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From Point A to Point B

How can you get to where you want to go if you don’t know where you are right now? While coaching an amazing woman, I asked her, “Where do you see yourself a year from now?” The question stumped her. So I asked her a basic question based on her current circumstances. “What are you really good at?” Again…crickets. When using your GPS for driving instructions, it needs your current location in order to give you directions for your destination. Getting to know yourself is the starting point on the GPS. If you are unsure of where you are, here are a few questions to get you started:

  1. What are my strengths? What are you known for? What do people call on you to do frequently?
  2. What are my short-term and long-term goals? You don’t need a complicated plan. Take some time and mind map it.
  3. What am I ashamed of? If you haven’t read “Daring Greatly” by Dr. Brene Brown, I highly recommend it.
  4. What new activities am I willing to try?
  5. What am I worried about? What is keeping you up at night or keeping you from making a decision?
  6. What does my inner critic tell me? We are our worse critics. Listen to what it is saying. Is it really true or a lie that someone told you that you keep replaying as truth?
  7. What do I do to practice self-care? This is a big one. If you don’t take the time to take care of yourself. No one is going to give it to you
  8. What am I passionate about? 
  9. Am I an introvert or extrovert? Did you know you could be an outgoing introvert? Transparent and vulnerable moment….I’m an ambivert. It took me years to figure out why I get so mentally exhausted after being around a large group of people for an extended period of time. I love to serve others but I now know when I’ve met my threshold of being sociable.
  10. If I wasn’t afraid, I would______. Some are able to complete this statement immediately. Some may take a few minutes or even days to think about it. However long it takes, answer it and then ask yourself, “Why am I afraid?”

When you are unsure of where you are, the road ahead can seem daunting. When you know who you are, you can chart your own path.

With love,

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Aww. How Sweet. The Answer is Still ‘No’

This week I received an email from one of the parents on my oldest daughter’s middle school PTO asking me to consider joining the board for the next school year. She gave plenty of reasons why it would be a great idea: I’m passionate about my daughter’s education (true), I’m very organized and creative (true and true), I have a GREAT working relationship with the principal (also true) and she REALLY believes I would be great at it (yeah, also probably true…but). While compliments are nice, they are also the “suck you in” tactics folks use when they have no clue or don’t care how full your calendar already is. Like seriously, I will put myself in timeout if I add one more thing to my plate.

How many of you are dealing with well-intentioned folks who see how awesomely magnificent you are and want you to share all that awesomeness and help them with something? They will give you plenty of reasons why you should….Oh, it will only take a few hours a month. All of our meetings are by conference call. There’s a rotating schedule so you won’t have to do it all by yourself. I’ll be here to help you. Listen, while all of that sounds really great, the truth is, you should only commit to doing something based on your schedule and allotted mental bandwidth to take on something else. Will they be disappointed? Yes. Will they possibly give you a little bit a side eye the next time they see you? Maybe.

You, my dear, are the ruler and protector of your precious time. Don’t let sweet words and promises take you off course from managing your 168 and using those hours for what really matters and makes you happy.

With love,

 

 

 

 

P.S. How many of you tried the mind mapping exercise I shared with you last week?

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Need Clarity? Get Rid of the Clutter

When you hear someone mention how much clutter they have, you might assume they are talking about physical stuff like magazines they don’t have time to read, clothes that no longer fit or wedding gifts that they will never use. The sentimental, “what if’s”, and things you have inherited can take up precious physical space and create unnecessary clutter in your home or office. But there is also emotional clutter such as pent up hurt, disappointment, anger, and resentment. Left unexpressed, these feelings repeatedly come to the surface and will not allow you to move forward.

How long are you going to hold on to that grudge that you should have let go of days, weeks, months or YEARS ago? How long are you going to replay that argument in your head? How long are you going to blame someone else for your unhappiness? How long are you going to blame yourself for something you had no control over? How long are you going to let your flaws define you instead of strengthening you? All of that emotional clutter is keeping you from seeing the big picture. It is clouding your judgment, causing self-doubt and keeping you from being your authentic self. That ‘clutter’ is keeping you from fully articulating and demonstrating your life’s work and purpose.

