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About Lee Woodward

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So far Lee Woodward has created 38 blog entries.

I Admit It, I Am Incompetent

Being considered stupid or incompetent ruffles my feathers.  If I were to list the top things I don’t want to be, incompetent would be at the top of the list. It makes me cringe thinking anyone would think I am incompetent.  I think we all have a word like that, it could be greedy, weak, selfish, vain, this list goes on.  Let’s face it, most of us have more than one word that makes us cringe.  When my “incompetence fear” is in full swing I tell myself it is only a matter of time until I am found out. My fear will be confirmed, my fate as incompetent sealed.  My coach, Rachel Jayne Groover, has a novel approach to overcoming such fears.  She says you have to own it.

It makes sense when you think about it.  If I can admit I’m incompetent then it’s power to hold me back dissipates.  The practice isn’t about throwing in the towel and telling myself that I am completely incompetent in everything.  It’s about recognizing the things that I am incompetent at and realizing that the world did not stop spinning!  The reality is that I am incompetent in many things and in the spirit of owning my incompetence I thought I would share a few.

Here I go:

  • I am horrible at directions.  To me, any way I am facing is north.  
  • Math in my head.  A calculator is required for pretty basic stuff.
  • Search Engine Optimization.  I have a really good guy for that! Check him out.
  • Putting together IKEA furniture.  
  • Astrophysics.  I love Neil deGrasse Tyson, but completely incompetent here.

What I discovered in this practice is that often my fear of incompetence actually made me more incompetent.  How many times have I not asked a question out of fear of being viewed as incompetent? By not asking, I actually remained less competent than had I asked the question!  It’s a little ironic isn’t it? By avoiding what I don’t want, I get more of it. (I wouldn’t mind if my fear was dark chocolate.) The flip side of that irony is that by owning what I am most fearful of, I actually become less of it.  By owning my incompetence I let go of my fear of being seen as incompetent.  More importantly, without the blinders of fear, I recognize that I can become competent in things that are important to me.  Just for the record, that does not include putting together IKEA furniture.  

2020-01-23T16:42:17-07:00January 22nd, 2020|

Faking It

I have a confession to make.  Sometimes I fake it.  I must admit that the idea of “faking it” rubs me the wrong way.  It seems disingenuous and insincere. I like to think of myself as authentic and real.  But as illogical as it may sound, I have learned that if I strive to be authentic, I need to fake it at times.

Merriam Webster provides the definition of authentic as: real or genuine: not copied or false: true and accurate. True to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.  Roget’s International Thesaurus offers the adjectives of novel, original, creative, and revolutionary to describe authentic.  Let those words sink in…Authenticity is not a passive pursuit. To be authentic we must push past our boundaries, seek out growth and change to move forward.  Authenticity is a revolution! Being authentic takes work.   On best of days that can be a tall order and on tough days it can seem daunting.

Honestly there are days when I don’t feel equipped to handle the journey of authenticity, I don’t feel up to the revolution.  It can be the lack of energy, self-belief or skills.  Regardless of my mindset, I need to show up and do life.  So sometimes I just have to fake it.  I need to put my big girl panties on and show up the best I can.  My head is telling me I am not novel, creative or being true to my own spirit.  My mind tells me I am a fake.

I am here to tell you the mind is wrong.  I have learned on my journey that faking it is not the same as being fake.  A necessary part of pushing past our boundaries is stepping into new territory.  To move forward we have to jump in and go like we know what we are doing.  We have to tell ourselves we can do it, then we fake it ‘til we make it.  Faking it is about taking risks and being willing to fail in order to grow and evolve.  Being fake is about staying in our comfort zones and pretending we are on the journey of authenticity.  In other words, sometimes we have to fake it to keep it real.  So be willing to fake it and enjoy the revolution!

