personal power

March 22, 2017

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Think about your day yesterday. What did you tell yourself about the kind of day you had, how well you did a certain task, how you looked, or whether you made the right decision about something?

We are always judging ourselves, comparing ourselves, and telling ourselves little stories about what we can’t do. It’s a human instinct. But the stories don’t stop with just us. Our little judge sets us up with stories about the people we interact with. We go into meetings with stories already in our minds about the other person, why they behave the way they do, what they “really meant” by that comment, and so on. That doesn’t mean you can’t deal with your little judge. You absolutely can, and you must if you want to be an effective leader.

If you want to silence your inner judge, you start by increasing your self-awareness. You have to listen for those little stories your internal judge tells you. Then recognize them for what they are…stories. When they are based in your personal history, look for the positive, empowering lesson the experience taught you, and make that a new story. Just remember, stories are self-talk. It is our choice whether we listen to them.

March 8, 2017

Beyond The Usual Suspects

Mining organizations for hidden talent should go beyond the traditional approach of mirroring those currently in power. The problem with this is that it usually rewards white males at the Leadership skills trainingexpense of women and minorities whose path may look different. In order to solve this, it needs to be a two pronged approach:

  1. Organizations need to develop evaluation criteria that allow hiring managers to go beyond the usual suspects
  2. The “hidden leaders” need to place themselves in leadership opportunities.

If you feel you are a hidden leader, here are some steps to position yourself to be “discovered”:

  • Hone your leadership skills through volunteer work outside of your organization
  • Become know as the connector – knowing how to leverage relationships and solve problems
  • Let others know you understand the bigger picture of your work
  • Volunteer to lead an internal effort that enhances the company (warning – it may not be seen as enhancing the company at first, but building upon the above three tips will help – persevere!)
  • Seek outside leadership training and ask your employer to pay for it. You will be seen as a “natural” leader

I have personally done all these and it works! We can help hone your leadership skills! Come join us!

February 22, 2017

Have You Been Silenced?

What was your reaction when you heard that Elizabeth Warren had been silenced on the floor of the U.S. Senate? It turned my insides cold.

My reaction had nothing to do with the politics of what she was talking about. Rather, it was that several men made similar protest arguments. They were allowed to speak. But when a woman’s voice went up in protest, she was shut down, hard.

I flashed back to the many times in my life when I have had “voice-stifling” experiences. I thought about the times in meetings where the thoughts and ideas that I expressed were ignored, until a man expressed similar, or near identical, ideas and was applauded. Has that happened to you? I thought about dismissive attitudes and being told to “sit down and be quiet” (yes, that has happened in the workplace).

I thought about how in my family and in my childhood classrooms, the boys were treated with far more deference than the girls. Their words mattered more. Their voices were expected and accepted.

But I thought we were past that day. Until Elizabeth Warren was silenced. And that made me angry!

What about you? Have you ever been silenced? Is it still happening to you today, or have you found your voice?

January 11, 2017

Hidden Figures

The Movie “Hidden Figures” is in the headlines. It is about three black women responsible for making great strides in the success of NASA and the space program back in the early 1960’s. It is a piece of history we haven’t known about for many reasons. In an article this weekend in Parade magazine, they gave two reasons:

  1. A lot of the work these women did was considered classified and they couldn’t talk about it
  2. “We were just doing our job” as the lone survivor, Katherine Johnson says.

The second reason is why women should step into their power. There are too many of us that “just do our jobs”, yet either have so much more to offer OR don’t take the credit we deserve!

The title “Hidden Figures” is so apropos for various reasons.

  • We, as a nation, have even gone backwards when it comes to women in computing. Women account for 24% of computing jobs today, down from 37% in 1995. According to studies by Accenture and Girls Who Code, the solution is to develop more tailored programs that appeal to girls’ interests in middle school. Getting more women into computer science could boost women’s cumulative earnings by $299 BILLION and help fill the growing demand for computing talent.
  • Women tend to “hide” in the background or on the sidelines. Giving girls and young women self confidence and support early on can serve as catalysts (pun intended) to stay in STEM programs.
December 14, 2016

Holiday Productivity Tips!

During the month of December, many people slow down in their business life and ramp up in their personal life. Taking the energy of the season and using it in both arenas can give you a head start for the new year!

Here are some tips to have a more productive holiday season:

  • Keep moving forward – you will be ahead of the game come 2017 if you keep moving ahead while most stop moving during this time of the year.
  • Network! – this is the best time of the year – there are more social events than ever.  Start conversations, learn from others and share your passions.
  • Capture the energy of the season.  Don’t get bogged down in the “to do’s”.  Bustle in your personal and business life!
  • Reflect – on the good and the bad.  We often learn more from our mistakes than our successes, BUT we often forget about our successes.  CELEBRATE them!
  • Use the “bonus week”.  This is the week between Christmas and New Years. Love this week because it is usually quiet around the office and you can get so much done.

