What if You Could Have More of What You Wanted?

“Sometimes I think I just want to quit my job and become a potter.”

I hear women’s inner dialogues about the tradeoffs they face all the time.

And one of the things I’ve learned from hearing these inner negotiations, these wrestles with reality, is just how often women force themselves into false choices.

We tell ourselves things like we can be good moms or have powerful careers—but I’ve seen women who decided that they would have both, find their own way to do it, even if it meant pushing against their workplace, finding a better workplace, or inventing their own.

It’s not a black-or-white opting in or opting out—it’s opting in on the terms you want—or at least the best you can get.

Which is usually more than you think if you’re willing to try.

These kind of black-and-white, this-or-that narratives are rampant in the thinking of women who do more than one thing creatively, especially when it comes to success, recognition, money and stability.

I need to stop playing and get serious about my career.

People like me, people who are creative, don’t make money.

I either choose creativity or stability.

And the problem with that kind of thinking—that opt-in or opt-out mentality for people with lots creative passions, is that we don’t ask ourselves how we can have more of all the things we want. We just accept that we can have either or.

We accept these limiting narratives about success and then opt-in or opt-out, choosing a pre-scripted path in which we give up the things that make us feel safe, or the things that make us feel like we’re growing. And then we load shame and blame on top of that—

I’m not disciplined enough to have focus.

I’ve sold out.

I’ll never be successful.

It makes us want to escape. It makes us want to lose ourselves in a fantasy-life, and Instagram-perfect picture that represents for us all the things we want, that we either left behind on the road, or feel like we’ll never access.

What if you didn’t have to choose? What if you could have more of what you wanted instead of giving up before you try?

What if you didn’t have to figure it out alone? What if you could learn from other women’s pathways?

What if you could stop that endless cycle of mind-chatter and feel good about what you’re doing in your career and with your interests and passions? What if you felt at peace, and energized?

Let me be frank—a successful multipassionate life doesn’t mean you don’t have to choose—it means you choose intelligently, strategically, what’s right for you.

This week I’ll be opening my next Accelerator program Double Vision which helps women with multiple passions set goals that respect their creativity—and help them achieve more success and peace of mind. I’ll be hosting a webinar on Ambitious Creative Goal Setting just in time for the holiday season when you’ll want to be reflecting on what you want out of next year. Join me on Wednesday, December 13th at 1pm EST.

Is Your Analysis Paralysis Holding You Back? Growth Hack #3

I’m writing this week about some of the ways I see women get lost in the crowd and slow down their career growth.

How many times have you seen a woman raise her hand timidly in a meeting… and then make a suggestion in that baby girl voice.. trailing off at the end into a question?

When that happens, here’s what we hear:

“What if we [this is a good time to zone out because this is just a filler comment] maybe, you know, changed our marketing focus [this must a bad idea because she doesn’t even believe it] from Live Journal to Facebook?” [hmmm…. Would it look bad it I took another cookie?]

Leaders make choices. They take positions.

Sometimes they’re wrong and sometimes they’re right.

But they’re willing to take a stand instead of dithering.

Do you dither? Do you hesitate to speak up? Do you have a hard time making decisions? That might be why you’re getting lost in the crowd.

I’m a reformed wishy washy decision maker….. Yes, of the paper-plastic variety. I can see all the possibilities—which is sometimes a great skill for a creative….but that knowledge used to make me get overwhelmed and frozen. Unable to choose. A

I was so, so afraid of getting it wrong.

But I unlearned that habit because I knew it was holding me back. And it not only supersized my career growth, it made my life better as well.

 

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Are You Too Exhausted to “Lean In?” Growth Hack #2

Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard the advice—lean in, lean in!

But do you ever think, that’s just so much flipping work….?

hughhhhh (exhausted sigh.)

Maybe you’re a working mom, working the ‘double shift…’ no, wait, it’s probably more like the triple shift—working a long day, coming home to take care of your family, and then logging in a few more hours at night. Or maybe you’re balancing putting in the hours while you pay your dues…study for professional development tests……and then go out multiple times a week to check your networking box.

I just got so exhausted writing this, I had to take a break.

But now I’m back…. With the second way I see women get lost in the crowd and slow down their career growth.

I see a lot of exhausted women come through Build Yourself Workshop…. And I see a lot of exhausted women decline to take Build Yourself, because they’re so exhausted they feel they just don’t have the time.

But I’ve also seen women break through.

I’ve seen the busy business owner take the time upfront to hire a project manager—it felt like she’d never make the time to hire—but once she did, it took less time than she thought to find the right person. And doing so allowed her to show up at 100% for the high-level clients she was booking.

I’ve seen the working mother get a promotion—and go home in time to be with her daughter. And she told me she had time to craft. To CRAFT? What working mother you know who has time to craft?

So what’s the secret? These women are working smarter not harder.

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Are You Getting Lost in the Crowd at Work?

Feeling like your career growth has stalled out?  Are you getting lost in the crowd? Stuck in the mid-career malaise, the sea of shiny faces at the bottom of the pyramid?

We all know the feeling of waiting to be picked….  And sometimes our careers feel that way—whether it’s hoping we’ll get put on the growth track at our companies, or hoping our dream clients will say yes.

