What's Really Weighing You Down and Keeping You Stuck?

I was having dinner with my friend over the weekend and she told me something I hear all the time – she was feeling stuck.

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This woman is one of the toughest, most successful women I know. 

She’s exceeding her goals at work in the finance industry, making good money, has a great relationship with her husband and overall, is living a life most people would envy.

But lately she’s been pretty miserable.  

She’s had a series of miscarriages and is surrounded by toxic co-workers every day at work.  

She kinda wants to leave her job but worries that now isn’t the right time if she wants to get pregnant and have her first child.  

On top of all that, she’s starting to wonder if she’s even meant to have kids.

This is one of the most resourceful women I know and for once, she just isn’t sure what her next move should be or how to move forward.

My friend’s story – the successful, mid-career professional woman who seems to have it all, but is actually unhappy and feeling stuck – is all too common.

If you can relate to this, there are some things you can do to get greater clarity on what you want so you can get unstuck.

First, take a hard look at what’s weighing you down.  

  • Is it the pressure to earn a certain amount of money?

  • Is it that you’re getting older and feel like you need to have kids ASAP?

  • Is it that you want to spend more time with your family but this is also a really important time in your career?

Most likely, you’re feeling some sort of pressure because what you want in your personal life is incongruent with what’s happening in your career.  

Whatever it is – get clear about what’s REALLY weighing you down and where the pressure is coming from. 

Next think about, what doesn’t serve you anymore? What’s keeping you stuck and unsure of your next move?

And if whatever is weighing you down changes, then what changes for you?  Imagine what could be possible for you if you stopped letting yourself get weighed down.

It’s normal that things can feel hard and you feel stuck when you focus on a limiting idea.  

But we can’t stay in that state if we want to live a big, fulfilling life.

So let me leave you with this – how would you feel if it in 6 months you are in the same spot because you didn’t do anything?

Let me know if you want to chat about this – badass women don't stay stuck and I don’t want you to either.



P.S. I've found that even just a single coaching session can be enough to get my clients out of a rut and moving forward.  To that end, for a limited time, I'm offering a la carte sessions (up to four sessions) that you can purchase for $300 each.  I'm including a Fast Action Bonus: If you purchases 4 sessions by 5pm EST on Friday, September 14, I will throw in a 5th session for free.  Are you IN?  If so, send me an email and I will send you the details.

 
 



What's The Right Balance Between Confidence and Humility?

Recently, one of my coaches talked about how confidence and humility are the two main keys to success.

And that got me thinking because that balance between confidence and humility can be tricky, especially for women.

We're told to be confident and own our accomplishments but we all know women who do that and then they’re called arrogant or cocky.

And we know that part of being humble is about listening and being open to learning and feedback.

But we can’t only stay in the role of a learner if we want to be seen as a leader.

So how do we get this balance right between confidence and humility?

Badass women master this balance by doing two key things.

First, we get truly confident about our gifts and self-aware about our limitations.  And we need to be ok with both of these.  I’ve found that it’s when we’re insecure or feel backed into a corner that we start to show up in ways where we don't present our best self.

And a lot of times that is where confidence can veer into arrogance or being obnoxious or defensive.

Second, it helps to have a learning mindset and be open to continuous improvement.  We need to seek out people we can learn from.

And we need to be ok with "failure"; it's part of learning.

When these things happen, it's easier to show up confidently and authentically and still demonstrate humility.

So that’s my take.

What are your thoughts on the role of confidence and humility? How do they play into your success? And how do you balance the two?

Send me a message and let me know – I’d love to hear from you!

 
 

High-Performing Professional Women Want More Paid Leave and Greater Flexibility

Ambitious professional women want it all – the high-powered career and a balanced family life. 

But many employers aren’t making it easy for them with their limited family leave policies, rigid cultures and business models that, in practice, often really don't support working parents. 

Women who have children are often forced to go back to work before they’re really ready; on average, eligible workers take 8.5 out of the 12 weeks of leave permitted by the Family and Medical Leave Act.[1] 

This is in stark contrast to the 6 months of leave most experts, including the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend for new parents.[2]

When employers fail to support working families, women, who are typically the primary caretakers, feel the biggest loss – emotionally, financially and professionally. 

