Goals Like a Boss

Goal setting is a crucial step in getting what you want – but where do we start?  How do we identify what we want in a world full of options?  For many of us the idea of deciding what we want to do or be, is overwhelming and scary.  Sometimes, setting goals feels like a useless task, because things always seem to change along the way. The reality is, it’s not the goal you’ve set that’s the problem, it’s the way you’ve set it that’s holding you back!  In this article we take a look at 5 steps to make goal setting easy and attainable.  These steps will not only help you visualize where you want to be, but also, help you set realistic timelines and stay accountable. 
Take a read and let us know – what goals will you be setting for yourself?   
Jenny Shirbroun

Practice Makes Perfect

Are there things that make you nervous?  Do you ever wonder how you would handle a situation?  We live in a world where there are “not nice” people and there are people who don’t intend to be mean, but are mean accidentally.  Do you know what you will do in that situation?  Do you know what you will say?  Do you know what you will feel?

Did you ever think of making a plan?  Then most importantly, PRACTICING that plan so when we are put into an uncomfortable situation we know what we will do and it is easy.  This way we don’t allow the uncomfortable situations to disrupt our day.  Having a plan makes us more comfortable and makes those around us more comfortable too.  It keeps us from getting so worked up that one negative interaction doesn’t ruin our entire day.

For example, pretend you have a test coming up and your best friend didn’t study.  You spent all week studying.  Do you know what you will say if they ask to copy?  Or what you will do if you notice they are trying to look at your paper during the test?  This is your very very best friend.  You don’t want to make them mad and you don’t want to fight with them.  Also, even though it’s not right for them to cheat, you don’t want to lose their friendship over it either.  If you don’t have a plan, you might end up saying that they can cheat but then feeling guilty about it all day or so nervous about getting caught that you don’t end up doing well on the test.  However, you can practice just through imagination in your own bedroom what you might say.  For example, you could say, “We might get caught, and I could get a bad grade.  I really need a good grade on this test, so I can’t risk it.”  Practice that in your bedroom.  Memorize it.  Close your eyes and imagine your very best friend asking you.  Then imagine you saying that sentence.  Then imagine it again and again and again.  Imagine all the different things your friend might say and what you would say back.  And then imagine hanging out together after the test and still being friends.  Repeat it over and over and over until you feel super comfortable with it.  Then when it happens you will know what to do and even though you’ve never actually done it before you’ve practiced so often that it feels like you have.

There once was a college diver who got hurt at the beginning of the season.  He couldn’t practice all season long.  But still every day he showed up to the pool and laid on the pool deck with his eyes closed. From the outside, he looked so funny.  His arms would go up and down and he’d hold himself in a ball then straighten out like an arrow.  Every day he did this all season long.  Right before the very last meet of the season the doctors said he was finally healed and allowed to dive.  His team needed him to finish in at least third place to win the meet.  No one expected him to be able to accomplish that because he hadn’t actually done a dive for most of the season.  To everyone’s surprise, he walked out on the diving board full of confidence.  He dove some of the most difficult dives of anyone at the meet and he finished in second place, just one point behind first place.  His team went on to win the meet.  He could dive with confidence because although he hadn’t actually practiced in the water for most of the season, he had practiced in his imagination so often that his body knew what to do when the time came to actually perform.  We can do the same thing with anything in our life.  Mental practice doesn’t have to be reserved for athletic performance; it can be used for anything.

What are you going to practice today?

–Jennifer Sears

A Lesson in Anti-Bullying: Demonstrated by our Favorite Bully- Biff Tannen

#BullyingPreventionMonth ended last week, but we educate ourselves on anti-bullying tactics every month of the year. Learn how bullying differs from harassment and many other important legal issues surrounding bullying in the state of California. Stand up against bullying every day, not just during the month of October.

