When my daughter was in her first year of college she had a flat tire that left her stranded along the left shoulder of a major highway. She had to wait two hours for AAA to rescue her. It was inexcusable that a business that prides itself on highway safety made her wait that long. But what was worse was that we had sent her off to college without knowing how to change a tire. You can bet the first time she came home after that, my husband and I made sure she knew how to take care of herself.

Like my daughter, most women have a lot of wonderful things going for them, but also have pockets in their lives that could be filled to make life better, easier, safer, more fulfilling. I wrote about that in my soon-to-be-released book MADDIE FORTUNE’S PERFECT MAN (April 17, 2018). My heroine is a confident businesswoman, who has dedicated most of her adult life to learning her family’s business. As she’s preparing to take over, life throws her a curveball, forcing her to take a hard look at who she is outside of her family’s empire. She realizes that her life could use a makeover. She’s dedicated herself to her career, to the detriment of everything else. Like so many of us who try to be everything to everyone else, she’s neglected herself in the process.     

Self-exploration can be equal parts scary and empowering. But the first steps toward confidence start with realizing our weaknesses. Writing this book made me think about some of the things every woman should know or be comfortable doing. Don’t worry, it isn’t a practical list – well, okay, some of the things are practical, but mostly, it’s about how to be good to yourself.


HOW TO CHANGE A TIRE (of course!). This is the most practical item on the list, but after my daughter’s harrowing experience, it’s something important to know.

HOW TO FLIRT FOR THE SPORT OF IT. Even if you’re married, it’s all in good fun and can be an instant self-confidence booster. Go ahead, make eye-contact, smile. Work it, girl!

HOW TO FEEL COMFORTABLE HAVING LUNCH BY YOURSELF /GOING TO A MOVIE BY YOURSELF / TRAVELING BY YOURSELF. Learn how to enjoy your own company so you don’t miss out while waiting for a friend or lover to finally get around to doing what you want.

HOW TO POLITELY DEFEND AN ISSUE YOU’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT. Even if you don’t persuade the person to see things your way, the point is having a position and being able to articulate it without arguing.

HOW TO TELL WHICH IS YOUR DRINK AND BREAD PLATE AT A LUNCHEON WHERE THE PLACE SETTINGS ARE CRAMMED TOGETHER ON A ROUND TABLE. A friend of mine, who was once a Walt Disney World Ambassador, learned this trick in an etiquette class that Disney sent her to as part of her training: with your hands in your lap, make a circle by touching your thumb and forefinger together on each hand while holding your other three fingers up. You’ll notice that your left hand forms a small “b” and your right hand forms a small “d.” The “b” of your left hand reminds you that your bread plate is on your left, and the “d” of your right hand signifies that your drink is on the right. Cool, huh? Go confidently to that luncheon.

HOW TO DISTANCE YOURSELF FROM A “TOXIC FRIEND.” This can be difficult, but really, it’s a matter of self-preservation. It's taken me far too long to realize that sometimes people project their own insecurities onto others and other times they're just not good friends. Life is too short for that kind of drama or to invest time in someone who doesn’t care or play fair

HOW TO GET RID OF GUILT.  Remember what Eleanor Roosevelt said: No one can make you feel inferior unless you let them. Same applies to this – no one can make you feel guilty unless you allow them.

HOW TO NOT TAKE THINGS PERSONALLY. Eleanor’s rule can loosely apply here, too. It’s not always about you and sometimes that’s a good thing.

HOW TO LAUGH AT YOURSELF. There’s something remarkably liberating about not taking yourself too seriously and not caring what others think of you. I love that saying, What others think of you is none of your business.

HOW TO SAY NO. This is a hard one for me, especially when it comes to saying no to family. Alas, there are only so many hours in a day and it’s amazing how fast they fill up.

HOW TO SAY YES. This one is hard for me, too. Learn how to say yes to things you want to do – girls weekends; writing conferences, the occasional splurge on a trinket for yourself. You work hard and you deserve a treat every once in a while.

FINALLY, KNOW WHAT’S SPECIAL ABOUT YOU. Everyone has something unique and special about them. What makes you special?

That’s my top twelve. What about you? What are some things you think every woman should know? I’ll give one person who comments FIVE books from my backlist.

Look for MADDIE FORTUNE’S PERFECT MAN by Nancy Robards Thompson ~  Available April 17,  2018 from Harlequin Special Edition.
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  1. learn how to cook at least 1 meal

  2. Know some basics with cars, defend self, look for the positives in things...

  3. I agree with all yours! :)

    Know what looks good on you and what doesn't suit you...

  4. What a fantastic list of things a women should know.

    Learn to say NO is the hardest thing for me.