Author Archive for Nichola Gutgold

23
Jun
17

Begin with YOUR end in mind

2015-12-28-1451312871-4311504-writingyourownobituary_v21600x500No one gets out of this alive:  Action Beats Inaction 

Life is short.  A cliché?  No, a fact.  We each have less than 100 years to make our lives happen, and some of us have much less than that.

In my view, growing old is truly a gift, and any day we spend not living the way we want, is simply a waste of a short time:  your life.

And yet, many of us are guilty of doing things we don’t want to do or delaying action on the very things we want to do most.

Think for a moment.

What do you really want out of life?  How can you take action toward it?

Action beats inaction.

Oh, but that sounds easier said than done and yet the doing is the most important part.

Do you want to travel more?

Write a book?

Spend more time with people you love?

Be thinner! ?  (ha ha – my all time favorite)!

I think I was born knowing that my time was limited here.  I showed up late and lost my parents when I was relatively young.  So early on, I had this built in voice in my head saying “hurry up” and DO what you want to do.  I’m impatient.  Just ask my husband.  (ha ha)

But what about YOU.  What do you want to do?

How can you take steps to DO it?

Steven Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People tell us to “Begin with the End in Mind” – his motive is to help us have clarity when working on projects so that as workers or committee members we stay on task.  I would like to take the concept of the “The End” a bit further.

Which is why perhaps I’ve become semi-obsessed with obituaries.  Truly “THE END”  at least of this earthly life for the subject!  (ha ha)!

The obituary.  The New York Times recently published a book titled “The Book of the Dead.” I pre-ordered it.  Nothing entertains me more than a good, close read of the New York Times obituary page.  I love my local paper—The Morning Call — obits, too.  I read every one every day.
What do you want yours to say?

I’m not going to ask you to write down an action plan for your next big accomplishment.  Instead, I’m going to ask you to write your obituary.  A little morbid?  Maybe?  A practical exercise in seeing what else you want to accomplish OR how differently you may want to live?  Absolutely.

Let’s begin by taking a look at some other obits (always useful)!

Michael Redding, 74 of Macungie died on June 5, 2017 at Lehigh Valley Hospital.  He was the husband of Rita Redding and they would have been married 45 years in June.

Very nice.

Here’s another:  Clara Barton, who celebrated her 90th birthday anniversary on December 25th was president of the American Red Cross society which was established in this country, due to her efforts.

Wow.

Here’s another:

Marilyn Monroe, one of the most famous stars in Hollywood’s history, was found dead early today in the bedroom of her home in the Brentwood section of LA.  She was 36 years old.

How bout THAT?

Now what will yours be?

Loving father of two who worked 40 years at a soul-sucking job to pay for a house nobody enjoyed living in?

Susie Smith, married to Dwane Smith who was not very happy….

Or will yours read….. Regina Jones made the most of her life by….

Think about it.

We don’t need to be famous to be our own bit of Obit Awesome. 

What is missing from your obit?

What are three things people WILL say about you when you are gone?

Think about it.  Do you like what people are saying?

Action Beats Inaction.

Life is Short.

Get to it.   Write Your Obit Awesome.  Action Beats Inaction and none of us are getting out of this alive.

15
Jun
17

War Paint: Making Women Visible

Well this Broadway show was everything I admire:  gritty women battling it out to the top of their fields and on the way noting the gender obstacles and opportunities.

War Paint on Broadway is a gem:  in particular, Patti Lupone killed it.  She’s my new role model.  A true artist, in my book, creates what she does not see and both Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden did just that.  I learned a lot from the play and now I will be reading and watching more about these two important women of business. I did not know that Suffragettes on the march received free Arden lipstick or that Revlon, run my a man, capitalized on the distribution of supermarket priced make up, truly hurting the sales of both Rubenstein and Arden.

There seems to be an appetite for historical biographies:  Hamilton, Beautiful, to name two.

I think we need a musical about women running for the US president…working title: Madam Potus, how about it?

That I enjoyed the show with my now fully adult, working woman daughter made it just that much sweeter.

war-paint-musical-lupone-ebersole-broadway-show-tickets-group-sales-500-1107What do you think?  Does make-up liberate us or objectify us?

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OK I snapped a quick pic of the backdrop before the show started. Awesome though, no?

