I know this can be a huge investment in time and money, but with all of the online programs now available to us - where we can pay less for a quality education, and come and go as we please from the comfort of home or even the office - it can be an excellent stepping stone to success. As the article states: "...determine if going back to school helps you achieve this goal [a raise or changing career paths] by talking to your boss and mentors." In my business, I've always encouraged my employees to never stop the learning process, and like my company, many organizations will even foot the bill (or at least part of it) if it will add to your value and the value you bring to work.
"RISK: Changing Careers"
I've said this time and time again: do what you love! And the article agrees: "With increased company layoffs, no one is immune to losing a job. Finding work that you love should be a priority in your career." This decision is a biggie, so make sure you carefully examine the pros and cons of a career move, and dig down deep to figure out what you really want to do. Is it something you're GOOD AT as well as enjoy? Consider this carefully because as many of us know, just because we love doing something, that doesn't necessarily mean we're skilled at it (see: "American Idol" contestants during the try-out weeks!)
"RISK: Saying 'No' to Added Responsibility"
At first you might think, "Are you crazy?! Saying 'no' at work?! That's the surest way to a pink slip!" In some cases, you may be right, but the article makes a great point: "If your boss is saddling you with more responsibility with a project or promotion, be sure you understand exactly what that will mean for your success. Not all promotions are created equal, and you can quickly become the office doormat if you constantly take on projects that may not have high enough visibility to move your career forward." I'd like to add a note to this and say, if you do turn down a project, make sure it's for the RIGHT reasons. Too many of us turn down opportunities to advance our careers because of fear - fear of failure, fear of putting our ideas out there, etc. - and that's definitely NOT the right reason. When offered more responsibility, think about it carefully and honestly before accepting or refusing.
"RISK: Starting a Business"
As an entrepreneur, I know firsthand the trials and tribulations (and satisfaction and rewards) of starting a business. It takes total commitment, a willingness to sacrifice, and a LOT of hard work. If you're not ready to say "yes" to all of that - and more - starting a business probably isn't right for you. But if you're ready to dive into the world of entrepreneurship, my best advice is the same as the article's: "Do your research (including health care options), save money, and build contacts in your industry while you're still working in your current job."
Check out the full text of the article here, and thanks to Denene Brox and Yahoo! HotJobs for posting such helpful advice. I recommend that you carefully digest this food for thought if you're stuck in a rut at your current job, if you're ready to take on a new challenge, or if you're wondering where to go next in your career.
With the economy still in its current slump, ask someone to define "job satisfaction" and I guarantee you that most of them will say: "Having a job. Period."
There is definitely some truth to that, I admit. But I am still a firm believer in doing what you love for a living and finding happiness and satisfaction in your job - no matter what the stock market says. After all, we spend most of our waking lives at work...don't we deserve to enjoy it just a little?
So if you're currently in a job that makes you happy (at least for a good portion of the time), then I congratulate you. Stick with it and thrive!
But if you're waking up every day wishing you could call in sick and then grudgingly trudging off to work, maybe it's time to start taking a peek into the job market.
Now, I'm in no way advocating that you should chuck your current job and set off into the world, searching for your next career. That would be madness during ANY economic time, but especially this one. Rather, I'm suggesting that while you continue to work at your current job, start thinking about what kind of work would satisfy you.
What kind of experience do you have? (And can you translate that experience into another field or industry? You'd be surprised to find out how universal some of your experience can be.)
What kind of skills do you have? What are you truly great at, and do you love doing it?(This is so important! You might be great at, say, accounting practices, but you might not really like crunching numbers all day. On the flipside, you might love being a salesperson, but fail to close a lot of deals. Both of these situations need to be taken into account so you can make the best decisions for yourself and your checkbook.)
What do you like about your current job?(Be thorough in your evaluation and get to the root of what you like. On the surface, it may seem that you like answering phones, but really, it's the contact with the clients that you like.)
What don't you like about your current job?(Again, dig deep to the root of the matter. You might think you hate dealing with expense reports, but really, it's the fact that you have to hunt them down from your co-workers that drives you crazy.)
If you could be anything you wanted, what would it be?(I know this seems like a "kid's" question, but I love it. It's been the starting point of many a successful career!)
Remember: don't just answer these questions from a "work" standpoint. Answer them from your personal life as well. How can you parlay your fascination or skill with a hobby into a great career (and subsequent satisfaction)?
I came across an article that can get you started on where to find job satisfaction:
In this article, Ms. Cowan cites a study by the University of Chicago called "Job Satisfaction in the United States." She writes: "The study says the occupations where people report being happy overall, not just in terms of job satisfaction, involve helping others, technical and scientific expertise, or creativity."
That's some food for thought to keep in the back of your mind when you begin to evaluate new career opportunities!
Ms. Cowan goes on to list the top occupations (as found by the study), and they include:
"1. Clergy 2. Firefighters 3. Transportation, ticket, and reservation agents such as travel agents 4. Architects 5. Special education teachers 6. Actors and directors 7. Science technicians 8. Miscellaneous mechanical and repairing occupations 9. Industrial engineers 10. Airline pilots and navigators"
Go ahead and read the article here. It might be just the catalyst you need to find your own source of job satisfaction!
As I was perusing The Wall Street Journal website, I came across an interesting article that introduced me to a new "business speak" term: "manage up."
Elizabeth Garone writes in her article "What It Means to 'Manage Up'" that "when someone tells you that you need to 'manage up,' what he or she is really saying is that you need to stretch yourself. You need to go above and beyond the tasks assigned to you so that you can enhance your manager's work, says Rosanne Badowski, co-author of 'Managing Up: How to Forge an Effective Relationship With Those Above You.'"
