Flex time is now being offered by more and more companies in response to a workforce of men and women who seek different work options. Companies looking to attract and retain talented employees are discovering that flex time makes them more attractive to prospective employees. It also benefits employees, especially women, who want the flexibility to work at home and/or not work traditional hours.
Joining me today to discuss flexible work options, how you can take advantage of it, and how it benefits companies is Allison O’Kelly. Allison is founder/CEO of Mom Corps, a national talent acquisition and career development firm that connects employers with a unique pool of 150,000 experienced professionals seeking flexible work. With locations throughout the U.S., Mom Corps fills the ranks of the nation’s leading companies by placing its candidates in flexible jobs across many functions, including Finance, Marketing, HR, Legal and Strategy. For more information about Mom Corps, please visit their website, www.MomCorps.com
Let the battle begin. The fight is between your internal dialogue of failure and your power pose. You assume the position; feet apart, arms stretched above you in a victory pose. Your body language shows everyone that you are confident and powerful. Your inner voice is telling you that people will see through this. You are not powerful or confident. The voice gets louder and it’s challenging to silence it. Who wins? The power pose or the inner voice?
Let’s look at the two opponents; the power pose and the imposter syndrome.
Amy Cuddy gave an inspirational keynote address last week at the HBA Conference in Boston. Her research at Harvard Business School confirms that our body language communicates information to others that shapes their perceptions of us. It also communicates information to us that shapes our own self-concept. We can construct how powerful we feel by assuming expansive body poses.
In “Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance”, Cuddy shows that simply holding one’s body in expansive, “high-power” poses for as little as two minutes stimulates higher levels of testosterone (the hormone linked to power and dominance in the animal and human worlds) and lower levels of cortisol (the “stress” hormone that can, over time, cause impaired immune functioning, hypertension, and memory loss). These power poses led to an increased sense of power and risk tolerance.
In other words, Cuddy states that we can fake confidence and power by using expansive body language to change our body chemistry and our feelings. But is this enough to quell the inner voices that constantly tell us that we aren’t good enough?
Our body language can jump start our confidence. But how does that “fake” confidence measure up to the strong inner voices we constantly hear? “I’m a loser. I will never get ahead. I don’t deserve a promotion. People will find out someday that I am not that smart.” This internal dialogue is often referred to as the Imposter Syndrome.
According to Wikipedia, the definition is as follows,
The impostor syndrome, sometimes called impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome, is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.
Is happiness the key to success? There has been a lot of research lately on the subject of happiness and how it contributes to our well being; our emotional and physical health.
This week, I am honored to have on the show, Marilyn Tam, who has recently authored a book on the subject, The Happiness Choice. What I love about Marilyn’s book is her position that it is a choice to be happy and in her book, she gives us some great tips on how to make the positive choices that will contribute to a healthy and successful life and career.
Marilyn Tam grew up as an abused and neglected child in Hong Kong. She found her life purpose at age 11 when she found out as bad as her life was; she was much better off than her classmate, Rebecca. Wanting to help others and to right the wrongs, she left home as a teen to come to America alone to study. She became a business leader (CEO Of Aveda, President of Reebok and Vice President of Nike) and global humanitarian.
The Happiness Choice tells the stories and insights from Marilyn and many experts, including, Jack Canfield, Joan Borysenko, Harville Hendrix, Arielle Ford and others on how to live the life of your dreams. The book was #3 top business book in March (800 CEO Read), and won the Silver Medal in the Global eBook Awards 2013 in the Inspirational/Visionary category. Her radio show, The Happiness Choice on FMG Network is broadcast globally to over 30 million listeners.
You can get more free insights and find out about Marilyn on her website http://www.marilyntam.com
Marilyn Tam is an international selling author, speaker, entrepreneur, humanitarian and former CEO of Aveda, President of Reebok Apparel Products & Retail Group and VP of Nike and the Founder and Executive Director of Us Foundation.
Why do we always put everyone else first?
My guest today, Saundra Pelletier, says, “women have been programmed to be pleasers who forgo our dreams so that our husbands, children, siblings and co workers can have more.” We fall on the bottom of our priority list and as a result do not realize our own dreams and can lead unfulfilling lives.
In her book, Saddle Up Your Own White Horse, Saundra shows us how to reach our dreams and have it all.