But this isn’t just a problem for the estimable women who give birth to children or the 43 million Americans who provide unpaid caregiving for elderly parents.

It’s a problem for the employers who hope to attract and retain these workers, particularly in a competitive job market where unemployment rates hit an 18-year low in May 2018.[3] 

 

The Alpha Test

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After hearing common challenges from the working moms I coach in my executive coaching practice, I approached Alpha, an on-demand user insights platform, to learn more about what working women really want and need from their employers to feel supported and successful.

We ran a series of tests on Alpha’s platform in August 2018, against a total audience of more than 700 professional women under the age of 60; approximately half of the respondents had or plan to have children in the next 9 months.  Here’s what we learned:

  • Approximately 1 of every 4 employees has turned down a job because the benefits package did not meet their expectations
  • Women (35%) ranked paid time off as the most important employer benefit, with 77% of women noting that paid time off, including maternity leave, was “extremely” or “very” important in relation to their overall benefits package
  • Other benefits women valued highly include flexible working arrangements (23%), fitness and wellness offerings (14%), adequate maternity leave (11%), subsidized childcare (6%), caregiving/eldercare support (5%) and concierge services to support daily tasks (5%)
 
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We conducted a deeper dive into maternity leave preferences and found:

  • 34% of new mothers surveyed receive less than 1 month paid maternity leave, 37% get 1-2 months, 21% get 2-3 months, 6% get 3-4 months and 2% receive more than 4 months
  • More than 60% of respondents felt that 3 months of paid maternity leave was reasonable and fair both for employers and employees
  • There was greater variation among respondents in terms of the appropriate timeframe for partial paid leave, with 19% supporting 1 month of partial paid leave, 20% supporting 2 months, 21% supporting 3 months and 18% supporting up to 6 months of partial paid leave

Our findings were clear: women want more paid leave and greater flexibility and many of them will turn down a job offer that doesn’t offer them competitive benefits.

 

Implications for Employers

So what’s the implication for employers?

Employers have a number of levers they can pull to attract and retain top female talent. 

Our research indicates most employers are falling short of women’s expectations and expert recommendations for family leave and there is an opportunity to offer more generous leave options.

Additionally, we found that a “one size fits all” approach to benefits may not be the answer for a workforce that spans multiple generations.  Employers may consider how they can customize aspects of their benefits plans, including paid leave, telework policies, and wellness offerings to create the most value for their best employees and talent.

 

Additional Considerations

While our test spanned multiple industries and job functions, we recognize that benefits preferences may vary greatly by industry, career stage and age and strongly encourage employers to carefully study the total benefit packages that make the most sense for their unique population.

Contact us to learn more about how Alpha and Mosaic Growth Partners can help you better understand your employees’ benefits preferences and co-create a benefits package that will help you attract and retain top female talent. 

 

[1] http://www.thefifthtrimester.com/

[2] Harvard Business Review, “When Will The U.S. Finally Act Boldly on Paid Family Leave?

[3] https://money.cnn.com/2018/06/01/news/economy/may-jobs-report/index.html

5 Ways To Get Your Motivation Back When You’re Just Not Feeling It

It’s August and many of us have settled into summer and vacations.  Taking a break every now and then is important, but sometimes a vacation can turn into the full-on summer doldrums.  The kind where you sorta just space out, don’t feel super motivated and don’t really feel like doing anything work-related.

It’s tough to fight that feeling but with fall just a few weeks away, it’s good to have some strategies to snap out of it and get your mojo back.   