Over the next few days, I’m going to be writing about some of the ways I see women get lost in the crowd and slow down their career growth.

One of those ways, is they look backwards and not forwards.

What I mean by that is that every day, at work, they behave like the person they are in their career now.

Well, duh? I am the person I am now, right? Are you about to get really meta on me?

Uh, yeah. Just a little.

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Are You a People Pleaser and What’s it Costing You?

Does it ever take you the better part of an hour to send off an email that should have taken you five minutes, as you agonize over every layer of meaning?

Do you ever find yourself dwelling on a conversation you had with someone earlier in the day, going over every nuance of the interaction?

Do you ever defend a boundary of yours at work and then immediately feel bad about it–and worry that your boss is disappointed in you and doesn’t see you as a team player?

This week in Build Yourself+ Live Online we looked what I like to call ‘saying no to say yes’ learning to implement boundaries to all the unfiltered priorities of others (because all the priorities means no priorities) in order to direct our careers in the way we want them to go. We, as women, struggle to say no because we’ve been trained to be accommodating and put others needs ahead of our own. We also get more pushback when we say it–I get women really comfortable learning to say ‘not yet’ as a starter step which is both easier and sometimes can deflect negative perceptions of us. It’s hard to say no but it’s one of the key skills that will move you into the next leadership level.

Saying no is about time management, yes, but it’s also about unearthing a deeper skill–that of checking in with our inner wisdom.

When we practice saying no, we also remember to ask ourselves, what do I really want to be saying yes to?

When we spend our time and energy engaged in people pleasing, we fall out of touch with actively curating what we want, what we really, really want. When I first started this workshop, I thought each participant would, with the help of my strategies, hit the ground running on pursuing what she wanted for her professional life. I’ve learned, over time, that part of my job is to unlock the ballsy (and yes I used that word) girl within you and let her out again.

So when’s the last time you did something, or overdid something just to please someone? Was it today? Was it this morning? Was it five minutes ago?

Do me a favor, say no once today. It’s one of the best ways I know to tap into your “yes”.

Three Men, No Eye Contact

Last weekend I went to a conference and found myself in small conversation–just me and three other men. I very quickly noticed that they were only making eye contact with each other–and even more frustratingly–one of them even had his body turned away from mine–effectively closing me out of the conversation.

I was so frustrated and angry. I wanted to rant and rave. I wanted to jump up and down like a child screaming, “But I’m an empowerment coach! I teach women how to hold power.”

“I have alpha-body language! I’m doing everything right!
You can’t do this to me!”

But there’s the rub. Women’s power is not just dependent on us doing our part to move past the internalized barriers that hold us back–it’s also dependent on the world we operate in and the unconscious bias that everyone carries.

These guys were not trying to be sexist–conversely, they are part of a community that was founded in part on gender parity. But they also live in a world in which a man’s opinion is worth more than a woman’s. We all unconscionably perform these assumptions–like the time I automatically complimented a female friend on a dish, and didn’t even think to compliment her male partner. (He had, in fact, actually been the chef.)

I was so pissed off last weekend that I walked off in a huff–something I’m not proud of. But in a situation like that, what do you do? Do you explicitly call someone out and say, “Can you please change your body language, it expresses your unconscious belief that I’m less worthwhile because I’m a chick?” Do you avoid these groupings all together (“If they don’t need us, we don’t need them!”) or is there another answer?

In truth, it’s complicated, and there are different answers for different situations.

It’s hard to rise at a company that structurally and intractably doesn’t value women, but most of the time, there are ways through.

And I’m on a mission to find those ways out.

The next day I ran into a wise-woman at the same conference. This sixty plus-year old woman fits the classic typology of sassy lady. She’s been leaning in her entire life–running a business and making big decisions for her family. She regularly gets mistaken for a secretary or aide at the industry conferences she goes to, even though she’s the big boss.

“I would have just said, ‘Excuse me, can you turn a little bit? I’m having a hard time seeing the other guy,'” she said when I told her about my experience. Brilliance!

Sometimes the simplest approach is the best, and sometimes we let ourselves get distracted, and a small moment can blow up into the overwhelming feeling that we’ll always have to work twice as hard as the guys to get anywhere, and the futility of it all can be demoralizing. But don’t let that happen. Stay the course because you will get there, and there are always chinks and cracks in the walls ahead of us.

Ambition and Goal Setting

Welcome to my first quarterly book report!
This month we’re talking about going deeper on ambition and goal setting.

Whenever I get a bit of free time to myself, I absolutely love sinking my teeth into a good book. I have to admit; I’m a little bit of a reading and data nerd. As a result, I wanted to find some way to keep myself accountable on my reading, so I decided to organize these quarterly ‘book reports’ for you, and pull out highly useful information that you can apply to your life.

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The Work-Life Collapse Attack Meltdown! & How to Handle It

There’s a thinking pattern that I’ve been seeing in the women I work with.

We all know about the comparison gremlins (she bought a house, I’m still renting, wow that woman owns her own company and she’s only 22? and ohmigosh what about all those babies–or grandbabies–on facebook?) Sometimes, when I see women struggle with the gulf between where they are and where they want to be, they do what I’ve come to call the work-life collapse attack meltdown.

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