2020-01-17T09:48:57-07:00January 17th, 2020|

A New Routine For Mistakes

Lately, I’ve been thinking about mistakes.  It’s a relevant topic for me since I am learning new dance routines!  Believe me, making mistakes is not new to me.  I make mistakes of varying size and consequence on a consistent basis.  And I must say that I am good at deconstructing my mistakes, attempting to understand where it went wrong.   As a self-aware, reflective and mature adult, this is what I am supposed to do.  We have all been told since childhood to learn from our mistakes and to not make the same mistake twice.  I am guessing that I have spent countless hours and untold energy examining my mistakes based on this mantra.  I believe there is some value in reflecting on our mistakes, but dancing has taught me that this approach doesn’t always work.

I have accepted the fact that every time I dance I am going to make mistakes.  Ballroom dancing is hard and mistakes simply come with the territory.   I have also realized that my usual approach to “mistake management” doesn’t work on the dance floor.  I needed a new routine. Thanks to dancing I am learning the steps to cha-cha right through my mistakes.

  • Step One:  Own it.  I tell myself that the misstep is the step I intended to take. I must simply use that step to get me to the next one.
  • Step Two:  Wait for it.  When I make a mistake I slow down, breathe and wait for the next beat.  If I am focused on catching what I missed the new beat will pass me by.
  • Step Three: Sell It.  Smile through my mistake, dance as if I nailed it, and boogie on. And what I’ve realized is that when I am willing to do this, the audience boogies right along with me.

So that’s it…three steps.   But they aren’t simple steps. We’ve been taught to stop our dance when we make a mistake.  To figure out the misstep before we take the next step.  When you are on the dance floor there is no time for that.  Before you know it the song will be over and you won’t have danced your dance.  So we can use our mistakes as a reason to stay off the dance floor or we can shake it ‘til we cha-cha.  I vote for shaking it!

2020-01-07T08:01:20-07:00January 6th, 2020|

Resolution Crisis

This past year is the first time in a long time, that I have not accomplished my committed New Year Resolution.  This year I had set my eyes on completing a 100-mile ultra-run.  A few months into training, my body let me know that was not in the cards for me.  Eventually I made the decision to stop running all together, it was the healthiest option for me. There I was, a few months into the year, with a larger challenge than a botched resolution.  I was having an identity crisis.

When I lost running, I felt as if I had lost a part of myself.  I did not realize how much of my identity was wrapped up in running, in being a runner.  When I look back on some of my fondest memories, they revolve around running. Anyone who knew me, knew I was a runner.  So there I was asking myself, “who am I now?”. This was not the first time, nor will it be the last time, I pondered this question.  I don’t think I am alone in falling into the trap of confusing the roles that we play and things that we do with who we are; so that when the job goes away, the kids move out, or the divorce papers are signed we are left asking ourselves, who am I now?  I think Deepak Chopra is onto it when he says, “We have to really educate ourselves in a way about who we are, what our real identity is.” 

So this year, instead of training for 100-mile ultra, I decided to try to better educate myself on who I am.  Here are a few things I discovered:

  • Many of the characteristics that I attributed to being a runner, such as being tough and resilient, are actually who I am regardless of what I am doing. 
  • I had to accept that something I loved was not good for me and I had to choose to let it go.
  • I was reminded that the grieving process is not reserved for death.
  • I remembered that sometimes I need to throw out Plan A and find my best plan B.
  • I realized my friends can be a better read than me when it comes to who I am.    

I don’t think there is a finish line for educating ourselves on who we really are, but there is a lot of great scenery along the route.  So whether you hit your resolution, fell short or never set one, take time to reflect not only on what you did this last year, but also on who you have become.  And if you need some help in seeing your amazingness, invite your friends over…They can give you the best view of you sometimes.

2020-01-01T15:28:22-07:00December 30th, 2019|

Risky Business

The other day I overheard a woman make the statement, “I risked it all”.  It caught my attention and my imagination. What did this person, shopping in the same grocery store as me, looking at the same containers of yogurt, do to risk it all?  Had she walked away from a life of leisure to move to Timbuktu to find herself? Had she put all her life savings into her big idea? Did she put her physical safety on the line to complete a grueling challenge?  She walked away having selected her yogurt, continuing her phone conversation and I never got the answer.  