 

02
May
17

5 Actions of Highly Effective Students

IMG_2396.PNG5 Actions of Highly Effective Students

We are coming to the end of the semester and my thoughts are turning to some exceptional students, and sadly those who have missed the mark. Very little separates them. Sometimes students do well simply because they’ve hit a certain momentum. Others have family support that motivates them to do well. And those who don’t do well are in a downward spiral sometimes because of working too much, not having family support, or just feeling as though they don’t want to or can’t navigate college.

Here are five actions my best college students take that make them successful.

1. Get to know at least one professor. Stop by during office hours, send a thoughtful email and try to get to know a professor.  Read their blog or book; show you’ve done a little research about who they are and what they do.
2. Show up!  Don’t miss class and if you do, communicate and make up the work.
3. Be curious and open minded. Join a club you didn’t think you’d join and consider a major or minor that you did not initially think you’d like.
4. Follow up! If a professor mentions something of interest in class, send an email or ask about it.
5. Ask for help. If you think your professor can help you, speak up.  Whether it is about the coursework of the semester or future career plans, your professor wants to help you.

19
Jan
17

2 hours in line to buy women empowerment merchandise

I’m an online shopper.  My daughter will tell you that a trip to the mall makes me cranky.  So, to see me standing in a two hour line today to buy posters and a “wild feminist” sweatshirt, as well as a commemorative pin for the Women’s March on Washington was a site to behold.  Dr. Jen Sacco tipped me off that this was the place to be today in DC.  She was correct!

As I stood in line I met thoughtful, passionate people.  They felt like they were my friends for life.

That’s right.  Today, in Washington, DC, across the street from the Mellow Mushroom Pizza Shop (really good pizza, by the way) there I was.  Why?  Because I believe in the march that’s happening on Saturday and I want the administration to know that women are watching.

We care about our country and we want to be heard.

God Bless America.

22
Nov
16

Still Paving the Way for Madam President

When Chelsea Clinton addressed the audience at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown with just six weeks left in the 2016 campaign, she said that in private moments her mother, Hillary Clinton, reflected on the historical importance of winning the Democratic nomination to become the first woman president of the United States. And although Hillary Clinton did not win the presidency, her historic nomination, through images and words, continues to inch the country forward on our path to inaugurating the first woman president. As heart breaking as the results of the 2016 campaign are for Hillary Clinton and her supporters, her noteworthy path–as first lady of Arkansas, US Senator, Secretary of State and the first woman to win a major party nomination–has been ground-breaking and important. `

Whenever any speaker addresses an audience, there are short term goals: to entertain, inform, persuade, even inspire, and there are long term goals.  It is the long term goal of making real a woman US president, that Hillary Clinton, and others have helped achieved, when they have sought the US presidency.  

At the Cow Palace in San Francisco on July 15, 1964, Margaret Chase Smith, the reserved Republican Maine senator who made a bid for the presidency, was greeted with cheers from a reception of supporters who declared: “She is still in the race!” Vermont Senator George Aiken nominated her at the convention, and one admirer noted, “Every woman, Republican and Democrat, owes a debt of gratitude to Margaret Chase Smith because she has opened the door for a woman to serve in the presidency.”  

Eight years later, New York Congresswoman, the “unbought and unbossed” Shirley Chisholm, received 151 of the delegates’ votes at the convention in Miami. She wanted to effect political change with the power of her delegates. At a speech she said: “I’m just so thankful that in spite of the differences of opinions, the differences of ideology, and even sometimes within the women’s movement the differences of approaches, that here we are today at a glorious gathering of women in Miami.”  She also noted that people are more sexist than racist.  And others – Pat Schroeder in 1988, Elizabeth Dole in 1999 and Carol Moseley Braun in 2004 were contributing to the long term goal of a woman president.  As the most successful female candidate, Hillary Clinton noted in 2008 in her concession speech:

You can be so proud that, from now on, it will be unremarkable for a woman to win   primary state victories – unremarkable to have a woman in a close race to be our nominee, unremarkable to think that a woman can be the president of the United States. And that is truly remarkable, my friends.