Communication above all else is the key. Do you know your boss's communication style?If not, find out! You may be more comfortable talking about the big picture, but he or she may prefer bullet points of facts and figures...and if you can't present your ideas in that manner, it's likely that they're falling on deaf ears.
The article goes on to list other ways to "manage up" - there's a lot of great info so I suggest you give it a read-through. I want you to ride out our economy's current crisis on a wave of success!
I was having a coaching session with a client on the phone the other day while I was at home trying to recuperate from two whirlwind weeks in California attending the WITI Women and Technology Summit and meeting with clients and colleagues. She's a new employee trying to establish herself as a vital part of her new team, but she's having trouble dealing with one of her teammates.
"Every new idea that gets brought to the table is shot down by her," my client said. "We're facing some issues that demand solutions. We've had several meetings and are no closer to resolving anything. It's so frustrating!"
That's a tough one. We've all known our fair share of "Debbie Downer" types; they always something negative to say, always want to poke holes in our ideas, always playing "devil's advocate."
But are they being pessimists...or realists?
I found a great article on this subject on The Wall Street Journal website:
In this article, Ms. Schaefer likens these people to the office Eeyore :) and she give some great tips on how to alter your way of thinking without sacrificing your personality or completely refraining from offering a differing opinion.
After all, sometimes it's the devil's advocate or the hole-poker who keeps us from making major missteps at work. It's important to balance being positive with challenging your team and your company to strive for greatness and profitability.
Have you ever wondered how some people seem to always get exactly what they want? All they seem to have to do is snap their fingers and *poof* they've got the job they want, the home they want, the car they want, that gorgeous pair of shoes they want, even the soulmate they want. It's maddening, isn't it? Especially since most of us are floundering around, feeling inadequate, always wishing for things that never seem to materialize. And then we get resentful and even jealous. That's no way to go through life!
So today, I'm going to share with you the 6 secrets to getting what you want, no matter what it is! (And it's a heck of a lot simpler than you think!)
Knowing how to speak in public is VITAL to your success personally and professionally. Most executives that I know wouldn't be where they are today if they couldn't express themselves to their teams, their clients and their bosses. And the fear of opening your mouth in front of an audience - small or large - can be crippling to your career and your relationships.
My "Get Over Your Fear of Public Speaking!"video program shares my best tips for banishing those public speaking demons forever. As a professional speaker myself and someone who has met other amazing speakers, I've gathered a world of experience, tips, and tools that I want to share with you through this video program.
My apologies for staying away from my blog for so long, but between working with clients, traveling to Salt Lake City for a conference about SendOutCards.com (you've GOT to check these guys out - their system is amazing and so much fun!), and getting my sons back off to college (the house is mine and my husband's again - woo hoo! But seriously, I love my kids and miss them, too), I've been using my few minutes of downtime to, you know, breathe.
And I've also been staying up way too late to watch the Olympics! I'm so proud of our fellow countrymen and countrywomen; they've been outstanding all around in their events. According to Yahoo! this morning, the USA has earned 101 medals so far (8 of which are the incredible gold medals won by record-breaker Michael Phelps - congratulations to him!).
While I love the thrill of the competitions, I'm truly amazed by the Olympians themselves. To paraphrase a comment made on "Project Runway" during their Olympic challenge, they are as close to real-live superheros as we can get. They are at peak performance levels, and they've trained endlessly to achieve their goals. Let's follow their example!
Today, I challenge you to commit to your career like an Olympian commits to his or her training. I want you focus on kicking your career into overdrive (especially if lately it's been chugging along like a golf cart), and I want you firing all cylinders as you work towards your career's peak performance level.
And as your coach, I'm going to give you the benefit of my knowledge with these 10 tips for advancing your career!
1. Create a "life skills" line: Record everything you know how to do - from birth until the present - and all the skills required to do them. What have you excelled at? (And they don't have to be just work-related...you'd be surprised how the skills you have in your hobbies translate into success into the workplace.)
2. Make a "life activity" line (layer it right over your "life skills" line). Identify the activies at work and at home that you enjoy doing. If your skill is problem-solving, activities you might like are troubleshooting at work or working on your car's engine. A career that is satisfying and challenging with incorporate some of those skills and activities.
3. Rate your enjoyment and aptitude of each entry on your line: 1 if you're excellent at it and love doing it; 5 if it's one of your weaker areas or if you wouldn't want to do it for more than a few hours. And with this info, you're going to then...
4. Create a clear picture in your mind of your next 5 career moves (they're not set in stone!). They could be in order and progressing up through your organization, or they could be lateral moves into other organizations or industries. Plotting out these career moves starts to set you up with a strategy for career advancement (and we all know how much I LOVE strategy!).
5. Map out opportunities within your organization. You got those 5 career moves in your head - where are they in your organization? Create a "treasure map" that you can follow, leading you to each of those 5 career moves. Who's holding those jobs now? What are your chances of earning that position? If there's a star blocking your route of advancement (think Don Draper of "Mad Men") who shows no signs of budging, then you should first do everything in your power to succeed and prove your worth in your current position (a shift all the way up line might occur) or you might want to consider moving to another company, which leads me to...
6. Map opportunities outside your organization. What organizations are the leaders in your industry? Are they looking for highly-skilled people like you, and if so, what could they offer you? Look for industries that are complementary to yours. There may be opportunities to not only bring your insights into a new industry, but also for you to be invigorated by a new set of challenges.
7. Assess people in higher levels of your organization. Give them a report card. Who does a great job? Who might be on his or her way out? Who might be open to talking to you about their position? What are their skills...and do you have them?
8. Make a list of people who would help you if they knew your career aspirations. While it's a good idea to be tentative about who you share your career plans with (especially if they include chucking your current job for another), you have people in your sphere of influence that can help you attain your career goals if you talk to them about those goals. Be selective in who you share your dreams with, but make sure you share your dreams with someone!
