down my anger and resentment.”

“I can’t keep up this pace. I want some time off, and I need more flexibility and space to be with my daughter. But how can I ask for that when I’ve just been promoted?”

“I feel sick and exhausted all the time, and I just can’t beat this illness. I can barely function, at work or at home. I need a break!”

“If I really get honest with myself, I realize I’m just not performing at my peak anymore at this job. I’m not at my best anymore and it’s scary to me.”

“A friend of mine has her own small business, loves it, and makes great money without killing herself each day. I wish I could figure out how to do that, but I don’t think I have what it takes to make it on my own.”

 

2. Recognizing When You’re in Professional Crisis

ePub

* * *

You gain strength, courage, and confidence
by every experience in which you really
stop to look fear in the face. You must do the
thing which you think you cannot do
.

ELEANOR ROOSEVELT
You Learn by Living, 1960

In my work with clients, I have been amazed at women’s depth of denial when things are bad. Women have said to me as we begin our work together that the term “crisis” doesn’t fit their experience, or they feel “uncomfortable” using the word. Then they go on to describe deep pain, fear, a sense of isolation, hopelessness, and a host of other agonizing emotions. Women might say, “I’m just going through a bad patch” or “I’m having a hard time right now,” but when they feel safe, they begin to expose the depth of their unhappiness. This acknowledgment paves the way for a probing new line of self-questioning to emerge. They begin to ask themselves, “You mean I may not have to live like this forever?” This chapter will help you determine if you are in fact experiencing a true professional crisis or simply going through “a tough time.” You’ll learn about the four levels of disempowerment women typically experience and identify which, if any, are problematic for you.

 

3. A New Model for Empowered Living

ePub

* * *

Courage is not the absence of despair;
it is, rather, the capacity to
move ahead in spite of despair
.

ROLLO MAY

Building on Abraham Maslow’s model of the hierarchy of needs,1 I conceive of empowerment in life and work as a four-level continuum. Empowerment begins with the most basic human relationship—your relationship with yourself. If your self-concept and way of viewing yourself is secure and loving, you have the foundation for constructing positive, healthy relationships with others. As this is achieved, you gain strength and support to become effective in the world, using your abilities for your own good and for the good of the world around you. Finally, empowerment builds to the most expansive dimension—your relationship with your higher self. Empowerment at this level allows you to tap into a breadth of abilities, perspective, and knowledge that is otherwise not available.

Beginning with a look at full empowerment, this chapter demystifies the twelve common crises women face today by revealing what is missing or what needs to be revised for empowerment to grow. It identifies the potential root of each crisis and offers specific recommendations for shifts in thinking and behavior that will help you gain strength in the areas where you most need it. By the end of this chapter, you’ll know which crisis is most relevant to you at this time. You’ll also understand what is necessary to resolve it, in order to claim passion, power, and purpose in your life and work.

 

4. Resolving Chronic Health Problems

ePub

A bodily disease which we look upon
as whole and entire within itself,
may, after all, be but a symptom
of some ailment in the spiritual part
.

NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE

* STEP BACK TO EXPLORE The body is communicating what the lips are not.

* LET GO of ignoring or resisting what is.

* SAY YES! to hearing your body, your intuition, and your heart.

* BREAKTHROUGH “I am healthy and strong.”

* Helen: Here I was, a top administrator in a large city public library system, and the stress of it was killing me. I was working a zillion hours, and it was all administrative—I wasn’t working with children or books, both of which I loved. I knew I had to leave, but it’s really hard to leave a job that you create. Anyway, I did it, I left, but then I needed another job quick. So I took a position that focused on teaching librarians how to use the Internet. I worked on computers all day, every day, and let me tell you, computers aren’t my thing. It was all-encompassing, and I hated the computer aspect. I then began to have these terrible dizzy spells—blinding spells that made me nauseous and weak, and I couldn’t see. It was so painful to use my eyes in any way, to read the computer screen, to read books. I felt dizzy and sick all the time. Imagine a librarian not being able to read books, books that I had so loved. I went to doctor after doctor, and nobody could get to the bottom of it. I grew allergic to my contacts, and I couldn’t wear my glasses either. Nothing was working. I had so much stress, just dealing with feeling sick all the time and trying to hold it together for my little children. On top of that, I was dealing with my mother’s decline into dementia with Alzheimer’s, and the sudden death of my cousin from cancer. It just was all too much. But I always had a gut feeling that my dizziness was about being on the wrong path, doing the wrong work.

 

5. Overcoming Loss

ePub

We are shaped and fashioned
by what we love
.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE

* STEP BACK TO EXPLORE Grieving lost parts of yourself.

* LET GO of overidentifying with one aspect.

* SAY YES! to healing lost parts of yourself.

* BREAKTHROUGH “I am integrated and whole.”