I do know that my immediate gut reaction was that nothing I had ever done made me worthy to stake that claim.  I had visions of huge acts of courage, strength and sacrifice that are not in my experience wheelhouse. But luckily, as I checked out the soup aisle, I cut myself some slack.  Perhaps my expectation of what constitutes risk is a bit too high and my assessment of my own risk taking is a bit too low. It seems to me that risk is a very personal thing, what seems like no big deal to one person can be incredibly risky to another.  For me, a dance competition feels like a huge risk, others are in their sweet spot on the dance floor. Put me in front of 200 people to speak and it’s no problem; yet for others it is the riskiest thing they can imagine doing.  

I believe that our unique experiences, fears and insecurities shape our personal definition of risk.  There is no definitive definition of personal risk. For that reason we shouldn’t judge what we or others deem risky.  More importantly, I think it’s important to give ourselves and others credit for the risks we do take. When we step outside our comfort zone and open ourselves up to loss, judgment, and rejection, well that deserves credit in my book.   Often times, we confuse risk with recklessness and through that lens, risk avoidance seems prudent.  But I believe that in life we should embrace risk not avoid it. Life is about expanding and growing and in order to do that, we need to risk what we know to discover what can be.  So next time you get your chance to take on some risky business, be willing to take it on…and when you do, give yourself a hug.  

2020-01-02T12:14:03-07:00December 26th, 2019|

What’s Your Story?

I love a good story, I think we all do, it’s part of being human.  Whether it’s told in the form of a book, song, movie…a good story pulls the audience in and for that time, we become part of that story, emotionally invested in the characters and their situations.  Storytelling is a powerful form of communication, it allows us to make sense of a complex world.  Stories help us connect to an idea larger than ourselves and to a community experiencing the mutual connection.  Stories and storytellers are powerful in shaping our view of the world, others and ourselves.  I think the stories that move us the most, are about the best us humans have to offer the world.

I recently took on a challenge to write down the stories I tell myself.  Through that exercise I learned that I am a powerful storyteller. I also realized that I don’t always like the stories I tell myself.  Based on that experience I have started to dig a bit deeper into the stories I have created for myself.  My stories have the power to create a reality filled with, “I can’t, not for me, I’m not good enough, and not now”.  My stories have the power to create flaws on every part of my body and to confuse my smile lines with wrinkles.  It was a powerful exercise to realize that far too many of my stories didn’t help me expand in this world, but rather encouraged me to hunker down and play it safe.

So, I am writing a new book for myself.  This book will be filled with chapters about, “I will, that’s for me, I am good enough and bring it on”.  As I work on authoring my new stories, I realize that I cannot always choose my setting or the characters.  At times I am a character in someone else’s story with a plot I don’t appreciate.  But at the end of the day, we show up in life based on the stories we tell ourselves.  This is why it so important to figure out what stories we are telling ourselves and to make sure our book is about the best we have to offer the world.  It’s good to know that we are the most powerful storytellers in our own lives, it’s even better to know that we have the power to re-write our stories.   Here is your opportunity to re-write your stories…Rip up the stories that don’t serve you and write your true story.  You deserve that story; the world deserves that story!  Believe me, you are magnificent in it.

Check out the stories of amazing women just like you in the beautiful book, Who Am I Now? , by author Isabel Banerjee.   I would love to hear your thoughts on my contribution titled, “Unapologetically Beautiful”.  Also, check out great interviews and conversations with the video Sofa Series.  Most importantly, join the conversation, your fierceness is needed!

2019-12-26T11:35:08-07:00December 16th, 2019|

Measuring Up

I love shooting videos for our Woman In Disguise You Tube Channel.  It gives me a chance to try on lots of  hairstyles and play.  For the videos I shoot, I do research hoping I can share fun and useful information.  What I often find with my research is that there is no shortage of thoughts, opinions, and recommendations when it comes to women and our appearance.  For our Face Shape Video Series I was surprised by some of the recommendations I found for determining a face shape, including using a tape measure to actually measure my facial dimensions!  Other articles used terms like, “never” or “always” to refer to the list of do’s and don’ts dictated by the shape of our face.  Women are often fed these strict rules and definitions of what qualifies as beautiful and we are continually told what we need to do in order to be beautiful.  But I believe that beauty does not have absolutes, beauty is not about do’s and don’ts.  Beauty is about how we feel.  Beauty should be fun and creative.  It is about expressing who we are on the inside with what we do on the outside.  Beauty is not about changing who we are but rather stepping into who we are.

