Book Quotes: Lean In by Tara Henley

Corporate Girlie, Career Woman, Working Mom, Lean Out, Lean In, Nature, Balance, Work Life Harmony, Family and Friends, Forest Baths
Corporate Girlie, Career Woman, Working Mom, Lean Out, Lean In, Nature, Balance, Work Life Harmony, Family and Friends, Forest Baths

I read “Lean Out” last year, and as you can imagine – it pokes holes in the lean-in narrative.  I was never able to get behind or even read lean-in.  It didnt sit well with me (even though I had only heard about it in passing).  The quotes below are the reason why I would rather lean out.

Pg 38 – As I did, the dispair of the city seeped in through my pores, rearranging the molecules in my body and plunging me into darkness.

Pg 39 – In societies with a massive gab between the rich and the poor, everyones physical health suffers, even the rich…  Likely caused by lack of social cohesion.  A result of severed connections.

Pg 53 – I was primmed to seek my solace here, among the trees.

Pg 54 – Shinrin-yoku (forrest bathing), essentially meditation in wooded settings have been shown to reduce stress chemicals….those who spent time in nature inhaled plant-based compounds that increased white blood cells. Forest walks have been proven to relieve confusion.

Pg 63 – What exactly would life look like if it was not lived in fast forward? What would it mean to live simply, slowly and in harmony with the natural world?  Was there anyone who was leaning out?

Pg 64 – Every day on the bike trip is like the one before – but it is also completely different.  Or perhaps you are different, woken up in new ways by the mile.

Pg 67 – The model of the modern cosmopolitan woman, whose lifestyle is now as oppressive as her job.  She works until 1am, and is so harried she barely has time to chew her 12 dollar chopped salad she buys every day at her Sweetgreen (served up in record time by fevered clerks “as if it were their purpose in life to do so and their customers purpose in life to send emails for sixteen hours a day with a brief break to snort down a bowl of nutrients that ward off the unhealthfulness of urban professional living”)… The salad represented a kind of idea for a creative class. It was a symbol of…you work all f—— day and you just do everything as efficiently as possible, including your lunch….and the workers handling ticket orders like they were stock brokers.  This monstrous efficiency struck me as so upsetting.

Pg 68 – For what Barre is truly good at is “getting you in share for a hyper-accelerated capitalist life”… These classes prepare you “less for a marathon than for a 12 hour workday, or a week alone with a kid and no child care, or an evening commute on an underfunded train”.

Pg 73 – “Just because we care about our children, and our parents and the environment, doesn’t mean we we don’t want make our mark on the world and bring our creative magic”.

Pg 81 – There are of course, lots of other reasons to eat: pleasure, identity, ritual & community

Pg 113 – I think we should not be focusing on everyone having a job, we should be focusing on everyone being able to survive with the bare necessities.  He thought we were waking up to the lie of advertising… a “manufactured inadequacy” that made people believe they were not complete

Pg 124 – Early retirement helps the planet because it gets the fortunate people to consume less fossil fuels and natural resources.

Pg 127 – Like many gen-x’ers who came before the age of the internet, I missed the way time used to feel.  The vast expanse that was the weekend, with it’s stretches of uninterrupted hours.  The deep contemplation of staring out a window, or sitting on a bus. The luxuriousness of being out in the world for hours, days even, untethered from work, unimpeded by the pressure to respond to texts and emails and social media.   Free to think, and be, and focus on what was in front of you.  Which was, generally, other people. People who were similarly focused, similarly engaged.  There were other things I missed, too. Phone calls, neighbors, walking down the street without people steering into me absentmindedly, engrossed in their phones.
The whole character of public space, really. What it felt like to sit in a café before we all had to listen to each other’s work calls, made in that exaggerated professional voice everyone uses. Eye contact and casual conversation; not sitting in isolated islands, hunched over devices, in thrat to flickering lights. What friendship felt like before social media, and dating before texting and apps. Punctuality. Privacy. Newspapers, long attention spans, foldout maps.  The experience of being lost in a city, unaccounted for.  Boredom, even.

Pg 138 – A love born out of shared pain, but also shared joy. At managing to make something beautiful from this mess.  At putting pain into words, and having those words mean something to someone else.  Easing someone’s pain, in however small a way.