It’s probably safe to say that everyone has been bullied at one time or another in their life.  Whether it was in elementary school, high school or at your place of work, someone has pushed you around, berated you, stole your lunch money, made fun of you or called you names. Nationally, more than 13 million American children will be bullied, making it the most common form of violence young people experience.  Well, as this October is Anti-Bullying Month and the 30th Anniversary of Back to the Future, the moon and stars have aligned perfectly and provided us with an opportunity to revisit Biff’s Bad Bullying Behavior.

Everyone remembers the movie Back to the Future, right?  (How could you not??)

Quick synopsis- In attempt to evade the evil Libyan rebels seeking return of their plutonium from eccentric scientist Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown, who used the plutonium to power the flux capacitor in his time-traveling DeLorean instead of building them a bomb.

Marty McFly jumps into the Delorean and upon reaching a speed of 88 mph (in the Puente Hills mall parking lot), 1.21 jigawatts of power sends Marty and the car back in time to November 5, 1955- the date parents’ first met.  Marty then meets his future parents in high school and accidentally becomes his mother’s romantic interest.  In an ensuing caper of errors, Marty must repair the damage to history by causing his parents-to-be to fall in love, and with the help of Doc Brown and find a way to return to 1985.

While helping his to-be father, George McFly, try to woo his to be mother in 1955, Marty inadvertently witnesses several occasions of George being verbally and physically abused by the school bully, Biff Tannen.  The most memorable of which is:

This scene, despite Crispin Glover’s adorably dorky demeanor, makes everyone cringe and sink down in their seats.  And if you’re like me, it makes you want to jump up and give Biff a swift kick to the boys (if you know what I mean.)  However, what is sad is that George takes the knocking on his head, slap and verbal abuse from Biff with a smile and even joins in the laughter when Biff’s friend makes fun of Marty’s “life preserver” jacket.  So, would Biff face any repercussions for his bullying behavior in 2015?

Well, what is bullying anyway?

“Bullying” is defined as any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or by means of an electronic act, and including one or more acts committed by a pupil or group of pupils, directed toward one or more pupils that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following: (A) Placing a reasonable pupil or pupils in fear of harm to that pupil’s or those pupils’ person or property;  (B) Causing a reasonable pupil to experience a substantially detrimental effect on his or her physical or mental health;  (C) Causing a reasonable pupil to experience substantial interference with his or her academic performance;  (D) Causing a reasonable pupil to experience substantial interference with his or her ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.  Cal. Educ. Code § 48900.

Bullying is different from harassment because the “bully” is not usually just one person with a grudge but is often a group of schoolmates, or people who were once thought of as friends.  Bullying in the modern era is not just a message written on the men’s room wall “for a good time call…”, or name-calling in the schoolyard.  Bullying, in the age of social media, is often fairly anonymous and because of the anonymity, typically more vicious and more likely to reach a wider audience, thereby, creating more bullies.

In November 1955, when George and Biff were in high school, bullying existed (obviously), but not much was done by the parents or the schools to deter this kind of behavior.  In fact, if you were being bullied, you were likely to be told to turn the other cheek or “man up” and defend yourself (enter the Karate Kid). 

However, in the wake of several high-profile suicides among students who were chronically bullied, and after two students, who said they were constantly bullied, attacked and opened fire on their fellow students at Columbine High School in 1999, various states started passing laws to stop bullying behavior among students.  In the aftermath of the school shooting and in reaction to a local bullying-related suicide in the state, Georgia became the first state to pass bullying legislation and California followed shortly thereafter.  In 2011, California passed the Safe Place to Learn Act located in the California Education Code §234(b) which provides that all students have a right to attend school without discrimination, harassment, violence, intimidation, and bullying and applies to students either at school, at a school function or in transit to or from school.  Since then, there have been numerous amendments, revisions and new laws added to the books in California aimed at preventing bullying.

Now, how do these bullying laws affect Biff at all?  Well, the answer is, they don’t…(wait for it)…yet.  The scene shown above was off campus and while Biff is most definitely committing battery- willful force or violence used against another person, but the likelihood that George is going to go to the police and file a police report is slim to none and slim just left the bar.

