Monday, September 15, 2014

Ladder lessons...

A lot of us aspire to climb the corporate ladder and there's nothing wrong with that. There just a few things we need to learn about the ladder.

The first thing about climbing is that it has to start with a decision - your decision. As supportive as my husband has been and with all he's said and done to empower, the decision has still remained with me whether to proceed or not. Andrew Carnegie rightly said "You cannot push anyone up the ladder unless he (she) is willing to climb."

2nd lesson: Doing is required. Ladders are stationary and cannot climb people - you know like our children climb us when they want to be carried or just played with. Just as no one can push you up the ladder, you need to get your hands out of your pocket on to the ladder. For those who may have gotten to the top in an "elevator" (or lift) e.g. by a parent, it is important to remember that what got you there will not keep you there. Each person has a part to play in their continued success.

The 3rd lesson I've learned is that our dressing matters... There are multiple dimensions to dressing. I've written quite a bit about physical dressing so I'll focus on the emotional and social dressing this time. Zig Ziglar said: "You cannot climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure." We all know what it means to be dressed for an occassion. I remember seeing a lady in her traditional outfit and children around asked "Auntie, are you going to church?"  Our mental and emotional make-up shows on the outside. If one feels like a failure, because they may have failed before, chances are that the person will act in fear like a failure and succeed in failing. We need to address and dress our minds to know that the fact that one has failed (one or more times) doesn't make the person a failure. Learn from the failure(s) and move on...

Destination is the 4th lesson. Before you start climbing and as you climb, you need to have a fair idea of where you want to end up. Otherwise, you may spend (many) years in school or at job and never find fulfillment because you don't know where you're headed. Learn from the wisest man who ever lived -
5 Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. 6 In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.*
Because "we can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps."**
The bottom line is that:
"The Lord shows us how we should live,  and he is pleased when he sees people living that way."*** So when you follow God's guidance, step by step, your ladder will always be leaning on the right building...and you'll be pleased with your destination.

Sources:
* Prov 3:5-6 (Amplified)
** Prov 16:9 (NLT)
***Ps 37:23 (ERV)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Leading from behind...


When you hear about leadership, most times it's about being a visible and vocal "head" of a team. Lots of leaders want to be seen and take the credit for the good work their team members produce. however, the more I think about my leadership journey, the more I want to lead from behind.

Jack Welch the former Chairman and CEO of General Electric said:

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself.
When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.

Growing others is something that happens mostly "in the dark"  - just as seeds develop roots in the soil where it's dark. It also takes a lot of patience. Imagine what would happen if you plant then dig up the seed everyday to check if it's growing? It will die before it takes root. So growing or developing others does not need to be broadcast to others and requires quite a bit of patience. The growth will show from the quality of fruit your team members produce. 

Nelson Mandela's advice is one every leader should take to heart:
"It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership."

Leading from behind for me is all about encouraging others to discover & express their full potential and also be there (behind them) to have their back i.e. provide cover.

It will be nice to hear from you what you think about "Leading from behind..." You can send me an email: empoweredwomenexcel@gmail.com or comment on this post.

 


 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Learn from birds...

I started thinking about birds - not just the eagle - and started looking for quotes that speak to me. Here are a few and my comments are in blue font.
 
Why do birds sing in the morning?
It's the triumphant shout:
"We got through another night!"
Enid Bagnold
Where you've been or what you've been through is not as important as where you're headed. Whatever your situation, always have a song in your heart...it will lift you.
 
Be like the bird in flight . . . pausing a while on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, yet sings knowing yet, that she has wings.
Victor Marie Hugo
 
Each bird must sing with his own throat.
Henrik Ibsen

God gives every bird its food, but he does not throw it into the nest.
Josiah Gilbert Holland
 
Use the talents you possess - for the woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except for the best.
Henry Van Dyke
 
You cannot fly like an eagle with the wings of a wren. ~ William Henry Hudson
 
Self-development is key to advancement; to get to the next level, invest in yourself. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Know-it-all?

A few weeks ago, my colleague and I were chatting and she was talking about the fact that there are some things are brought to her attention or meetings she's invited to where she knows little or nothing about the subject matter.

I smiled and said that's fine because I "thrive" in not knowing it all. Now that's not to say that I don't know anything...I know some things but I don't know everything. I believe that not knowing it all gives one (me) room to grow.

On the other hand, while it's ok not to know everything I believe that it is very important to know what you do know well.

In professional & personal circles, people have more respect for those who "know-it-well" than those who carry around as if they know-it-all.

