Are You Proud Of How You're Showing Up At Work?

If you were a fly on the wall listening to a room full of your colleagues who were asked to give their opinions of you, what do you think they would say?

After they discussed your work ethic, your ability to meet deadlines, how well you managed your direct reports and whether you had enough expertise, what else would they say about you?

BE HONEST.

What are you worried they might say about you? 

What would be hard for you to hear?

Would you be proud of your behaviors and actions?

And if you knew that your colleagues were going to have this discussion about you, would you have shown up any differently?

I'm posing these questions because we rarely think about our work performance in this context.

Most people focus on DOING their job - successfully completing tasks and projects and cultivating and leveraging their expertise.

Fewer people focus on how they are BEING at work.

Let me explain the difference:  DOING reflects the actions you are taking and your reactions to various situations, but BEING focuses on how you are showing up in the present moment.

Our way of BEING is the underlying driver of our behavior and communication, which is what shapes the results we achieve and the overall quality of our existence. 

Shifting the way you show up at work, or your BEING, can create a new space from which you can lead and operate.  It frees you up to think differently and be more positive and resourceful.   

Here's the rub though - most of us don't get much feedback on how we're BEING at work.  

That's because it's a squishy subject - it's not factual or all that objective - and it requires people to sometimes have difficult and uncomfortable conversations. 

Telling someone that their behavior, mannerisms and communication needs work can feel insulting and like a personal attack. 

So people often shy away from giving this type of tough feedback. 

It's easier for your boss to give you vague reasons why you aren't getting promoted this year ➡️ "I just think you need a bit more time in the role" or "Try and be more like Amy - see how she's operating at the next level".

It's harder for your boss to be real with you ➡️ "You don't look the part of a VP; your clothes are frumpy and your hair is a mess" or "You're unapproachable and people on the team are afraid of you".

Consequently, you can't ONLY rely on others to give you feedback on how you're BEING at work.

YOU have to get real with yourself and do the introspective work to think about how you're showing up and where you can improve.

My 7 Day Boot Camp helps you do just that.  I designed each of the 7 days to focus on a specific strategy, behavior or mindset that badass professional women employ to show up visibly, confidently and empowered so that they get results with greater ease.

If you're DOING most of the right stuff, but things just aren't totally gelling, you probably need to take a look at how you're BEING. 

My boot camp helps you quickly identify the old contexts and habits that are prohibiting you from BEING your best self at work.

Once you're able to get real about what's not working, you can start to show up differently and more powerfully. 

Don't wait another day. Now is the time to take back control of your story and the way you show up in your career

It's Time For Some Tough Love

Did you know that nearly 70% of women accept the salary they're offered and don't negotiate? The numbers are a little better for men but still nearly 50% of men do the same thing.

PEOPLE!!!  WTF?!

I'm normally empathetic to the professional challenges we all encounter, but I just CANNOT wrap my head around this one.

So I'm going to offer some tough love.

You MUST negotiate. 

I'm appalled by how many women - really successful, assertive and confident women - never ask for what they want. 

These women have told me it's because:

  • The first offer they received was higher than their last salary 
  • They don't want to offend anyone 
  • They don't want to get fired or lose the offer
  • They don't want to seem cocky or like they aren't a team player

Look, I get it. I don't agree, but I do understand.

Asking for more can be scary. 

But what's the worst that can happen? 

They could say "no". 

BIG DEAL. 

Then you are in the exact same spot you were in before you asked.  No better.  No worse. 

If you're hesitant to ask for what you want (and this doesn't just pertain to salary), why do you think that is?  What's holding you back?  Do you think you're not good enough?  Do you think you don't deserve it?

I've never had trouble asking for what I want. 

And here's why:  I work my butt off and I'm good at what I do.  I produce results for my employers and my clients. And they know it. 

So it's not crazy that I would want more.  And I fully recognize that I may be told "no".  And that's ok. 

But the simple act of asking, even when the answer is "no", opens up a new set of possibilities. 

By asking, you have put that request out in the Universe and now people know what you want.

You also clearly know where you stand. 

And that gives you options.  

  • You can happily accept the status quo, knowing you tried
  • You can use a "no" to fuel you to make some moves and look for your next opportunity
  • You can use a "no" as leverage to negotiate towards a lesser ask

This last point is important. 

A "no" doesn't necessarily signal that the discussion is over.

Often, it's just the beginning of a longer-term conversation to get you where you want to go, perhaps at a slower pace.

If the idea of negotiating still makes you uncomfortable, then start small.

Try it at Starbucks.  Seriously.  Ask for a discount on your coffee.  (This approach also works at your favorite shoe store too - I tried it and got 20% off just because I asked!).

They might say "no".  But who cares. You just got practice asking for what you want. 

It only gets easier and more natural the more you do it.  

Try it this week. And let me know how it goes!!

3 Ways To Stand Out In a Competitive Job Market

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My clients frequently ask me: “How do I stand out from everyone else in the job market?”

I see a lot of women get stuck here, especially if they haven’t actively searched for a new job in several years or if they don’t feel like they have a particularly sexy skill set.

Figuring out how to distinguish yourself from everyone else in the job market is all about personal branding.

Forgive me for stating the obvious but to have a personal brand, you have to get PERSONAL.

That means letting people see who you are beyond just your skills, expertise and competencies.