Pg 143 – The digital world now felt utterly inescapable “even if you dont want to participate, all you are really doing is putting your head in the sand”

Pg 144 – Facebook founders knew that they were building systems that exploited a vulnerability in human psychology – and went ahead and did it anyway….God only knows what what it does to [our] brains.  The short-term dopamine-driven feedback loops are destroying how society works. Leading to a lack of civil disclosure, misinformation and mistruth.

Pg 148 – The ever intensifying industrialism: wide spread surveillance in our pockets, colonization of wilderness, indigenous lands and our mindspace.  When you are connected to wifi, you are disconnected from life.  It’s a choice between machine world and the living breathing world.

Pg 152 – What gave me joy was pretty simple: waking up everyday without an alarm, reading all the books on my nightstand, eating when I was hungry, rest when I was tired, moving my body everyday, being outside and cooking for those I cared about <3

Pg 172 – There is a Western mindset of more more more.  Of packing too much into too little time.  Of doing instead of being.  Of rushing around all of the time.  Going forward, I knew I must find a way to dwell in the calm.

Pg 177 – Throughout history, we have needed each other to hunt and gather, to defend against attacks from animals and other humans, and to brave the extreme weather conditions. But now, as we buy prepackaged meals, live alone in secure, climate controlled condos – that need is no less powerful.  We are still hardwired for connection and interdependence.  And when we don’t have it – we sink into despair.

Pg  178 – Of course I feel anxious in a society where a homeless man could stand outside a gourmet grocery store, largely ignored, selling community newspapers to make enough money for a sandwich, while mega-mansions a few blocks away sat empty and unused.

Pg 186 – There is a snowball effect to loneliness.  Brain scans show that lonely people are suspicious of social contact, perpetually scanning for threats.  On a subconscious level, they know nobody is looking out for them, so they become hyper-vigiliant. Which in turn makes them hard to be around.

Pg 198 – Our brains are wired for collaboration, cooperation. Serving others gives us a rush of oxytocin and the sense of belonging so many of use are lacking these days.  It goes back to tribal life, and how much we’ve always depended on each other for survival.  And it’s why experts often suggest volunteering to people who are suffering.  These days, volunteer work has gone the way of other work, becoming intensely bureaucratic, competitive and all consuming.  But applying to become a volunteer was, I soon discovered, exactly like applying for a job. 

Pg 202 – Profound healing is possible.  Probable even, under the right conditions.  But in order to foster these conditions we have to stop telling the story of healing as one of individual triumph, and start acknowledging the role of the tribe.  We have to focus on what we must do for each other, instead of what we must do for ourselves.

Pg 209 – So Senghor dove into autobiographies, looking to see how other people had overcome adversity, how other people had healed.  

Pg 220 – The concept of home is a tricky one in the 21st century.  For those of us born with Western passports, there are now endless options for how and where to live.  This mobility is a gift an a curse.  As globalization spreads, we of fortunate birth fan out, following the jobs from one country to the next, loosing each other as we go.

Pg 234 – What they eventually discovered was that in the US, if you wanted to become happier, you did something for yourself.  You buy something, you show off on instagram, you work harder.  Where as in more communal countries, if you wanted to make yourself happier, you did something for someone else: friends, family, community.  We have an implicitly individualistic idea of what it means to be happy, they have an instinctively collective idea of what it means to be happy. 

Pg 249 – What are our needs for happiness? [quoted by the mayor in Happy City]: We need to walk, we need to be around other people, we need beauty.  We need contact with nature, and most of all, we need not to be excluded.  We need to feel some sort of equality.

Pg 250 – Connecting the dots on the epidemic of overwork and anxiety had not led me to unplug from society, leaving a trail of helpful tips for readers in my wake.  It had instead led me here, to the most pressing issue of our time: economic inequality.

Pg 253 – I’m talking about the psychosocial effects of inequality.  Feelings of superiority and inferiority.  Of being respected and disrespected.  Status competition.   Which he believes is also driving the consumerism in our society.  Which leads to widespread feelings of insecurity, even violence.

Pg 256 – The ideology of MarketWorld is defined as a rising powerful elite (of people) operating on contradictory impulses – both to do well and to do good, to change the world while also profiting from the status quo…. We talk a lot about giving more, we don’t talk about taking less.

Pg 263 – Facebook has solved harder problems than this.  Companies like Facebook have the imagination and the resources to implement better leave and flexibility in working hours so parents don’t have to choose between their children and their careers.  It may come as a cost initially, but the return on investment will be more women staying in the workplace, higher employee satisfaction and the knowledge that we are doing right be our people and children.  

Pg 263 – Sandberg’s upbeat philosophy then, disregards the crushing realities of the current labour market for women.  I believe telling women to raise their hands and try harder in the open sea of hostility we face in the workplace is like handing a rubber ducky to someone hit by a tsunami (Katherine Goldstein, a former lean-in advocate turned critic).  It inadvertently encourages us to internalize our own discrimination, leading us to blame ourselves for getting passed over for raises, eased out of our jobs, not getting called for job interviews and being denied promotions.

Pg 263 – the biggest lie of lean in is the underlying message that bosses are ultimately benevolent, that hard work is rewarded and that if women shed the straight jacketof self doubt, a meritocratic world awaits…. this is untrue.  We have Sandberg fretting about the “ambition gap” and to work up to the very moment we give birth…and then resume emailing from the hospital beds immediately afterwards.  What kind of life is that?

Pg 264 – If we are honest about it, if we look at the actual numbers, overwork is essentially taking all of our precious life energy – all the hours we could be spending with family, laughing with friends, learning new hobbies, getting out into nature, exercising our bodies, eating home cooked meals, sleeping, participating in our communities and creating real change – and converting all of that time and energy into profit. Profit in fact, for a very small group of people.

Corporate Girlie, Career Woman, Working Mom, Lean Out, Lean In, Nature, Balance, Work Life Harmony, Family and Friends, Forest Baths
Corporate Girlie, Career Woman, Working Mom, Lean Out, Lean In, Nature, Balance, Work Life Harmony, Family and Friends, Forest Baths

Quick ways to shift your energetic state

✨ interrupt anxiety with deep breaths

✨ interrupt worry with thoughts of gratitude

✨ interrupt sadness with seeking the humour

✨ interrupt overwhelm with movement of the body

✨ interrupt fear with courageous action

✨ interrupt boredom with spontaneous play

Outperform your 2023 self

I have a few priorities and activities in the next few weeks so I’m not yet cramming in trying to create a vision board or create a word of the year.  (And hey if you are, that’s cool too – read more about My Vision Board process here)  But true to myself and my interest of the art of leisure and mental fitness, I wanted to share a few ways we can all out perform our 2023 selves!

Of course these techniques are not reserved for Jan 1, you can do them any time so I wanted to share as they are very useful.

Develop these Mindsets:

  • If 1000 people win, I AM ONE OF THEM.
  • If 100 people WIN, I AM ONE OF THEM.
  • If 10 people WIN, I AM ONE OF THEM.
  • If 1 person WINS, I AM THAT ONE.

Develop New Healthy Habits:

It’s very important to have productive habits because they will turn into routines. Motivation can fade, and that is when discipline prevails.

Here are example of healthy habits:

  • write specific goals down for the following day before bed.
  • Journal & evaluate your day before bed.
  • Sleep early or get a good night’s sleep.
  • You are aware of your bad habits, change to the opposite.

Get 1% Better Daily:

This is MY FAV technique! Prioritize incremental progress over perfection. Don’t get lured into the fantasy or “fast result”

Knowing this will keep you consistent.

Some high valued 1% skills include:

  • Read for 10 pages daily
  • Learn for skill a least 10 min a day
  • Meditate for 5 minutes
  • Exercise for 1 hour
  • Create art daily (photography, doodling counts)
  • Reflect on your day
  • Practice gratitude

Prioritize Physical & Mental Health:

Add activities that makes you feel good physically and mentally to your routine.

  • Get some outdoor time daily
  • Journal everyday
  • Eat clean & drink 2-3L of water
  • Go on solo & friendship dates
  • Hang out with family/loved ones.
  • Read a self-dev article
  • Use diffusers or scented candles in your home
  • Clean your space (do a quick tidy)

Diversify your income streams:

Making money and more specifically women making more money is good for society and thr planet. In 2024 consider upskilling, changing jobs, seeking high-paying clients or even a side project that your are passionate about. Start small but stay consistent. Not only will there be a dollar amount change but also you’ll be developing your always learning attitude.