* Natalie: I built my career to a high level, and I was in a very senior role that affected many people. In the beginning, I generally liked my work, but throughout the years I did have an inkling—a strong one—that perhaps this wasn’t the right focus or professional life for me. I’d have conversations with other people at my level about the downsides of being the “master or mistress of the universe”—of working so many hours, of not being able to see my son’s Little League games, of being handcuffed to our laptops while on vacation. We explored the notion that “there must be a better way.” But I never stopped to figure out what that could be for me. And then something happened that changed everything.

My boss was a woman my age, and she was gifted at her work. Sally inspired people, helped them be all they could be. I’d worked with her for years, and we’d forged a deep friendship. We also shared respect and appreciation for each other, which was somewhat rare among my counterparts. She had worked for the company for thirty years and was very respected as a major contributor. She was preparing for her long-awaited retirement and was excited about moving to Florida with her husband, now that their kids were grown and doing well. She’d tell me about looking forward to walking on the beach, playing tennis, and just enjoying life and relishing time with her husband. And then it happened. Three weeks before her retirement, Sally was diagnosed with lung cancer. And she was dead thirteen weeks later. Here was someone my age whom my coworkers and I had loved, revered, who’d made a huge difference in all our lives and for the company. And she was gone.

 

6. Achieving Self-Love

ePub

Know thyself.

SOCRATES

* STEP BACK TO EXPLORE Needing to reclaim your power from a source outside of you.

* LET GO of giving up your power to others or things.

* SAY YES! to acting in alignment with the real you.

* BREAKTHROUGH “I love and accept myself.”

* Marsha: My personal story is full of bumps and challenges. When I was young, my mom died, and there was a bitter custody battle for me between my father and my mother’s relatives. I ended up living with distant relatives, and it was a very unhappy situation. I was neglected and ignored, and life was bleak for me. In my teens, I experienced sexual abuse at the hands of a trusted family friend. All of this contributed to my sense that I had very little power or control in my life. I think I had the expectation that what was coming down the pike for me in life was going to be a tough struggle. I was surrounded by misogyny and chauvinism as a young person, which forged in me a strong sense of feminism that remains with me today. Unlike the men who surrounded me, the women in my life were caring, nurturing, and very powerful. I grew to believe that women in general were strong, competent, emotionally intelligent and resilient, and in some ways even superior to men, and I set out to prove it.

 

7. Speaking Up with Power

ePub

A No uttered from deepest conviction
is better and greater than a Yes
merely uttered to please or,
what is worse, to avoid trouble
.

MAHATMA GANDHI

* STEP BACK TO EXPLORE Reliving past trauma over speaking up.

* LET GO of your pain from past suppression.

* SAY YES! to your personal power through words and action.

* BREAKTHROUGH “I use my voice to support myself and others.”

* Christine: I have a long history of not being able to speak up for myself. I see now that how I was raised and what I went through growing up stunted my ability to know myself. I couldn’t express what I believed or wanted. And often, I didn’t even know what I thought deep down. My very traditional, conservative parents came from cultures that believed women and children should be seen and not heard, so that’s how I was trained. Throughout my life, I can’t ever remember asking myself, “What do I really want to say here?” because it didn’t seem like a relevant question. My thoughts and feelings weren’t allowed to come to the surface.

 

8. Breaking Cycles of Mistreatment

ePub

As long as you think that the cause of your problem
is “out there”—as long as you think that anyone
or anything is responsible for your suffering—
the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever
in the role of victim, that you’re suffering in paradise
.

BYRON KATIE
Loving What Is

* STEP BACK TO EXPLORE Boundaries in need of strengthening.

* LET GO of your belief in your powerlessness.

* SAY YES! to developing healthy boundaries.

* BREAKTHROUGH “I am treated with love and respect.”

* Anne: My life has been a full and extraordinary one, with many blessings, including my four children and eight beloved grandchildren. But I’ve had a fair share of adversity, too. My father adored me, but he was an abusive man—physically, verbally, and emotionally—and he was particularly cruel to my mother. She resented me terribly because I was spared most of his abuse, and because he loved me. Mother was full of rage and jealousy and treated me like a hostile invader. My father had a violent temper, abused my mother physically, neglected her emotional needs, and cheated on and deceived her, yet she stayed and endured his treatment for sixty-five years.

 

9. Shifting from Competition to Collaboration

ePub

The true perfection of man lies not in
what man has, but in what man is ….
Nothing should be able to harm a man but
himself …. What is outside of him should
be a matter of no importance
.

OSCAR WILDE

* STEP BACK TO EXPLORE Feeling the need to prove your worth over and over.

* LET GO of feeling “not good enough.”

* SAY YES! to your innate worthiness and value.

* BREAKTHROUGH “I am enough.”