9. Use an interview as an excuse to go and speak to someone who has the job that you want. Does your company have a newsletter or a website that highlights employees and bosses? If so, go to the head of these departments and ask if you can do a profile on the person who has the job you want. I'm sure they'll be thrilled to have some of the burden taken off them, and I'm sure that the person you interview will be flattered that you're so interested in them and their job. Asking for an interview is a non-threatening way to do your research and gather information.
10. Join an industry organization. This is a primo networking opportunity just waiting for you to reach out and grab it. Learn about other companies in your industry, other positions you may be qualified for, and loads of other inside scoop that can help you strategize your next career move.
Now go out there and earn a gold medal in career advancement!
Well, after last week's whirlwind posting marathon during "Lipstick Leadership Week", I decided to lay low for the past few days.
In the interim, I've been swamped with coaching clients who are begging me to help them with their public speaking. Apparently, that old saying about public speaking being an even greater fear than death is true!
Now, I admit: even a professional speaker like me gets butterflies in her stomach before taking the stage and staring out into that sea of people. But then my adrenaline kicks in and my naturally talkative personality takes over. Unfortunately, that's not the case for most people.
I've heard horror stories from clients, colleagues and friends about how they froze under the spotlights (or even speaking to a smaller group in a meeting) and tripped and stuttered their way through their presentations. My heart goes out to them. (I feel the same way when faced with a situation where math is required!)
So a few days ago, I had one of those "aha" moments Oprah's always talking about:
- People need help with their public speaking. - I'm a professional speaker who can also be considered something of an expert in getting over fears.
Why not figure out some global way (as opposed to one-on-one coaching...there's only so much of my time to go around!) that I could help people overcome their fear of public speaking??
I'm now in the process of developing a fantastic new video product and loads of special bonuses to go along with it. I can't wait to unveil it, and I'm hoping to have the finishing touches put on it next week!
Keep your eyes open, loyal readers, because you're going to be one of the first people I offer it out to. I'll post more details soon!
...all of the fantastic entries I received will live on here at my blog!
If you missed out on last week's event, feel free to scroll down or click on the "lipstick leadership stories" tag at the bottom of this post to enjoy all of the anedotes and insights that made "Lipstick Leadership Week" a smashing success!
I'd like to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who sent in stories - they were all truly amazing and inspiring. I only wish I could get to know each of these incredible role models personally!
And it's a great feeling to know that this network of "mother's wisdom" you all helped me create is only the beginning! I can't wait to get started on the next book in the "From the Kitchen to the Corner Office" series - you've proven that there's limitless inspiration out there and plenty of moms and mom figures to draw experiences from!
In the meantime, I've got a lot of other pots full of ideas bubbling on my mental stovetop, and you'll be the first to hear about them here on my blog and through my free eZine "Lipstick Leadership" (Haven't signed up yet? You're missing out on a lot of great info! Sign up here or at LipstickLeadership.com).
Lipstick Leadership: Independent Woman - Christina Lemmey's Story!
"My mother is very independent and led by example that women could do anything we wanted to do. She was a stay-at-home mom and was not a business person, but she took art classes at the community college, and she would travel at least once a year by herself to visit her brothers across the country or her best friend. We didn't have sit-down conversations about all the things I could accomplish, but sometimes seeing a living example is just as powerful as hearing the words. I've heard from many friends how they are surprised I would drive 3 hours with my kids to visit an out-of-state friend by myself. I also decided on my own to start my business and figured out myself what steps I needed to take to learn more from coaches to increase my business.
While I do not consider myself a risk-taker, the independence that I learned from my mother has definitely helped lead me on the right business path."
Lipstick Leadership: "What Are You Wearing?" - Vicki Flaugher's Story!
"My mom and I have an inside joke about visualizing your success. We both believe that to reach a goal you have to really see it like it's already accomplished and if you do, it will come to you. So, when I would tell my mother about a project I was working on, or a dream I wanted to fulfill as an entrepreneur, she would always ask me, 'What are you wearing?' She would want me to describe my clothes and my hair style and everything that would be happening at the moment I achieved my goal, right down to the color of my dress and lipstick. She'd ask how I am celebrating my victory and who is with me. It's a little game we play and it really helps me to get clear about the end I am seeking. My mom has a great way of helping me see myself as a success. I just ask myself, 'What are you wearing?' and my confidence rises. I have to give her at least partial credit for helping me in that area. Together, we are stronger!"
- Vicki Flaugher, the original SmartWoman, SmartWomanPublishing.com
Lipstick Leadership: Setting an Example of Success - Carrie Lauth's Story!
"For many years during my childhood, my mother, in addition to being a full-time stay-at-home mom, was also a leader in Direct Sales. For several years, my family drove a Tupperware van that my mother earned because of her sales and recruiting achievements. Seeing her do something and succeed at something she obviously enjoyed had a real impact on me. I've always had an entrepreneurial streak for as long as I could remember. Now I earn a full-time living on the Internet and am able to raise my 4 children.
Next week (July 28th - August 1st) I'll be posting the submission stories here on my blog all day, every day. So make sure you bookmark me and keep coming back to read more!
I guarantee you won't be disappointed - the stories are a mix of the funny and the poignant, and all have important lessons that can be incorporated into our professional and personal lives to empower and inspire us.
The struggle between having a career and raising kids is a battle for the ages. Speaking from experience, I know that when I decided to re-join the workforce when my kids were little, I was in a constant state of guilt. When I was at work, I felt like I was missing vital time with my children. When I was at home, I felt like I wasn't giving it my all at my job - and that's just not my style! There just didn't seem to be an optimal way to fit both pieces into my life back then.