Since Biff is basically a giant meathead, we assume that his bullying knows no bounds and would occur on campus and off.  In those instances where he is bullying anyone on campus, or in transit to and from campus, the above-mentioned legislation would most definitely get Biff suspended, and eventually, expelled.  Moreover, the “Under the Sea” dance is a school function, which would also fall under the above legislation.  In addition to the many criminal charges Biff racks up while attempting to rape Lorraine in the car at the dance, Biff also continues his bullying of George and in doing so, almost breaks his arm. 

While no one ever saw what happened, except Marty and Lorraine, schools today would have every inch of that parking lot under video surveillance, thus, enabling them to catch Biff in the act of yet more bullying.  (With the amount of bullying by Biff just shown during the three days of this movie, I don’t see Biff even graduating from Hill Valley High School.)

Just to throw insult on injury- what does almost every human being on earth have in 2015?  A cell phone!  If this scenario were to occur today, we all know that Biff, his friends and all of those patrons at the diner would all have their cell phones out taking pictures and videoing George getting bullied by Biff.  (Any video would also likely catch that Biff is having George do his work for him, which would lead to other disciplinary issues at school, but one issue at a time.)  None of these people videoing the scene would bother to defend George, but all of these videos would wind up on Facebook, You Tube and other social media, leading to George getting ridiculed by even more people at school the next day.  Moreover, why waste time bullying someone face to face, when you can do it all day on your cell phone or computer.  We all know Biff would be mercilessly bullying George on any social media forum possible (as long as he knows how to work modern technology).

Luckily, thanks to the love of the internet and the cell phone, Biff Tannen and all of those lookie-loos sharing the video could be punished as well.  Recently, Assembly Member Christina Garcia proposed AB 881, which becomes a law on January 1, 2015 and centers on protecting children from cyber bullying and reaches beyond the schoolyard to stop bullying wherever it occurs.  Previous legislation was written before the explosive growth of electronic devices and instant communication, so AB 881 clarified that an “electronic act” means the creation OR transmission of any communication. This means kids who participate in cyberbullying can now be suspended for cyberbullying even if they were not the one who originated the document.  (This bill was supported by the Junior League Long Beach, among others.)

Based on the current laws of California, and those effective in January 2016, Biff Tannen would be suspended…a lot, and most likely, expelled, for his bullying behavior.

Lessons learned here:  Justice is sweet.  High School sucks.  Don’t be a bully, because you could end up in a pile of …

-Megan Hitchcock

[ This post originally appeared on The Legal Geeks blog.]

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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October marks #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth and people around the world are wearing pink ribbons to show their support for those battling this awful disease. When you aren’t well, there is nothing more important than taking care of yourself and devoting time to your health. The Junior League of Long Beach’s largest fundraiser each year donates a portion of the proceeds to the Breast Cancer Fund, which helps expose and eliminate the environmental causes of breast cancer.

Below a member shares her friend’s alternative healing journey against breast cancer.

Mind, Body and Spiritual Healing vs Modern Treatments

When my girlfriend was diagnosed with breast cancer the doctors assumed Western medicine would be the choice for care and quickly began describing the process of a mastectomy, the follow-on treatment involving radiation and chemotherapy and the quality of life that should be expected during this treatment course.  Little did they realize that she would only hear one-third of the words, not because English was her second language, but because the concepts paralyzed her.  The blank stares fueled by emotions lead by fears, questions, procedure protocols and medical terms went unnoticed by friends and family.

In a state of suspended disbelief, she was afforded by her loving husband the time to seek answers to her many questions and explore the emotions concealed inside her. Consulting many books, doctors and reverting back to her childhood teachings that “we are what we eat”; she explored the alternative medicinal paths including herbal medicine and spiritual healing.

Research has proven that more and more medical credence is being given to alternative medicinal approaches for illnesses such as breast cancer.  Although there is no documented cause for this illness, there are several document treatments.  Western medicine prescribes procedures and treatments that span from minor surgery to a full removal and reconstructive approach.  Several drugs and therapies are accepted in the medical communities as well. The internet is full of information about how to diagnose, treat and recover from breast cancer, most of it being backed by solid research and science.

