Don’t you love Halloween? It’s not just because of the sweet treats. It’s so much fun to dress up in costume and take on the identity of someone or something else for the day. The holiday festivities give us an excuse to put on a mask and adopt a new persona. Perhaps we choose to be someone funny, or maybe we become a scary monster. Maybe we don some sexy clothing that’s totally out of character for us, or maybe we become a super hero who possesses super natural powers.
Halloween is fun. No doubt about it. As I was thinking about the holiday this year, it dawned on me, however, how scary it is to take OFF your mask, to look in the mirror and challenge yourself to be YOU; to be your authentic self.
In actuality, I think many of us hide behind masks all year long. We adopt different personas in our personal and professional lives because we believe we need them to be successful or be more like able. We create stories about ourselves and these stories become who we are. We lose our authentic selves in the process.
To me, the process of stripping away all these stories and personas we’ve created is far more frightening than any Halloween costume. We choose to hide behind our masks because we feel the need to protect ourselves; because somehow we’ve convinced ourselves that if people knew who we really are, they wouldn’t like us or we wouldn’t be successful.
Many of us don’t even realize that we have taken on different identities and the effect this has on our lives. We don’t realize how much MORE successful, personable, and powerful we would be without the mask. And how much stress does hiding your authentic self cause in your life?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you feel you are being authentic at work?
- Are you being rewarded for being authentic at work?
- Have you adopted a management/leadership style that doesn’t feel comfortable because of your company’s culture?
- What type of “mask” are you hiding behind in your personal relationships?
- Are you more authentic with some people than others? What does this tell you?
Choose to connect with your authentic self.
This Halloween, take OFF your mask. It’s the most empowering thing you can do for yourself.
Today’s show is all about “sticky floors”, not glass ceilings. My guest, Rebecca Shambaugh, will talk about how limiting beliefs, assumptions, and behaviors hold women back from career advancement. Rebecca’s best seller book, “It’s Not A Glass Ceiling, It’s A Sticky Floor”, illustrates how one of the major obstacles that holds people back from achieving their career goals and navigating the changing environment lies not only within the traditional organizational barriers but also right below an individual’s feet on what we call – the sticky floor. These sticky floors are specific things people think and do that actually limit their chances of being promoted. We will discuss the most common “sticky floors” for women, how to recognize them, and overcome them so that you achieve your career goals.
Rebecca Shambaugh is a known thought leader for advancing women leaders. Her company, Shambaugh Partners pioneered one of the first executive programs for Women, Women in Leadership and Learning, over 15 years ago. Rebecca has been featured on PBS, Fox News, Us News and World Report, New York Times. She is author of It’s Not a Glass Ceiling, It’s a Sticky Floor and Leadership Secrets of Hillary Clinton.
The definition of being vulnerable is to be open to criticism or moral attack; to be susceptible to being wounded or hurt.
I think it goes without saying that most people do not choose to be in a position where they could be easily hurt or criticized. Most of us, in fact, avoid any situation where we could potentially be exposed to this type of scrutiny or risk. Our innate sense of self protection triggers our alert system to avoid vulnerable situations. It’s just too scary.
In my discussion this week with author, Birute Regine, I learned that being vulnerable does not necessarily have to be a negative experience. Birute says that embracing your vulnerability can lead you to profound openness and a more evolved way of thinking. When you accept your vulnerabilities, you also accept your shortcomings and see the importance of collaboration. You acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers; that working with others will offer more opportunities and solutions.
In fact, how you deal with your own vulnerabilities defines your leadership style. In the traditional domination culture, men needed to be invincible and heroic. They had to overcome nature and each other to succeed. Early leadership models were created from this hierarchical philosophy.
Once you accept your vulnerabilities as a leader, however, your mindset changes drastically. Your style is more collaborative. You do not exert power over others in order to succeed. One of the benefits of being more inclusive is having loyal and committed employees who do their work with genuine interest and engagement, not out of fear.
Birute calls this a more feminine style of leadership.
The traditional masculine style of leadership deals with vulnerability and the challenges it poses in a singular way, emphasizing autonomy, control, and glorifying the leader himself….In contract, a feminine style of leadership adopts a holistic approach that see both the one and the many. It nurtures the whole person within a larger context, engages collective power to overcome obstacles, and adopts a more organic, open-ended, learn-as-you-go, nonlinear approach for achieving objectives.
How do you address your own vulnerabilities?
- Recognize and admit your mistakes
- Acknowledge your shortcomings; that you don’t have all the answers
- Let go of trying to control everything. Recognize that when you feel stressed and challenged, it’s an opportunity for growth rather than another problem to tackle.
