Tag Archives: leap and the net will appear



A couple of wise and savvy women gave me some advice not too long ago that has proven invaluable and I’d like to share it with all of you.  I presented the notion that, for me, it’s tough to decide on a path because choosing one direction always means saying “no,” to another.  And since I have many interests, I often feel stuck deciding which to pursue at any given moment.  But the advice these fab friends gave me has really helped me get “unstuck.”

The first piece of advice was very concrete, maybe a bit obvious but it had eluded me.  Make a list of choices and then just pick one.  The key is to give myself a timeline, six months, a year, whatever, to try something and see how it goes. The timeline helps me feel less panicky that I have to live with my plan forever and never have the chance to move on.  It also helps to alleviate the guilt I feel when I don’t complete something and gives me permission to change the plan.

The second piece of advice was more introspective, but nonetheless helpful.  For a creative type like myself, or for someone with lots of interests, choosing one thing (or two, or more) means living with loss.  Loss of the path not taken, of the possibilities not pursued.  Most people are okay with that type of loss, or just don’t see it as such.  For me, the fear of leaving something behind is paralyzing.  But allowing myself to feel the loss, to grieve the interests not pursued, actually helps keep my life in perspective.  Nobody can do everything she wants.  Whether because of lack of skill, talent, resources or opportunity, some dreams are just that: dreams that fuel our imagination and keep us excited about living.

So, how have I applied all of this sage advice?  As always, I am constantly bombarded by new and exciting ideas, new paths to consider.  Should I stay home and write?  Should I partner with a friend in a new business venture?  Should I find a more secure, stable job?  The list goes on.  But these days when my mind starts to whirl, I remember my muses and stop for a minute.  I put pen to paper to create my list of priorities, think about a timeline for each and contemplate what is a real possibility and what is merely a dream that fuels me.  I can give myself permission to take a chance, the time to keep some options open and also allow myself space to grieve the losses.

For now, I have chosen to both pursue a new business venture and continue my writing career.  For now.  Because as surely as the seasons are starting to change, so too will my interests change, and now I have some tools to work that through.  And by the way, I think my dream of singing on Broadway may just be a dream.  But…you never know…

About Barbara Dab

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant.  She is the creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation.  The Peretz Project, named for her late father-in-law who was a Holocaust survivor, is collecting testimony from children of survivors.  Check it out at http://www.theperetzproject.com.  If you are, or someone you know is, the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and you would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.

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Start Up

When I started my consulting business a few years ago, I thought I knew what I was doing.  Starting my own business was an old dream conjured up every time I was sick of office politics and the roulette wheel of re-engineering, right-sizing, downsizing, layoffs. (Pick your favorite euphemism.)  After I was downsized yet again, I took the plunge.  That’s when I realized that no matter how well I had planned, there were so many things I didn’t know.  For example, I didn’t know:

  1. How hard it is to hone a marketing pitch. I went through dozens of elevator speeches and 60-second “songs” in the first year trying to find what resonated with potential clients. I believed in the services I was selling but seemed unable to convince potential clients that I was worth hiring.
  1. How hard it is to set a price for my services. Should I charge by the project or by the hour? If I charge an hourly rate what is fair to me and to the client? I’m still not sure I know the answer to this question.
  1. How hard it is to talk about money to people. When should I start talking about money with a prospective client? What if the prospect decides she/he can’t afford me?
  1. How quickly money runs out. I lived frugally but still blew through my severance package and savings before landing a big client. This is the part of starting a business that most of us get wrong, according to the pundits. It always costs more to start a business than we anticipated.

In spite of all the things I didn’t know when I started my company I recently celebrated another year in business. Along the way, I’ve discovered plenty of new things I didn’t know when I started my business.  One thing I definitely know: I want to continue this journey of business ownership.

About Norma Shirk

Norma started her company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, to help employers create human resources policies for their employees and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to have structure without bureaucracy. Visit Norma’s website: www.complianceriskadvisor.com/.

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Going Natural

Kate Stephenson and Mark BatesIt is being discussed more and more.  Women in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s are deciding to cut the hair color and return to their ever lightening roots.  I’m curious, so I’ve asked some friends who have stopped coloring to share their experience with me.

Linda had been coloring her hair from her 20’s.  Because it grew so fast, she would have a color line within a week or so, and needed to color every 2 weeks.  About 6 years ago she decided to stop and go back to her own hair color, which she calls silver, or platinum.  When I asked her why, she said it was because of the pain it was causing…the physical pain from the chemicals, and the emotional pain, being so tired of feeling self-conscious when the gray would start growing out.  “At the time I was dating someone who was not in favor of the silver.  Soon after the relationship ended, I chopped off all of the color damaged, dead hair and took it as short as I could,” adding that it was a bit of a shock, even to her.  When I asked her if she saw any downside to going natural she offered, “After I started growing the silver out I’ve had nothing but compliments. The only reason that someone would not get compliments is if they didn’t style their hair.“

When I asked her what advice she would give to anyone thinking about taking the plunge she said, “If they had darker hair, I would encourage them to start by going with some highlights, blonde goes to silver easier– because when you go from dark to silver, it is too difficult, and with highlights you won’t have that nasty skunk line.  Get as close to platinum as possible.  Otherwise, chop it all off.  It felt amazing.”

Because Linda has beautiful olive skin, hazel eyes and looks much younger than her years, when she was coloring her hair blonde she got hit on often by younger men, fifteen to twenty years younger.  Now that she has gone silver, that doesn’t happen anymore.  She is grateful.  The younger men were not always the most tactful and it would often be hurtful when they found out her age.

“I didn’t feel natural, or pretty, coloring my hair.  I am so grateful that I listened to my intuition, and not my ex-boyfriend.”  Linda adds that just a little bit of platinum highlight keeps it light around her face.  She shares that her hair is much healthier and thicker, another reason to be very happy about the decision to go natural.

When I asked Linda how her business life has been affected she dropped her voice to that solid, personal truth telling tone, “I feel embracing my natural hair color and doing what I wanted to do has brought me in line with being authentically who I am.  This has made me feel more comfortable and has led me to coming into my own.  People see my natural hair and expect me to be a more real person, or maybe I am a more real person.“  Linda Sack is a licensed message therapist and came to that profession after she made the decision to stop coloring her hair, leaving a corporate career behind, and feels that massage therapy is perfect for her.

My lovely friend Marilyn Shriver, who colored for over 25 years, and has the most beautiful white hair now, says, “What kept me coloring was that someone told me that if I let my hair go natural, because I was fair, I would disappear from the neck up.”   This turned out to be mis-information.  She says, “I get more compliments on my hair since I stopped coloring it.  My obsession with hair has diminished.  The hair is much better hair and I have accepted that I am the age that I am.  Everybody’s aging at the same rate.”

So, I am thinking about it more.  The first reason is because my hair is thinning from the chemicals.  Another, besides embracing the real, I’d like to simplify my life and spend time doing the things I enjoy most.

This is part one of a two-part article.  Come back next month as I continue the exploration of going natural with a native Nashvillian who was selected from a group of 7,000 women to represent a world wide cosmetic company, not entirely because of her beautiful platinum locks, but she wouldn’t have gotten the job without them.

About Renee Bates

Renee is the executive director of the non-profit, Greenways for Nashville, a member based organization. In addition to growing private support for the trails and green spaces, she enjoys oil painting, hiking, nature and working in the garden. Renee is married to David Bates of Bates Nursery and Garden Center, a 3rd generation business begun in 1932 by a savvy woman, Bessie Bates.

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Photo Credit: Nfocus Magazine; Kate Stephenson & Mark Bates attend Authors in the Round Dinner, Humanities Tennessee

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The Road Ahead:  How I Stopped Making Excuses and Learned To Love, er, Like Running


I have a confession to make: I like running.

Not the most earth shattering admission, to be sure, but for me this is mind blowing.  You see, for most of my adult life I have had a love/hate relationship with this type of exercise and by that I mean mostly a hate relationship.  I have started running many times over the years, only to stop over and over for reasons ranging from tendonitis to a lack of time.  I have also invested in countless pairs of specialized shoes, fancy leggings, supportive bras and sweat-wicking socks.  Each of these also was a “culprit” for quitting.  The shoes just didn’t work with my plantar fasciitis, the leggings were too hot, the socks bunched up and the bras weren’t supportive enough.  You get the idea.

So what’s different this time, you ask?  I’ve been trying to figure that one out.  For starters, this past year I’ve packed on some unwanted pounds without changing much about my diet or lifestyle.  I’ve also been feeling sluggish and irritable and definitely not my usual perky self.  Added to all this is a general malaise and a desire for more challenge in my life.  I definitely want to recapture my energy and enthusiasm.  And while there is so much we can’t control, we can definitely control our exercise.  So off I went in search of some new physical challenge.

First in my quest was a personal trainer at the YMCA and a program of weight lifting and cardio, along with my regular Pilates regimen.  All went well for a couple of months and I really loved how my body was changing and becoming more toned and defined.  But one morning I awoke with neck pain so severe I could not move my head.  This continued for a couple of months and even with a lighter weight load, the pain and stiffness persisted.  So I stopped the weight training.

I have several friends who are runners and I began quizzing them on why they like it and how they train.  One friend calls running an “efficient” form of exercise.  She can accomplish some high level problem solving and planning while she runs.  Another runs so she can enjoy a foodie lifestyle with her husband.  Another just likes to sweat.  My weight trainer is also a runner and she didn’t start until after she turned 40.  She was my best cheerleader and encouraged me to just get out there and set small goals.

Once again, I invested in some great shoes, fancy leggings and a supportive bra and, joined by my new puppy Bentley, off I started.  The area around my house is very hilly and not much fun so after several weeks of hell, I headed to the local greenway, a flat nature trail that goes for miles.  The first day I decided to just run without tracking my speed or distance.  And I’m not going to lie, for the first 20 minutes or so I kept thinking of excuses to stop.  But I focused my gaze on the road ahead and kept going, Bentley at my side.  I’m not sure how far I ran that day before turning around and walking the last bit, but when I finished I felt great!  It was still hot and humid, but the feeling of accomplishment, of pushing myself to my limit, was exhilarating!

I’m now a couple of months into this running experiment and I have been tracking my speed and distance.  I’ve worked up to running 5 miles at a fairly good clip.  I’ve participated in two races, a 5K where I had my personal best time and a 5-mile where I ran and walked with my daughter.  I’ve lost weight, I sleep more soundly, I have found my energy and I feel like myself again.  I still spend the first mile or so thinking up reasons to stop, but so far I have been successful in keeping my gaze fixed on the road ahead, setting small goals to stay motivated and finishing what I started.  Efficient, challenging, good cardio; Sounds like life.

I really like running!

About Barbara Dab:

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant. She currently hosts two radio shows locally in Nashville, TN. Check out her website athttp://www.zoneabouttown.com.

Barbara is also creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation. Check it out at http://www.theperetzproject.com If you, or someone you know, is the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.

Like what you’ve read? Feel free to share, but please… Give HerSavvy credit. Thanks!

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“Wise up ladies!”


Through our many life experiences we become wise, knowledgeable, and gain much Wisdom.

Wisdom is what we offer to those who follow in our footsteps, those we coach and mentor, love and care for, and those we sit next to in the Board Room. Wisdom has a place in all of our lives.

I’ve shared these five (5) wisdom keys many times before and now I’d like to share them with you.


1. Performance First
You MUST perform in order to succeed. A no brainer!
2. Take Risks
Take the leap. Otherwise life will be safe and boring!
3. You Own Your Career
You are responsible for your career… your boss isn’t, your spouse isn’t … YOU are.
4. Network, Network, Network
Build Relationships with everyone you meet. People help people.
5. Ask For What You Want
If you tell people what you want, they don’t have to guess.

Recently, I was asked to speak to a group of middle school young ladies. So, I revised my wisdom keys to address a young audience….

WISDOM KEYS for Emerging Young Leaders

1. Study First – No excuse!
2. Stand out in the Crowd.
3. You are responsible for the choices you make:
The music you listen to, the way you dress, and the friends you choose
4. Network, Network, Network – build relationships with family, teachers and your church.
5. Ask for what you want – If people have to guess, they might guess wrong!

Sharing wisdom with others could change their lives…as it did ours, along the way! So, I encourage you to share wisdom with those who could benefit from it… you could change a life also.



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Step Up To the Table

Meeting Room

Being a woman executive in the engineering profession is still a novelty. It shouldn’t be, but it is. I’m often the only woman in the board room, in the leadership team meeting, or on the advisory board. Sometimes I’m even the first woman to have been around those tables.

Last year, Governor Haslam appointed me to the Architects and Engineer’s Licensing Board. In the 100 or so years of its existence, I am the first woman engineer or architect to have been appointed. Now, you cannot tell me that in the past 100 years there has not been a qualified female architect or engineer worthy of this appointment. Many are WAY more qualified than I will ever be. And before you go blaming past Governors or the influence of men in our profession, let me tell you what I found out. Those asked to suggest nominees for this appointment have been asked before to put forth qualified women’s names, they simply couldn’t find any women willing to commit to the service. That’s what I learned. Now, perhaps they didn’t look hard enough, or ask the right women, but nonetheless, they were told, ” No.”

If you’ve read Sheryl Sandburg’s book Lean In, this propensity for women to say no won’t surprise you. Women often undervalue their qualifications; many believe that if they aren’t 100% qualified for an opportunity, they should not accept it. Men, on the other hand, believe that if they bring over half the skills necessary to the task, they’ll pick up the rest of it OTJ and thrive in the position. This plays out over and over in job searches, promotions, even asking for raises: Women are consistently less likely to put themselves forward for consideration than equally qualified men.

This self-limiting behavior has got to change, ladies. We need you to look for opportunities to step into those leadership roles that you’ve every right to pursue. The young ladies who follow in your footsteps need you to; the men who will prosper from having your expertise at their tables need you to; and I need you to. I want more women at my tables!

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Woman-leapingI work in a profession where we strive for certainty. As engineers, public health, safety, and welfare is in our hands; it is what we promise to protect when we get our licenses. We need to know we’re making the right decisions. Technically. This has made us a people who are cautious, and rightly so, about forward movement.

However, we are also business people, faced day-to-day with decisions where there is no proof in the moment that the path we choose will be the right one. Where even past experience doesn’t give us the reassurance we need to know we’ll get the outcome we need. Things like striving to capture a new market sector, hiring an outside PR team when we’ve never done THAT before, making an investment in technology that might improve our efficiency. Not public health, safety and welfare issues, perhaps. But, decisions important to succeeding in business.

That’s when I pull out my favorite saying: “Leap and the net will appear.” When you’ve pulled together enough information, ruminated it in your experienced mind, vetted it with trusted colleagues….sometimes you just have to go ahead and act. Even without certainty, even without knowing. Even if….it might not work.

The trick is to know when it’s ok to leap….and leaping.

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