Here’s to a very PRODUCTIVE holiday season!

November 9, 2016

When Doors Open

We’ve all heard the saying “When one door closes, another one opens”, but let’s think about that open door………

doorsopenJoann Lublin’s second chapter in her book, “Earning It” is titled “Doors Open with a Strong Push”. She talks about situations where women received a strong push for advancement. That push can be internal or external.

Think about examples in your own life. Were you ever SO CLEAR about what you wanted that you would do anything (ethical) to get it? That would be considered an internal push. Starting at the bottom of an organization and working your way up is an example that many of us may have experienced.

Maybe it was a mentor, friend, parent or spouse that pushed you through that open door. In this chapter, Lublin lists some “Leadership Lessons” pertaining to “Doors Open with a Strong Push”:

  • Be tenacious about looking outside of your comfort zone
  • Find Influential internal (company) allies
  • Confront self-doubts about your capabilities
  • Be willing to start at the bottom

Typically opportunities don’t fall in our laps. We need to be thinking strategically, especially in the corporate world and taking that push wherever it comes from.

October 12, 2016

Our Internal Bias

According to McKinsey & Companies most recent report on gender equality, one result wouldn’t surprise most of us:

Women don’t get promoted as often as men

Internal BiasBut, the most significant finding is that we are less interested in seeking the promotion – 40% vs. 56% for men. At first, the question was “not as ambitious?” But, it turns out that our experiences at work gradually lead us to believe we won’t have equal opportunities for growth and development, and that our gender will diminish our chances of getting ahead. Those accumulated years of inequities and frustrations have led many of us to conclude that the end doesn’t justify the means.

The study found we are also less likely than men to think that becoming a top executive will give us a chance to significantly impact the business.

Three unconscious assumptions appear to underlie this thinking:

  • Women tend to believe they’re the ones responsible for managing all aspects of family life, which keeps them from investing fully in their careers.
  • Women assume they should keep their heads down and focus exclusively on their immediate work, which can make management roles seem less appealing.
  • Women are often perfectionists. Studies have shown that men will apply for a job they feel 60% qualified for, while women hold out for 100%.

We are also more comfortable leading as the hub of a wheel vs. the hierarchical top-down model. We feel we can make more of a change this way, but in reality, we don’t have enough experience at the top to understand our power to impact change using the hierarchy model.

So what do we do? We need to re-frame our own unconscious biases-an exercise made easier by having strong female colleagues. There is power in numbers.

August 24, 2016

Women with extreme purpose and passion

This Friday, August 26, is Women’s Equality Day. It’s the day each year that we commemorate the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. Are you aware that in 2020, we will mark 100 years of the 19th Amendment?

Have you thought about the leadership skills, the courage, and the self-motivation the suffragists must have had to change America in this way? Every leader of the suffragist movement has a unique story (just as we all do). Many were wives who stood up for the movement in opposition to their husbands and their communities.

Silent Sentinels picket the White House.

Silent Sentinels picket the White House.

Imagine the sense of passion and purpose these women must have felt as they stood as the Silent Sentinels, picketing the White House to gain the right to vote and participate in our government. The women picketed six days a week for two-and-a-half years, from January 10, 1917 until June 4, 1919. June 4 was the day Congress passed the amendment (which still had to be ratified by the states).

They stood in silence for long days, through rain, scorching sun, and bone-chilling cold and snow. And they stood even as police began to arrest them for “obstructing traffic,” as they were sentenced to jail, and as they became the first Americans to be force-fed by their jailers.

Their years of dedication and incredible self-motivation were rewarded when Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment on August 18, 1920.

If you are impressed by this incredible display of purpose and passion, share the story of the Silent Sentinels with young women in your life.

August 3, 2016

Do You Multitask?

As women, we are all going to say a big resounding YES! We all may think this is a good thing – we get more done when we multitask, right? The answer is really NO!

Many studies have been done recently on multitasking and the research has determined that we are just “switch-tasking” – going between tasks. It usually slows us down AND we make more mistakes.

There is actually a stop/start process in the brain that wears us down.multi-Tasking

Multitasking is one of the no-no’s of time management. We will be more efficient if we focus on one thing at a time —- 20% to 40% more efficient — according to research. t is more efficient to do things in batches – pay bills, answer emails, make phone calls, etc. When you multitask, you never get “in the zone” for the task at hand.

According to “12 Reasons to Stop Multitasking Now”, some main reasons to stop:

  • You’re missing out on life.  When you are doing 2 things at once, you miss obvious things right in front of you
  • Your memory may suffer – people in their 60s to 80s will have a tougher time than people in their 20s and 30s
  • Productivity experts suggest handling things once – multitasking makes this virtually impossible

So next time you think you are multitasking, stop and become aware that you are switch-tasking. Then give yourself a time limit. See if you complete your task in less time. Bet you surprise yourself in how fast you get things done!

Scroll to top