Saundra Pelletier has over 20 years of experience as an international marketing expert in addition to being a mother, published author and executive coach. She traveled the country as a keynote speaker for women’s organizations and corporations as part of her 2008 national book tour, “Saddle Up Your Own White Horse” and she has raised awareness for international equality.
She has dedicated her life and career to empowering women and has been a major force in bringing attention to the need for women globally to access reproductive health supplies and to achieve this goal.
Ms. Pelletier is the CEO of Woman Care Global, and has worked tirelessly to grow Woman Care Global’s reach to over 100 countries with a focus on underserved markets in Africa and Asia as a global nonprofit organization that improves the lives of women by providing access to quality, affordable women’s healthcare products through a sustainable supply chain.
It’s ok to “lean in”. It’s ok to “lean out”. It’s ok to opt-out. As I was writing this, I had a visualization of doing the hokey pokey. Do you remember that from your childhood?
“You put your whole self in. You put your whole self out. You put your whole self in and your shake yourself about. You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around. That’s what it all about.”
We all need to decide for ourselves what we want most from our careers and our lives and make it happen. The most important message here is to take control of your career and understand how, when, and where you need to “lean in” to accomplish your goals.
For those of you who have embraced your ambition and are, in fact, leaning in, it’s critical to understand all the dynamics involved to move your career forward. Deciding your goal and charting a strategic path to reach that goal is a proven method for success. Leaning in fuels your forward momentum.
If you are opting-out right now to spend more time with your family, having a long range plan also helps you to stay involved in your work at some level and keep yourself marketable. Keep your network alive and make an effort to stay in touch. Stay active in some industry networking groups to maintain your connections and stay abreast of what’s happening in the workplace.
Wherever you are right now in your life and career, put your “whole self in”. Put a strategic plan in place to advance your career or re-enter the workforce at some future date. You can always “turn yourself about” and change direction. Having a plan, however, keeps you focused on moving forward even if you are temporarily opting out.
Many companies are now offering more flexible work options in order to retain their top talent pool, especially women. But does this flex time work for or against women’s career advancement? And how important is this to women?
According to a recent survey by Catalyst, men and women use flex options equally but women are much more likely than their male counterparts to work remotely if given the opportunity. This results in less face time in the workplace which has a negative effect on their careers.
Because men use flexible arrival and departure time instead of telecommuting, they have more face time and are, therefore, more likely to be viewed favorably for promotions and high profile assignments.
Companies rarely promote people into leadership roles who haven’t been consistently seen and measured. It’s a familiarity thing, and it’s a trust thing. We’re not saying that the people who get promoted are star during every ‘crucible’ moment at the office, but at least they’re present and accounted for. And their presence says: Work is my top priority. I’m committed to this company. I want to lead. And I Can. (Welch and Welch, 2007:92)
Are you “leaning in” or hanging on?
That’s the question addressed in this recent New York Times Article. According to the article, many women (and men) with children under 18 would much rather have flex time and/or work less hours than have the corner office and more responsibilities.
“Unaccounted for in the latest books offering leadership strategies by and for elite women is the fact that only 37 percent of working women (and 44 percent of working men) say they actually want a job with more responsibilities, according to a survey from the Families and Work Institute. And among all mothers with children under 18, just a quarter say they would choose full-time work if money were no object and they were free to do whatever they wanted, according to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll.”
Where do you stand on this issue?
What’s clear to me is that we have different priorities at different times in our lives and that career advancement is not necessarily a linear process. It’s more of a hopscotch! There are many times during the course of our careers when our family takes precedence, and it’s extremely difficult to focus all of our efforts on moving up the ladder. Even my clients with stay at home Dads or full time help find it challenging. It’s quite natural that we want to be present for our children and be a part of their young lives as much as possible.
That being said, unless your company has flex time policies it’s not always easy to get the opportunity to work remotely. You have to earn it and be seen as a trusted top performer to be granted the privilege as the article points out. Once you receive the option to work from home you must continue to prove yourself and do outstanding work as unfortunately you may be judged differently than your colleagues.
Continue to let others know your achievements.
Continue to build and leverage relationships to gain and maintain your visibility and credibility.
You may not want the corner office, but if flex time or working from home is important to you, make sure you are protecting your status.