There are a lot of different ways you can build and share your personal brand.  Here are 3 of my favorite strategies:

  1. Know What Makes You Different
  2. Have A Strong Elevator Pitch
  3. Create A Compelling LinkedIn Profile

 

Know What Makes You Different

In order to stand out from other job seekers, you need to know what’s unique about you.  It doesn’t have to be anything exotic or totally out there.  Often times, what’s unique about you is the total composition of your skills, competencies and personal attributes.

This is the notion of your “talent stack,” a term coined by Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams.  This refers to the systems we use to layer “one modest skill on top of another until the effect is something special.”

Your unique combination of skills won’t look quite like anyone else’s.  This differentiated value proposition is exactly what you need to leverage when promoting yourself.

Recommended Action: Develop an inventory of your talents, skills, competencies and personal attributes and craft a story about who you are based on your talent stack.

 

Have A Strong Elevator Pitch

Once you have a clear view of your unique talent stack and what makes you different, you’re ready to put together an elevator pitch.  Your elevator pitch is the perfect response for when someone asks, “What do you do?” or “Tell me about yourself.”  It gives people a quick glimpse into not only WHAT you do, but who you are.

An elevator pitch should be concise – no more than 1-3 sentences.  It should give people a sense of your skills, competencies, expertise AND your personality.  It’s your chance to share what makes you special compared to other people with the same skills, competencies and expertise.

Recommended Action: Draft your elevator pitch and run it by at least 3 friends, family members and co-workers to see if it captures who you really are.  Once you’re happy with the final version, practice it over and over again until you can confidently deliver it.

 

Create A Compelling LinkedIn Profile

 LinkedIn is my favorite social media platform, especially for job seekers.  It’s a fabulous way for you to establish yourself as a thought leader and show people who you really are.

LinkedIn is a great vehicle for recruiters and others to find you and for you to leverage your network to make connections.

Some of the ways you can make your LinkedIn profile compelling:

  • Create an interesting headline – Don’t just use your title here.  You can include a short phrase describing your differentiated value proposition or a few descriptive adjectives or words that give people a glimpse into what makes you interesting and successful.
  • Use the summary section to tell your story – The summary is an opportunity for people to get to know you, as a human being, not a corporate cog.  After all, this is a social network!  Let people know what you’re passionate about professionally, a quick overview of your expertise and who you’re interested in connecting with.
  • Keep your experience high-level – Keep your descriptions short; describe in 1-2 sentences what you did, and if it’s an organization people aren’t familiar with, you may want to include a description of the organization.

Note: Your profile should not be the same as your resume, but it can complement it.  Your resume should detail your relevant work experience and accomplishments; your LinkedIn profile should tell a story about who you are and your career.

Recommended Action:  Search LinkedIn for some profiles you admire.  Think through how you can apply the practices I’ve shared and the inspiration from the profiles you find to your own profile.  To get you started, here’s my profile.

 

These strategies will help you find greater clarity around your personal brand and communicate your value to the professional world.  To learn more about how I support professional women to stand out and build the career of their dreams, check out my 7 Day Boot Camp, my 1:1 coaching programs and my group training and coaching program.   

I've also created a freebie you can grab right here to get started today: my Brand Building Guide.

When A Colleague Pushes Your Buttons, Should You React?

Several years ago, I was brought in by leadership to add another layer of management to the team.  

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It was a difficult situation - the leadership wanted me there, the team did not.

Consequently, it often felt like certain members of the team were out to get me.  

I wasn't imagining this - there were instances where people actually tried to undermine me publicly.

One time this happened during a large team meeting of about 50 people.  

A junior male colleague decided that would be an appropriate time to tell everyone that I had lied about something.  

I don't even remember what he said I was lying about, but I remember how I felt in that moment.

I felt my blood boil.  I am a lot of things, but a liar isn't one of them.  Once you attack my integrity, IT'S ON. 

I wanted to verbally tear him to shreds in front of everyone for spreading this false information. 

I wanted to defend myself.

But I didn't. 

In fact, I didn't say or do much, despite wanting to very badly. 

My lack of reaction was partially due to shock (this accusation caught me off guard), but I also felt like doing anything in that moment would be a losing battle.

So I decided to set up time to talk with him 1:1, alone.

I needed to get to the bottom of this and establish that this was not how we were going to operate.

When we met a few days later, I was calm, confident and curious.

I didn't attack him, but I did question him very carefully, without giving him much wiggle room.

It only took a few minutes for him to realize I hadn't lied.

He became visibly uncomfortable, profusely apologetic, and then...he cried.

This grown man who had the balls to call me a liar in front of our whole team suddenly wasn't so tough when we were alone. 

I had no intention of bringing him to tears.  I was stern but kind during our meeting.  But I did set the tone for the rest of our relationship and that I wouldn't tolerate any more undermining and gossip.

This story is a classic example of the battle we all face at some point at work: do we react emotionally or remain stoic?  Do we stand up for ourselves or ignore the haters?

I'm actually a big fan of both approaches.

Emotions and stoicism both have their place at work.

Personally, I like to lead with a stoic approach. I like to be in control of my reactions to other people and it doesn't feel good to let my impulsive emotions drive my response to situations.

But I'm also a passionate person and sometimes I have big reactions.  It would be inauthentic if I walked around with a poker face all the time.

So how do we balance being our authentic selves and staying professional when handling challenging situations at work?

  • If you lean towards being expressive, how can you train yourself to be less reactive in moments that really test you?
  • Or, if you don't speak up enough, how can you be better at standing up for and expressing yo urself when someone tries to put you down?