What clutter do you need to let go of?

With love,

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3 Lessons from History Makers

Katherine Johnson – an extraordinary mathematician who calculated the trajectories for Glenn’s Friendship 7 mission and worked on the Apollo and space shuttle programs. (Photo: www.nasa.gov)

My family and I saw the movie “Hidden Figures” starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae over this past weekend. The actresses portrayed three remarkable women who made history at NASA…Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. These women were the brains behind one of the greatest engineering feats in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. I took my daughters to see the movie, hoping that they would be inspired and encouraged and maybe just a little bit intrigued about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math). I didn’t expect to walk out the theater with three lessons…for myself.

Lesson #1 – There will be times when you will be the ONE in the room. Being the ONE can be many things – the only woman, the only person of ethnicity, the youngest, the oldest or the smartest. Being the one in the room has a myriad of challenges to include feeling isolated and heaven forbid inadequate. You might even ask yourself, Do I really belong here? The answer is YES. Often times the other people in the room didn’t have the influence necessary to keep you out of the room. You are there to be a brilliant, strategic, witty, compassionate and a problem-solver. You aren’t in the room by chance.

Lesson #2 – Just because they love you don’t mean they will understand your “why”. Your love ones mean well, but let’s face it….they will not understand your “why” especially if they don’t have one of their own. Listen, a woman who is driven and focused can drive the average man insane. When you know you have purpose for your life greater than what is right in front you, you will seek that purpose as that purpose makes room for you to excel and be extraordinary. That type of focus can be hard for the people who love you to understand. Don’t lose focus. Keep going until to you make history.

Lesson #3 – Folks will try to limit your elevation based on their insecurities and prejudices. There are some of you reading this right now who are doing a job that your aren’t being paid for but are expected to do. You are managing major projects, you are managing a team, you are nurturing crucial client relationships, you are saving the company millions…but you haven’t been recognized for it. This is what I know, when you consistently showing up and deliver your best, your talent will make a way for you in the most unexpected ways. That promotion you keep asking for and rightfully deserve might not come to you in the way you expect. The people who have the power to promote you aren’t always the people who supervise you.

So what did my girls learn from the movie? They learned that you can do anything you put your mind to no matter what someone else may say or if they try to stop you. They learned that putting a man in space requires lots and lots of math. They learned that when women work together and look out for each other, good things happen. Out of the mouths of babes, but truer words have never been spoken.

With love,

 

 

 

 

Registration for the 4th annual Work Your Package Women’s Conference is open: www.wyp2017.eventbrite.com

 

 

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9 Questions To Make You Think

Have you ever been asked a question that stumped you and you were unable to give an answer? Not a question that is technical in nature. I’m talking about the type of question that forces you to dig deep and do some introspective searching to find the truth. The questions that when you finally realize the answer you are either pissed off or excited.

Here are some questions to help you think about the lessons you have learned during 2016 and what you need to do to make 2017 better:

  1. If you were given an extra hour a day, what would you do with it?
  2. What would you do if you had unlimited resources?
  3. What are you trying to prove to yourself?
  4. What would you try if you knew you could not fail?
  5. Is what you are doing helping you follow your joy?
  6. If your money could talk, what would it say to you?
  7. What is the experience you are looking to create?
  8. What small steps can you take to get you closer to your vision?
  9. What story do you most often hear yourself telling?

Schedule some quiet time with yourself to answer the questions and be honest with yourself. You might be surprised by some of the answers. My hope is that your responses spark action and gives you a head start for the coming year.

With love,

 

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What Is Your Friendship Level?

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One of my favorite retailers is Nordstrom. Why? Their customer service is legendary. Just this past summer I visited the store in Delaware was helped by Sandy in the Encore section. When I told her that she looked familiar and that she might have helped me before, she asked me what I purchased. Now I will be completely honest with you, I thought this was just flatout bs. Seriously, how the heck would she remember what I purchased two years ago. Well Sandy proved me wrong. After I told her one item of my purchase, not only did she remember what else I purchased, she remembered my preferred silhouette and fabric. I was completely floored. Sandy knew me. Out of the thousands of women she must have assisted at the location, she remembered me. Mind you, this was after I was assisted by Conrad in the men’s department who asked for my brother’s color palette for his wardrobe because it would help him select some choices for a watch. And this was before Diane, who had the eye of an eagle and the patience of Job, assisted me with some much needed shape wear. That my friends is unforgettable customer service.