But thankfully today the working world is FINALLY starting to catch on that there are plenty of mommies out there who want to put their skills to work AND have the flexibility to raise their children!
I came across this article on CNN.com, "Moms Find Balance as High-Skilled Temps" by A. Pawlowski, and I said, "Amen!" According to the article, staffing agencies like Mom Corps., On-Ramps, Flexible Executives, Flexible Resources and FlexWork Connection have cued into the fact that the "Mommie Talent Pool" is an amazing untapped resource, and the companies' mission is to "connect career-women-turned-stay-at-home moms with employers."
These agencies are giving moms the opportunity to be successful both in their careers and in their personal lives by providing them with the flexibility they need and deserve. At the same time, they're giving companies a double whammy: highly skilled employees AND women who are enriching the workplace with their unique perspective as mothers. My book "From the Kitchen to the Corner Office: Mom's Wisdom on Leadership" is all about that! All of the stories I tell in that book are drilled down to a "simple truth from Mom"; the case studies (real-life business examples) show how that wisdom can be applied. And with staffing agencies like the ones mentioned in this article, even more women will be able to benefit organizations with the gifts of their knowledge.
This is what "Lipstick Leadership Week" is all about: sharing the knowledge. By sharing stories about the incredible women in your life and how they've influenced you (and judging by many of the submissions so far, they've influenced your professional success just as much as your personal success!) we're creating a wisdom network that can help everyone advance their careers - and again I say, "AMEN!"
Now you might be wondering why this topic would pique my interest - or yours, for that matter, if you don't have college-bound kids - but when I read it, I saw it from a new perspective: professionals contemplating going back to school and making a career change.
If making more money in a new career is your goal, check out what this article has to say about which education path you might want to look into.
This question came from my friend Anna and was accompanied by a worried frown. Anna lost her job recently (cutbacks, cutbacks, cutbacks) and had a promising opportunity in the works. I was prepping her for an interview this week, and we'd finally gotten around to the salary question.
"Well, what's the salary range for a position like yours?" was my counter-question.
"I don't know," came her response. She knew what she had been making, after several years of being with the company she worked for, but didn't have a clue what someone in her position should/could ask for coming into a new company. And being isolated from the job market, she didn't know the salary trends for her industry.
Since I know that Anna isn't the only one who's unsure of the answer to the big salary question, I thought I'd do a little research on the subject of salary ranges and post a quick tidbit of salary info here on my blog.
Here's a quick list of salary resources to get you started:
* My personal favorite is www.Salary.com * Job posting sites can be a great resource: sites like craigslist often have salary info along with job descriptions, and sites like CareerBuilder.com and Monster.com have salary calculators and wizards. * Tons of salary info here: Economic Research Institute - www.erieri.com * The good 'ol government site: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics - www.bls.gov * Professional and trade organizations often have a slew of info and some even have message boards where you can post your questions and get answers from other professionals like yourself. * Don't forget your research! Check out the company's website and tap into your personal network and ask around. First-hand knowledge direct from a reliable source can be valuable.
I hope this info helps all of you job seekers out there and even the non-job seekers, too. It's always a great time to make sure you're getting paid what you're worth!
The week of July 14th through July 18th, 2008 is Lipstick Leadership Week at KitchentotheCornerOffice.com! That means we want to hear YOUR stories about how your mother changed your life and made you into a successful career woman.
What lessons did your mother teach you that turned you into a leader? Did a Sunday afternoon of baking turn into an opportunity for responsibility? Did a Thanksgiving meal become a metaphor for organizational structure? Tell your story in writing or request to send an audio or video. To contribute, just submit your story to me here. You can read your submission and others' right here on my blog during Lipstick Leadership Week!
My new book, From the Kitchen to the Corner Office: Mom's Wisdom on Leadership, chronicles the lessons I've learned from my own amazing mother and other female role models. I'll be sharing those stories - and the stories of women I've interviewed for this book - during Lipstick Leadership Week - and I invite you to join me in this celebration of maternal wonders!
Hi, it's Michelle, and I'm in Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado at an amazing, very rustic resort. Well, it's rustic on the outside, but on the inside, it's stunning.
This place made me think about how quickly we make judgments of our teammates the workplace, how we look at someone and we immediately make an assessment, never taking the time to look a little bit deeper to see all of their talents, intelligence and skills.
As managers, we need to make sure that we're not rushing to decisions when it comes to our team members, whether we're assigning tasks or deciding who to downsize. We need to make sure that we're taking the time to evaluate everything that each of our people have to offer: their skills, their attitudes and their contributions.
In so many ways, people bring different unique elements to the workplace; for instance, some people help with keepu up morale more than they help with the actual work of their projects. That doesn't mean they aren't important!
And so this morning, I'm going to practice reserving my own judgments about our itinerary - I'm going fly-fishing! Can you belive it? - and keep an open mind to the experience. Today, take the time to think about people in your workplace and the talents they have that you may overlook and discover the unique value they bring to your team.
In the face of our flailing economy, I've been on the lookout for articles that offer tips on how to weather this recessional storm so I can share the info with you, my readers. In my own life, I've been through some tough financial situations with my family in the past, and I know firsthand how difficult it is to stretch that dollar to keep food on the table, a roof over our heads, and clothes on our backs. It seems like just yesterday I was ripping up my husband's old shirts and sewing them into shorts for our little boys (now grown college men) to wear during the hot summer months. Thankfully, those days are behind us now, and we've found great success in running our company, the Cove Group.
So today as I was perusing the headlines, I saw a few great articles from Yahoo! that listed jobs and industries where people can earn good money and find some stability in this shaky economical time.