In either case, know that you don't have to react in the moment when it's happening. 

You can absolutely put a pin in the conversation and circle back after you've had some time to think and re-group.

Some things to consider when you take this space to gather your thoughts and make sense of your feelings:

  • What were your default questions and thoughts that came up in that moment?
  • Can you craft new questions and thoughts?
  • How can you use this moment as a gift?
  • What's your end goal? If you could make this situation better, what would it look like?

Figuring out how and when to react when someone challenges you at work is tricky, but critically important, especially as you progress in your career and become more visible. 

Not everyone is going to like you.

And people will test you to see how far they can push you.

How you react will set the tone for what you tolerate and the professional standards you expect from your colleagues.

I know how tough and idiosyncratic it can be to figure out what feels good for you.

In my 7 Day Boot Camp To Unlock Your Inner Badass, I devote an entire day to helping you see how you can show up in a way that's authentic and feminine but also doesn't allow others to walk all over you.

Finding this balance and what works for you will allow you to progress through conflict and challenging situations at work with greater ease. 

To learn more about my boot camp, watch my video on why I created the boot camp and how it can help you jump start your career and leave behind the limiting beliefs, habits and behaviors that are holding you back.

When Perfection Can Paralyze Your Career

When I started my consulting business 3 years ago, I sent a launch email to everyone I knew. 

I was both excited and nervous to hit send - shit was getting real!

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Shortly after I sent the email, I started receiving some messages letting me know that had I misspelled the name of my company in the email.

Yup, you read that correctly. I MISSPELLED THE NAME OF MY OWN COMPANY. 😳

My first reaction was total embarrassment. I wondered how anyone would hire me or take me seriously when I couldn't even spell the name of my company correctly?!

I had read and re-read the email probably 20 times before sending it, proofreading it and checking for errors.  And I had even had someone else review it too.  Neither of us caught the mistake. 

Shortly thereafter, my inner critic came out and I felt even worse; I felt stupid, careless and like a total amateur. 

After going down this rabbit hole of self-loathing, I began to get some perspective: this was actually a minor oversight.  

Fortunately, I wasn't in the business of selling editing or copywriting services, so a spelling error in my launch email, while unfortunate, wasn't indicative of my ability to be a successful consultant. 

I reminded myself that I was still pretty kick-ass at advising companies on growth strategy and business development, even if sometimes I couldn't spell my own name correctly. 😁

I decided at that moment that I wasn't going to hide and punish myself for a silly screw-up.

I decided I was going to bring it and promote my business and be ok with making mistakes along the way.  

Six months and a few mistakes later, I was running a six-figure business.

My story isn't unique. 

People make mistakes (and survive them) all the time. 

And many times, we beat ourselves up for these mistakes unnecessarily. 

As women, we are especially hard on ourselves. 

We tend to expect more out of ourselves than we do out of other people.

Even if we say we are ok not being perfect, we are also not ok messing up.

It's great to have high standards, but sometimes perfectionist tendencies and the inner critic that emerges when we make a mistake can really hold us back.

This tension between wanting to go for more in your career but not wanting to be seen making a mistake along the way is very real.

If you're striving to get to that next level in your career, you are undoubtedly going to have to take risks and actions that take you out of your comfort zone.  

You will have to try things for the first time. 

You will have to become more visible.  

Taking this leap to something greater than your current situation is a choice.

This choice alone paralyzes some people from moving forward.

Some people stick with the status quo because it's safe. 

They know what's expected and find security in knowing how to do their job without making mistakes. 

They aren't necessarily fulfilled or happy.  But dammit, they are prepared (and can probably do their job in their sleep at this point)!

I'm not knocking people who get comfortable in their jobs and don't want to move up the career ladder.

That trajectory is not for everyone.

But what if deep down you DO want more from your career?  What if you want something different?

If you've ever thought about this, what are you doing to make this happen?

What's your timeline?

What fears are holding you back?

What will you do if you make a mistake?

And, believe me, you will.  Because we all make mistakes.  No one is perfect.

Badass women know that perfect is the enemy of the good. 

Badass women don't let perfectionist tendencies or the fear of failure or mistakes paralyze us from taking chances, increasing our visibility and going for what we want.

Badass women also still make mistakes.  Because we're human like everyone else.

But badass women handle mistakes differently.  We have enough confidence to know that a mistake here and there doesn't define us.  And won't stop us from getting what we want.

In my 7 Day Boot Camp To Unlock Your Inner Badass, I share the strategies and techniques badass women employ to propel their career forward, even when it can be scary and lead to a misstep or two along the way.  

Over 7 days, I equip you with the tools to change your limiting beliefs, habits and behaviors that are keeping you stuck in the status quo. 

At the end of the week, we have a 1:1 coaching session to create accountability and solidify your plan to move forward.

To learn more and sign up for my boot camp, click here.

I'm so excited for you to see what's possible when you let go of perfect and just go for what you want! 💪

How to Deal With Jerks at Work Without Becoming One

I have the privilege of working with a lot of assertive, direct women. 

They aren't afraid to speak up.

If they have an idea, they share it.

When someone says something they disagree with, they express their counterpoint.

And when they feel personally attacked by a colleague, the hairs on the back of their neck may stand up and they prepare themselves to fight back.

This is where things get tricky...

We keep telling women to be confident, not take crap and stand up for themselves.

But that doesn't always work in our favor.

Especially when we're dealing with jerks. 

You know who I mean. 

