What Would You Do If You Ran the World?: Everyday Ideas from Women Who Want to Make the World a Better Place

What Would You Do If You Ran the World?: Everyday Ideas from Women Who Want to Make the World a Better Place

by Shelly Rachanow

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In her first book, Shelly Rachanow asked a question, "What would YOU do if you ran the world?" that really resonated with her thousands of readers. Many have sent letters and emails answering her question by sharing great ideas for making the world a better place for our loved ones, ourselves, our community, and our world. What Would You Do If YOU Ran the World? is


In her first book, Shelly Rachanow asked a question, "What would YOU do if you ran the world?" that really resonated with her thousands of readers. Many have sent letters and emails answering her question by sharing great ideas for making the world a better place for our loved ones, ourselves, our community, and our world. What Would You Do If YOU Ran the World? is the culmination of brave, beautiful, brilliant, creative, and totally possible ideas that women have shared, complemented by inspiring quotes from famous women and action lists like "Ten Things You Can Start Doing Now." Rachanow's warm and encouraging voice motivates readers to join other amazing women who are kicking serious butt for the good of all, like a teenage girl and CNN hero, kids in Zimbabwe saving their part of the planet, and a busy mom who is not too busy to work every day to help impoverished families live better lives. From learning to listen to your own guiding voice to galvanizing the women in your life, from getting involved in your own community, to reaching clear across the world, she shows the way we can all live a satisfying life of "inspiration in action.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

And just for fun and inspiration comes this incredibly uplifting book by "butt-kicking woman" and author Rachanow (If Women Ran the World, Sh*t Would Get Done), who tells readers they can actualize their dreams right now, in the minutiae of everyday life. Rachanow draws from the American Heart Association (check out www.goredforwomen.org), Lucille Ball, and Whoopi Goldberg to generate numerous suggestions for making the world a better place and having fun doing it. Those looking to help themselves might find the solution in helping others. Highly recommended for all public libraries.
—Deborah Bigelow

Product Details

Red Wheel/Weiser
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.60(d)

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What Would You Do If You Ran the World?

Everyday Ideas from Women Who Want to Make the World a Better Place

By Shelly Rachanow

Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC

Copyright © 2009 Shelly Rachanow
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60925-062-1


What Would You Do ... for Yourself?

Have you ever called yourself the kind of names a sailor would be embarrassed to say?

Have you ever had the kind of job that was more painful to go to than a root canal?

Have you ever had a dream, but didn't feel good enough (or young enough, pretty enough, or talented enough) for it to come true?

If you ran the world, wouldn't one of the first things you'd do for yourself be to give yourself permission to live the life YOU want to live? Wouldn't you feel powerful enough (not to mention good enough, young enough, pretty enough, and talented enough) to say Yes to your dreams? Wouldn't you know that you deserve to be treated with love, respect, and kindness from other people ... and from yourself? Wouldn't you realize that, if the world trusted you to be in charge, you must be pretty darn fabulous after all?

If you ran the world, wouldn't you realize you're entitled to have some fun (and wouldn't you let yourself)? Would you hop on a plane and see all the places you've ever wanted to see? Would you find time to dance, paint, shop, write, hike, or camp? Would you let yourself take a day off every now and then?

If you ran the world, wouldn't you realize that, as Oprah Winfrey once said, "it is possible for you to do whatever you choose."

Think about it: What would you do for yourself if YOU ran the world?

10 Things You Can Do For Yourself ... Without Ever Needing a Reason Why

1. Take a day off.

2. Easily say no when you want to ... and feel great instead of guilty while doing so.

3. Celebrate how fabulously brilliant you are.

4. Realize that demand can be an okay thing for you to do.

5. Have regular Pamper Yourself time that you never, ever, ever consider rescheduling.

6. Take a chance.

7. Take another day off ... this time from everything and everyone.

8. Treat yourself to something that can be described with one or more of the following adjectives: sparkly, yummy, divine, rich, adventurous, adorable, posh, sexy, beautiful, fun, and exhilarating.

9. Love, accept, and respect yourself exactly as you are (and understand that your opinion of you is the only one that counts).

10. Know that you deserve to have an infinite number of items on this list! Go ahead and add some more.

A Doing for Myself Story

For as long as she can remember, Karyn has been putting other people before herself. Like many teenagers who spent years feeling that Dad "just didn't understand," she left home at eighteen to ride off into the sunset with the first Prince Charming who came along. Unfortunately, Karyn's Mr. Charming turned out to be anything but that.