- Be open to accepting help and advice from others.
Embracing our vulnerabilities creates better working and living relationships for us all.
Ask yourself this: are you strong enough to be vulnerable?
To listen to my interview with Birute Regine, click here.
Birute’s book is Iron Butterflies: Women Transforming Themselves and the World.
Birute’s website: http://IronButterflies.com
Women see the world through a distinctive lens. Their visionary power can offer a huge competitive advantage to organizations when they recognize and value this insight. Today, leadership expert and author, Sally Helgesen, talks about what this visionary power is, how women can harness it, and how organizations can make it work for them.
Sally Helgesen is an internationally acclaimed author, speaker,and consultant. Her most recent book, The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work, explores how women’s perceptual insights can transform organizations. She also wrote The Female Advantage: Women’s Ways of Leadership, hailed as “the classic work” on women’s leadership style. An earlier book, The Web of Inclusion: A New Architecture for Building Great Organizations, was cited in The Wall Street Journal as one of the best books on leadership of all time.
Sally develops and delivers leadership programs for corporations,partnership firms, universities, and non-profits around the globe. She has consulted with the United Nations Development Program on strengthening women’s programs in Africa and Asia, led seminars at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Smith College, and been visiting scholar at Northwestern University and the Lauriston Institute in Melbourne Australia. Articles about her work have been featured in Fortune, The New York Times,Fast Company, and Business Week.
It’s absolutely impossible to be perfect. I think on some level we all know this is true. So I think it’s very interesting that many of us live our lives pursuing perfection.
Think about it. How much of your own life is spent trying to be perfect? How much emotional energy do you invest in perfectionism even though you realize it’s not possible to achieve? And, what affect does all this effort have on your life and career? Do you really think that trying to be perfect helps your career?
Perfectionism can, in fact, have a negative impact on your performance at work. If you are setting unrealistic goals for yourself, you are also more likely to have unrealistic expectations for your staff. You are less likely to be approachable and even like able, and of course, you are always under stress which can filter down to others in the workplace.
Here are some suggestions for addressing your perfectionism.
- Acknowledge that this is YOUR stuff.
No one else truly expects you to never make mistakes or be right 100% of the time. We’re not robots after all. (And even robots have technical problems sometimes.)
- Be Authentic
When we pretend to be perfect, we are hiding ourselves from others. Take the pressure off yourself to have all the answers all the time. Admitting that you don’t have the answers can often lead to extremely valuable brainstorming sessions at work. Engaging your team and asking for their opinions often helps them to become more invested in the project or mission. They have increased respect and affection for you. After all, how approachable is someone who comes across as a know-it-all?
- Be Willing to Make Mistakes
Perfectionists tend to avoid situations where they may fail, but making mistakes is important to our personal and professional development. Think about some of the valuable lessons you have learned from your past mistakes. When you are open to making mistakes, you are open to more challenges and opportunities as well.
- Work Hard, but Don’t Drive Yourself Crazy
Be realistic about your goals. Acknowledge when you’ve done the best you can. Sometimes unforeseen circumstances affect your performance, require you to move deadlines. That’s OK. Just do the best you can everyday and recognize when you need to adjust your expectations.
When you rid yourself of the pressure to be perfect, you will not only be more like able, more open to learning new things, but also healthier. The pursuit of perfection is extremely stressful and frustrating.
Try this as your new daily mantra, “I’m doing the best I can do today.”
We are in a crucial time of change and women are leading the way to a better and more peaceful world. Is there a new revolution happening? Is there a new era of cooperation and collaboration that is supplanting a society based on domination? Today we will explore with author, Birute Regine, how women who have dealt with their own vulnerability have personally transformed themselves and how dealing with this vulnerability can be the key to a social transformation.
While getting her doctorate in human development at Harvard in the 80′s, Birute Regine was part of that groundbreaking research that exposed new insights into girl’s development and women’s psychology. She collaborated with Carol Gillian, author of In a Different Voice, and served as a teaching assistant to Pulitzer Prize winner Erik Erikson. In her book, Iron Butterflies, Birute calls for greater balance in a world out of balance, where feminine and masculine skills and values, and men and women are equally empowered.
For 25 years, she worked as a psychotherapist in private practice and today she works as an executive and life coach. She spent 2 years as a visiting scholar at the Center for Research on Women at Wellesley College and an affiliate to the Stone Center where she explored the power of stories as vehicles of change. She co-authored The Soul at Work: Embracing Complexity Science for Business Success with Roger Lewin.