That jerk who always undermines you. 

That jerk who shows up late to all your meetings and plays on his phone the whole time except to chime in when he disagrees with you.

The jerk who gaslights you and makes you feel crazy for any concerns you have.

The jerk who blatantly lies.

Dealing with a jerk at work can be tough for anyone.

But it can be particularly challenging and triggering for strong, assertive women.

These women have spent their whole careers speaking up and refusing to be pushed around. 

Some have even developed a chip on their shoulder because they've had to fight SO hard to get where they are today.

What this means is...

The tactics that have helped you get ahead in your career won't work on jerks.  In fact, speaking up and fighting back will probably only make it worse. 

This is something that comes up regularly for my clients. (Sadly, there are still a lot of jerks out there). 

Typically, when jerks rear their ugly head, I see my clients either fight, flee or do nothing at all. 

None of these options are going to really resolve the situation in your favor. 

So what can you do?

  • Instead of fighting back, try to be sympathetic.  Could something else really be going on here that's causing the jerk to be a jerk - something besides you?
  • Instead of fleeing, try to communicate more.  Suggest going out for lunch or coffee and ask questions and listen more than you talk.  Let the jerk feel heard and keep things light.  If you have an opportunity to address the situation, be diplomatic, not accusatory.  All of this involves taking the high road and being humble. 
  • Instead of doing nothing, work to resolve your feelings.  Don't react in the moment, but write it down. Try journaling about the incident or focus on how you will feel about this in the future. This imaginary time travel can help diffuse the situation and make you realize that it won't matter much in the long run.  

And if you really can't improve the situation, then don't stick around. Being miserable at work sucks and can chip away at your self-esteem, emotional well-being and your health.  

These strategies take some work and may not feel natural at first, especially for badass assertive women who don't take crap.

My 7 Day Boot Camp To Unlock Your Inner Badass helps you further develop this muscle and practice excelling in challenging situations at work.  In the Boot Camp, I show you how shifting your mindset, habits and behaviors can help you get better results with less effort, even when the office jerks are trying to test you.

The Boot Camp includes:

  • An Introductory Training Video 
  • 7 Audio Trainings (perfect for listening on the go)
  • Daily Real-World Exercises & Assignments
  • One  1:1 60 minute coaching session with me 

To learn more and sign up to unlock your inner badass, click here.

You Don't Need To Be Tough To Shine

In my corporate career and since launching my consulting business nearly 3 years ago, I've always tried to check my emotions at the door and "be professional."  Whatever that means...

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To me, it meant having a stoic appearance whenever sh*t hit the fan, never letting colleagues or clients see me sweat and trying my best to be nice and respectful to everyone.

In my mind, there was no place for tears or attitude when something went wrong or I felt I was treated badly or unfairly.

Consequently, some people thought I was tough.  I'm sure a handful of people thought I was a b*tch. 

In reality, the people who know me well know that I'm actually a sensitive person; I get affected by negativity and criticism.

Even though I usually kept my walls up at work, there were moments where my vulnerability slipped out.

I hate to admit it, but a few times I broke down and cried in front of a colleague when I felt professional disappointment and just couldn't hold back the emotions another second. 

I was MORTIFIED. 

But in each instance, the person on the receiving end of my tears was incredibly compassionate and saw a different side of me afterwards.

Instead of assuming I was managing everything (because that was the image I projected), these individuals got a glimpse into my feelings and as a result, were more inclined to offer their help and support moving forward.

That support was invaluable, especially in difficult situations.

As I've launched my coaching business over the past 6 months, I've done a lot of thinking around the role of toughness and emotion and their place in an professional environment.

I've seen how having a tough exterior can be limiting and unnatural for a lot of women.

I have two clients right now who are both struggling with this.  For both of these women, their work environments are a bit toxic and it has spawned some reactive feelings in each of them.

They are both struggling with the same issues:

  • When is it worth saying something?
  • How do I stand up for myself effectively without sounding like I'm complaining or coming across as a jerk?
  • Is it possible that I'm wrong and this is my fault? 
  • Is this really worth my emotional energy?

Clearly, the answers aren't black and white. 

I know firsthand how challenging it can be to navigate these situations on your own. 

It's not easy to figure out the right amount of "toughness" to display at work while still being true to who you are. 

It's also not clear IF and WHEN you should let down your guard.

They don't teach you that in business school. 

I'm committed to helping women tackle this issue and find their voice.

I'd like to invite you to chat with me if you're struggling with how you show up in the workplace. 

You shouldn't have to be a smaller version of yourself or hide your feelings to fit into the corporate culture and be successful.

I want to see you SHINE!

The Verdict? GUILTY

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Several years ago, I went through a painful breakup.  It all ended late on a Friday night.

But by 8 AM on Saturday, I was back in the office for a previously scheduled meeting. 

Some people would've cancelled or blown the meeting off.  But not me.

You know why I showed up?

Because of Guilt and Obligation. 

I prided myself on being reliable, consistent and following through on my commitments. 

ALL. THE. TIME.

That Saturday morning meeting was no different. 

At the time, I was caught in a vicious cycle of over-committing, feeling like I owed people whatever they asked for and neglecting my own care and needs.

It wasn't healthy. 

Soon after that weekend, I began to look at my life differently. 

I started making decisions for ME, not for other people. 

This meant stepping back from some work commitments, saying no to personal invitations that I didn't want to attend and drawing boundaries to protect myself from toxic people and situations. 

