Monday, November 12, 2012

Q&A with writer Leslie Levine

Leslie Levine
Leslie Levine, an author, speaker, and consultant, heads Leslie Levine Communications. She has written three books: Wish It, Dream It, Do It; Ice Cream for Breakfast; and Will This Place Ever Feel Like Home; and is working on a novel. 

Q: Your book Wish It, Dream It, Do It offers strategies for getting more out of life. How difficult is it for most people to figure out what they really want, and is it a question of becoming better organized, or developing more focus?

A: I think for some people figuring out what they want is a daily struggle while others know from an early age or immediately following a particularly inspiring workshop (or after completing a life-changing book (hint, hint ; )  ) what they want. Also, what we want tends to change from day to day or less frequently. I guess the trick is to be nimble so that if you find there’s something that interests you, you can shuffle things around in your life. 

I know for me, for example, my family responsibilities are really front and center. I work from home and that means my children and husband to some extent think that I have all the time in the world to not only complete my work but make their beds, sweep, walk the dog, do the laundry (and we always seem to have soooo much laundry to do). That said, getting organized and developing more focus are essential. 

But getting organized isn’t just about clearing up the clutter; you have to organize your head, too, and the way you might delegate and basically figure out the best way to manage your time. One of the best tricks I use is this: if I can, I try to imagine how I will feel at the end of the workday insofar as my to-do list goes. In other words, when I make my daily list I try to prioritize my tasks according to how accomplished I will feel. Must-do’s (so that I don’t feel guilty) go at the top of the list. But I also try to include those activities that will get me closer toward achieving what I really want from life.

Q: In your book Ice Cream for Breakfast, you advise people to break some rules and enjoy life more. Do you think most people are too rule-bound, or feel too guilty when they're not sticking to what they perceive as the rules they should be following?

A: I think we are all bound by certain rules that are really quite good for us and the people we live/work with as well. But there are other rules that really make no sense, especially once you’re out of school and living on your own. And yes, sometimes if we’re too rule-bound, we miss out on some mighty wonderful opportunities. For example, we may be accustomed to protecting our privacy, which often comes from that very effective rule: don’t talk to strangers. Well, sure, we don’t necessarily want our young children to invite unwanted attention from certain people, but as we get older, it’s important, like during a networking event, to talk to every stranger in the room if possible. And remember, you don’t really have to do a lot of talking (and divulging of private info for that matter) at a venue like that; it’s amazing what you can get away with if you just ask a few questions here and there and then sit back and listen . . .

Q: In Will This Place Ever Feel Like Home, you look at ways that people can cope with moving to a new home. How long do you think it takes most people to feel at home in a new setting, and what are a few of your top suggestions?
A: I think it takes what it takes. For some people, the length of time it takes for a place to feel like home will depend upon the circumstances that led up to the move. If the reasons were positive, I think it’s more likely that the person will settle in more quickly. On the other hand, for those who are forced to move under difficult circumstances (a divorce, a death in the family, helping to look after a sick relative, etc.), it may take longer. It also depends of course upon one’s attitude and ability to change. Some people are very fortunate and can adapt more quickly than others. I think what’s most important is for people to NOT impose a schedule on themselves for settling in. That’s a lot of pressure.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I am finishing the 433rd draft of my novel. I hope to have it ready for my agent to read in January. Thanks for asking. :)

Q: Anything else we should know?

A: I am so happy you asked me these questions.

Interview with Deborah Kalb.

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