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  1. Give yourself permission to take a break.  It’s ok to feel like chilling sometimes.  Give yourself some time off and embrace a slower pace.  Use the downtime to re-charge – sleep more, see your family and friends, do nothing – whatever relaxes you.  But, set a limit.  Pick a date for when you need to re-engage with work and have a plan for how to get back into the swing of things (see #4 below).
  2. Get outside and think. Don’t stay trapped at your desk if you’re itching to be outside.  Schedule walking meetings or take your laptop outside.  Just being outside can give you a motivational and creativity boost.  Also, getting out of the office with colleagues is a great way to deepen your relationships. So while you may not feeling like “working,” you can still network and get to know your colleagues better. 
  3. Adjust your schedule.  Would a different routine feel better for the last few weeks of summer?  Think about what you can change to give you more flexibility so you can still enjoy the summer while also getting your work done.
  4. Set some fall goals.  It’s fine to take your foot off the gas a little bit in the summer.  But it’s not a great idea to check out completely.  Use August to create a plan for what you want to accomplish in the fall.   
  • Got a lot of thoughts swirling around in your head? Use this time to write them down and journal on them.  Create space to think about the things that may be keeping you up at night.
  • Make a to do list for September.  You can start with the big goals and then identify the weekly and daily to do’s to reach those goals.
  • Take some action before August ends – find one easy thing to do and do it.  Taking action helps you move forward and prevents you from getting stuck.  Doing this will help you leapfrog out of your current mindset and set you up for a productive September.
  • Make an investment to hold yourself accountable.  I recommend my self-guided digital program, The Badass Professional Woman’s Code. It is designed to provide the clarity, motivation, tools and accountability to accelerate your career in the way that feels right for you.

5.  Consider if fear is really sabotaging your motivation.  Often, our fear and doubt are proportional with what we perceive to be waiting for us at the next level.  So when we start to think about what’s next, fear, doubt and limiting mindsets can creep in. All of this keeps us stagnant.  When this happens, think about how it would feel if you had already cleared up the old stories, self-sabotaging behaviors and limiting mindsets that keep popping back up.   

Feeling unmotivated by something else and can’t quite put your finger on it? Grab my FREE Motivation Manager to identify 10 common causes of de-motivation and strategies to help you re-engage.

 
 

Could Work Be Easier?

I consider myself a lifehacker. 

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I'm always trying new shortcuts and time-saving services to make my life easier and more productive.

But what makes the biggest difference is that I've set my business up to play to my natural talents.  

The success of my business is dependent on my ability to think strategically, communicate clearly, build and maintain relationships and make sales. 

And these are all things that come naturally to me. 

I've definitely honed these skills over the years and gotten better at them, but I was already pre-disposed to be successful at these tasks.

Things haven't gone so well for me when I've tried to rely on my non-talents...

Like when I had to conduct regression analysis using SPSS or manipulate large data sets in Excel.  Those projects took me about 10 times longer than people who were naturally good with data and statistical analysis. 😳

Or when I had to set up all the technology to run a webinar and when I delivered it, the sound was off and all the participants left because they couldn't hear me. UGHHHHH.

Rather than spending my time trying to get better at these areas for development, I choose to avoid them (often, I outsource them).

I know that may sound kinda bad - to just accept that I'm not very good at something and not try to get better at it.

But it's actually the smart, efficient thing to do.

My time is better spent on work that comes naturally to me - it requires less effort and I produce better results.

So, let me ask you, are you in a role that relies most on your natural talents?

If you are, that's awesome, You probably feel very productive, accomplished and engaged.

If you're not, you may be feeling stressed and frustrated, afraid of messing up, not good enough, and burnt out from working SO damn hard. 

Identifying your natural talents is the very first thing I do with my clients and it's the first module of my digital coaching program, The Badass Professional Woman's Code.

Knowing what you're naturally good at and figuring out how to use those talents every day will set the foundation for your entire career. 

If you want work to be easier and to experience greater joy and success, then focus on your natural talents.  It's going to give you the biggest bang for your buck.

To learn more about how you can unlock your natural talents and achieve greater success in your career by playing to your strengths, let's talk.

There IS an easier way. 🙌

 
 

How's Your Life Going?

When you first started in your career, did you think about the life you wanted to build?

I'm not talking about the career you wanted, but the LIFE. 

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I know I didn't... 

I had an idea of how I envisioned my life playing out, but when I applied for that first, second and even third job, I didn't think about whether those jobs would get me to that vision I had for my LIFE. 

If you're like me, you went through your 20s and even your 30s focused on climbing the corporate ladder and moving forward professionally.

And that focus helped you get ahead professionally.

But now that you've done all that, let me ask you: Do you have the LIFE you want?  Are you building a career that is congruent with the LIFE you envisioned?

When our career and LIFE are incongruent, this shows up in many different ways...