I felt a little lost at first because a lot of my self-worth was tied up in achieving and making other people happy.

And this new way of looking at things required me to let some people down. 

To guide my new outlook, I had to get clear about my priorities and what I wanted professionally and personally. 

This needed to be based on MY needs and desires, not other people's. 

Part of what allowed me to make this shift is that I had confidence in myself and I knew my value.

I started to feel comfortable saying no and learned to do so with a smile and tact so that people didn't hate me, write me off or roll their eyes.

You can do this too.

If you feel like you're on a hamster wheel just trying to keep up and make everyone happy, it doesn't have to be this way.

By getting clear about what you want and learning how to communicate your needs effectively, you can change things. (For more on this, check out my blog post). 

If you want to explore this further, shoot me a note and we can set up time to chat.  I'm here to help!

Do You Think You're Worth It?

We are one-third of the way through 2018 and it's a great time to check back in with the goals and intentions you set for the year. 

I accomplished a lot in 2017 but I wanted more for 2018. 

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I have some serious growth goals. 

I also know I can't do it alone.  

I thought I could.  I really did.  

In fact, I was dead set on NOT hiring another coach or mentor in 2018 because I had invested a lot of time and money in both in 2017. 

But right around Christmas, something changed for me. 

I had an "aha" moment. 

I realized I was making things really difficult for myself by trying to figure everything out and learn on my own.

This fierce independence was actually slowing me down.  

It was also exhausting. 

That's why on December 28 I decided to pull the trigger and invest in myself.  Again. 

I made a big financial commitment to continue working with my coach and I couldn't be more excited.

You know how sometimes you spend a large amount of money and you immediately have that pit in your stomach because you aren't sure if it was a good idea?

Well I had the exact opposite feeling when I handed my credit card over in late December. 

It felt so right.

And that's because I know what I want.  

I want to help women unlock their talents, build their confidence, and identify and get what they want.    

And I know that this extra support is going to help me do that - better and faster. 

I talk to women all the time who have the same doubts that I had about investing in themselves. 

  • Will it really make a difference?
  • Will it really change anything?
  • Will I really walk away with more clarity, purpose and satisfaction?

I tell them that it depends. 

It depends on how badly you want to change.

It depends on how willing you are to invest the time, money and energy into your own growth and transformation. 

It depends on whether you can put aside the guilt, shame and anxiety you may feel once you decide you're actually worth the investment.

I feel so strongly about supporting women in getting what they want in their careers that I want to make this an easy decision for you.

Book a complimentary 1:1 consult to see if working with me is a good fit for you.  

I'm so excited for what the rest of 2018 holds and can't wait to share it with you.

4 Ways To Get Results When Life Gets Crazy

These last several weeks have been a whirlwind for me. 

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I've been in Palm Springs, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and San Francisco.

During this time, my business and personal life have been INSANE! You know what they say, when it rains, it pours...

I've had experience at the intersection of Busy + Overwhelmed before though, and this time, I was able to thrive.

Specifically:

  • In my consulting business, I expanded contracts with 2 existing clients and closed a new client
  • In my coaching business, I started working with 5 new, amazing women
  • I facilitated 5 workshops and boot camps at various conferences and meetings and have a 6th one scheduled for next week
  • I planned a networking event for my ladies in DC for 4/19 - I WANT TO MEET YOU!
  • I celebrated a number of occasions with family and friends, including my Dad's birthday, Passover and throwing my best friend a bridal shower
  • I even managed to exercise and eat right and I lost 6 lbs!!

I'm not telling you this to brag (although I AM proud of myself). 🙌  

I'm sharing this because there have been times in the past where I've been this busy and melted down.  

There have been times where I've been so overwhelmed by deadlines, obligations, meetings and requests for my time that I stood in the way of my own success.

But not anymore. 

You can also get results in times of extreme "busyness" with these 4 practices:

  1. Fiercely Protect Your Time - Figure out what you need to get done and build boundaries to ensure you can execute without distraction. I have a checklist at the start of each week broken down by day and have time blocks in my calendar dedicated to exercise, coaching calls, consulting client work, creative time and personal time. 
  2. Say "No." A Lot - Get comfortable saying "no." When something comes up that doesn't fit into my schedule or near-term strategic objectives, I say "no."  I don't re-arrange my already packed schedule and try to fit it in. I also don't shut the door on the opportunity entirely; you may be surprised how much people appreciate your candor when you explain why you are saying "no" or need to postpone something.
  3. Make Self-Care An Even Higher Priority - When you're operating at breakneck speed, it's even more important to take care of yourself.  For me, this looks like building in time to exercise and sleep, keeping healthy food at home, seeing family and friends, getting a massage and sometimes just sitting on the couch and doing nothing.
  4. Re-Prioritize What Must Get Done - In times of extreme "busyness", business as usual is not always the answer. Re-assess what you absolutely must do to stay afloat and deliver on your commitments.  Everything else can wait.  

Can you relate to any of this? If so, I'd love to hear how you kick ass even when it looks like your schedule may run you into the ground.

And if this is something you're struggling with, let's talk. I would love to see if I can help you not only come up for air, but also get amazing results during your busiest times.

Wishing you a productive week!

To Stand Out: Create The Rules, Don't Follow Them

Yesterday I was a guest on a podcast and the host asked me about my earliest childhood memory. 

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It was from when I was about 2 years old. 

I hated going to bed. 

I would stand in my crib and had a nightly routine my parents had to follow:  read me a book, sing me a song and count to 60.  Repeat.