After my research I came up with my own Face Shape Rules that I would like to share:

  • There is not a good, bad, right, or wrong face shape. Your face shape is perfectly you!
  • Understanding your face shape is not about hiding or changing anything. It’s supposed to be a fun way to understand what hairstyles and make up elements accentuate your already beautiful features.
  • There are no absolutes when it comes to beauty because beauty comes from the inside. Please, ditch the measuring tape!
  • If you feel great about how you look, you look great. Period!!!

I think it’s important for women to broaden our apertures on what is beautiful.  To give ourselves the opportunity to express what’s on the inside with what we put on the outside.  That’s why I love wearing wigs so much.  It’s a true transformation to look in the mirror, see something different, and love what you see.  Ladies, beauty is a powerful experience.  I encourage you to throw out the old beauty rule book, put on your wig, look in the mirror and experience your beauty.  You deserve to love to your reflection.

2019-12-26T11:42:45-07:00December 11th, 2019|

Date Night Check List

I believe in the power of Date Nights.  I think it’s vital to carve out time for the sole purpose of connecting with our special honey.  With our busy lives that is easier said than done.  There is the logistics side of the equation, prioritizing Date Night above the other competing priorities, which can be challenging.  Once you get that side of the equation completed I think it is equally challenging to be in the moment and actually connect with our partner.  Clearing our minds tends to be far more difficult than clearing our calendars.  My husband and I have had some crash and burn Date Nights and but most are wonderful and reinvigorating.  Despite our crash and burn dates we continue to plan our Date Nights.  As Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” (didn’t expect a hockey quote did you?).   In the process I have learned some Date Night logistics tips that I hope you find helpful:

  • Be realistic about what you can commit to. There is not a right frequency, activity, duration to make a good Date Night.  We tried planning something every week and we ended up having more crashes than connection.
  • Share the role of planning Date Night, we try to alternate.
  • Set up some guidelines of what makes a Date Night. Change the guidelines when they don’t work.
  • Put it on the calendar, both work and personal, and treat it as a priority appointment, because it is.

Dealing with the logistics is required, but a Date Night is more than planning.  Connecting to each other is key, without connection it’s not Date Night.  I believe this can be the most challenging part, being in the moment, not thinking about email, tomorrow’s details, and all the other distractions we can conjure up.  I have an amazingly simple but effective answer for that dilemma.  Dress the part.  Don’t go on Date Night dressed as the busy, over-scheduled, buzzing brain woman you spend so much time being.  Step out of that role and dress as the beautiful, vivacious, fun, Date Night loving woman you are.  For me dressing the part means picking out that blouse I love but never wear, a slightly higher heel, and yes that damn my hair looks good wig.  I will tell you what ladies, there is nothing quite like donning a new hairstyle to help you step into your Date Night self.  With the right hair you will walk different, you will talk different and you will radiate.  You will open yourself up to connecting because you will be confident and vulnerable at the same time.  With the simple act of putting on your wig you have given yourself permission to be in the moment.  When you dress the part, you give yourself the chance to be the part.  So, go ahead get Date Night on the calendar and don’t be afraid to Wig Out!

2019-12-26T11:46:27-07:00December 5th, 2019|

In Defense of Beauty

I have an uncomfortable relationship with beauty.  For me, and I think for many women, beauty is a loaded word.  As women, we get mixed messages about beauty.  If we care too much about our appearance, we are vain, if we don’t care enough, we are lazy.  As we age the messages only become harsher.  It seems our only path to beauty over 50 is to look young or at least younger.  Beauty is sold to us as an external standard in which we are judged.  It is about pleasing the eye of the beholder.  Often times it seems that beauty puts women into a cycle of seeking whatever we are not in order to be beautiful.  The cycle is exhausting and leaves women and girls questioning their beauty and ultimately judging their worth.

