Kudos and Life Lessons: The Versatile Blogger Award

The Versatile Blogger AwardEveryone loves kudos!

(Me included.)

What a kick it is to be nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award, a friendly designation by a fellow blogger!

The Versatile Blogger Award

My warmest thanks go out to Veronica Solomon of No Naked Windows for nominating me to the world of Versatile Bloggers.

The rules to receive the award are as follows:
1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Provide a link to the person’s blog.
3. Write 7 facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 bloggers of your own and tell them.

My Seven Facts

In deciding what “seven facts” about myself to share, I thought I’d link them to some of my greater life lessons, if that’s okay.

  1. I’m the youngest of four children, so I had to learn real early how to negotiate (and maybe even manipulate a little). That meant paying attention to what was important to each person involved. That approach, called “stakeholder analysis” in business, became the topic of my MBA thesis and today is probably my most valuable skill when it comes to my international business deals.
  2. When I was 11, my Dad lost all his money in a business venture in Brazil, where we grew up. Suddenly the lovely house, servants, private school, clubs, and throngs of so-called “friends” were gone. We packed up a few suitcases and crept off to the U.S. where my Mom would struggle to support us while Dad rebuilt something in Brazil. That was when I learned what money was and how it worked in our lives. (So does it surprise you that I help other women understand the role of money today?)
  3. In my early 20s, I spent a couple of years documenting a huge iron ore project (called the Carajás Project) in the Amazon, doing lots of aerial photography. There were no women at the mine, just 300 men, a hundred kilometers through the jungle to the nearest town, no roads. (We flew in by DC-3.) Needless to say, while I was at the mine on assignment I felt like a queen. But when I flew back home to Rio, where the women are gorgeous, I found my ego dragged back to a different reality. I learned to enjoy every compliment, wherever it comes from.
  4. At 25 I met a guy on the train from Cuzco to Machu Picchu who wore great cowboy boots and tight jeans. I returned home to Rio after that vacation, sold everything and followed him to “the ends of the earth.” In our case, that meant going to buy and run a restaurant (and live in a thatched-roof hut) on Isla Mujeres, Mexico, as Cancun was just being built across the water. Now that I’m older, I’ve learned that following our heart and dreams early on is what makes that still feel like a possibility in our later years.
  5. I have an MBA from The Wharton School, but I have no undergraduate degree. By 27, I had built several businesses. Yet when I came to the U.S., since I had no degree, the only job I could get was as a secretary. Getting an undergrad degree seemed like a waste of time, so I applied to masters programs at several big name schools and, based on life experience, got into nearly all of them. (I chose Wharton because it was a “numbers” school and I knew I couldn’t BS my way through …) I learned that sometimes you can bend the rules, if you’ll just ask.
  6. When I lived in Europe after Wharton, people would ask what my parents had left me. (They both died when I was in my early 20s.) It seemed like a crazy question, because “inheritance” wasn’t part of our culture. But my answer was “Something no one can take away from me: good brains, a good education, a good work ethic and the belief that I can do anything I set my mind to.” And that has turned out to be true.
  7. When I lost my home and my business in 2001, right after 9/11, I knew I had to shrink down to the smallest footprint possible (while still staying safe) so I could rebuild my life quickly. I walked away from the perfect house with perfect gardens in the perfect neighborhood. (AKA the American Dream) With the little money I had, I bought a double-wide mobile home on a Florida lake and spent the next year tearing it apart and rebuilding it myself, using everything I had learned watching HGTV. But to make that move okay in my head, I had to let go of what “they” would think or say. One day I realized “they” would not be paying any of my bills or supporting me in retirement. Suddenly, that made letting go of the “they” real easy in every aspect of my life.

My 15 Bloggers

It was so hard to name just 15 bloggers, because I am surrounded by so many great ones. So I decided to choose those whose topics and/or talents inspire me or make me think. (And to remove any perceived ranking, I’ve listed them alphabetically.)

* Carolyn Hughes of The Hurt Healer for reminding us of the power of healing and redemption when it comes to addictions.

* Caryl and Maryl of Second Lives Club for providing women with a place to tell their stories of reinvention.

* Claudia Looi of Travel Writing Pro for sharing the sights and tastes of every country she and her family visit.

* Danielle LaPorte of Danielle LaPorte for always giving me another reason to light little fires deep in my soul.

