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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bethenny's Rules

I just finished reading Bethenny Frankel's, A Place of Yes:  10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life.  This book is the perfect combination of two of my favorite genres of books:  self-help and autobiography. 

Why do I care what Ms. Frankel has to say you may ask?  Well, I get the feeling that Bethenny tells it like it is, says what's on her mind, and does not sugar-coat reality.  Yes, I admit that I am a fan of reality television and The Real Housewives series is one of my favorite indulgences.  I happen to watch re-runs on the CW at 9:00 a.m. (EST) Monday through Friday whenever I get a chance.  Bethenny happens to be my favorite 'housewife' from the New York episodes.  She is so relatable and down-to-earth.  She has a wry sense of humor.  I love how she kept her cool and stood up to the shenanigans of Kelly Bensimon.

I read another Bethenny Frankel book, Naturally Thin, and found it helpful.  Ms. Frankel's recent business accomplishments with selling her Skinnygirl spirits brand to Fortune Brands for many, many dollars illuminates her as a force to be reckoned with.  She is so open with her background, foibles, and well-deserved rise to the top.  I was definitely curious to find out what her journey to success taught her.  As I read the book I tried to relate events in my life and measure how well I fared with each rule. 

1.  Break the chain.  For the past two years I've been on this journey of realizing I must let go of the past in order to move toward the future with a clean slate.  Learning how to forgive and change my voice has been a challenge but I realize it is the first and most important step.

2.  Find your truth.  Who am I?  What is my authentic self?  What do I really want to do with my life?  Self-exploration and self-awareness is so important for developing a plan and going after what you want in life.

3.  Act on it.  This is where I stumble or cripple myself.  I know I am the one responsible for making things happen.  I can't rely on anyone but myself.  At times it feels like something is missing from my gut.  There is no drive nor ambition.  Fear is swallowing me whole.

4.  Everything's your business.  I love this rule.  It basically says try everything at least once and if it doesn't work out it's okay.  It is a learning experience.  How will you know if you never try?

5.  All roads lead to Rome.  Perseverance even when you may take the wrong turn (or think you may have taken the wrong turn) will lead you to your goal.  Stay focused.  Learn from the hiccups because even in them there is a lesson which will help us get to where we want to be.

6.  Go for yours.  I love that Bethenny recognizes the necessity of first being your own person and fulfilling your needs before you can help others.  As mothers we tend to put everyone elses needs first.  As my kids have gotten older I realize what a better mother I am when I focus on what I want out of my own life.  As I learn to love myself I love others more freely.

7.  Separate from the pack.  I realized my individuality and uniqueness in college.  I embrace my ideas and independence of thought.  I'm not one to be conventional.  I appreciate difference and diversity.  I love that I have freedom to be myself.

8.  Own it.  Boy, I've practiced a lot of truth-telling just by starting this blog and exposing my feelings.  This is how I own it.  Good and bad, this is how I am.

9.  Come together.  Connection with other people?  Not my forte.  This will be a tough nut to crack.  I'm not sure I even like people half the time.  I am very protective of those people whom I care about.  I don't feel the need to tweet and join every social networking outlet.  I don't measure my worth by how many 'followers' or Facebook friends I have.  But, perhaps I see this rule as a challenge because I haven't quite mastered the other rules yet.  I haven't gotten myself 'right'.

10. Celebrate!  It's one word.  It should be so easy.  But, for me, it's not.  When I read this rule I felt a deep sense of regret in the pit of my stomach.  I was never the type of mom to go overboard and have a birthday party for each of my kids where they invited a dozen friends and shared gifts and cake.  I always keep celebrations private and within the family.  They are never extravagant and border on mundane and predictable.  There is no life in the minimal celebrations in my life.  Perhaps, one day, I will find success and happiness such that my celebrations will reflect the positive energy in my life.

But, for now, it appears that I have to start back at rule number one.  No one said that getting everything I want out of life would be easy.  Some paths are longer than others.  Some paths have more roadblocks.  And, even some paths appear to be never-ending.  But, part of coming from a place of yes is BELIEVING in yourself that you can do it.  You can get everything you want out of life.  And, that you DESERVE it!

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