Sometimes I would turn it into a negotiation and try to get even more out of them and stay up later.

I was a real pain in the butt!

And now, more than 35 years later, I'm not sure much has changed. :)

I still don't like to follow the rules, I'm a night owl and I believe most things in life are negotiable. 

Fortunately, I've been able to leverage these traits in a positive way in my career.

I did things differently than other people.

The outcome:

  • I delivered results that helped distinguish me from my peers. 
  • I had creative bursts late at night when others were watching TV, out partying or going to bed early.
  • I was  paid well because I knew my value and I asked for what I wanted.

There was no roadmap for much of what I've done in my career. 

I created the rules. 

I didn't follow them.

This is something I instill in the women I coach.

Last week, a client told me what she really wanted: a promotion and a 4-day work week so she could spend more time with her family. 

While the desire made perfect sense to her, she thought asking for this would be ridiculous.

Who gets promoted AND is allowed to work less afterwards?!?

But I challenged her to think about it differently: 

  • Why can't you do this? 
  • How do you know they will say no?  
  • Maybe no one else has ever asked for this...  
  • No one else brings your unique mix of talents, institutional knowledge and results to the organization.  
  • What's the worst that can happen if you ask?
  • How could this arrangement also benefit the organization?

By the end of our call, she was thinking that maybe asking for this wasn't so crazy after all.

And that's one of the breakthroughs I help women achieve - the ability to see possibility and opportunity where you may not have recognized it before. 

You don't have to accept the hand you're dealt or do things the way everyone else has always done them.

If you do, you can expect to get the same results as everyone else. 

And who wants to be just like everyone else?

You can make your own rules and sometimes you have to in order to create the life you want.

If you're interested in learning more about how this works, let's talk. 

I invite you to schedule a free 1:1 consult to see if working with me is a good fit for you.

Can't wait to chat!

What I Didn't Tell You About My Career Slump

I don't talk much about it, but around the time I hit my professional low point, I was also experiencing some personal turmoil.

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This came to a head over the course of a few weeks when I had two panic attacks.  

One happened over a gyro salad in a Greek restaurant and another occurred in a shopping mall on the way to the movies.

Not exactly two of the most stressful situations...

Which is how I really knew things had gotten completely out of whack. 

At some point, my professional and personal stresses had merged into one giant mess. 

It sucked.

BUT, it was a turning point for me.

I realized that it's really hard to achieve and sustain professional development without doing work around your personal development. 

I'm not talking about intensive therapy or adopting a bunch of woo-woo, spiritual practices - although that's great if that's what moves you.

For me, it meant adopting better self-care habits. 

I hired a nutritionist. 

I switched to a lower stress job that afforded me a greater work-life balance.

I adopted a dog.

I committed to workouts on specific days.

And I slept more. 

That's what worked for me. 

What works for you may be entirely different. 

In my work coaching professional women, we dive deeper into the relationship between self-care and your professional success and joy. 

I'm committed to supporting you to identify what's not working for you right now and a plan to change that. 

If you're interested in learning more, I invite you to book a free 30-minute consultation with me right here.

I look forward to speaking with you!

How I Got Unstuck In My Career After Hitting Rock Bottom

It was a beautiful summer weekend in mid-July about 5 years ago when I could no longer ignore it.  

I was completely miserable at work.

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I left the office around 8pm on Friday evening. 

Everyone else I knew was enjoying time with their families, happy hours with friends or on their way to the beach.  

I was just hoping to get some rest before 

I had to be back in the office at 8am on Saturday. 

On Saturday morning, I dragged myself out of bed and reported to the office.  

I sat through several hours of white-boarding sessions with a team of people who didn't want to be there either.  

The only bright spot (besides the free food) was that this was a nice respite from my usual client work, where I worked on a dysfunctional team with a verbally abusive client supporting a high-profile project that everyone knew was doomed to fail. 

How was this my life?

How had I spent my whole career working long hours, playing office politics and networking with the right people to end up in this situation?

A situation where I had no control over my own time.

A situation where I worked with unpredictable, mean clients.

A situation where I had to constantly watch my back from manipulative colleagues. 

A situation where the work bored me and didn't make a difference. 

I was ready for a change.

Shortly thereafter, I switched roles in the firm before leaving the organization entirely a year later.

I spent the next two years working for another organization and took my career in a different direction. 

This prepared me to ultimately go off on my own and start my firm, Mosaic Growth Partners, a few years ago.

This transition from misery to freedom was not easy or quick.

But it taught me a lot.

You may be feeling stuck, under-appreciated or overwhelmed in your career trying to balance career and family.  

And I want to help.  

If you're a woman who wants to earn equal pay and get the promotion, raise and respect you desire, then we should talk.  Please book a free 30-minute consultation with me.

And, if you're a man and you know a woman who may benefit from this discussion, please share this with her.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Badass Professional Women Don’t #7: Pull All-Nighters

Science is very clear about the importance of sleep to our physical and mental well-being.

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However, not all high-charging, do-it-all professional women have bought into the benefits of sleep.

After all, how can they?

Then they wouldn’t be able to pack in 20 hours of activity each day? 

And they would have to say no to things and let people down - GASP!!

There was a time in my life where I pulled all nighters and/or regularly only got 4 hours of sleep.

I produced super-human amounts of work.

But I was always stressed, on edge and trying to stay busy so I didn’t crash.