* Danny Brown of Danny Brown for the “human-ness” he brings to everything he looks at.

* David and Veronica of The Gypsy Nester for sharing their worldly “Celebrating Life after Kids” adventures.

* Dianna Bonny of Living On the Fault Lines for being brave enough to share the after effects of suicide in the family.

* Gina Homolka of Skinny Taste for keeping my taste buds excited.

* Glenda Watson Hyatt of Do It Myself for insisting that life is normal, even when it isn’t. And for having so much courage and grace.

* Jonathan Mead of Paid to Exist for his take-no-prisoners commitment to authenticity (warning: can sometimes be pretty “in-your-face”).

* Kim Garst of Kim Garst for being my ultimate “go to” expert on social media.

* Marvia Davidson of The Human Impulse for her unique word choices when her poetry looks at life.

* Nancy Tierney of Firecracker Communications for the vibrant (and motivating) way she approaches content creation.

* Rob Schultz of Profit Seduction for being one of the brightest marketers I know.

* Stanley Kahng of Remixto for always reminding me of why I need to move to somewhere South of the Border real soon.

So there they are: my 15 named bloggers. I hope you’ll click through to their blogs to see what’s so special.

And be sure to let me know in the Comments section below if you discovered any bloggers who inspire you or make you think!

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Bio: Sharon O’Day fixes financial lives. She is a tell-it-like-it-is money expert with a successful career in global finance, plus an MBA from the Wharton School. Today she specializes in getting entrepreneurial women over 50 back on their game so they can have more money, less stress and more joy. With her “Over Fifty and Financially Free” strategies, they take actions that lead to their ultimate goal: financial  peace of mind.

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  • Congratulations, Sharon, for the Versatile Blogger Award nomination. I love those awards as they give us an opportunity to learn more about the nominees! My compliments to you for calling the seven unknown facts LIFE LESSONS, gaining positive insights from any experience. I enjoyed it very much – thanks, Sharon!

    • Barbara, I’ve always loved the 1980s expression “open the kimono.” Sounds so very exotic. (Some try to give it sexist or racist connotations; I just find it beautifully illustrative.) And that’s precisely what these awards often promote … letting others have a peek at something we’d otherwise keep under cover. 😉

      • Lovely expression “open the kimono” (never heard of it in my parts), it evokes images of subtle and tantalizing delicacies … brava!

        • I love it, too. We’ve obviously lived long enough to ignore the insinuations of “petty slights” … ! Life’s too short for that. Another favorite expression is “wearing a hair shirt,” which is what too many wear … prickly, ready to react to anything. My response? Just chill. 😉

          • LOL, Roco comes into my mind: he is shedding hair non stop – rather unusual for a Boxer cum French bulldog mix – and when he shakes himself, a cloud of hair will fall to the ground. Chill or shake it off 🙂
            In German the expression means something different: to do penance, Christian sinners used to wear a shirt made of hair to prove their willingness to repent.

          • The origin is the same, but by some it has softened to represent the irritation alone. In your case, because it was prickly, the sinners were never at ease, ever-reminded to seek penance.

  • MariAnnLisenbe

    I love #6 – the greatest inheritance any parent could leave! Thanks for sharing this inspiring post, Sharon. You are definitely living proof that we can accomplish great things when we put our minds to it… and that “great things” often don’t have a monetary value either. <3 you sweet friend!

    • That inheritance issue became so clear back then, MariAnn. They were all looking for an answer in the form of stocks and bonds, properties, artwork, something tangible. But I had learned that all those things can vanish … mainly because I saw them do so as a kid! But the gifts I received were forever. How lucky can I be? 😉

  • Tina Ashburn

    Congratulations on your nomination! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about you and your successes and challenges. Good luck

    • I hope sharing my ups and downs brings you some new perspective on your own successes and challenges, Tina. There is so much we can learn from one another, even if it’s just a new and different way of looking at something!

  • kungphoo

    This is a wonderful post! Congratulations on your award, you definitely deserve it! Reading and getting to know more about you and your life lessons has been great!

    • Thanks, Rob, I’m happy to have been able to share more with you!

  • Roslyn Tanner Evans

    You are an extraordinary woman who has learned how to create your life, how to live life with what you got. You deserve this award and I look forward to all your blogs. Someday will start reading the people you recommend.