Karyn put her boyfriend's needs before her own for the better part of a year, even quitting her own job (at his insistence) after he lost his job and couldn't bear to be less than her in any way. Just after she'd finally gained the courage (and felt safe enough) to leave him, she found out she was pregnant. Her son, Ryan, was born six months later. Karyn was twenty years old.

Between school, a job, a new baby, and a new boyfriend (who was more like a second child than a grownup), taking time for herself was something Karyn didn't have any time to think about, let alone do. That was all the more true after she got married and gave birth to twin girls ... and even more so after she divorced and found herself caring for three kids on her own. Most days, the best thing Karyn could do for herself and her kids was making sure they survived.

All that changed when someone asked Karyn some questions she'll never forget: "How are your kids going to view the way you treat yourself and implement that into their lives? What is your son learning about valuing women? What are your girls learning about valuing themselves?"

That's when Karyn realized she'd learned to put other people first after years of watching her mom (like so many moms) do just that. The more Karyn thought about it, the more she realized that she didn't want her kids to end up in the women-always-come-last caboose. She realized she did not want her girls to become women who always waited until after everyone else had eaten to eat, or walked by the shiny-happy-sparkly item on the shelf thinking, If only that could be for me.

Karyn decided it was time to teach her kids a new habit. She began treating herself to something she really wanted (versus needed) with every paycheck she received, even if that something was as simple as a new pair of underpants or as special as time for her favorite dance class at the gym. Even though the habit was harder to stick to than a new exercise routine at first, the words "I matter" soon became Karyn's new theme. She realized once and for all that taking time for herself is a habit that neither she nor her kids ... nor any woman ... should ever live without!

Wouldn't Your Life Be a Better Place If ...

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Take her advice and stop consenting to being overworked, used, abused, dumped on, or less than in anyway. You will have much more fun when you join with Aretha and claim the R-E-S-P-E-C-T you deserve.

Devote today to something so daring even you can't believe you're doing it.

—Oprah Winfrey

A Doing for Myself Story

Liz has always been one of those people who has done what is expected of her. Even though she had, as she says, her "mouthy and rebellious" moments, in the end she always followed the socially acceptable path. Doing the "right" thing was something she never questioned.

For Liz, doing the right thing led to many exceptional early accomplishments. She started taking courses at a local community college when she was sixteen years old, and unlike many kids her age who spent time planning for prom or homecoming, Liz was already planning (and paying) for her future (she paid for her college courses, her car, and her cell phone). She also worked several fabulous jobs that looked even more fabulous on her résumé. If there was an award for doing exactly what she "should be" doing, Liz would have won top prize.

When Liz was nineteen years old (and attending a four-year college full-time), her stepfather passed away. As Liz says, his death was an awakening for her. She realized that no matter what her stepfather had done in his life ... be it building a house on Maryland's Eastern shore, raising birds and dogs, or skydiving ... he felt joy and passion with everything he chose to do (otherwise he didn't do it). Liz also realized that she felt absolutely no joy or passion in any of the things she was doing ... and she wasn't sure she ever had.

Even though Liz didn't have all the answers, and she certainly didn't know what was next for her, she knew she no longer wanted to live if she wasn't really loving what she was doing (or as she says, if she wasn't really living). She quit school and each of her jobs (all five of them) and gave herself permission to figure out what brought her joy and passion. Now, as Liz is just a few weeks away from moving across the country to start attending a new school (where she can explore organic foods and organic living, one of the deep passions she discovered), she will tell you that there are still many things that she is trying to figure out. She will also tell you that no matter how scary the unknown or new may seem, it is such a better place to be than being stuck in the place of numbness, shoulds, and regrets.

Wouldn't Your Life Be a Better Place If ...

Marcia Wieder once said, "Fill your life with as many moments and experiences of joy and passion as you humanly can." Even if you don't exactly know what that means or looks like for you, know that you don't ever have to settle for any moments or experiences (or people) that do the

A Brave, Beautiful, and Brilliant Inspiration

What is right for one soul may not be right for another. It may mean having to stand on your own and do something strange in the eyes of others.

— Eileen Caddy

Have you ever wondered what might happen to a woman who was denied admission to twenty medical schools because she lacked a Y-chromosome? Have you ever wondered what might happen if this woman refused to accept that there were limits to "a woman's place"? Have you ever wondered what might happen when that woman was a trailblazer named Patsy Mink?

Patsy Mink was born in Maui in 1927, and she was never one to be shy about speaking her mind (she remembers holding onto her brother's shirt as a four-year-old and demanding ... and winning ... the right to accompany him to first grade). The willingness to speak up helped Patsy Mink win many things during her early life, including the election for student body president at her high school and a battle against segregated student housing at the University of Nebraska. And when medical school after medical school said No to Patsy Mink, there was no way she was going to let them have the last word. Deciding that the best way she could make all schools accept women was to become a lawyer, Patsy Mink said Yes to the University of Chicago Law School, graduating in 1951 and becoming the first woman of Japanese American ancestry to practice law in Hawaii.