There is another approach that is less understood, less researched but potentially a better choice for some. Spiritual healers, medicine men, shrinks – call them what you will.

Traveling to Bali, Indonesia this summer helped me understand the draw to Bali for healing alternatives and overall better health. Famous for its long history of traditional healing, the rich Balinese culture includes herbal remedies, message and energy healing as well as customs and traditions that continue to thrive today.  The lush Indonesian landscape produces a wide range of herbal medicines known as “jamu” and the Balinese continue to lean on traditional spiritual healers.  The Ubud Yoga House, a favorite of mine, sits in the middle of a beautiful rice field between tower volcanoes.  People travel from all over the world to consult with the practitioners, relax and rejuvenate in this home environment. The Sacred Wellness Institute is promoted as a space of healing and love where the sick rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit.  The Institute specializes in individual self-awareness programs that radically change one’s aliveness.

Medical hers are consistently available and are promoted by healers and practitioners alike. The Balinese traditional medical treatment is known as “usada”.  The word is formed from the Sanskrit word  “ausadhi”, meaning medicinal plant.  There are more than 500 species of documented medicinal  varieties found on the island of Bali today. These plants are recognized globally by the medical and scientific communities and are actively prescribed by holistic healers in Bali and other countries.

I am not recommending an exclusive path of choice for anyone suffering from breast cancer. There are various types, various degrees and various health factors that make the diagnosis and the treatment plan an individualized choice.  Fighting an illness of this magnitude often times requires a life change.

Embrace the change as positively as possible and open your heart and mind to an aliveness that alternative approaches offer.

-KML

[This is a guest contribution and not a medical opinion. While there are many ways to take care of your health, you should always seek a medical professional’s advice.]

Unity Day

Bullying is something that each of us faces at one point or another in our lives. Sometimes we have to face it head on. Sometimes we see our friends face it. And sometimes our children have to face it and it breaks our heart.

October is Bullying Prevention month. The entire month is spent trying to increase the conversation about bullying in our communities, schools, and homes. As part of Bullying Prevention month, the third Wednesday of the month has been declared Unity Day. All across the country people will dress in Orange with the intention of starting a conversation with their friends, neighbors, and family about bullying and how it affects our community. There are rallies, movie screenings, and assemblies that encourage discussion and empowerment.

Tomorrow is the third Wednesday of October.

Tomorrow is Unity Day.

Join us in the movement to combat bullying in the 5th-8th graders of our community by wearing Orange and posting photos on social. Are you unsure of what to talk about? Do you know how to start the conversation with your child? How about starting the conversation with your parent? A conversation about bullying can be difficult, so why don’t you start by showing the video above and see where the conversation goes from there.

No one can stop bullying if we pretend it doesn’t exist. So start talking and join the movement to change your community.
#Unity2015

Upcoming Free Bullying Prevention Event for 5-8th Graders in Long Beach, CA — Saturday, October 17!

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The Junior League of Long Beach is hosting the first FREE Confidence & Me: A Toolkit for Empowering to-be Teens! of the year on Saturday October 17, 2015 from 9:30am to 2:00pm at Lindbergh Middle School in Long Beach, California.  This workshop will be part of the month long community discussion on Bullying.  All 5th-8th graders and their caregivers are encouraged to attend!

The workshop will include a screening of the documentary film Bully (2011).  Following the movie will be lunch and an empowering activity led by Power of One Self Defense of Long Beach.  During the afternoon, the adults and students will be separated into different groups to learn more about bullying and how to empower students to stand-up and change the culture of bullying in our community.

RSVP is required and the event attendance will be capped.  Please contact community@jllb.org or click “Confidence & Me” for more information!

The Junior League of Long Beach is building upon the success of Especially Me! and expanding to working with community partners in Long Beach to combat bullying through character development and life skills programs for 5th-8th graders and their caregivers that encourage relationship building and respect for self and others.