I know a couple of things about myself. First of all, I am extremely action oriented. In the past, actively working toward my goals has contributed to my success. I am good at identifying what I want and creating and implementing an action plan to achieve results. That’s me.
Yet, very often life presents us with roadblocks that prevent us from moving according to our desired time frame. These barriers or set backs can be very frustrating for someone who has been successful by persistently pushing forward.
What I’ve learned about myself through this process is that I am impatient. I am accustomed to forward movement and feel uncomfortable with inertia. Sometimes this inertia even causes me to make decisions that are not in my best interest, just for the sake of being active; doing something.
Wise people tell me to trust the universe; that things happen (or don’t happen) for a reason; to be patient. I do believe there is some validity in this, yet I also trust myself. I have faith in my innate ability to solve problems.
How does one balance the trust that the universe will take care of us versus the trust that we need to take care of ourselves?
Here’s my current issue. I want to relocate. I came up with Plan A and put my house on the market. That plan didn’t work. Plan B was then created to rent the house year round. No takers. Plan C followed. That plan was to offer the house for a cheaper winter rental. None of these plans have worked so far.
Here’s what I know about myself. I will soon come up with another plan to move forward toward my goal. This next plan will not include waiting around for the universe to give me answers.
What about you? How do you react when there is no forward movement in your life or career?
For the first time, three highly influential generations have the opportunity to make a major impact in business. Companies with aligned teams and engaged employees will be the most successful businesses going forward.
But what are the different generations looking for from their employers? My guest, Cheryl Cran, is a generational leadership consultant, who will share with us what the generations want in their workplace and what business leaders can do to keep them happy.
Gen X / Zoomer “cusper” Cheryl Cran is a sought after consultant on trends in the workplace and a leadership and generations expert.
Her consulting firm, Synthesis at Work, is a generational leadership consulting and training company with high-profile clients across the nation. Her research on generations led her to write her new popular business book, “101 Ways to Make Generations X, Y and Zoomers Happy at Work” and the best seller “The Control Freak Revolution– Make Your Most Maddening Behaviors Work For Your Company And To Your Advantage. ”
A sought after expert on workplace trends Cheryl has been a guest commentator on Fox’s The Mike and Juliet Show and The Fanny Kiefer Show. She has been interviewed and written articles for a wide range of publications including Forbes Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Profit Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Metro New York, The Globe and Mail, Selling Power Magazine, Small Business, and Builder Woman Magazine.
How would you feel if you lost $500,000? $500,000 can buy a lot.
Visualize what $500,000 could mean for you. One half million dollars is more than enough to buy a house. It’s a nice chunk of change to squirrel away in a retirement account that will yield you even more money. $500,000 can mean financial independence and security.
I am asking you how you feel about losing this amount of money because women walk away from the potential of earning $500,000 over the course of their lifetime by their failure to negotiate better salaries.
In her latest book, No Excuses, and during her interview on Head over Heels this week, Gloria Feldt discussed the consequences of women being poor negotiators. She quantified the amount of potential income we lose ($500,000) as a result of not being skillful in negotiating for ourselves.
When we begin our careers, if we don’t negotiate a good starting salary, the impact is substantial over time. The salary of our first position is an important first step that is often the basis of future compensation. The reality is that it is more difficult later in your career to make up for the lower initial salary.
What can we do with this information?
First of all, just knowing the consequences of our poor negotiation skills is powerful. It’s one thing to read statistics that say that female managers earn 81 cents to the dollar of their male counterparts, and quite another to understand the long range consequences. So thank you, Gloria!
How can we learn to negotiate better for ourselves?
How can we change our mindset to step into our power; to have the confidence to stand up for ourselves?
One method Gloria suggests in her book is to remind ourselves that a better income is not just for ourselves, but for our family as well. She suggests that women will better align themselves to this purpose and, therefore, feel more comfortable and determined to ask for more money. She tells the story of how she was guilty of this herself, and during her own career, she graciously accepted whatever salary was offered with the position. She did learn, however, that men had applied for the same job, were offered more money, and still turned down the job as not having adequate compensation. It never dawned on her to ask for more money at the time.
I think it really boils down to having the confidence in the value you bring to the organization. Staying connected to your values and talent is the key.
What are your strengths?
What have been your accomplishments?
Journalling all your successes and periodically reviewing your entries can help build your confidence. Write down what these successes say about you. Use these statements as your personal affirmations.
Use your success journal documentation as the basis for your performance review, requests for promotion, as well as salary reviews and job interviews.
Use your personal affirmations to fuel your passion, energy, and courage to step up and negotiate the best possible salary. The consequences of not doing this…a potential $500,000 mistake!