 She echoed the same sentiment in 2016 at the Democratic National Convention when she said:

 Tonight, we’ve reached a milestone in our nation’s march toward a more perfect union: the first time that a major party has nominated a woman for president. Standing here as my mother’s daughter, and my daughter’s mother, I’m so happy this day has come. I’m happy for grandmothers and little girls and everyone in between. I’m happy for boys and men – because when any barrier falls in America, it clears the way for everyone. After all, when there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit. So let’s keep going until every one of the 161 million women and girls across America has the opportunity she deserves to have.

 The Keys to the White House

The governorship has historically been the pathway to the presidency, except when it is not, which most recently has been the case.  Nonetheless, for those historically underrepresented presidential aspirants, such as women, it would be wise to keep an eye on the women who are governors. Mary Fallin, Republican from Oklahoma, Nikki Haley, Republican from South Carolina, and Susana Martinez, Republican from New Mexico, and now, Oregon’s Kate Brown who has become the first openly LGBT governor, are women to watch for the presidency.

In this election, Kamala Harris became the second black woman elected to the US Senate in California, Ilhan Omar from Minnesota, became the first Somali-American legislator, and Nevada’s Catherine Cortez Masto became the first Latina senator in US history. Programs that support women interested in public office, such as Emerge, are important to help fill the pipeline. These are important wins for cultural acceptance, because just as the election of the first African American as president has not erased difficult race relations in the United States, the election of the first woman president, whenever it comes, will not remove all sexism and misogyny. These “firsts” expand what it means to be a political woman in the United States.

 For many reasons, the 2016 presidential race has been historic: there were initially 17 candidates competing for the Republican Party’s nomination, and businessman Donald Trump defied all predictions to emerge as the nominee, despite no previous political experience. Former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, running for president for the second time in the Democratic Party, this time winning the nomination, but after a bruising series of contests that revealed deep divisions among constituencies.

 When the votes were totaled, Donald Trump won a decisive victory. He won key battleground states:  Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.  In her concession speech, Hillary Rodham Clinton said, “to all the women, especially all the young women, who put their faith in me.  Nothing has made me more proud than to be your champion.”  She added:  “I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but some day someone will and hopefully sooner than we might think right now.” The factors that contributed to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s defeat invite scholars to continue to examine the still complicated path to the presidency that women in the United States face, however even her unsuccessful bid is a push forward to the path to a woman president.

hrc

The first nominee but Madam President will have to wait

08
Aug
16

Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices (chapters 10-13) and Donald Trump’s Crippled America — recently re-named How To Make America Great Again (chapter 6)

The tone and tenor of the most recent autobiographies of our presidential nominees follow the same tone and tenor of their convention speeches.  But Donald J. Trump’s convention speech was painted a pessimistic view of America underscoring crime and violence in America.

In her  convention speech, Hillary Clinton  had the advantage of going second, which allowed her to respond to Trump’s depressing view of the country and underscoring her own view that the country has many great aspects, including the hard work of Americans who continue to make America great each day.

In this blog, I present chapter summaries from Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s most recent autobiographies to help readers discern their view of America, their experience to be president and to get a sense of how they would lead.

 

PART 4: of Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices – Between Hope and History

Chapter 10: Europe: Ties That Bind

This is a  social chapter, where Hillary Clinton lists her many friends in Europe, attends many dinners and shakes many hands. When not discussing NATO or Turkey — two of the biggest challenges to watch in Europe during her tenure — she often looks back to how foreign policy has changed since she was first lady. She spends a significant amount of time discussing Serbia and Kosovo, and ends the chapter in Northern Ireland. She admired German Chancellor Angela Merkel, despite the austerity, and once called French leader Nicolas Sarkozy “her Prince Charming.” Not surprising, given Clinton’s recent emphasis on climate change, she singles out her U.S.-E.U. Energy Council proposal as one of her big focuses in Europe.
Chapter 11 – Russia: Reset and Regression

Much of the chapter works as a defense of the “reset” with Russia and gives Clinton the opportunity to look incredibly prescient on Russia in hindsight. The reset begins with a blunder, when American diplomats hand the Russian foreign minister a reset button that reads “overcharged” instead of “reset.” Clinton thought U.S.-Russian relations were going swimmingly with then-President Dmitry Medvedev but knew things would go downhill when Vladimir Putin returned. When Clinton left the State Department, she warned Obama to take a harder line with Russia.