Confidence & Me FREE half-day workshops are held around Long Beach four times a year and include activities around:

  • Self-esteem
  • Anti-bullying (including cyber bullying)
  • Leadership Skills
  • Communication Skills Training
  • Conflict Management Strategies
  • Decision Making/Goal Setting
  • Healthy Lifestyle Choices

If you are interested in hosting a Confidence & Me for your school or organization, or would like more information, please contact community@jllb.org or vist “Confidence & Me.”

Please click the following link for the Confidence & Me Flyer with RSVP Info. We ask you to please share this with anyone you know who would benefit in participating and/or attending.

Go, Slow, Whoa: Your Guide to Healthy Foods and Friends

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Some of you may or may not be aware that this blog is a product of the Junior League of Long Beach (JLLB).  This international women’s volunteer organization has its roots in many children’s advocacy issues over its history so it is natural that a cornerstone of JLLB’s work would be children’s physical health specifically healthy eating.  One of JLLB’s flagship events is Kids in the Kitchen, in partnership with Long Beach Health Department’s Healthy Active Long Beach, a program teaching children and their families healthy eating and living.  You can see where the overlap is in what The Confidence Post aims to address in healthy mind, body and soul.  We understand that leadership, self-esteem, and character development can only flourish in an healthy individual.

That being said as I and my volunteer partners begin to plan JLLB’s Kids in the Kitchen 2015-2016 schedule, I began to think about how similar the concept of healthy attitudes towards foods that we teach kids mirrors healthy attitudes towards relationships.  If you have children or are around children, you have heard the concept of always foods vs. sometimes foods.  I have attached some charts in case you have not heard of these concepts and would like more information (Sesame Street Anytime & Sometimes Foods).  But I specifically found the description from the website Kids Health compelling in the comparison of healthy foods v. healthy relationships (source http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healty/food/go_slow_whoa.html#).

This website describes the quite popular concept of foods to eat anytime v. sometimes as “Go, Slow and Whoa” foods.  The foods break down as follows:

Go: Foods that are the healthiest. These foods are good enough for you to eat almost anytime

Slow: Foods that are largely not bad for you. They are the “sometimes” foods. They aren’t off limits, but shouldn’t be eaten everyday.

Whoa: Foods that are the least healthy. They would likely cause obesity and subsequent health issues if they were eaten everyday. These are the treat foods (YUMMY!), live a little foods, or once in a while foods.

Now the charts I have attached breakdown what foods are in what groups and that is not the focus of this blog post so I don’t want to go on too much more about the website’s description and concerns around these foods.  What I wanted to bring to your attention is how easily we can apply this concept to healthy relationships.  Our guilt-free guide to who is called, emailed, texted, sent cards (my favorite), taken to lunch/coffee/happy hour everyday and when to indulge in that sinful gossip session with an ex-coworker.

The more I looked at the idea of go, slow, or whoa relationships, the better I felt about the place I had in my life for all my extraordinary, wonderful and simple relationships.  Because at the end of the day, they all have a piece of me so I need to be cognizant of how much to commitment to and who deserves what.  So using the model from the Kids Health website, here is how I see healthy relationships:

Go: Relationships that are the foundation of who I am…my husband, my son, my parents my sisters, brother, brothers-in-laws, sister-in-law and my nieces (God, I love them!). I don’t talk to anyone everyday (other than my son) because I find it exhausting but if I did these are the people I would turn to. I believe in the good in them and because of that, they are completely healthy for me. They make me who I am therefore I need them around regularly to provide perspective and grounding. For you, it might not be your family. It might be friends you have known forever. These are the people that you can’t and shouldn’t go without connecting with because these people love you, the real you that nobody else does. They know you and love you without judgment. These are the healthiest relationships in their purest form.