    • You hit it on the head, Roz! And that is a conscious decision. I won’t say it works 100% of the time (why, just this week I was hollering at God about something …). Sometimes circumstances make it tough. But some people don’t try at all …

      • Roslyn Tanner Evans

        Reinventing myself has been au natural for me, therefore easy to recognize in another. The more I learn about you, the more connected I feel.

  • Congrats on your nomination and loved reading more about who you are and the life events that have contributed to your biography, Sharon! We all have such interesting lives and I always encourage people to share their stories as a way for others to get to know them better. Thanks for your openness to sharing with us all!

    • We do all have such interesting lives, Beverley. What is sad is when someone minimizes what they’ve lived to date, diminishing it somehow as “less than.” I saw a comment the other day that referenced “comparing my inside with their outside” and losing out in the comparison. As you know, the major difference is the story we tell … 😉

  • Dianna Bonny

    Wow Sharon! What an amazing and interesting life you have lived. Wonderful lessons! Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your nomination. xo

    • Thanks, Dianna. Remember that what we experience as children feels pretty natural. So as events repeat themselves, they become opportunities to be reshaped into lessons!

  • Regina Bright

    WOW! Amazing woman!

    • Thanks, Regina. From you, I take that as high praise! 😉

  • I love the way you have turned all those life experiences into stepping stones to build a new life. You are inspirational Sharon. 🙂

    • I had a father who reinvented himself a few times in his life, Carolyn, so reinventing became commonplace. For some, a disaster is something to fear. With experience you learn that disasters are survivable … and they are also a chance to reinvent oneself …

  • Meryl Beck

    Congratulations on your nominations. What wonderful life lessons you have learned and how you have shared those with us. You have taken all that you have experienced and created a beautiful life.

    • Thank you, Meryl. I think in the end our challenge is to take the hand that has been dealt us and make the very most of it. And, depending what definitions we use, we can also turn it into something exceptional!

  • Nate Leung

    Hi Sharon –

    Congrats! I looked at your list of bloggers and never heard of any but I’ll be sure to check them out!

    • We all function in different circles and people we think of as “mainstays” in ours may not be that in someone else’s. That’s the fun of these lists …

  • Alexandra McAllister

    WOW! Congratulations on your nomination, Sharon! What wonderful life lessons you have learned. Thank you for sharing them! You are an incredible women and one that I admire.

    • Thank you, Alexandra. But, as you know, life puts things in your path and you have choices of how to handle them. (You’ve certainly had your fair share!) What’s also important is to be willing to look at those obstacles–whether before you overcome them or afterwards–and seek out the lesson. Just writing this article led me to a couple of new ones!

  • Claudia Looi

    Sharon, you are a role model to women of any age. I yelled out to my
    teens and got them to read fact #5 where you based your life experiences
    to get an MBA. Yet again you proved that there are ways to achieve what
    you want through unconventional ways. You certainly live a life by
    design – not the pray and hope for the best. Thanks for sharing. Always
    inspirational when I visit your site. Continue sharing your wisdom and
    life lessons.:)

    • Claudia, if that #5 concept applies to anyone, it will be to your two young ones! The life experience you and your husband are “gifting” them is exactly what I was talking about under #6 as well (“inheritance”) … something no one can ever take away. BTW, I also put foreign languages in that category. I pursued the option to learn them whenever presented, and with four under my belt I know I’ll never go hungry. And … “never go hungry” is what allows you to take the risks of living by design.

  • Veronica Solomon

    Wow Sharon, it is wonderful learning these things about you. I can see where your passion for what you do comes from. Life experiences are the best teachers. I love that you bent the rules and that you don’t live by what “they” will think. That is 95% of the battles we face. Getting your MBA without an undergrad? Amazing! way to negotiate! It was an absolute pleasure reading this post and of course, nominating you.

    • I love the dialog that was triggered by receiving the nomination, Veronica. Again, I thank you! Yes, if you can get beyond the 95% resistance — of supposed “rules” and external judgment — you multiply your alternatives immensely. Does that mean you’ve made the same leap? The fact that you’re aware of it … is already 95% of THAT battle. The other 5% is taking action. 😉

  • Pamela

    Another versatile blogger from the group! I’m soooo happy to really be in the same group as you, Sharon1 congratulations!

    • Happy to be in such good company, as you say, Pamela!

  • Heather Cameron

    Congratulations on your nomination. I love you 7 facts about you. Fascinating live you’ve lead. An inspiration on what we all should do. Resilience comes to mind. Thank you for sharing it.

