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leaninWhen my kids were toddlers, I lived for playdates. The kids would play, and the moms would talk “shop”, which meant sharing potty training strategies and bemoaning the serious lack of sleep we were experiencing.

Today at lunch, I found myself in a different sort of “playdate”. It was the second meeting of our new Lean In circle  at work, inspired by Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In and created to be a place where female co-workers can encourage, learn, and talk “shop”.

For this month’s meeting, we spent our time discussing “Power and Influence”, a video seminar posted on the Lean In website, which focused on the non-verbal differences between men and women and how it influences perception of power. It was a fascinating discussion.

Think about the last time you walked into a room for any sort of gathering…work-related, small group, dinner with friends…how did you sit down? Did you plop down, lean back, and make yourself as expansive and relaxed as possible? Or did you slink in, cross your legs, and sit on your hands?

These are just a few of the characteristics of “Playing High” or “Playing Low”, according to Deborah H. Gruenfeld, Professor of Leadership & Organizational Behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She reinforces the truth that what you say has a very minimal effect; it’s all about your behavior, and she focuses on non-verbal ways that we exhibit either authority and approachability.

Want to show authority? Hold your head still, speak in complete sentences, lean back, slow down, and hold eye contact just a tad longer than normal.

Want to be approachable? Nod and smile often, make yourself small, keep your hands by your face when you talk, and lean forward towards the person.

This isn’t just a “workplace thing”. We show authority and approachability in our families, in our friendships, in our volunteer activities, and on the sidelines of our kid’s soccer games. I liked what she had to say about it being “situational”; that there is a time and a place for both, but the truth is…women don’t always feel comfortable showing authority. We yield for plenty of reasons – it doesn’t feel comfortable, we don’t want people to perceive us as over-assertive, or we feel it isn’t our place.

But just as often…there are times where we have legitimate position and power, and we shortchange our influence because we don’t use all of the non-verbal behaviors that are at our disposal. Simple things, like sustained eye contact, speaking confidently, and taking up space in a room, can make a difference. We all need those reminders to behave “consciously” instead of defaulting to our normal tendencies, right?

We all went our separate ways after lunch, with the promise to continue our journey together, and it left me with two thoughts that I wanted to share:

1. If you don’t have a group of women that you can connect with about whatever stage of life you are in, be intentional to find one. MOPS, Bible study, a Lean In circle, dessert every other month…find something.

2. Pay attention to your non-verbals the next few days. Do you default to playing high or low? What is the impact? Try something different the next time you need to assert your power…

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I have a ring that I purchased in Mexico years ago that is probably my most favorite piece of jewelry.  However, sometimes the turquoise stones fall out.

photo 4-2 And I’m sure we’ve all had this happen one time or another with something we love.  No fear.  My mom taught me a trick years and years ago to fix lost stones in jewelry using colored sculpting clay.

Buy either Sculpey or FIMO clay in a color that matches the stones you need to replace in your jewelry.

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Carefully mold pieces of clay to fit the stones you need to replace.  Place the clay into the settings.

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Follow the instructions on your package of clay in regards to baking it into your jewelry.  I baked my ring for 30 minutes at 230 degrees, but each brand of clay is a little different.

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Once your ring is cooled paint the new “stones” with clear nail polish so it looks shiny like the rest of the stones.

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And it really couldn’t be easier than that to fix your favorite piece of silver jewelry.  Obviously, this won’t work for all jewelry since you can’t bake everything.  However, you could form some “stones”, bake them on their own, and then glue them into your jewelry.

Nothing better than something as good as new!

Signature Maggie

Visit my other online home at apairofpinkshoes.com

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I love dessert as much as the next person, but when it comes to making food I’m definitely more of a cook than a baker. So, when I realized that I still hadn’t figured out what I’m making for tonight’s little friend get-together at my house (and everyone else seemed to be bringing appetizers!) I started to get nervous…..until I remembered this gem of a recipe from none other than Martha Stewart herself! I usually have good luck with Martha Stewart’s recipes but rarely are they easy or simple. This recipe for Mini Molten Chocolate Cakes, however, is incredibly easy and incredibly yummy! These little muffin-sized chocolate cakes can be made ahead and popped into the oven about 20 minutes before you want to serve dessert. They are rich and gooey and the perfect sweet little bite to end a meal.

Click here for a link to the recipe!

I sprung for the more expensive ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate….definitely worth it! I mean, seriously, is there anything better than sticking your finger into a bowl of melted chocolate and licking it?

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Of course I enlisted my four-year-old son to help me out this rainy afternoon. He LOVES baking, especially the egg-cracking part. (don’t worry I retrieved the broken shells from the bowl)

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For this recipe you simply mix the six ingredients together, distribute the batter into buttered/sugared muffin tins and bake for 8 minutes.  So easy!

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Success!

Click here for a link to the recipe!

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From the very first day we owned an iPad, one of the things I have wanted to use it for is for writing…taking sermon notes, writing to-do lists, jotting down ideas, and so forth. I have tried plenty of writing apps, but I have found the one that does the job better than any that I have seen so far.

GoodNotes

Enter Goodnotes. It costs $5.99 (all Apple and Android devices), which sounded expensive until I thought about how much I spent on the pile of fancy notebooks sitting in my desk drawer. Then it became positively cheap.

My first test run for the app was to tackle the reading list for my upcoming doctoral classes next month. You can import PDF files from Dropbox, open it in the app, and then highlight or take notes in the margins with your finger. Saving the planet…and saving my back from carrying around a huge pile of paper. Win-Win, right? You could also use it to fill out PDF forms and edit documents, then upload it back up to Dropbox.

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Aren’t you jealous of my reading list?

You can also take free form notes as well. You can use the traditional keyboard, but one of the unique features is the “Zoom” function. This is where you write your notes in a large box at the bottom of the screen…over and over…and it places it neatly on the lined page. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it is much better than having to scrawl tiny words with your finger and more natural than typing on a device. Grab a stylus, and it works even better. Maybe I can eliminate some of the piles of scrawled notes that are always stuck in my back pocket? That would be pretty awesome. 

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Added bonus…connect to a television and it becomes an instant digital whiteboard.

Madi, my nine-year-old, checked out the app with me, and she is digging it too. (She actually tracked down the keyboard function for me…a sign that I’m getting old?) She is sitting next to me writing away…it’s a hit!

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Disclosure: I was not compensated for my review; all opinions are my own and Madi’s.

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