The first article is entitled "10 Hot Jobs That Start at $50K+" by Cherie Berkley at PayScale.com (read the full article here). If you're unhappy in your current job or are just looking to branch out into a new field, here are 10 jobs that you might want to look into, according to the article:
Interesting, huh? I thought so, and even though most of these jobs require a certain level of education, I fully believe in always being willing to learn - especially when that education can lead to a lucrative career like these. Thanks to Cherie Berkley, PayScale.com and Yahoo! for writing such a great article!
The other article I stumbled across was even more appropos: "Recession-Proof Jobs in 2008" by Larry Buhl for Yahoo! HotJobs. Mr. Buhl saved us the trouble of searching for strong industries during these tough economic times, and he's listed them here in his article. Here are the highlights:
* Education * Energy * Health Care * International Business * Environmental Sector * Security
I hope these articles help if you're in a place in your life where a new career is on the horizon. Seize the opportunity to start a fresh career path and reach a brand new level of success in your professional life!
I hope everyone enjoyed the long holiday weekend and had a chance for a little rest and relaxation! There's nothing like the first cookout of the season, the smell of the grill, a warm breeze and plenty of outdoor fun to get us in the mood for summer.
But today it's back to work despite the beautiful sunshine beckoning to us outside the window. Over my morning tea, I was purusing the headlines on Yahoo! and came across an article that made me shake my head in disappointment. "Great Jobs that Profit Women: Five Flexible Careers with Man-Sized Paychecks" by Kate McIntyre. The "great jobs" and "profit women" and "flexible careers" parts were are positive...but "man-sized paychecks?" Don't tell me that in this, the 21st century, there is STILL a discrepancy between what men and women are paid for the same jobs and same qualifications?!
It's true, and no, it really wasn't a big secret to me, though every time I read about it, I still find it wholly unbelievable. When are we going to wake up, people, and realize that there is absolutely NO reason for women to be earning "approximately 25% less than men in the same occupational group with simliar qualifications" (according to the National Committe on Pay Equity and their 2006 statistics)? The Yahoo article cites two reasons for the disparity: "gender discrimination and women's choices to work less than full-time or to stay at home to care for children."
Gender discrimination? Really? You mean we as women haven't proved ourselves capable of attaing the same results and the same success as men YET? I refuse to believe that because I have personally met hundreds of women who are amazing at what they do; they run successful companies, they're at the top of their fields, and they have limitless talent and skills. I even featured many of them in my new book "From the Kitchen to the Corner Office: Mom's Wisdom on Leadership."
It's time to snap out of the Dark Ages, banish these outdated business norms, and pay women in the workforce what they're worth. And if we can't do that, let's at least pay them what we pay their male counterparts!
With the ever-increasing demands on our time constantly pulling us in every direction, is it any surprise that our lives sometimes feel completely unbalanced and out of control? There are only so many hours in the day, and there never seem to be enough when we're juggling the needs of our families, our careers, our friends and ourselves. Tasks fall through the cracks, people are disappointed, and we're left feeling frustrated, exhausted and even guilty at the end of the day. So before our frazzled nerves send us over the deep end, how can we bring the balance back to our lives?
Exciting news, my friends! The long-awaited and highly-acclaimed new info publishing and sharing site YouPublish.com from Mark Victor Hansen (of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame) is now LIVE!
YouPublish.com is an amazing site where users can publish and download all kinds of files: books, music, videos, software, photos, documents - pretty much any type of file you can think of! Some are free; some have costs associated with them, and ALL are worth a look around the site.
With Mother's Day being celebrated a few short days from now (hint, hint to those who've forgotten!) and all eyes on the primaries and election in November, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to marry the two topics and discuss how the candidates' mothers have influenced who they are and what they bring to the table.
Mom's influence has helped to shape all of us into the people we are, and to get a feel for our Presidential candidates, let's take a look at who their mothers are, starting with Hillary Clinton. Hillary's mother, Dorothy, really taught her daughter to fight back. I remember reading a story about how at the age of four, Hillary was being picked on by some of the neighborhood girls. When she went crying to her mother, Dorothy told her to stand up for herself and that there was no room in their house for cowards. Empowering advice for all of our daughters!
This experience explains a lot about Hillary and the image she often projects in public. She's come out fighting with both gloves swinging and has taken what is traditionally a masculine stance on many of the issues. With all of the adversity and attacks Hillary's faced, the influence of her mother and being taught to be a fighter is very clear in how she's been handling herself.
But is this image of her as a fighter costing her votes among the female population?
Possibly. My personal opinion is that being a fighter is a positive image to be projecting; however, it cannot be at the expense of the unique compassion and softness we as women bring to what we do, whether in the workplace or with our families. To really connect with all the voters, Hillary needs to balance being a strong fighter with being a compassionate woman and mother so that she can relate to both men and women. So far she's had a difficult time reconciling those two sides of her personality.
I find it interesting that when she broke down a bit and cried in New Hampshire, she won by so many more votes than they had predicted. It wasn't sympathy that drove people to vote for her; it was that suddenly she was much more relatable. People who were very familiar with seeing her as a fighter were given a glimpse into this whole other side of her as a person, and they connected with that. Sometimes always being on guard for a fight can alienate people; to truly reach out to people, Hillary needs to temper that with her own natural female instincts and traits.
I've been hearing a lot of people grumbling about Hillary still being in the race and how she should drop out for the good of the Democratic Party so that it can be united come election time. Well, all I have to say to that is: I'd bet good money that if Hillary was a man in the running, those same people would be commending her for sticking with it to the very end and not giving up. I've seen the same type of situation happen in the workplace, the old "double standard", and with such a huge opportunity at stake, I commend Hillary for giving it all she's got to the very end.