* Robin: I have a very competitive spirit that was developed early in my childhood. I was the youngest of four, and the only girl with three older brothers, so there was always a lot of competition. But growing up this way, I never felt different because I was a girl. I wanted to fit in with them—it wasn’t even a question. I had to scrap with my brothers in order to win—literally playing with the big boys. Crying or whining never got me anywhere with them. These guys were tough and in order to play (compete), I had to do so on their terms. As I look back, I realize that for me, losing was not an option.

When I left college and embarked on my career, I was fortunate to choose financial services as a field, because there was great opportunity then (and now). I have continually gravitated to companies with three key environmental factors: the first was a supportive leader and mentor who could guide me, the second was a well-communicated sense of direction and clear-cut vision of what was expected, and the third was the trust that I could get the job done and I could run on my own. Where these factors existed, I have always excelled.

 

10. Escaping Financial Traps

ePub

Do not value money for any more
nor any less than its worth; it is
a good servant but a bad master
.

ALEXANDRE DUMAS

* STEP BACK TO EXPLORE Valuing money above all else.

* LET GO of beliefs, relationships, and actions that keep you small.

* SAY YES! to a balanced relationship with money.

* BREAKTHROUGH “I fulfill my financial needs and honor who I am.”

* Amanda: I worked for a very challenging company for eighteen years, and I went through some exhausting trials and tribulations with them. From highly visible and nerve-wracking lawsuits to incompetent bosses to an employee turnover rate of more than 30 percent in a single year due to gross mismanagement, I endured my time there, toughed it out, in part because I felt that my role was important and helpful to people. But if I look back honestly, I think I really stayed because I had started on this path and didn’t know how to get off. I continued to get promoted, making more and more money. I also kept getting more responsibilities, so the job was never boring. I think the great salary, promotions, new responsibilities, and perks just kept me there. The job wasn’t a good fit for me, but it made possible some things that I felt were important, like a nice house, lovely clothes, a tennis club membership, travel, freedom and financial independence from my parents and others, etc. It’s funny, I’m not a materialistic person overall, but I was so focused on doing my job well every day, building a strong and secure career for myself, and living this life I’d created (with its heavy obligations to a host of family and friends), that I never stopped to examine how unfulfilling and stressful my life was. I didn’t see my relationships too clearly, either. I missed the fact that so many people were using and draining me, and many weren’t capable of giving back at all. I feel like I was so busy living my life that I wasn’t conscious of what I was missing—a career that thrills me, fulfilling relationships, and utilizing my creative talents.

 

11. Using Real Talents in Life and Work

ePub

Man is the only creature
who refuses to be what he is
.

ALBERT CAMUS

* STEP BACK TO EXPLORE Denying the power of your unique gifts.

* LET GO of your fears of failure and inadequacy.

* SAY YES! to believing in your talents without fail.

* BREAKTHROUGH “I use my real talents in life and work.”

* Monique: When I think back to my childhood, I never really seized on a specific career path that I wanted. But from when I was a little girl, I thought about being a performer of some sort, maybe a singer. I didn’t have a great childhood. It was marred by a lot of instability and insecurity. So I knew I wanted security and stability, and I wasn’t picky about how I’d accomplish that.

The first major decision I made in life was not to finish college. I was studying accounting, but I found the whole thing so boring. I remember somebody said to me then that cosmetics would always be great business, so I left college and got my first job at Estée Lauder. I loved it and was good at it because it was immediate and it helped people. I did very well, working there from age 18 to 24.

 

12. Helping Others and the World

ePub

I get up every morning determined both
to change the world and to have one
hell of a good time. Sometimes, this
makes planning the day difficult
.

E. B. WHITE

* STEP BACK TO EXPLORE Resisting the fact that you can make a difference.

* LET GO of believing you don’t have what it takes.

* SAY YES! to changing the world.

* BREAKTHROUGH “I help others and the world.”

* Laurie: I suppose you could call my professional experience of several years ago a “crisis,” but truthfully, I’ve been through such personal traumas that I don’t use the word lightly. I’m a mother of two, Luke (16 years old now) and Dylan (14), who are the loves of my life, along with my husband, Grayle. Luke is a surviving twin, and we lost our son Jason at 6 days old. That was a true medical and personal crisis, and it was unspeakably painful. My newborn babies were terribly ill, and Luke survived with significant special needs. After that experience, everything pales in comparison. This life experience, of losing Jason, and now having two precious children—one of whom has extensive special needs—has given me so much that is a blessing, and I’ve received real perspective from it.

 

13. Falling Together After Falling Apart

ePub

Everything can be taken from a man but
one thing; the last of the human freedoms—
to choose one’s attitude in any given set of
circumstances, to choose one’s own way
.

VIKTOR FRANKL
Man’s Search for Meaning

* STEP BACK TO EXPLORE A connection to struggle and to what no longer serves.