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Health issues
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Excessive eating and drinking
  • Snapping at the people you love most

No one ever plans to end up in a situation like that.  

But this very lack of intention is what will land you in a job that will literally suck the LIFE out of you.

A job where you create countless decks to nowhere. (Seriously, how many PowerPoint presentations have you created in the last month that actually made a difference??)

A job where the pressure is always on for you to deliver even though you have no real influence or authority over the final decision or outcome.

A job where you frequently worry if you're going to be the next one called into your boss's office on Friday afternoon and let go due to another round of "re-structuring."

But what if you flipped the script and re-framed your career goals in the context of your LIFE goals?

  • What's the next phase of your LIFE really about?  
  • What's the most significant breakthrough you want to create?
  • How do you want to be with other people in your LIFE - your family, friends, colleagues, clients and community?

Given those answers, does your job align with that vision?

If not, the good news is your current job is not a life sentence.  

You can move on.  You can do the work to find your next job or career that allows you to have the LIFE you want. 

I promise you, it's possible.  I know because I did it. (To hear my story, listen to a recent episode of The SweetLife Podcast with April Beach, where I share how I designed my career around my LIFE.)

The difference between staying in a job that is incongruent with the LIFE you want and creating something more for yourself is the difference between just existing and living fully. 

Do you want to live intentionally?

Or do you want to live by accident?

The choice is yours. What will you do?

I would love to explore this further with you and help get your career and LIFE more closely aligned.  

 
 

Why Playing It Safe May Be Sabotaging Your Career

A few months ago I received an email from James Altucher that asked:

"Do you make fear decisions or growth decisions? For instance, do you stay in your job because you are afraid you won't get another job? Or do you stay in your job because you are excited about the growth potential there?...The fear-based decisions never worked out...The growth-based decisions all resulted in miracles." 

WOW. 

We have all made decisions out of fear.   

In the short-term, it's a lot easier to stick to the status quo - it's safe, comfortable and familiar. 

But when have you ever made a decision out of fear that has really brought you joy?

To get to that place where "miracles" happen, you need to step out of your comfort zone. 

Making decisions based on fear rather than growth can be the difference between a career you tolerate and one that gives you meaning, purpose and fulfillment.

Every. Single. Day.

I know this all too well. 

I made my most high-stakes fear or growth decision about 3 years ago when I decided to quit my job and start my own business.

I was miserable and knew I had to quit.  There was only so much longer I could fake it there.

I spent months looking and interviewing for other jobs.  That's what I thought I was supposed to do.  Find another job. 

But none of those jobs excited me.

And the more effort I put into the process, the more depressed and desperate I felt. 

One day it hit me - why am I looking for another job that I'm not excited about?

The truth: I had absolutely no idea.

I was kinda lost.  What I had done my whole career no longer felt good. 

I needed more.

So I started to think about what was possible...

I pushed myself to think beyond the limited way I had been looking at my options before. 

Once I started to open myself up to what was REALLY possible, I had more options.

And shortly thereafter, the solution became undeniable: I was ready to go off on my own and be my own boss.

This idea literally made me feel giddy.

I couldn't stop talking about it with anyone who would listen. 

I actually enjoyed working on my go-to market strategy and my website.

I had never had this feeling about work before.

Now work was fun, intellectually stimulating and something that I actually looked forward to doing every day. 

✨  When you approach things with a growth mindset, you become more flexible in finding solutions and accepting risk. ✨

Could you benefit from a similar shift?

  • Do you feel kinda bored or blah about your career but you aren't sure why?
  • Do you have a nagging feeling that there's something better somewhere out there?
  • Do you wonder how you're going to make it 6 months, 3 months or even one more day at the office if you have to continue with the fake smiles and enthusiasm?

If you answered yes to any of these, it may be time to think about what's next - whether that's a new role, a new career or launching your own business.

You don't have to stay stuck or tolerate your current job.

You can reclaim your power over your career. 

But it takes work. 

You need to first remove the fear and regret in order to uncover a new set of possibilities.

And that is where I can help.  

My digital coaching program, The Badass Professional Woman's Code, is open for enrollment.  In this program, I help take you out of your comfort zone so you can cut through the fear and BS and make real changes.  