Does your friendship to others have the same level of service? When your friends think about the pivotal moments in their life, were you front and center or did you have to hear about it after the fact? Can you recall conversations that you’ve had with them a couple months ago? Do you know what makes them tick? Do you know what excites them? Do you know how motivate them when they are ready to throw their hands up in defeat? Do you know how to make them laugh when they would rather cry? Being that type of friend requires a level of customer service that many of us are not willing to give and then you wonder why you don’t have any meaningful connections. Stop wondering why you don’t have a shoulder to cry on. Stop wondering why no one wants to listen to your latest rant of who did you wrong this week. Start figuring out how to be a better friend and up your level of customer service.

There are levels to friendship. Are you offering basic or premium? Here’s a hint, premium friendship leads to the right people being on your personal board of directors.

With love,

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Don’t Quit When You Are Looking At the Finish Line

Here’s the truth, planning a conference or any live event can be hard. While they can be emotionally rewarding, they are also a pain in the ass to plan and execute. As you know, I’m in the midst of planning the third annual Work Your Package Women’s Conference. In the past two weeks I’ve said that I’m going to cancel the conference. I’ve said it at least 10 times. I’m very serious. I didn’t care about the money I had to refund, the money I would lose or the money it would cost me to honor contracts. I just wanted out. Then I had a “come-to-Jesus” meeting with myself….

I haven’t cancelled the conference. Why? Because I believe in it. I believe in the value that it offers to professional women who are rocking it out at their corporate gigs and have a passion and purpose outside of their profession that feed their souls and heart. These women, don’t give up. They don’t throw in the towel. They don’t put up both middle fingers and say, “Screw it”. They take a step back, shift their plans and mindset and then they get the job done.

Here’s what I’ve learned during this leg of my journey:

  • Your Friends and Family Will Not Always Support You. It’s not that they don’t like or love you (or maybe they don’t, maybe it’s jealousy…whatever) but if you are in the habit of giving all of your awesomeness away for free, they do not feel the need to pay for it. They are privy to all your greatness on a regular basis. They are accustomed to seeing you make a dollar out of fifteen cents and have absolutely no frame of reference for how much it costs in time and money to plan a successful event.
  • Don’t Take It Personal. Seriously, don’t. There are some people who will support you no matter what.  Then there are some who never even sign up for your newsletter. Don’t take it personal. Don’t waste your mental bandwidth to entertain their “why”.
  • It Takes A Village. You cannot plan an event by yourself. Had it not been for the input from my committee, I would have been up the creek without a paddle at this point. You need other eyes, additional insight and sometimes a dose of real talk to keep both you and your event on track.

The 3rd annual Work Your Package Women’s Conference is going to be awesome. Not because of the quantity of attendees but because of the quality. The women who are attending are some badasses in their respective professions. It’s my job to make sure the conference is an amazing event for them.

When you are passionate about something, quitting is not an option.

With love,

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Stop Shining So Bright

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Know-it-all, cocky, arrogant, always trying to be number one and the center of attention…

If you’ve ever been told that you display one or all of these behaviors, depending where you are on the confidence and maturity scale, those words can hurt and do some serious damage to your confidence. When you are told that you are a “know-it-all” and 99.9% of the time you really do know the answer and the answers solves challenges for others and it is done with good intentions…it might be difficult for you to comprehend how and why it is viewed negatively. It’s a triple-edged sword. If you share information, you are a know-it-all. If you keep the information to yourself, then you aren’t a team player. If you play dumb, then you are doing an injustice to the natural skills and abilities that you were blessed with. So what do you do? The desire to help everyone unfortunately can be viewed as an attempt to steal the shine from others and there will come a day when you will be told to stop shining because it’s offending others and making them uncomfortable. If you are waiting for me to tell you to turn off your light so that other people can be comfortable, keep waiting. That’s not going to happen. Not. Ever. Your light is yours and yours alone. Don’t you dare turn it off.