After one particularly bad stretch of late and sleepless nights working, I had gotten in the habit of pounding 5-Hour Energy shots to function.

It kept me awake but came with side effects. 

Like the time I gave a presentation in front of about 50 colleagues and at the end someone remarked how nervous I seemed…because I had been shaking.

Turns out, I wasn’t nervous at all. I was literally SHAKING from all the chemicals I was pouring into my body to stay awake.

That embarrassing incident was a wake up call that I needed to get a handle on my sleep. 

What was the point of killing myself to do all this work if I couldn’t even appear calm and confident when I presented it to other people?

Sleep has been THE game-changer for me professionally and personally and the foundation of my self-care.

With 7-8 hours of sleep each night, I’m more clear-headed, calm and less stressed and triggered by things that are out of my control.

I no longer test the limits of how many hours I can work in a day and how many projects I can take on at one time.

Because I don’t have to.

I don’t need to prove how much work I can do to anyone or have my health suffer for my job.

If you feel like your plate is so full that sleep is a luxury you can’t afford, I strongly urge you to sloooooowwww down.

The work will still be there tomorrow.

And hopefully your colleagues and clients also want you to take care of yourself.

But, if you find yourself in an unforgiving situation where you truly can’t take your foot off the gas, then it may be time to evaluate whether that’s a place you want to stay.

Remember, we always have choices.

Sacrificing your long-term health for some fleeting glory at work is a risky play and worth taking a hard look at.

Badass Professional Women Don’t #6: Be a Tough Guy

This week’s post may ruffle some feathers. 

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Since I started this series on 7 Things Badass Professional Women Don’t Do the majority of criticism has been directed at my use of the term “badass.”

A handful of readers have pointed out that using this term is trashy, unprofessional, unnecessary and an example of being too tough, which contradicts Don’t #6: Don’t Be a Tough Guy. 

So I’m going to use this feedback as a teaching moment for those of us trying to be less tough and for those who are offended by the use of the term “badass.”

Let me start by saying I would be PROUD to be labeled a badass any day.  I think it’s a compliment. 

To me, the term embodies a go-getter spirit, serious ambition and competence and the social graces and intangible qualities that make a person respected, likable and successful.

Last time I checked those were all positive qualities.

To those who find it offensive to label the combination of these qualities “badass”, you’re certainly entitled to your opinion. 

But please don’t try to shame me and other women and men who aspire to become badasses and proudly wear the label.

See what I did there?

First, I expressed my point of view as well as respect for differing perspectives. 

Second, I have spent the last few months building up social capital with you and other readers by sharing my blog posts.  You’ve made it to the 7th post in the series so I must be doing something right. :) 

Third, I’ve responded to criticism of my posts in a very limited way – only responding when I feel like a reader has crossed a line with a blatant insult to women in general (i.e., one reader suggested that adopting the behaviors I have been writing about could veer into “pushy broad” territory).

I point this out not to pat myself on the back, but to illustrate that you can speak up and communicate your viewpoints at work without be harsh, tactless and seen as an overly assertive b*tch.

It just takes some intention and practice.

Badass Professional Women Don’t #5: Feel Guilty

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We have spent the past few weeks talking about how women can unlock their natural talents, set boundaries and ask for what they want. (See previous posts: 7 Things Badass Professional Women Don’t Do, Badass Professional Women Don’t #1: Put Your Head Down and Work Harder, Badass Professional Women Don’t #2: Compare Yourself, Badass Professional Women Don’t #3: Say Yes, and Badass Professional Women Don't #4: Accept the Hand You're Dealt.)

But we haven’t talked about what makes this so hard: GUILT.

I don’t know any woman that isn’t plagued by it, including me.

Most women have been conditioned from a young age to be nice and accommodating.

And that’s ok…to an extent.

But if too many of our decisions and choices are guided by other people’s feelings and perceptions, where do our own needs and desires fit in?

Therein lies the crux of the issue: we truly want to help others, often to the detriment of our own well-being.

So how do you take control of your guilt without turning into a selfish jerk?

First, it’s important to know what you want and set priorities.  These priorities may even include doing things for other people (i.e., picking the kids up from school, making dinner for your husband, etc.).  Once you have a list of your non-negotiables, everything else becomes much clearer. 

Use these priorities as guides to draw boundaries. This is critical to protecting your time and your sanity.  Once you find this alignment between your wants, priorities and what you commit to, it becomes easier to avoid feeling guilty. 

But the guilt may still creep in.

That’s where strong communication comes into play – you need to let people know about your priorities.  People who care about you don’t want to see you burnt out, frazzled and unhappy. 

The thing is, we’re often so busy trying to hold it all together and we don’t want people to see us sweat, so they have no idea that we are feeling overwhelmed, stressed and spread too thin.

You can change that by being direct, but compassionate with friends, family and colleagues.  Let them know how disappointed you are that you can’t say yes to ________ (i.e., working late, a destination wedding, dinner on Thursday night), but that you just don’t have the _______ (i.e., time, money, resources) right now.

Yes, this is scary.  And you may even make some people upset.

But you’ll find that the people who really care about you and want you to succeed will accept this explanation.

As you practice doing this more and more, the guilt really does start to fade. 

Another trick is to think about what you would tell a friend in your position. Would you encourage her to keep taking on more and to feel badly when she had to turn something down?  Probably not.  

Practice being as kind to yourself as you would be to other people you care about.