Slow: This is where I depart largely from the healthy eating concept because these people in my life are not remotely less healthy for me. I am fortunate enough to have amazing (mostly) women in my life that because of proximity or busy schedule can only be “sometimes” friends. Not that we wouldn’t be there for each other in a moment’s notice, but where we have found connection is our occasional text, call, card or meal/drink. Because we have built our friendships on the sometimes” level, we couldn’t talk every day and have the same dynamic. I cherish these friendships in big and small ways contribute to the woman I am so I would never try to make them into “anytime” or “Go” friends because the act of trying would invalidate our friendship. So there these incredible people exist, I talk to them sometimes and those short shots of their optimism,humor, wisdom, intellect inspire me and bring me health and happiness.

Whoa: These are my Facebook friends, school friends, neighbors, ex-coworkers, etc. These are my chocolate chip cookies and chili cheese fries. There is nothing wrong with connecting from time to time but these relationships lack the depth or substance that sustains a healthy friendship. It has nothing to do with who these people are or anything about them at all except how they fit into my life at any given time. They may have been a fantastic friend in a different season but as we grow and change into the women and men we were meant to be, some friends move into the “whoa” category. There are only so many times you can hear about that “one time in college that we…” or “nice weather” before it is time to move on.

The reason these concepts are important is that no category is without its importance.  The people you place in each category can and should change as you grow and mature.  The reason you see them as a “Go” “Slow” or “Whoa” has nothing to do with them and everything to do with you.  You have set your priorities…that friend that doesn’t call you very often is probably because you haven’t invested where she is in this season of her life.  Even though, your “Go” friend has recently been your “Slow” friend doesn’t mean that friendship doesn’t need the appropriate care to keep it flourishing.  One size does not fit all friendships…be open to how to meet a relationship where it is with the investment it needs to grow.

Lastly like “Whoa” food, if all you do is surround yourself with friends that do not love you for who you are, judge you, bring you down, constantly bring negativity into your life you will become mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy.  Food and relationships are exactly the same in that way.  Feed your mind and soul like you could get diabetes or heart disease if you didn’t…healthy eating and relationships aren’t that much different.

Please check out the following links for additional information:

http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healthy/food/go_slow_whoa.html

http://www.sesamestreet.org/cms_services/services?action=download&uid=5a83318f-b0c8-43df-8150-d55cd2255509

-Cheryl L.

5776, My Year of Connection

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September brings lots of new years’ for me. It’s a new year of work, school, a new year for the Junior League, and the new Jewish year, 5776. Jews spend the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah (the New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the year ahead. They are called the Days of Awe, and I am definitely finding inspiration in them, without even intending to do so.

Since Monday, the first year of 5776, I have found that the universe has made me more connected than productive. On days that I would normally get a lot of computer or administrative work done, I have had one meaningful, deep, and insightful conversation after the other. Making my days not so productive, but very emotionally connected to the people around me.

I’ve been there for the colleague whose wife just called to tell him their marriage was over. I’ve had an extended chat with my girlfriend on how we make our marriages work with our busy lives.  I even connected with an old high school friend on what’s truly important, what we would change if we could and how much our friendship is valued by each other.

This might sound like a normal week for most, but not me.  I’m more of a “down to business” kind of gal, who’s not cold, per se, but definitely not the warmest coal on the heap.  Or at least I haven’t been, until now.  5776.  Oh, and did I mention my anniversary fell on New Year’s Eve? A coincidence I have tried not to overlook and even been more patient and attentive with my husband.

The other day, instead of worrying about how I was going to keep my boys busy for an hour I had alone with them, I just decided that cuddling and watching TV in the short hour that we had was enough. I want to relish these days when the boys are young and want to cuddle with me, instead of worrying about them getting too much screen time.

I plan on resolving this year to prioritize those meaningful conversations I have with people about the relationships in their lives over getting work done. I plan on taking the extra minutes I have to cuddle with my boys and just relax and recharge and let them know that I am physically there for them.

In 5776, I will let go of the need to plan every minute, to make every activity structured, to worry about what my fellow mommies and my husband would think. What matters is that I spend my time with my boys, my husband and my colleagues, connecting in ways that really matter.

5776, My Year of Connection.  May the Schwartz Be With You

-Mary S.