In every tragic moment we have an opportunity to learn more about who we are and what we are capable. I have faced a great deal of adversity in my life, and rather than become a victim of it, I chose to face my fears and overcome them. When you're at a point that is vulnerable, you're also at your most authentic. If there is a positive that can come from tragedy, it's the opportunity to meet yourself and recognize the power you have within. The knowledge that I can overcome fear has served me well throughout my life, even when I'm shaking in my boots! What a blessing that awareness has been for me.
When managing a business or a department, you need to be able to adapt your communication style to fit the type of person you're dealing with. Maximum results come from professionals who understand this concept and can adapt their message without compromising who they are or the information they're delivering. This is especially beneficial in an interview setting: understanding how someone best receives information can make or break your ability to get the job, make the sale, motivate the team or meet the department goals.
"If you believe it's just fine...it is! You create your own reality."
The most powerful lesson I learned from my mother Mimi and my Aunt Ruthie is to take responsibility for my reality. Mimi has always been one to look on the bright side of things and approach problems looking for solutions, choosing to see the silver lining and not the dark cloud. Aunt Ruthie faced serious health problems that would've demolished a lesser person, but rather than give into the pain and be defeated, she always saw herself as being just fine. That positive way of thinking created a reality for her that was full of life and happiness.
In life and work things don't always go as planned, but that's no reason to give up or pass the blame onto someone else. If you take responsibility for having a positive attitude and developing a strategic solution to any problem that arises, you'll be amazed at the unbelievable reality you're able to create.
"Leaders emerge from all levels of an organization and can influence everyone from the top to the bottom."
My sister-in-law Pat is a perfect example of this. She is one of twelve children, and growing up, she showed her influence and leadership by taking on additional responsibilities with the raising of her siblings and later with the raising of her own children. Her mother Marty - the "CEO" of the "organization" - relied heavily on Pat - a "front line worker" - and because of that, Pat was able to influence her parents and be a leader. She was never instructed to go tacke care of her brothers and disters, and her leadership was natural. Marty may have had the ultimate decision-making authority, but Pat was given a lot of free rein.
Pat took the lesson that she could be a leader no matter where she was in an organization from her mother's kitchen all the way to her own corner office. Now it's YOUR turn! Be a leader everyday whether you're the CEO or the assistant to the CEO, and create the same kind of positive influence in your workplace that Pat did in her mother's home.
"Don't wait until the eleventh hour to let your ideas shine...don't be afraid to show off your 'diamonds!'"
My grandmother - affectionately known as "Mops" - brought her A-game to everything she did, including becoming a professional golfer in the 1920s. She always let her best shine through - there was no waiting for a "special occasion" where Mops was concerned. She wore her most prized possession - a beautiful diamond ring, one of only two, and the other belonged to Bess Truman - not matter what, whether she was playing golf or growing plants on her balcony or spending the day at the beach. She knew how to commit to life full steam ahead!
At work, your talents, ideas and skills are your diamonds. Many of us hold onto our brilliant ideas for just the right person or just the right time. Do you have amazing ideas that might never get executed? Well, what are you waiting for?? Like Mops, wear YOUR diamonds every single day!
"Make sure your team's energy is pointed in the same direction and working toward the same goals!"
When my sons were wee children, they loved to help me around the house. One day, after watching me spray a window with cleaner and wipe it with a rag, the boys decided they would help clean the rest of the windows. Their cleaner of choice? Spit! My mother Mimi found them spitting on the windows and smearing around the slimy mess! Though their "help" actually resulted in more work for me, I couldn't get mad at those happy, innocent faces. My boys honestly thought they were helping me.
It occurred to me over time that my boys' energy and enthusiasm were a good thing! They wanted to help, God bless their little hears. The only thing missing in these escapades was guidance - which I was responsible for providing. By focusing their energy in a helpful and fun direction, it could maybe mean less work for me instead of more.
Every team needs this kind of guidance. The most energetic team you can assemble will be the least productive if everyone is pulling in a different direction. Take the time to make sure everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goals. Don't let anyone "spit on the windows!"
For more "simple truths from Mom," check out my new book
The lesson of knowing when to lead and how to follow is an important one. It is not a weakness to follow; it's only a weakness if you have been given the opportunity to lead and you don't step up and take advantage of it. As women, we need to be prepared to lead and to always be looking for leadership opportunities; however, we also need to be able to lead in a way that does not step on someone else's project in the process.
The best example I can give you of knowing when to lead and when to follow is my mother Mimi and my Aunt Marie sharing responsibilities in preparing our Yozzo family holiday meals. Because of our huge extended family, the location of holiday meals alternated between my mother's home and my Aunt Marie's (so no one person had to shoulder the burden of cooking and feeding and cleaning up after the thirty of us!). Both women are strong leaders and took the reins of the meal while cooking in their own kitchens; however, when they were a guest in each other's kitchens, they were more than happy to follow the leadership of the hostess. When cooking at Aunt Marie's, she was the leader and Mimi deferred to her completely; and vice versa when cooking in my mother's kitchen. The result? Year after year of glorious seven-course meals with nary a harsh word, argument or burned dish in sight!
In my family, we were always accepting of both my mother Mimi and my Aunt Marie as leaders, and having faith that your team is going to follow you is crucial to your success as a leader.
Having a job that you find joyful is a blessing beyond belief. Understanding how to find that joy in a challenging work environment is a different story. The ability to blend productivity with a positive environment is a skill that has a large payoff for a manager and a mom. My mother Mimi always taught me that life is a game and no matter how many responsibilities and obstacles we face, we mustn't forget to have a little fun, too! By taking this lesson and applying it in the workplace, I've found that I've been able to challenge my team to work harder but do it in a way that's joyful.