It also helps if you remember this: self-care ISN’T selfish.  You really will show up as a better employee, mother, daughter, partner and friend if you are taking care of yourself and your needs.  And that’s nothing to feel guilty about.        

 

 

Badass Professional Women Don't #4: Accept the Hand You're Dealt

This is the fifth post in an 8-part series on the 7 Things Badass Professional Women Don’t Do.  Previously, we’ve talked about how badass professional women don’t put their head down and work harderdon’t compare themselves to others, and don’t say yes.

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Now I want to talk about a real game changer – the notion that you can call the shots and create the change you want to see in your life.

This is actually the biggest breakthrough I see most of my clients have.

We become so accustomed to the idea that our situation is fixed or static and that we have to operate within the rules.

Rules created by our employer.

Rules created by society.

Rules created so you can be just like everyone else.

Guess what?

There is always some wiggle room.

You are never truly stuck.

Your ideal, dream scenario may be out of reach today, but there are always small tweaks you can adopt to make things more bearable and get you closer to what you want.

The problem many women face is that they don’t ask “what if.”

What if you did things differently?

What if you told your boss that you really can’t take on another project?

What if you told your husband that you can’t make dinner 4 nights a week?

What if you told your friend you can’t make it to her daughter’s third birthday party on Sunday?

I promise you the world won’t stop.

In fact, you will find you can have more.

More of what you want.

But you have to know what it is you want and ask for it. 

It’s up to you to create the space in your life to make this happen.

 

 

Badass Professional Women Don’t #3: Say Yes

This is the fourth post in an 8-part series on the 7 Things Badass Professional Women Don’t Do.  Previously, we’ve talked about how badass professional women don’t put their head down and work harder and don’t compare themselves to others.

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Today I want to examine the notion of saying “no”. 

This sounds simple but can actually be quite hard. 

Particularly if you have high standards for yourself and any people-pleasing tendencies.

High-achievers often want to do it all. 

We love a good challenge and the opportunity to prove ourselves.  

Often, we’re even flattered when someone asks us to do something since it’s a sign they value our work.

But have you thought about the fact that every time you say “yes” to something, you are actually saying “no” to something else?

We all have the same 24 hours in a day so each task you accept takes time away from something else, whether it’s sleep, time with your family or another work assignment.

Consequently, we need to be smart and strategic about what we say “yes” to.

Badass professional women have figured out when it makes sense to say “no.”  Some examples include:

  • Opportunities that don’t align with your goals
  • Unproductive meetings
  • Toxic or dishonest people
  • Decisions based on FOMO, ego, guilt or fear
  • Tedious tasks that bring no joy or learning
  • Unlimited requests for assistance and advice, particularly from complete strangers
  • Asks that are too far into the future
  • Doing too much out of obligation rather than passion

I’m not suggesting you become cold-hearted, shrewd and completely selfish with your time. 

But you do need to be thoughtful about it.

There’s an art to saying “no”. 

Be straightforward and sincere about your needs (yes, you can even do this with your boss). 

People who respect and care about you will usually understand.

Those that are offended by your “no” may actually be people who don’t value your needs.

In short: Do what inspires you.  Accept the favors you genuinely want to do.  Work with people you love.

Badass Professional Women Don’t #2: Compare Yourself

This is the third in an 8-part series on the 7 Things Badass Professional Women Don’t Do.  Last week we explored Badass Professional Women Don’t #1: Put Your Head Down and Work Harder.

Now, we turn our attention to something we all probably do sometimes – compare ourselves to others.

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Comparison is almost impossible to avoid if you’re a living, breathing human being.

We're bombarded with images of aspirational women from social media and marketers, which can make even the most secure, happy woman feel inadequate.

During performance reviews, the organizations we work at often implicitly pit employee against employee to determine who gets raises, promoted and fired.  Being compared to your peers is the standard.

So it’s not surprising that we fall into the habit of comparing ourselves to those around us.

In some ways, it’s a survival tactic.

We live in a world where people want constant feedback so comparing yourself to those around you can affirm where you stand in the pecking order. 

I’m all for being ambitious and focused on self-improvement, but at some point it becomes unhealthy and unproductive to strive to be like other people.

Badass women know this.  And, ironically, they are often the women that other women are striving to be like.

Badass women are tuned in to what it takes to rise to the top and be successful and admired.

They pick up on social cues in their organizations and understand the skills and competencies their employer values and rewards.

They know who the influencers and decision-makers are and have personal relationships with them.

They also identify and build relationships with important mentors and sponsors.

Other women – the ones who feel slighted, under-appreciated, overworked, stuck and even ignored – are doing something different.

Some of them wallow in their situations and complain about them.

Others are working in roles that are misaligned with their talents and they don’t know it.

Still others have never taken the time to step out of their day-to-day routine and consider the bigger picture.

And all of them at some point have thought: “Why her and not me?”

Come on, we’ve all thought it before…

But while some women throw a pity party or feel resentful or inadequate because their peers are getting more attention and respect, badass professional women don’t even notice.

That’s because they are focused on their own game.

They have their own plan and an agenda to get there.

They have put effort into building important relationships and social capital and they don’t have time to compare themselves to other people.

They are too busy leading the way.

So next time you start comparing yourself to someone at work, ask yourself this:

  • Am I really doing everything I can to get noticed, respected and promoted?
  • Are my talents aligned to the work I’m doing and to the path I want to pursue?
  • Have I built the right relationships?

If you answered no to any one of these questions, then you still have work to do.

And no amount of comparison is ever going to close that gap.