Recent global research by Dove demonstrates the uncomfortable relationship women and girls have with beauty:

  • Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful (up from 2% in 2004)
  • Only 11% of girls globally are comfortable describing themselves as ‘beautiful’
  • 72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful
  • 80% of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful, but do not see their own beauty
  • More than half of women globally (54%) agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic

In defense of my self-esteem and self-worth, I spent years convincing myself that feeling beautiful was not important.  But beauty is a powerful force in the world.  Beauty is why we watch sunsets, seek out rainbows and bask in the glow of a full moon.  Ladies, it is natural to want feel beautiful, to be beautiful, to be one with the power of beauty.   I also believe that when we look in the mirror and don’t see our beauty, we diminish our power.  We diminish our power to see ourselves and embrace our reflections.  It is powerful to see our wrinkles and appreciate the laughs, tears and smiles that etched the lines into our delicate skin.  It is powerful to see the stretch marks and recognize that we brought life into this world.  It is powerful to see our true selves and not look away.

I am on the journey of rediscovering my beauty and reclaiming my reflection.  Here’s what I have learned so far:

  • Beauty is something I can’t define, but we I know it when I see it and when I feel it.
  • When it comes to my beauty, I am the beholder.
  • Desiring beauty is not about vanity, it’s about seeking our divine.
  • It feels amazing to help a woman look in the mirror and love her reflection.
  • When I feel beautiful there is no room for shame, guilt or judgment, for myself or others.
  • Most of all I have learned that we are all worthy of feeling beautiful.

In the defense of beauty, please join me on the journey.  It is a worthy mission to rediscover the power of our beauty and reclaim our reflections.  Be part of the new generation of women who know we are worthy of feeling beautiful, who know we are beautiful.  Let’s work together to change the world for our daughters.  When we see our beauty, we pave the way for them to see theirs.

Aristotle had it right when he said, “Beauty is the gift of God.”  Ladies, who are we to deny ourselves the gift?

2019-12-26T11:43:22-07:00November 20th, 2019|

Perfect Recipe For A Delish Style

I love the holidays.  The holiday season gives me an opportunity to dress up, sparkle and shine from my toes to my wig.  It also gives me the excuse to get into the kitchen to explore and create with food.

In the United States, 93% of Americans bake during the holidays with 61% baking three or more batches at a time.  I can smell the sugar cookies and pumpkin pie now!  All that baking and cooking means a lot of heat is pumping in the kitchen.  Heat is great for our cooking, but it’s not a good ingredient for our wigs.  I want to make sure that you look as good as you cook so follow these tips for cooking with your ready-to-wear hair.

When cooking with the oven, like all those cookies you’re planning on, make sure when you open the oven that you allow the heat to totally dissipate. You never want to open the oven and dive right in. Not only is it bad for your hair, it’s bad for your skin, eyes, and if you wear glasses, they’re going to fog up so fast you won’t be able to see a thing! Another way to care for your hair when cooking in the oven is after the heat dissipates, use your oven mitts to pull the bake goods out and examine the progress on the stove top. This way you’re never sticking your head of beautiful hair into the hot oven.

When cooking on the stove top, you’re going to be fine for the most part as long as there is no open flame. The stove top typically doesn’t get that hot. Your hair is not going to be affected by the heat so you can look salon fabulous the whole time you’re cooking.

If you like to cook on the grill, you may want to wait to put her on until after the food is cooked and ready. Even when you open the lid, the heat never fully dissipates. A grill always tend to stay very hot, and once again to care for your hair you want to keep her away from heat as much as possible.

So there you go, simple tips to keep your wig as delectable as your meals.  If you have a great recipe please share, I am always looking for new ways to spice it up.

2019-11-13T15:38:31-07:00November 12th, 2019|


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