I want you to think of your “shine” as the various lights you find on a car. Depending on the time of day or weather, you have to use different lights while you are on the road towards your destination. Your daytime lights for the everyday, routine stuff, the stuff that you can do without much thought. Your headlights are for when you need to provide unorthodox suggestions to resolve a problem. Throw on the high beams when you are pushed out of your comfort zone and have been asked to lead a major project. Your fog lights are when you need to weather the storm of adversity, ignore the naysayers, listen to the little birdie and achieve a goal that you might think is impossible. Use the interior lights when you need to take a moment to step away and focus on yourself. Change the type of light you use, sweetheart, but never..ever..turn it off.

With love,

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A Proportional Response…And Other Lessons Learned from TV

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This weekend while cleaning my bedroom, I watched the West Wing television series on DVD. West Wing is still one of my favorite television shows. I remember looking forward to “West Wing Wednesday” every week, eager to watch the witty banter by the staff in the White House. President Jed Bartlett is one of my favorite fictional presidents not just because he was brilliant. He was  also kind, had a wicked sense of humor and he loved his wife. One of my favorite episodes from Season 1 is titled “A Proportional Response”. Now for those of you who have never watched West Wing, here’s a brief synopsis: After being offered “a proportional response” to the Syrian military’s downing of a U.S. military plane on a medical mission (and carrying his newly named personal physician), the president asks “What is the virtue of a proportional response – why is it good?”and then demands an option that will have greater impact. His Chief of Staff gradually talks him down, but the President is snarky with everyone, including his wife. The president ultimately agrees to the initial option, but is not happy about it. The president wanted to bring down the “thunder of God” on the Syrians. He wanted the response to be such a devastating blow, that no other country would even think about harming another American citizen. Are you asking yourself, What the heck does this have to do with ‘working my package’? Of course you are. Stay with me. This episode made me think about how people respond whenever we feel we are being disrespected. We tend to overreact in fear that someone else will try to disrespect in the same way. I thought about my “disproportional” responses and I wondered if my anger and need to set the record straight was best way to handle conflict. To be perfectly honest, because hindsight is always 20/20, there some things I should have left alone. I should have ended many conversations sooner than I did because it was clear neither side of the disagreement would be heard but egos can eliminate common sense and courtesy.

Are your responses to conflict proportional? Seeing a situation and a person for who they are, not who you want it or them to be can keep you from overreacting and giving too much time and energy towards people and situations who quite frankly just  don’t deserve it. In the midst of conflict do you think, “If I let this person get away with it, then everyone will think they can do the same thing?” Do you talk about how you are going “set some things straight?” Do you go for the jugular to make a point or do you want a mutual understanding? Do you want crucifixion or correction? Now ask yourself, is it even worth it? Victory is not always in the public defeat of your opponent, but in the calmness of your mind and the ability to just walk away…

With love,

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Register today for the Work Your Package Women’s Conference 2016! Speakers and full agenda will be announced on April 29.

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What’s In It For Me? Absolutely Nothing.

When asked to do something, how often do you think, “What’s in it for me?” If you are thinking about the “what’s in it for me?” before serving others, you are robbing yourself of meaningful and authentic connections. Thinking about what you can get out of a situation before you contribute to it can set you up for never-ending streak of disappointment. We’ve all heard that you cannot give when you are empty. The same applies to relationships, both personal and professional. Selfless acts of kindness and generosity may not yield instant gratification or even a “thank you” but opens up the possibility of developing a long-lasting, substantive relationship that can be cultivated to be mutually beneficial. Helping a co-worker finish a project probably won’t garner you a raise or a promotion but it positions you as a team player. You might be thinking, “I’m not going to be a door mat and just say ‘yes’ to everything.”  Being selfless is not being a doormat is about doing what is kind and gracious even when no applause is sure to follow and no one is looking.

I challenge you to be selfless and rid yourself from the downward spiral of “what’s in it for me?” and help someone just because.

With love,

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