I recently addressed a large audience of women at the annual NAPW conference in New York City. I asked them to raise their hands if they considered themselves to be ambitious. Most everyone raised their hands with much enthusiasm. I then asked them to keep their hands up if they were ready to take action for their ambition. All the hands stayed up.
That was a great response but in reality how many of us truly believe that our ambition will be rewarded and recognized? How many of us believe we are worthy of this recognition and most importantly, how many of us will take positive action to realize our goals? The truth is that the negative preconceived perceptions we have about our ability to succeed will sabotage our success. And these deeply held beliefs we have about not being good enough will continue to work against our success no matter how ambitious we say we are.
These belief systems are formed early in our development. Brain science teaches us that if we believe we are unworthy, we will continuously look for situations to validate that this is so. What this means is that on a conscious level, we look for opportunities to advance our careers, but on an unconscious level we seek to validate our unworthiness. This unconscious pursuit will undermine our promotion efforts unless we are aware of our limiting beliefs in this area.
According to Dr. Jacqui Grey, author of Executive Advantage,
“We look for evidence to validate our existing beliefs, and the filters ensure that is all we see. These form patterns which our brains recognize, sometimes erroneously because our brains are recognition machines: they will take the best pattern match rather than look for contrary evidence.”
This is tricky, isn’t it? How do we counter this unconscious sabotaging behavior?
Dr. Grey states,
“Executives can substantially improve their promotion prospects just by looking for evidence that confirms their capabilities rather than their flaws.”
Keeping a success journal can help you to disregard your preconceived perceptions and build new neural pathways to support more positive beliefs.
To help you figure this out, ask yourself these questions:
Am I ambitious?
Do my actions support my ambition?
If not, what is really getting in the way?
Perhaps your self-doubt is the answer. Perhaps you truly don’t believe you are worthy of success. Understanding what possible limiting beliefs you may have and how they are keeping you from reaching your goals is critical to taking positive action to support your ambition.
This week’s discussion is about how to balance the competing interests of a challenging career and personal life. Our feelings of happiness come from being successful in both, yet the stress from trying to manage the expectations and responsibilities can often be overwhelming.
My guest this week is Susan Smith Blakely. Susan knows what it takes to succeed in the practice of law. During her 25 years of experience she has viewed the legal profession from many perspectives—as a law firm associate, counsel and partner, and as a chief of staff to an elected official in the public sector. As the wife of a fellow litigator and the parent of two children, Ms. Blakely has first- hand knowledge of the difficult decisions women lawyers must make in terms of work and family life.
Ms. Blakely’s first book Best Friends at the Bar: What Women Need to Know about a Career in the Law, is the first true guide book for young women contemplating law school, young women law students and young women in their first years of law practice.
Her second book, Best Friends at the Bar: The New Balance for Today’s Woman Lawyer, digs deeper into the issues of work-life struggle and balance and proposes a new balance of work/self/home and family to attain the happiness and satisfaction that will keep young women in the law profession
I’m so excited that spring has arrived here on the east coast! Even in the morning when it’s still a little chilly there are signs that spring is here. You hear birds chirping. You see some brave little flowers testing the warmth of the sun. And of course, the days are longer!
Spring is a time of rebirth and rejuvenation. On my run this morning, I felt the new energy that comes with this season. It’s a wonderful sense of well-being and passion for my life and work. It’s also a great feeling of unlimited potential.
As I was running, I was thinking about this blog and how I might pass along these thoughts to all of you. My hope is that you are also ready to step out of your comfort zone, escape complacency, and spring forward with your career and life. Are you ready?
Answer these questions:
- Do you wake up in the morning excited about your day?
- Do you feel challenged in your work?
- Do you ask for new responsibilities or volunteer for new projects?
- Do you fall into bed at night exhausted but feeling you truly accomplished something?
- Do you see a clear career path for yourself in your present company that aligns with who you are?
- Do you have a defined career goal?
- Do you have a strategic plan to reach that goal?
- Are you ready to face your fear or self-doubt that may be holding you back from springing forward?
- Do you feel that your boss/company appreciate the work you do?
- Do you feel empowered to take control of your career?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, I applaud you! You are ready to spring forward!
If by reading these questions, you realize that you are stuck in your current job situation or your own internal barriers, what are you ready to do to move forward? Sometimes it only takes one baby step to start the process.
For today, define what that one step is and commit to it. It’s the season to spring forward and leave your fears and complacency behind.