"Don't let the naysayers get you down!" shares author Patricia Kutza, when asked what advice she would give her 18-year old self today. Author Connie Payne added, "Don't be afraid to follow the path that you choose, and don't allow others to set your limits. Then be fierce in going after what you want." Kutza and Payne partnered to write their book, The Don't Get Me Started! Toolkit: Strategies for a Culturally Challenged World. The book's intention is to spark more conversations surrounding our cultural growth and differences. In the book, the authors write:
"We argue that there may be no other time in history when so many people from so many different economic, political and social strata have the technological tools at their fingertips to affect change in their lives. What we address...is the gap between the potential of these tools and the behaviors needed to achieve results in a win-win way."
The book covers topics from gender equality to race relations and discusses methods in critical thinking, emotional intelligence, flexibility and creativity. In addition a multitude of scenarios are provided and followed with informative teachable moments. "Culturally-tuned-in people," the book shares, "are mindful about how and when to voice their opinion, weigh the consequences of their behavior, value expressions of mutual respect, and are sensitive to the boundaries of personal space their own and others." The authors encourage us to seek opportunities that take us out of our comfort zones, in an effort to grow both as individuals and as a society.
As someone particularly interested in emotional intelligence, I found the section on Habits that Nurture Emotional Intelligence an important part of the book.
Kutza and Payne also provide a Cultural IQ test within the book, exercising the importance of emotional intelligence, creativity flexibility and the like.
The overall theme of the book is that our words and actions matter. In addition, "Historically a new generation emerges every twenty years. Longer life expectancy is contributing to the presence of more generations inhabiting the world at one time." And every generation tends to communicate differently. Millennials, for example, rely on technology as a primary mode of communication, more than any other generation. With such a vast array of communication styles, techniques and preferences, meaningful connection and mutual respect are important aspects that we need to be careful not to lose.
Authors Connie Payne and Patricia Kutza bring to the making of The Don't Get Me Started! Toolkit Strategies for a Culturally-Challenged World over thirty years of experience each in the education (Payne) and telecom (Kutza) sectors. This book draws on their personal experiences as well as primary and secondary research in psychology, ethics, law, sociology and technology.
The authors tackle and important topic in this book-- helping us all learn how to better connect and respect each other in our ever changing world.
After reading the book, I got to know the authors a bit better in an interview where I found out what motivates Payne and Kutza in their writing careers and what they are working toward in the future. I have provided some of our Q&A, below, as you too, may draw inspiration and motivation from learning more about the authors writing careers!
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Kutza: "I really didn't have an epiphany--- but enthusiastic feedback I received from my teachers in high school validated my sense that I had the capacity, if not always the drive, to hone my writing chops."
Payne: "I have always enjoyed writing, but never seriously considered it as a profession until Patricia and I decided to team up and write The Don't Get Me Started! Toolkit Strategies for a Culturally-Challenged World."
Share your journey to becoming a published author:
Kutza: "I started by submitting short articles to some high profile (but non-paying) outlets. I leveraged each clip I received to get writing gigs at paying outlets."
Payne: "As a neophyte in the area of professional writing I had to learn a lot in a short amount of time I could not have managed without my co-author Patricia, who shepherded me through the process."
What do you find to be the biggest challenge as an author?
Kutza: "Writing alone. It's a marathon and not a sprint so authors need to enjoy spending large amounts of time alone, which I enjoy...but not all of the time."
Payne: "Time management"
What do you find most rewarding as an author?
Kutza: "I enjoy receiving feedback. The kind that strokes my ego is never tiring to read. The kind that constructively evaluates my work can be hard to read but is, when the rubber meets the road, more valuable to receive."
Payne: "Getting through my daily and weekly checklist early, and knowing that our topic elicits thoughtful conversations during our presentations."
Share a daily habit you have that helps you reach your goals:
Kutza: "My current daily goal is to do at least one task related to marketing our book. It invariably includes writing so I get to constantly exercise my chops."
Payne: "I keep a daily to-do list and a weekly to-do list."
What is one piece of advice you want to share with an aspiring writer?
Kutza: "Try to approach constructive criticism of your work with the same levity that you do unrequited praise of it."
Payne: "Be persistent and accept set-back as challenges to defeat."
Complete these sentences...
I am most grateful for...
Kutza: "The talents, wisdom and spirit of my co-author Connie Payne."
Payne: "I am grateful for life and all the blessings that have been bestowed upon me."
My favorite thing about writing is...
Kutza: "Having a great outlet for asking questions...I am a question-holie."
Payne: "Producing something that others can enjoy."
My least favorite thing about writing is...
Kutza: "The tedium of administrative tasks."
Payne: "Dealing with the cyber world tasks."
My goals for the future are...
Kutza: "Reach for the stars."
Payne: "To live life to the fullest, and savor each and every day."
I love living a creative life because...
Kutza: "It fuels my spirit and gives me energy that I can apply to other parts of my life."
Payne: "It gives purpose to my life, and hopefully what I create will have meaning and be useful to others in some way."
My favorite book, ever, is...
Kutza: "100 Years of Solitude, Gabreil Marquez."
Payne: "It's actually a children's book with a very powerful message. The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein."
Outside of writing, my favorite hobby is...
Kutza: "Playing keyboards in a monthly jazz jam."
Payne: "Decorating and gardening."
The most important thing to do if you want to achieve your goals is...
Kutza: "Practice, persistence, and determination."
Payne: "Believe in yourself; have faith, and determination."
Special Notes: The authors are running Goodreads give-a-ways roughly once a month during 2017. Find The Don't Get Me Started! Toolkit Strategies for a Culturally-Challenged World, here: Goodreads, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter (@DGetMeStarted)
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. I received no compensation for this review, nor was I required to write a positive review. All opinions stated are my own.
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