Chapter 12/Latin America: Democrats and Demagogues

Clinton’s hard choices in Latin America include saying that the problem of drug cartels “is also an American problem” and that the United States has a responsibility to address it; working to keep Cuba out of the Organization of American States while also working to increase the United States’ soft-power influence on the isolated country; and helping Honduras after it suffered a coup.

She says not bringing back USAID contractor Alan Gross was one of her regrets as secretary and described the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez as “a self-aggrandizing dictator who was more of an aggravation than a real threat, except to his own citizens.”

Chapter 13/Africa: Guns or Growth?

Clinton begins her chapter on Africa by posing the question that plagued the State Department during her time there: How to help the progress happening in so many countries while also stemming the “chaos and privation” that still dominate? Clinton’s priorities in the region included working to reward countries that were succeeding at democracy, helping stop violence against women, expanding PEPFAR — President George W. Bush’s program to fight HIV/AIDS in the region — and helping poor and hungry families. She discusses China’s growing economic influence in the region, South African civil rights leader Nelson Mandela’s influence and that time a Kenyan councilman wanted to trade 40 goats and 20 cows for Chelsea Clinton’s hand in marriage.

Donald Trump’s Crippled America / Chapter 6  The Energy Debate:  A lot of hot air

In this chapter Donald Trump contends that climate change is a myth.  He argues that there is oil in America and natural gas and we should use that. It will last us until next century and by then we’ll all be dead anyway.  He also believes that the Keystone XL pipeline should be allowed to go ahead. We should drill everywhere oil is accessible.  He also argues that wind power is the worst because it ruins the view from golf courses.

 

24
Jul
16

Chapter 5 of Donald Trump’s Crippled America and Chapters 7/8/9 of Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices

Donald Trump – Crippled America, Chapter 5; Education:  A Failing Grade

Trump opens by saying that his father did not have a college degree but that he so valued a college education that he lent financial assistance to his brother John so that he could earn a master’s degree.  Donald Trump also shares his own education:  “I went to the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, which is, in my opinion, the best business school in America–and arguably the hardest there is to get into.”   He also says that his goal is to make America the best education for all of us.

It is significant that Trump begins his discussion of education by juxtaposing o a successful Ivy League graduate, himself, with a self-made man, his father. Implicit in this comparison is the belief that education isn’t essential to be successful. Like many things that Trump says, he makes a forceful assertion that is vague enough to be interpreted a variety of ways. Yes, education is important he says, but the measure of true accomplishment success in business.

Hillary Clinton Hard Choices PART 3: WAR AND PEACE

Chapter 7- Af Pak Surge

Three days before Thanksgiving 2009, Clinton recalls sitting in the White House situation room as Obama asked for advice about Afghanistan, which “was on its way to becoming the longest [war] in American history.” The summer had gone badly, with an increase in Taliban fighters and attacks on NATO forces, and an election marred by widespread fraud. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal asked for more troops. In the end, Obama decided on a “surge” of 30,000 troops, focused on security, human services and helping the government, with a deadline for withdrawal in 18 months. The military brass went away happy, but Vice President Biden was displeased and warned of a “bloody quagmire.” As for Clinton, she writes that she was “under no illusions about how difficult it would be to turn around this war. But all things considered I believed that the President had made the right choice and put us in the best position to succeed.”

 Chapter 8 Afghanistan: To End a War

Clinton writes about trying to conscript Pakistan into the effort to secure Afghanistan’s future. The United States held secret talks with a top aide to Mohammad Omar, head of the Taliban. Prisoner swaps, Clinton wrote, were discussed, including Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. “The Taliban’s top concern seemed to be the fate of its fighters being held at Guantanamo Bay and other prisons,” Clinton writes, adding that in every such discussion “we demanded the release” of Bergdahl.

Chapter 9 Pakistan: National Honor

The highlight of this chapter is easy: Clinton details the meetings that led up to the move on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and the tense moments as the raid took place. Officials held regular meetings in March and April leading up to the May 1, 2011, raid. Then-CIA Director Leon E. Panetta and national security adviser Tom Donilon supported a raid; then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates didn’t. Biden also was skeptical.

On April 28, 2011, Obama convened the group for one last meeting in the situation room. He asked everyone at the table for their final recommendation. Clinton writes that since Obama and she were both lawyers,  she had learned to appeal to Obama’s analytical mind and laid out the case that the risks were outweighed by the benefits of success.




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