  • Get a new certificate your career field
  • Digital Marketing
  • Content Creation
  • Sell your art on Etsy
  • Influencer marketing
  • Audience building
  • UI/UX Design
  • Data Analysis Skills
  • Master No-Code

All images c/o Pinterest

7 ways to show up for yourself

As we round off the year, I like to share tid bits of wisdom that I’ve gained or read.  And I think it’s really important that we show up for yourselves.  Sometimes we have to be our own hype person, our own hand to high hive or shoulder to cry on.  The list below are some of my tried and true methods to showing up for yourself.

*all pictures are my own* do not use without explicit and written consent.

  1. Commit to routines that are good for your well being – be disciplined to do them enough even when you don’t want to.
  2. Practice self awareness – listening to your needs and course correcting when you aren’t aligning to your ultimate goals
  3. Give yourself grace – we don’t need to be perfect, it’s okay to fumble, take the rest you need, what matters is getting quickly getting back to your routines.
  4. Take care of your daily human needs: stay hydrated, eat healthy, get enough sleep, get sunshine and practice moderate activity
  5. Be curious – take every opportunity to learn and stretch yourself
  6. Make yourself a priority – show up for yourself, take care of yourself and be proud of your accomplishments
  7. Always have a grateful heart – it gives you perspective

5 top ways to be more confident in your career

One thing about me, is if I can share my wisdom I will.  I do a lot of mentoring in my corporate girlie life.  And I also look for opportunities to be mentored.  I’ve had a few great mentors over the years who have guided, protected and propelled me – so I really feel passionate about giving back.

Sometimes, those mentors are in my company, in my personal life or even virtual.

So consider me your virtual mentor!  I hope these tips can help you exude more confidence in your job, career, big dreams and beyond.

  1. Don’t take personalities or communication styles personally
    I find that as adults making friends is a hit or miss. There is such a mix of characters and preferred ways of interacting that we can be friendly with some and frenemies with others. The same applies in the workplace. There is also a mix of personalities and communication styles (cultures and genders can add to the bag). Remind yourself that when people are being direct, it is not personal.
  2. Stop putting others on a pedestals
    If you think other people around are better or smarter than you, because of a certain job title, project they are on or experience – they probably arent. And you can prevent the feeling of under confidence by not assuming people are better than you purely based on what you see. Remember everyone is going through something, even if you can’t see it.
  3. Assume you are doing well (unless you are told otherwise)
    Managers have a responsibility to have transparent conversations with their employees about work activities and performance. So unless you are being told otherwise, assume everything is going well!
  4. Remind yourself its not that serious
    Perspective is important. Remember if it won’t matter in 5 years, don’t spend 5 seconds thinking about it. Zoom out and get a higher point of view. Put in an honest effort, but don’t lose sleep or miss your breaks/PTO because of it.
  5. Reframe your negative thoughts into positive ones
    We often think the worse in every situation. It actually takes more effort and energy to negative than positively. If you feel like you are asking too many questions, remind yourself that you want to have clarity. But also if you get feedback that at first stings, take it as an opportunity to improve.

Remember to lean into your Divine Feminine Energy

Sometimes women get stuck in their toxic masculine energy.  This can be because of many factors but it all comes down to our fast paced lifestyle, being out of sync with the moon cycles, lack of community and not using our hands (aka holding a tiny black screen all day!).  

Which manifests for some women as:

  • feeling stressed all the time
  • being in flight or fight mode for years
  • operating from a point of fear
  • the need to control everything

But it’s very easy for us women to return to our natural state and divine feminine energy.


Here are 3 ways to nurture your Divine Feminine and call back your natural receiving energy.

  1. Be creative – This means making something with you hands. Can be art, can be a meal, knitting, writing/journaling, doing your make up/hair
  2. Spend time in nature – Being within the trees, walking barefoot in the grass, try to aim for 10-30 minutes in the sun and within the trees. We need to do a more concerted effort to reconnect with mother nature.
  3. Learn to say no – As women we often obligated to do things for others, take care of others and put ourselves last on the priority list. We often feel bad saying no and feel like we need to handle more than we can – it creates bitterness and resentment. Start practicing saying no today. It will be the first step in healing the the wounded feminine.