When both her race and her gender made it difficult for Patsy Mink not only to find her first job but also to find acceptance from many of her male counterparts, she decided to speak up and speak out on an even greater scale. Patsy Mink was first elected to Hawaii's Territorial House in 1956 and then to the Territorial Senate in 1958. In 1964, she became the first Asian American woman to serve in Congress, doing so from 1964 to 1977 and again from 1990 until her death in 2002. In every political place Patsy Mink served, she spoke up and spoke out so that all women could experience the respect and fair treatment she'd been denied.

Of all the amazing things Patsy Mink did for herself and for women, one of the greatest was her drafting of Title IX, which was enacted on June 23, 1972, and which mandated equal support for males and females in academics and athletics at any institution receiving federal money. Because of Title IX, schools can no longer prevent women from wielding a scalpel or shouting "Fore!" just because of our XX genes. With Title IX, Patsy Mink proved to the world (and to herself) just how powerful women are when we speak up and speak out about the things we care about the most.

Is there some way YOU want to speak up, speak out, and "stand on your own"?

An Awesome Idea in Action

Have you ever paid a plumber a huge sum of money for a job that only took him five minutes to finish?

Have you ever asked someone from the Y-chromosome set to fix something for you and then waited forever for him to get it done?

Have you ever found yourself living alone and utterly terrified of the words leak, drip, break, rot, or flood?

If you can answer Yes to any of those questions (or, if you're like me, Yes to all three), then you can join me in breathing a huge, collective, empowering sigh of relief. Now we don't need to be broke, frustrated, or terrified. We just need to Be Jane!

Be Jane is an online community that was started in 2003 by Heidi Baker and Eden Jarrin. It was inspired by Heidi's own experience in purchasing her first home, which had, as she says, "yellowed popcorn ceilings, carpet that made a game of 'Guess That Stain,' and a fireplace that looked like it belonged on That '70s Show." Stunned by the price quotes she received from repairmen, Heidi Baker decided she was not going to let anyone rip her off. She ignored all the naysayers and head shakers at the home improvement store and fixed up her home herself, eventually selling it for more than twice what she paid for it! In the process, she also realized that her XX genes (like yours and mine) are capable of more than she had ever dreamed.

Heidi Baker and Eden Jarrin created Be Jane so that women everywhere "could learn through home improvement to gain confidence in their abilities to truly make a difference in the way they live." The site contains a growing list of articles, tips, tutorials, and how to's, as well as plenty of inspiration for midproject, when the dirt and dust have gotten a bit too much to bear. I particularly love the JQ, or Jane Quotient, that rates projects from one hammer to five hammers based on ease or difficulty (I'm hoping to brave some two hammer projects soon). I also love the featured Janes, other everyday women who aren't afraid to share their own thoughts, triumphs, and what-have-I-done moments.

These days, more and more women are becoming home owners on their own, and thanks to Be Jane, we can learn to navigate the aisles of any home improvement store just as easily as we can the levels of a department store. Thanks to Be Jane, we don't ever have to fear those scary sounds that used to cause us to run screaming for the Yellow Pages. Because when it comes down to it, no one should ever stand in the way of a woman who has decided she is going to get something done. This is especially true when that woman is holding a power tool!

Here's an Idea You Can Do for Yourself Today ...

Check out www.BeJane.com and learn more about creating a space YOU will love!

A Doing for Myself Story

As a child, my sister Mindy was the tomboy of our family. She was always outside playing football, soccer, baseball, and every sport imaginable with the boys in the neighborhood, ready to prove she could beat all of them (and she usually could). Feeling great and being in great shape were never things she had to worry about.

Time for sports dwindled when Mindy started college and papers, internships, and a heavy class load seemed to eat up all the spare hours in her day. This was all the more true the summer after she graduated when she took her Occupational Therapist Certification Exam and was married all in a matter of months. When Mindy returned from her honeymoon, she started working full-time. Not only did she have even less time to exercise than when she was in college, her job entailed visiting clients in schools and homes around Baltimore. Eating healthy was a challenge, especially in the days when it seemed like the only quick choices were "super-sized."

Excerpted from What Would You Do If You Ran the World? by Shelly Rachanow. Copyright © 2009 Shelly Rachanow. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Shelly Rachanow comes from a long line of butt-kicking women which inspired her to write her first book If Women Ran the World Sh*t Would Get Done. The success of that book lead her to write this book.

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