* LET GO of making excuses.

* SAY YES! to creating your new life as you want it.

* BREAKTHROUGH “I know what is important to me, and I honor it.”

* Theresa: Truthfully, I don’t talk much about my background and childhood because people just get overwhelmed about it, feel sorry for me, or see only the difficulties. But I really don’t view it that way. I believe that everything that’s happened to me has made me who I am, and I wouldn’t change any of it. The reality is that I was born to a mother who was imprisoned for being a con artist, and as a baby I was handed off to my mother’s sister. I suffered abuse in her home and was removed by the state. I was taken in by a series of foster homes for the next several years and was placed in my final adoptive home when I was 6. It was a small farm in Kansas, and I had a very modest upbringing. I worked all the time, and there was no TV, no playtime, no frills, nothing was wasted. Basically, if we didn’t grow it or kill it, we didn’t eat it. We were very poor, and certain days of the week we would have to go to the trash dumpster behind the grocery store to get our vegetables to eat.

 

14. Balancing Life and Work

ePub

Being responsible for my life,
my children, my choices sustains
me even in the darkest hours
.

LESLIE MORGAN STEINER
Mommy Wars

* STEP BACK TO EXPLORE Overfunctioning and perfectionism to control your world.

* LET GO of your fears about not being in control.

* SAY YES! to being helped by others and your higher self.

* BREAKTHROUGH “I balance my life and work with joy.”

Because balancing life and work is one of the most prevalent crises for working women today, this chapter offers two compelling stories about real-life professionals who have achieved balance and harmony and inspire others to do the same.

* Karen: When I think about childhood, I realize now that I was deeply formed by my culture and upbringing. My mom was a traditional wife and mother—a corporate executive’s wife—and Dad was a high-powered successful executive. I grew up in suburbia, and somewhere I got the message that I needed to go it on my own, be independent, tough it out, go do it. I felt I needed to be successful monetarily or something was wrong with me. Either you married success, or you did it yourself—that’s what made you worthwhile. Looking back now, I see that it was huge ingrained fear—I felt as if I were going to die if I didn’t have money.

 

15. Doing Work and Play You Love

ePub

It is very dangerous to go into eternity with
possibilities which one has oneself prevented
from becoming realities. A possibility is
a hint from God. One must follow it
.

SØREN KIERKEGAARD

* STEP BACK TO EXPLORE Believing others who say you should let your dreams go.

* LET GO of “shoulding.”

* SAY YES! to doing what you can’t live without.

* BREAKTHROUGH “My work and play represent the real Me.”

Laura: From as early as I can remember, I knew I wanted to perform. So as soon as I could, I went to New York City to study acting, dance, and theater. I went to New York on a dance scholarship and was seriously intending to pursue theater and acting full-time. But truthfully, after a few years I became tired of just scraping by with very little money. I’d always loved writing, too, so I decided to go back to school and get a degree in writing and philosophy at NYU, and see where that would take me. When I graduated, somehow a switch got thrown in my head. A huge shift occurred inside me. Suddenly I said to myself, “You have got to stop being a child and go to work full-time. Stop playing around and get serious.” A lot of this was my parents’ influence, I think. While they’ve been supportive of my talents and abilities, they’ve always wanted me to be pragmatic about career reality. Trying to be helpful, they communicated the idea that acting is a really difficult business. And that one has to be realistic. It’s not that they ever said I wasn’t good enough, but they impressed upon me that I had to be realistic and take care of myself.

 

Empowerment Guide

ePub

I. EMPOWERMENT WITH SELF

CRISIS Resolving Chronic Health Problems (chapter 4)

* STEP BACK TO EXPLORE The body is communicating what the lips are not.

* LET GO of ignoring or resisting what is.

* SAY YES! to hearing your body, your intuition, and your heart.

* BREAKTHROUGH “I am healthy and strong.”

* BEST ADVICE Hear your body. Heed your intuition. Follow your heart.

CRISIS Overcoming Loss (chapter 5)

* STEP BACK TO EXPLORE Grieving lost parts of yourself.

* LET GO of overidentifying with one aspect.

* SAY YES! to healing lost parts of yourself.

* BREAKTHROUGH “I am integrated and whole.”

* BEST ADVICE Bring suppressed parts forward. Avoid overidentification. Find a “better way.”

CRISIS Achieving Self-Love (chapter 6)

* STEP BACK TO EXPLORE Needing to reclaim your power from a source outside of you.

* LET GO of giving up your power to others or things.

* SAY YES! to acting in alignment with the real you.

* BREAKTHROUGH “I love and accept myself.”

* BEST ADVICE Discover where you are being false. Find the power inside you. Disentagle from your struggle.

 

Details

Print Book
E-Books
Slices

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
B000000023310
Isbn
9781605094205
File size
2.57 MB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata