Successful Women

book successful women
One day, out of the blue, my grandson Andy asked me, “You’re smart, you wrote a book, you've been speaking a long time. How come you’re not rich and successful?”
didn't have an answer for him.
But I kept thinking about it. 
Later, I thought, why would he ask me that question?  And
 then I thought, why not?
 It was a good question.
And after much soul searching, I finally came up with the reasons why:
·        I never asked anyone in my profession for help.
·        I was too embarrassed to ask anyone for advice.
·        I never made a habit of sending “thank you notes” to clients.
·        I never made a habit of networking.
·        I never asked for referrals.
·        I never turned my old business into new business.
·        I never thought of my speaking career as a business.
·        I didn’t like to make cold calls.

I realized that when I thought I was working, I was just being busy.  I wrote and rewrote my talks, and I spent a great deal of time writing books and booklets.

I determined that writing books and booklets was a good strategy for my speaking career.  But I was not getting in touch with clients to get the bookings I needed in order to sell my books and booklets.

I don’t want anyone else to feel they have to go it alone. Which is why I wanted to gather the women’s stories in my new book to help other women - it's much easier to envision your own success if you can see the path to someone else's.

                                                              Joan Kennedy


Don't Settle For the Same Old, Same Old

By: Joan Kennedy

We are all creatures of habit.  

It’s just so much easier to wake up every morning at the same time and look forward to a day of routine and schedules, than to get up earlier and do something different.  What would that be like to do something different? 

I woke up one morning this week and thought nothing very exciting is going to happen today. I knew that.  First of all, I don’t drive anymore.  So I usually just wait for someone to call and say, “Do you want to go shopping tomorrow?” or, “How about lunch on Thursday?” And, second of all, it’s what I had gotten used to. 

Of course, I’m always ready to go, but I’m also always waiting for someone to call.

It occurred to me if I want something to happen in my life I have to make it happen.  It’s taken me a long time to figure that one out. 

Why wait for other people? Someone once said, “In doubtful matters boldness is everything.” So, I decided to be bold. 

Okay, but how? Instead of waiting for someone to invite me to lunch, I would invite someone to lunch. The person I ended up inviting was thrilled that I had asked her. Who knew? Here I was waiting for something to happen and all I had to do was ask.

Then I had another bright thought:  
I will have control of my life, when I decide what I want

So, what do I want?  I enjoy people; why not surround myself with interesting people?  
Here’s where my inner naysayers popped-up and said, but your apartment is small.
So then I said big deal. You don’t need to invite twenty people. Invite four. Plan a dinner. Have something easy. How about Pot Roast? Everybody likes Pot Roast, don’t they? Everything will be in one pot. I’ll serve crusty bread, and a bottle of wine to top it off. That sounds good to me. Naysayers shut down!

Now it's time to make other things happen in my life.  

How about you? What could you do differently to make things happen in your life?


Don't Let Busy and Stress Take Over Your Life

We've been pretty busy.

Patty's hosted a bajillion parties at her home and welcomed a new grandbaby!
I've re-opened a library that has been closed for a mini renovation.
And Joan is in the midst of compiling stories for her latest work:
Unlocking the Secrets of Successful Women

These are the kind of busy that can be so stressful it pushes out all other things, you know that kind of busystress, right? The kind where all the fun stuff gets shoved under the bed of your life and you forget to do things that bring you joy, or you think you don't have enough time for the things that bring you joy.

Sometimes the busy is so stressful that along with choosing not to do the fun things we forget to do some of the important things. Yikes.

I won't bore you with my actual busy--suffice to say, I had so much crap shoved under the bed of my life I forgot to set up an appointment for my son. A pretty important one. How did I simply forget? And how can I change that from happening again?

Busy can be insidious and Stress is always wicked. The combination of the two seems to throw our brains into a state of malfunction. Now, I'm not talking fight or flight stress, more of a low-grade constant stress. (Although, in the middle of all this low grade stress, my husband and I watched our son get hit on the football field, resulting in a mild concussion--that was an injection of some high stress to go along with the low grade stress!) so, busy + low-grade constant stress= brain miss function.

All I wanted to do during this time was come home from work, get in my PJs, sit on the couch, and look at Pinterest. That's it. I actually did more than that, but only begrudgingly. Even now, I had to really really talk my brain into writing a post.

I think we all know (logically) how not to let busy and stress win, but when we're in the throws of it, the knowledge evacuates our brains! Dang.

I saw a picture of a tattoo on the inside of a woman's wrist: focus. Perhaps if we all had tattoos that reminded us of things we need to do (or Polaroids like in the movie Memento), we'd be less stressed.

Call the doctor to set up an appointment for your son -- maybe not a tattoo of that last one.

I think this is why inspirational quotes call to us, it reminds us of how we should be.
Maybe that's why all I wanted to do was look at Pinterest--there are some awesome inspirational quotes on there! Maybe a tiny part of my brain was trying to pinch me into remembering who I was supposed to be.

A woman who smiles. And does stuff. Other than sitting on the couch.

So, for now, I keep an image of that tattoo (right up there) in my brain. I may whip out a Sharpie and mark my wrist. It's a reminder to not let the busy or the stress win.

How do you defeat busy and stress?


20,000 Days +

by: Amy Kennedy

I dabble a bit online. This post leads me to this person, that tweet leads me to that content and before you know it, I'm calculating when I will have lived my 20,000th day.

I know!

How the heck did I get there? But more importantly, what am I going to do with this information?

So, first of all, I know you all want to figure out how many days you've been alive, right? So here's the link to The Robert D for calculation, come right back after you figure out how many days you've been alive!

He wrote a pretty cool book on the subject too:

Basically, he realized his life was not where he wanted it to be-- and on his 20,000th day he packed a bag, drove to a hotel, and figured out the rest of his life.

I'd like to do that--basically, I'd just like to go to a hotel (and swim and sauna--that last one's not a verb, I know, but I'd still like to do it). But if I can't go to a hotel to spend a couple days figuring out the map of the rest of my life, nothing is stopping me from doing it in 20 minute snapshots here and there. Right?

Remember Joan's post Don't Settle For What Might Have Been, and use a few of those 20 minutes for life planning.

Well, it just so happens my 20,000th day! (I'm writing this Wednesday, August 28th) Yes! I know. And where was I? Not at a hotel. Nope, at work, and not even my work, work, at the administrative building interviewing job applicants.

It's not how I thought I'd be spending an auspicious day. But we don't always have a we (?).

I'm going to take 20 minutes, right now at 8:08 and think about this and come back and tell you what I've come up with,!

I'm back at 8:28. here's what I've got:

(I adore my "Notes" app on my iPad)

I think I made some good progress on what I want to do--with some measurable things thrown in too! I'll continue to work on it, still need to add some days for the second book and add more detail to my other changes and goals. But, all in all, I'm happy with what happened in those 20 minutes.

I liked adding the days onto my 20,000. Don't know why, I just did.
Joan Kennedy is 33,267 days today!
Patty Kennedy Bronstien is 22,078 days today!

We'd love you all to find out your number and then challenge yourself to decide what the next 1,000 days will be like for you.


Talking to Strangers

By: Amy Kennedy

So, it's hot out. I mean melt the candles, burn the soles of your feet, let's go to the State Fair hot.

We decided to go to the mall instead, you know the one--the big one, the Mall of America. Dang right, 'Merica's Mall!

I loathe it. Okay, I don't loathe it, what I mean to say is, I hate it. Wait, what I really mean to say is, it's like going to the State Fair but without all the cool smells and sites. Just the crowd. And they're not even as interesting...for instance, no one is stumbling drunk and or wearing overalls. Not one person. And there are no cows or pigs, and certainly no Miracle of Birth barn...I digress.

But something happened today, which made me very happy we went to the mall. I talked to a stranger. And not any stranger, a young woman/girl stranger. Okay, a teen stranger.

Let me explain:
After doing what we came to do, spending large quantities of dollars (for prescription spectacles) we went to lunch, and let the 14 year old choose where to go. Buffalo Wild Wings was his selection. We sat at a high top, and after a little bit, a few tables over a large group of teens came in...maybe 12 of them.

One girl did not look like the rest--all the rest were kind of sporty/jockish/every kid. Nothing against that AT ALL--I own one of those (except he's exceptional)--anyway, she sort of got frozen out. All the girls were filing in on one side and all the guys were on the other. As she went to sit down, a boy broke rank and sat next to a very pretty girl on the girl's side, the other girl (the one different from all the rest) looked a bit lost, just for a moment, then she took a seat at the end of that row.

Now, here's the important part--she was so different from the rest of the kids.
Her hair was blue green, cut in a cool way in the front, kind of choppy layers, and she tucked the rest of it in a black beret (!) she wore a black and grey striped long sleeved shirt--I wish I had a picture! I had to keep looking at her...because she was the most interesting person in the joint.

Besides me, that is. Just Kidding, she was way more interesting.

Another girl had finally sat across from her and they were chatting...but she still seemed outside "the group" and I wanted her to know how cool she looked to me.

Now, listen, I understand that when a woman (of a certain age) tells a girl she looks cool, or she likes her shirt etc. that's like the kiss of horribleness and the offending item/style will probably never be worn again. So as we were getting ready to leave, I said to my husband and youngest, "Hey, wait, I have to tell this girl over there something."

My 14 y..o said, "No. Mom, you don't want to do that."
And, I thought, oh, he's probably right, she might get all embarrassed. But then I thought, young women are different from young men--girls should hear encouraging words from their *cough* *choke* *gasp* elders.

I stood in the aisle, hesitating, then I thought what the hell, and made my move. I walked over to her long table, walked to her open side and said:
"Maybe you'll hate hearing this from me, but you have more style than anyone in here."
She smiled and said, "Really?" and I said, "Absolutely." and she said, "Thank you!"

And I walked away. I could feel eyes on the back of me--the rest of the table asking her questions: who was that? What did she say? I smiled.

I am so happy I decided to talk to a stranger. Maybe she'll forget about it tomorrow, maybe she thought I was some crazy older woman, but maybe, maybe it made a tiny difference in her day.

I hope so.

So I'm challenging everyone to say something nice to someone you don't know (it has to be sincere) things you think, but don't say--try it, say it--talk nice(ly) to a stranger!


U of Spark

I started a "new" blog, I re-designed it (from my personal blog Cupcake) and added wallpaper and painted it all pretty, I re-named it U of Spark--as in University of (all things) Sparking (and creative)...

And I said to myself, "This will be about creativity and authenticity and, and stuff. Lots and lots of cool stuff."

Aaaand then I remembered that's pretty much what this blog Those Kennedy Women was/is supposed to be: 

Doing things better, funner, brighter. More creatively.

And then I said to myself, "Hey, do I reallyreallyReally want to manage two blogs?"

I was a sometime blogger (at best) for quite some time with both blogs. Now, I'm kinda proud of some content over at my old blog Cupcake, re-named U of Spark, so, I'll probably re-post some of things here...but I won't be adding new content over there.

Of course, I've met me and know how I roll--so "never" is a word I try not to use. But, in the foreseeable future I won't post anything new at my old blog--except to say, I'll be posting here! Got that?

So, shine-up your awesome selves and join us as we aim to live:

 a creative life

a positive life

an exuberant life

a laughier life

a stylish life

a full life

a diy-er life

a doing life

Here's the link at  U of Spark  to what I wished I blogged about more! Which got me all excited about this blog, it's all good! Because, we'll be posting that stuff and this stuff and basically all the good stuff!

Do you ever re-do stuff--or do twice what you need to?


How to be 91...And a Gypsy

So our mom, Joan Kennedy had another birthday--her 91st, she always has the best birthdays. I am not kidding. They are either in exciting places or with lots of people--sometimes both. And she always celebrates at least three times--it's more of a birth month than a birthday.

Anyway, we were celebrating at a lovely restaurant, Tria -- they give you a free bottle of wine equivalent to your age during your birthday week...yeah, we had the good stuff. Not only that, but Victoria (Patty's daughter-in-law) had just had a birthday too. We had two bottles of fine wine.

But that's not the story.

After one of the bottles had been drunk, mom said, "I'd like to make an announcement," she paused, making sure everyone was listening, because we have a tendency to suffer a collective ADD, then she continued. "I have decided I'm going to be a gypsy!"

Now, writing this statement, it all seems pretty gasp-worthy, but no one gasped. Which is good, because she had more to say.

"I will move most of my things to Patty's and then I will stay with each of you for a week. And I will pay you one hundred dollars for food."

Well, we were laughing at this point, not because we thought she was joking or we didn't believe her, but because it was fun! Who wouldn't want to be a gypsy? (I mean the romanticized version, not our ancestors and relatives who were/are discriminated against) And who better to be one than our mom, grandma, friend Joan Kennedy?

Gypsy Woman

A few days went by and Patty and I took mom to her doctor's appointment, afterward we went out to eat--cause that's what gypsies do, at least, it's what we've always done. We really like being with each other and try to make these times last. So we're at another great restaurant: Burger Jones when mom makes another announcement:

"I've decided to just be a Part-time Gypsy. I'll keep my apartment and see how I like being a gypsy, then, we'll see."

I think Patty and I both breathed a small sigh of relief. Not that we wouldn't want her to be anything she wants to be, but that she'll have her comfort zone, her just in-case she needs to regroup place. Which is a really long and roundabout way of saying how important it is to have a comfort zone--whether it's your kitchen table, your backyard patio, your man-cave out in the garage--it's nice to find refuge in a safe spot.

Now, maybe mom will find she loves being a part-time gypsy and want to go full throttle--maybe her comfort zone will shift to another location--but for now, we know she's got her own place, just in case this whole gypsy thing blows.

And to help her in her gypsy ways I'm creating something for her photos yet, as I'm still creating in my brain and not in the actual world.

Have you ever wanted to be a part-time gypsy?


Decisions, Decisions.

By Joan Kennedy (with Amy Kennedy)

Hey, guess what? In every major decision you are in conflict with yourself. That's right.
To act or not to act, fights it out all the time--maybe you don't even realize it, indecision can become habitual and stop you from making all kinds of decisions:
Maybe it won't work
Maybe I'll fail
Maybe I'll never get what I want

Maybe is the key word. Maybe you won't...but maybe you will. And guess what'll never know until you try.

There may be a decision before you now that calls for action and but you hem and haw between one way or another. Or maybe you know instinctively what the right decision is, yet you let others influence you. There are people who insist on looking for problems and negative outcomes. In either of these scenarios you are either dealing with an inside or an outside Naysayer. Banish those Naysayers.

The next time you have to make a decision, don't worry about what someone else thinks or what someone else would do. Make the decision quickly, according to how you feel and how it looks to you. If you do, your self-confidence will increase with each decision you make.

Here are 4 things you can do to defeat hesitation and naysayers:

  • Trust your instincts. Don't doubt your decision.
  • Once your decision is made pop any of those doubt bubbles about the decision,  replace them with positive bubbles (thoughts and statements)
  • Meet problems and obstacles as (and if) they arise, not in your head beforehand
  • Act promptly on your decision. You've made your decision, now go and  do.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Do the thing and you will have the power."
Pretty cool words, and hey, if they were good enough for Emerson...


Don't Settle For What Might Have Been

by: Joan Kennedy (with Amy Kennedy)

Have you ever told yourself that someday, when the time is right you're going to do what you've always wanted to do?

Um, you mean like every day?!

For some of us that day never comes: I don't have time right now. I will when I have more money. When I lose weight. When the kids are in school. When the kids are out of school.

It doesn't matter what kind of excuse we use, they all keep us from doing the things we say we want to do. When we have no specific plans for getting anywhere we always have a ton of reasons to explain why we don't, why we can't, and why we haven't.

Uncertainty breeds stagnation. So does overwhelm.

Guess what you need to work toward what you've always wanted, go ahead, guess...give up?
When the big hand gets to the 3...
Twenty minutes. Yup. If you don't make progress toward what you've always wanted in the next twenty minutes, when will you? In the next twenty minutes after that? Sooner or later you have to pick a twenty minute time frame and get started.

Don't be concerned with long range goals in the beginning. Decide first what it is you want, and don't get hung-up on that--just chose. Then set a goal, or goals covering the next twenty minutes--if you decide to go longer than twenty minutes, that's fine, but you may want to stick to twenty for the first week to avoid the dreaded "overwhelm." You can't believe what you can get done in twenty minutes.

Even though seemingly small and modest in impact, they are important--small goals accomplished one after another add up to big achievement. Like, "big dream" achievement.

I'm part of a writing group and one of the things we were taught was to set a timer for fifteen minutes and just start writing (no, we can't write the same sentence over and over again a la Jack Nicholson in The Shining... all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy...) the crazy thing is I can write anywhere from 300-450 words in fifteen minutes--one page of a manuscript is 250 words, so I can write a page and a half in fifteen minutes!

Re-think what can be achieved in twenty minutes!

We know you can find twenty minutes somewhere in your day to start working toward what you've always wanted. Tell us what you plan on doing in the next twenty minutes, we can't wait to hear.