Many times as we are promoted or change jobs, we inherit teams that need some life pumped into them. As a kindergarten teacher, my mother Mimi had this same challenge each year when she welcomed a new crop of students into her classroom. She took her "have fun" approach from home - exhibited by the games she designed for me and my siblings to play - and applied it to her work in the classroom.
I know this playful purpose is as applicable in the business world as it was in my home and in Mimi's classroom. I've seen many corporate activities that have taken a page from Mimi's fun and positive approach produce amazing results in productivity for the workplace.
Why I wrote My New Book From the Kitchen to the Corner Office: Mom's Wisdom on Leadership
In a radio interview a couple years ago I was asked who my mentors were...I had to stop and think. When I started out there were only a few women in the workplace in leadership roles...but the first person that popped into my mind was my Mom! Mom was a nursery school teacher, hardly the typical role model for a young cosmopolitan business woman.
After the interview I dug a little deeper to understand why she popped into my mind...and the conclusion I came to was that she had been leading my family with faith, finesse, composure, compassion, and sometimes an iron fist. Then I looked further back in time and relations and found a wealth of "mom" figures to draw from. What perfect mentors for me to follow as I tried to become the leader I was born to be...the first flicker of my book, From the Kitchen to the corner Office, had begun.
Risk can be a difficult thing to manage in the workplace, especially if you're the type that frets over every possible detail that could go wrong when a new project crosses your desk. With all of the pressure surrounding us every day, it's no wonder that new projects (and new responsibilities) threaten to strangle us with "what if" scenarios. Several of my clients have come to me over the years claiming, "When things fall apart, so do I," and seeking out guidance to help them manage risk....
Long-time readers of my blog and listeners of my podcast "Tips from Michelle" (available FREE at iTunes) have often read and heard me offer advice peppered with business jargon. Occasionally, I toss out a term or phrase and neglect to define it for those of you out there who are unfamiliar with the ever-changing vocabulary of business. I welcome the opportunity to clear up any confusion about terms or concepts - all you have to do is e-mail me like Jerry here:
I've been listening to your podcast and reading your blog at MichelleYDrake.com for the past couple of years, and several times you've mentioned how important it is to have an 'elevator pitch' ready at all times. What exactly is an 'elevator pitch' and how can I make sure that mine wows potential clients, contacts and even employers?"
Excellent question, Jerry. An "elevator pitch" is...
It's time for a little dose of Brutal Honesty here. I'm a big fan of Brutal Honesty: no matter how difficult it is to stomach, it can be just the kick in the rear you need to jumpstart positive changes in your life and in your career.
Today's Brutal Honesty topic: The innovation - or lack thereof - that you're contributing to your organization.
Ask yourself these questions, and remember: be completely honest with your answers.
Are you showing your bosses the best of everything you have, all of your talents, all of your skills, all of your value...every day?
If not, why the heck not?! What barriers do you perceive to be holding you back?
Let's say that you have an amazing, brilliant idea that could increase your company's profits by an astounding percentage. You've been toying with the idea for weeks, running it through your head again and again, searching for its flaws and debating whether or not to present it at your next team meeting. The meeting day has arrived, and...
In a perfect world, we all work to our full capacity every single day: we're shining examples of perfect employees who come in early, stay late, always give 210%, and do everything we can to better the company.
Unfortunately, this isn't a perfect world, and most of us will confess that we don't ALWAYS put forth maximum effort; however, we still do a pretty good job, get the work done and occasionally even put forth a brilliant idea or two. That's fine and dandy except when the opportunity for a promotion pops up.
Say one of your department managers decides to take an early retirement. In a few weeks or even months, his position is going to be up for grabs, and good money says that your company would rather hire up from within than bring a brand new person into this position. You want this promotion, but you have to wonder: is just doing a "pretty good job" going to land it for you? Chances are...no.
But all is not lost. You still might have an opportunity to put yourself in the front running for the position...
Aside from speaking, one of my biggest passions in life is working with entrepreneurs to build and grow their businesses. I'm a entrepreneur myself, and I've seen great success creating my consultancy, The Cove Group, Inc., and the teacher in me loves to share the insights I've gained through that process with other fledgling small business owners.
I'm in the process of launching an exciting new program called CEO Secrets Blueprint. Don't you wish you had the strategies and secrets that the "big boys" in business have? Well with this program, you can! I've worked with major Fortune 100 companies and highly successful organizations as an executive coach, and my clients have shared with me some of the most amazing tools and tactics for creating multi-million dollar yearly profits, devouring market share, hiring top industry stars, and so much more.
Now I plan on sharing those secrets with a select clientele of entrepreneurs and small business owners who want their businesses to soar!
The website for CEO Secrets Blueprint is almost ready, so check back here at my blog for more information. In the meantime, as luck would have it, I received an e-mail from Lucy in Freeport asking for advice on marketing her small business, and I thought all of you entrepreneurs out there would appreciate checking it out:
I own a small business - a flower shop - and my marketing budget is practically nonexistent. But I know that marketing is one of the most important aspects of running my business successfully, and I wondered if you had any ideas for promoting my business without breaking my bank account."
I remember those years of shoestring marketing budgets well, and with a little creativity and ingenuity, I managed to come up with a few great (and inexpensive) marketing ideas for your business and all small business out there...
Among the usual piles of bills and junk I find in my mailbox, every once in a while I'll come across one of those household gadget catalogs like Miles Kimball or Harriet Carter. Inside, there is every crazy - yet oddly useful - thingamajig and whoseywhatsit that you can imagine. When I thumb through the pages and deliberate whether or not I really NEED a "Folding Food Slicer", a "Pasta Express (TM)" pasta cooker, or a flask shaped like a cell phone (seriously? What good could come of THAT?), I think about the people behind the products.
How did they come up with these ideas? How did they decide that the world needs a "Haircutting Umbrella" or a "Rotato (R) Express"? And what pushed them from simply dreaming about their product into creating a business around it?