Real changes that result in REAL GROWTH.

Don't wait another day.   

 
 

Squash The Imposter in You

Imposter syndrome is something I've seen plague most women at one time or another, even the most confident ones. 

I know this firsthand. 

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For me, mine creeps in when I'm asked to speak publicly.  I've always gotten nervous public speaking so fear is part of it.  But sometimes, I hear the voice in the back of my head asking, "Do you really know enough to speak on this topic or be on a panel with these other experts?"

Rationally, I know this doubt is silly.  The person who asked me to speak already thinks I'm qualified - that's why they want me there. 

But imposter syndrome isn't rational.  

And sometimes we don't even realize we have it.

Here are some indicators that imposter syndrome may be lurking inside of you:

  • You work hard, REALLY hard.  You may think you have to work that hard, but I'm willing to bet you work so hard because of some insecurity - that you aren't good enough, don't know enough, or aren't talented enough. 😠
  • You don't ask for the salary you deserve.  Since no one has offered you more money, you must not be worth it right?  WRONG.  Most organizations and businesses aren't going to proactively pay you more than they have to.  It's up to you to be confident enough to know your worth and ask for it. 🙋
  • You shy away from opportunities to stand out and increase your visibility.  You tell yourself you aren't qualified enough to do something that may be out of your comfort zone.  Or you're worried that you'll be exposed as a fraud and everyone will realize you actually don't know that much or aren't that good at your job.  But is that really true? 😳
  • You feel weird accepting praise.  When someone praises you, your instinct is to downplay your accomplishment, say you "got lucky," or give the credit to your team or someone else.  You don't think you're special or exceptionally talented; anyone who tells you otherwise must just be being nice. 👎

It's easy to see how imposter syndrome can you hold back and seriously limit your career opportunities. 

It's harder to learn how to squash it.

In my digital coaching program, The Badass Professional Woman's Code, we get to the root of the limiting beliefs that are holding you back from being the most confident, badass professional woman. 

In my program, I show you how to silence your Inner Critic and tune in and listen to your Inner Mentor, helping you kill the imposter lurking inside of you. We work together to build your confidence and executive presence and implement strategies to help you get more visible. 

I also want to offer you a freebie so you can start to banish the imposter in you right away.  Check out my Context Buster to break up the limiting beliefs and stories that are holding you back from being the most confident, badass version of you.

 
 

Why A Plan Won't Solve Your Problems

The #1 request I get from prospects and clients is "I need a plan."

A plan to get unstuck.

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A plan to help me re-claim my life and have some semblance of balance.

A plan to get promoted and respected for the value I bring. 

A plan to build my network so I can eventually start my own business.

A plan to enjoy work again.

Guess what? I NEVER had a plan to start my own business.

Being an entrepreneur had never been a dream of mine. I never intentionally made choices to lead me to this destination. 

Yet I'm now certain that this is what I was meant to do with my life.

Furthermore, I know that all of my previous work experiences prepared me to get to this point. 

It's not that I don't believe in planning because I do.  

In my everyday life, I'm a huge planner with a daily To Do list. I'm also one of the least spontaneous people I know. :)

But a plan is really just some words written down on a piece of paper.  Anyone can do that.

To really create something meaningful that will stick and be executable requires much deeper work.

Creating that kind of plan is not quick or easy.

It requires you to take a hard look at what's working and what's not.

It requires you to be honest about what's holding you back and why you have certain fears.

It requires a self-awareness and openness to understand your talents and where you can best utilize them.

It requires you to make hard choices and sometimes let go of the "safe" option and take a risk. 

This kind of plan is not a check-the-box activity.  

It can be uncomfortable and bring up a lot of "stuff"...  

"Stuff" many of us don't really want to deal with. 

And that can be hard.

Believe me, I know.

That's why my digital coaching program is designed to culminate in a 90-day action plan and 6-month strategic plan AFTER I support you through some of that messy work around the "stuff".

Once you put in the time to deal with the "stuff", the planning part isn't so hard.

 
 

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 and my digital 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! 💪

 
 

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.

If you're struggling with how you show up in the workplace, here are a few ways I can support you.

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, let's talk.  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.

Contact me 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!

 
 

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.