    Love you mission in life as well, women need to take control of their finances.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Heather. Resilience is certainly part of it. But I think an even greater part is never considering oneself a victim. (Believing oneself to be a victim is debilitating and disempowering, in conflict with everything I believe about personal responsibility.)

  • fredmcmurray

    Congratulations on your nomination. How do we stuff the ballot box(I’m from Chicago) so that you win.

    • You must mean the old Chicago creed: “Vote early … and vote often.” 😉

      • fredmcmurray

        and all of the inhabitants of the cemetaries vote. How else could a family named Daley run the city for approx 50 of the last 60 years

        • Gee, I wonder if they showed their picture IDs … hmmmm.

  • Congratulations Sharon! Your points are powerful, especially about how your dreams as a young person still inspire your dreams today. I’m better for having read your post and for your nomination!!!!

    • Thanks, Don. More often than not, the value in writing is that some will see how the concepts apply to them … and act on that new knowledge!

  • “…following our heart and dreams early on is what makes that still feel like a possibility in our later years.”

    Amen to that, Sharon – something we can all live by!

    And thank you so much for the shout – sincerely appreciated, and really glad the blog resonates with you. Now I have to think of what I’m going to write – gah!! 🙂

    Have a great weekend!

    • The shout was a given, Danny. I saw your blog in the very early days of Headway when it was one of the few examples. The clarity of your tone has kept me coming back, even as the site has evolved. As for the weekly “What do I write about?” question, after 190 weeks of asking it, the “nomination” solved that issue .. for one week! Best to you …

      • Wow, Headway… now THAT’s a blast from the past! 🙂

        Thankful (again) for the kind words, it’s what makes it all worthwhile. And congratulations on the 190 weeks, one heck of a testament to the content! 🙂

  • Susan Schiller

    Every time I read parts of your story, Sharon, I am encouraged and inspired to use the winds of adversity to soar higher and farther than before. Thanks for never giving up and modeling an example of life reinvention!

    • I’m so glad these little vignettes serve to move you forward on your own personal journey, Susan. “…use the winds of adversity to soar higher and farther …” is a beautiful phrase that applies to you as well as to me! And, as you say, never give up!

  • Lucy Bu

    Wao Sharon amazing Life! Conocerla para mi ha sido un honor… y saber mas de Ud, me siento honrada aún mas… y mas que todo ejemplo para todas y todos.. You’r my inspiration now.. Blessings!

    • Que bueno saber que todavía lee mis artículos, Lucy! Nos conocimos en un momento en que era difícil desarrollar amistades. Me alegra que tengamos esta oportunidad de estar en contacto.

  • Pat Moon

    I am inspired by Firecracker Communications. I loved her wild horse writing article. I can relate to it in many ways having grown up on a cattle ranch and having a cowboy son. Horses have been a part of my life all my life. I need to seek to do more wild horse writing and then go back to do the editing. Thanks for sharing.

    • Did you know Nancy Tierney before, Pat? She brings together so much talent! What I’m guessing fuels the immense creativity in her copywriting is her singing: http://www.nancytierney.com/ A true “firecracker”!

  • Gina Stroud Binder

    Congratulations, Sharon! I enjoyed your 7 facts – especially the power of #7: letting go of what others think!

    • Gina, that is the most liberating thing I ever learned! Even if I didn’t let “them” get in the way most of my life, making major life decisions without factoring in the opinions of those who wouldn’t be touched directly … was huge!

  • Hi Sharon… I haven’t heard of any of the bloggers you named but I look forward to getting to know them now! I am a huge fan of Rob Forbe, Ty Tribble, Ray Higdon, and Rozanne Ritter. Fantastic bloggers and I have learned so much from them.

    Congratulations on your nominee and looking forward to reading more of your blog post. Thank you for sharing some insight of who you are. Blessed to be getting to know you.

    • I’ll check out your list as well, Katrina! What is wonderful about the internet is
      that we have at our fingertips millions of fabulous individuals, each bringing with her
      or him a unique “sauce.” And we get to pick! 😉

  • My thanks to everyone for the warm and generous support; this “award nomination” gave me a reason to share things I hope will help as you make your own life decisions!

  • Thank you Sharon! I enjoy reading your blog too. I always learn something g new about finances that equips me. 🙂 🙂