In the corporate world, there's quite a bit of talk about specializing in a body of knowledge to become a Subject Matter Expert (SME) or a Technical Authority (TA). Did you know that those acronyms also stand for "Small & Medium Enterprises" and "Turn-Around" respectively? Small & Medium Enterprises aspire to get bigger and Turn-Arounds are meant to improve the performance of the equipment - these are pointers to the fact that it's better to know-it-well and keep learning more, growing and getting better as against capping your willingness & ability to learn. Be a know-it-well not a know-it-all.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Are you an Eagle or Sheep or an EWE?

I smiled when I found this quote:

“Eagles we see fly alone; and they are but sheep which always herd together”
Sir Philip Sidney

It brings the 2 distinct attributes we must have. The Bible talks about how we are like eagles and sheep - so we need to be both.


If you look closely at the name of this blog you'll see EWE which stands for 2 things for me:
Ewe: is a female sheep - which all Christian women are - we're the sheep of God's pasture.
 
EWE - Eagle With Evidence
 
Empowered women excel but are not satisified with excelling alone. They also empower other women. So as eagles they go high in life and also take the time to help others in their community.
To be both and eagle and a sheep, you need to first be comfortable with your success because if you're not, you can't confidently show/guide someone else on the way to excel. And if you can't or don't guide others to execl then you're not really a success...
 
So are you an Ewe and/or EWE? You should strive to be both...and so help you God.

Please read: http://empowered-women-excel.blogspot.ca/2012/10/reach-out.html

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

2 tips for the 2nd half of the year...

Never work just for money or for power.
They won't save your soul or help you sleep at night.
~ Marian Wright Edelman
 
 
Be absolutely determined to enjoy what you do. ~ Gerry Sikorski
 
Personally, I believe that if you don't enjoy what you do then you should look for something you enjoy doing and do it...otherwise you'll live an unhappy life.
 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Imposter Syndrome: Why Owning Your Success is Critical to Your Career


A lot has been written about how we accept and attribute success to ourselves. I read and couldn't resist sharing this article by Nneka Orji 

The Imposter Syndrome: Why Owning Your Success is Critical to Your Career*
 
Surely someone more experienced or more knowledgeable should be in this position instead of me.

These feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt – which some of us have experienced throughout our career –can be harmless. However, if they present themselves frequently, leading us to frequently doubt our abilities, they can have a detrimental impact on our careers.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Go for Gold

It's common to have people encourage others to "Go for Gold" i.e. aim to achieve the highest possible honour or position. While it is very good to have high ambitions, it is also good to remember that "not all that glitters is gold."

I've always known that "not all that glitters is not gold" and that was again reconfirmed after I read this rather thought-provoking article: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/print/2012/07/why-women-still-can-8217-t-have-it-all/9020/

Part of the pressure of "having (& holding on to) it all" is the expectation of "who," more like "what," women need to become to get ahead in the Corporate world. The truth is no matter how high-paying or high-flying your job is, if you're not yourself, you can't be happy.

It then behooves on each person - man and woman - to determine what their "gold" and goal in life is. Each person needs to define their own "all" by themselves.

Recently, I started reading an interesting book - actually, the title was interesting which was why I bought it: "The Life Ready Woman - Thriving in a Do-it all world."* I smiled when I got to page 36 where the same timeless question: "Can you have it all?" was posed.

I connected with the multi-dimensional conclusion(s):
  1. In some ways, we may be able to "have it all" over the course of our lifetime - but not all at the same time.**
  2. We can't have it all - all at the same time.**
  3. When we try to do everything, sometimes everything gets hurt.***
As you go for gold in life,  we all need to remember that one (wo)man's trash is another (wo)man's treasure. Know and focus on what matters for you and go for it...
 
References:
* by Shaunti Feldhahn and Robert Lewis
** Page 36
*** Page 37

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sustainable success...

Success is something that can be elusive...and for some, previous success is not a guarantee for future success. As I thought about it, I decided to look up (and share) a few success quotes...and I've added my comments in brown font.

In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
~ Bill Cosby
Success is focusing the full power of all you are on what you have a burning desire to achieve.
~ Wilfred Peterson

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. ~ Winston Churchill
 
Success comes in cans; failure in can'ts
~ Wilfred Peterson 

I very fondly remember my son's teacher who always encouraged and challenged her students to convert their "I can't" statements to "I can try" assertions...

In order to succeed you must fail, so that you know what not to do the next time. ~ Anthony J. D'Angelo, The College Blue Book
Success has made failures of many men. ~ Cindy Adams
So we need to be careful not to let success get to our heads and disengage our hearts.

As you climb the ladder of success, be sure it's leaning against the right building. ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
The other thing is to leave and even improve the ladder - "polish" it so others can also climb. Remember that as Nancy Barcus succinctly puts it: 
The closer one gets to the top,
the more one finds there is no "top."
So as you aim for higher and greater things, make our unlimited God, not any man or system, your “limit” - only then will you have sustainable success.