As an entrepreneur and an expert coach to other entrepreneurs, taking an exciting idea for a product or service and turning it into a viable and successful business is one of my favorite topics, and today I want to share my best tips for the first step: figuring out if a "brilliant" idea is really brilliant...and worthy of an entrepreneurial undertaking.
You might not be able to put a price tag on happiness or love, but you sure can put a price tag on what you're worth to your employer. Salary is often the make-or-break element of whether you stay in one job or move onto another. Who wants to work for a company that pays peanuts? Conversely, who wants to give up a job with incredible pay? Although there are otherissuestoexamine in each of these situations, salary ranks right up at the top of the list.
So how do you know if you're being paid a fair salary for the work that you do? And if you're not, why not, what are you going to do about it, and how are you going to do so without shooting yourself in the foot?!
Tomorrow I'll be on my way to the Windy City, home of amazing deep dish pizza (although in my Long Island heart, I'll always be partial to New York slices!), incredible architecture, and "Da Bears" (and Bulls, White Sox, Cubs... - this is what happens when you live in a house full of men!)
I'm part of group called the Mega Inner Circle Network created by Mark Victor Hansen (who's written some of my favorite books, the Chicken Soup for the Soul series). Being a member means having the opportunity to take part in "Immersives" that promise to be educational and entertaining conferences featuring major players sharing their success secrets and advice. This weekend is the Chicago Immersive and I am so excited! Why? Well, for one thing: I love to network!
I'm a talker, a speaker, a gabber, a chatter...er, a chewer of the fat - and during networking events, I'm in my glory. But I realize that I'm also in the minority: most people dread networking events more than Tax Day, and they wind up wondering why they even bothered to show up.
To all of you networking-phobes out there, here are my 6 best tips for improving your networking skills...
I recently returned from Boston where I coach an executive in a large financial institution. She was hired because she is a star at what she does, but her new superiors felt her rough edges needed a little smoothing out. Enter Michelle Yozzo Drake: Communication Strategist (and apparently, career therapist!).
The first few sessions were mainly conversations to analyze her communication style, her role in the organization and the organization itself - unlike most coaches, I don't rely solely on standardized tests and I don't just jump to what I think the problem is either. As she started to warm up to me, she became more honest with her true feelings about her job:
She's totally fed up with it!
Once the floodgates opened, my client told me exactly what she couldn't stand about her job and after we evaluated it, we decided it would be best for her to take control of her career and JUST GET OUT!
But like most of us, she couldn't stand the stress of a long, drawn-out stretch between this job and her new one, so I offered her a few quick tips to find a job fast...
If I had a nickel...no, a PENNY for every time someone complained about the misery of their job, I would have a fortune that rivals Carlos Slim's! When I coach clients on their careers, the dissatisfaction they feel in their current positions is often a major focus of our first sessions. Sometimes I feel more like a career "therapist" than a coach because they confide in me and tell me all their job-related secrets! They reveal how they feel about the work they do, the inside scoop on the organization's environment, how they rate their supervisors, and what drives them crazy about their co-workers.
And all of the complaints they list add up to one big mess of "I hate my job." But "I hate my job" isn't going to solve anything, and I press my clients to dig deeper and analyze their jobs to find out the true root of their dissatisfaction. Once we identify this, we can then figure out a strategic solution to turn "I hate my job" into "I love my job."
***** For more FREE tips on advancing your career and navigating the workplace, sign up for my FREE e-zine "Lipstick Leadership" at LipstickLeadership.com today! And check out the products I've developed to guide you toward the success you deserve!
You breathe a sigh of relief and maybe even break open a bottle of champagne to celebrate. In mid-gulp of the bubbly it hits you: you didn't just get the job, you got a whole new set of issues to stress about, too.
Often we focus so hard on getting the job that we never think about the next step: actually walking into that organization and starting over with a new team, a new boss, a new set of rules, a new EVERYTHING. It's enough to make your head spin!
***** For more FREE tips on advancing your career and navigating the workplace, sign up for my FREE e-zine "Lipstick Leadership" at LipstickLeadership.com today! And check out the products I've developed to guide you toward the success you deserve!
What do YOU dream about? Winning the lottery? Taking a loooong vacation to some tropical locale? Becoming famous? George Clooney?
For many of us, our daydreams are often work-related - it makes sense since most of our day is consumed by work, and unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to be working at their dream job.
So we imagine how fantastic it would be to tell our current boss to...ahem...find someone new to fill our position so we can go out into the world and create a business of our own. We dream of taking our passion and turning it into a profitable venture - that's the best of both worlds after all: getting to do what we love every day and GETTING PAID TO DO IT!
But when that boring meeting finally ends, for many people, that's when the daydream ends, too. They tell themselves that it's nothing but a silly dream and they should just keep plugging away at their current job. And then at the next boring meeting or sitting stuck in traffic or before they fall asleep at night, their daydream of starting their own business keeps floating back into their mind.
How do you know if you should quit your job and pursue that dream career or if you should just stay put?
***** For more FREE tips on advancing your career and navigating the workplace, sign up for my FREE e-zine "Lipstick Leadership" at LipstickLeadership.com today! And check out the products I've developed to guide you toward the success you deserve!
I have over 20 years of experience as an executive coach specializing in strategic communication. My years as a radio talk-show host have given me additional tools to provide communication coaching to entrepreneurs, as well as executives from Fortune 100 comapnies.
I've been a keynote speaker for corporate events, universities and industry conferences.
I'm a the author of From the Kitchen to the Corner Office: Mom's Wisdom on Leadership!" (Morgan James Publishing).
I'm a wife, a mother, an artist and an active volunteer in my community.