Monday, December 15, 2014

Ready, Set...

... Relax

As I thought about this piece, I contemplated sharing some tips about how we can prepare to make more strides professionally next year. In the same thought, or shall I say mid-thought, I decided that even I needed to relax...hence the title of this post.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Lasting success...

...is one that outlasts you.

Women particularly work hard to move up in life. So if all your hard work starts and ends with you, it is a waste of time - yours and others. Why should anyone need to jump through all the hoops you've had to when you can help them through?

To truly have "successful success" it must be sustainable and that is possible when we learn to live by Michelle Obama's advice:

When you've worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed. ~ Michelle Obama

As this year winds down and we prepare for next year, start looking out for opportunities to be and remain a successful success...

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Rooster reality

Q: If a rooster lays an egg at the very top of a slanted roof, which side is the egg going to roll off on?

Take a moment to think of your answer before you continue reading...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Be a PAL

A lot of us aspire to become leaders and that is great. However, too many people wrongly assume that a manager or supervisor is a leader, and that can't be further from the truth. There are many differences between Managers and Leaders, but these three stand out for me:

Managers are process-focussed while Leaders are people-focussed. One of my former managers - who's a leader indeed once told me "take care of your people and they'll take care of the work." I've found that to be true over and over again.

 
Managers instruct while Leaders inspire - Leaders are visionary and inspire others to follow that vision while Managers are good at instructing people on what to do in order for the vision to be a reality. Managers work within a circle of power while Leaders operate with spheres of influence.

Being a manager is a career while leadership is a calling - the first time I read this it made sense and lined up with something I've always believed which is that the best way to get the best out of others (especially your reports) is to be a PAL (Passionate Authentic Leader)


When you are a PAL, you care for people and want what is best for them. In other words, your compassion for people is your passion. That passion keeps you in check so you are authentic at all times - telling them the truth on what they do well and what they can do better  that authenticity breeds trust and makes you relatable. Being real and relatable attracts others to you and they want to follow you...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Watch the effect of your EFFECT...

Have you noticed that a lot of people mix up their use of "affect" and "effect"? They are actually 2 sides of the same word...affect is a verb while effect is noun. For this piece, I'll focus on effect because effects affect a lot. Let's start with the meaning of "effect":
a "result: a change or changed state occurring as a direct result of action by somebody or something else"* or
"power to influence: success in bringing about a change in somebody or something, or the ability to achieve this."*

There are 6 things we need to watch closely - because they have a lasting effect on us and intentionally or unintentionally affect others too: 

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.


 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Are you hard working or hardly working?

The question is easily answered by the fable shared on the 1st day of February*  - the eagle was bent on working hard while the chicken was fine in the world of "hardly working."

An Empowered Woman is one who knows the 5 Ws and 1 H of working hard and well. She knows Why, When and Where she needs to do What she has to do. She’s so good that she also knows How to do what she needs to do and Who can help her accomplish that and even How to get those resources to work for her.
I know that there is this old saying: “Hard work never killed anyone.” While I agree that there is some truth in it, it is not entirely true from my perspective. You may have noticed people who work very, very hard – doing the wrong thing or the right thing the wrong way, wrong time, wrong place and with the wrong people.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Short & Sweet?

A lot of times in Corporate circles, you hear the phrase "Short & Sweet." A lot of people, including me, like meetings, conferences and speeches that are "short & sweet" - yes, swift and straight to the point. When this topic came to me, it also hit me that a lot of people would want to apply this "short & sweet" phrase to many areas of life so I started asking if there were any areas where we should NOT use the phrase.

You may already know where I'm headed, if not, I'll try to be short & sweet about it.
For me, this is a black-and-white issue.
Short & Sweet does not apply to dressing. Short - top, bottom or dress - no matter how sweet the colours may be, show too much & are inappropriate for the professional women that we are. Showing too much empowers others to look down on you and I'm sure you never want that to happen to you - or anyone you're mentoring for that matter. Be a mentor in words and "wear"...

A truly empowered woman helps others focus on her brain not her body...
that's one short & sweet way to excelling and being an example to others.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

1, 2, 3...Dress

I found these 3 quotes that essentially say the same thing in different ways:

Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly. 
~Epictetus

"Dress for the job you want, not the job you have!"
~Jeannine Morris, Founder and Blogger of BeautySweetSpot.com


Bottom line:
You'll be addressed the way you dress.

P.S.
Have you noticed that this topic* has a way of coming up ~ every quarter?
Just noticed & will now try to keep it that way...please remind me if I forget.


*Read more:

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Why eagles fly...and chicken flutter

Once upon a time, long, long ago, the Eagle and Chicken were very good friends. Everywhere they went these friends went together. It was not uncommon for people to look up and see the Eagle and Chicken flying side by side through the air.
One day, while flying, the Chicken said to the Eagle, "Let's drop down and get a bite to eat. My stomach is growling." "Sounds like a good idea to me," replied the Eagle. So the two birds glided down to earth, saw several animals eating, and decided to join them.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hip! Hip! Hi-Po!!! ... now what?

Reading this article* in The Glass Hammer, I couldn't resist sharing it with you especially after my piece on this last year (http://empowered-women-excel.blogspot.ca/2013/03/are-you-hi-po-or.html).
I’ll highlight things that struck me, my comments are in purple font:

According to Harvard Business Review, companies identify 3-5% of their workforce as “High Potential.” If you have made that list, congratulations! You likely have outstanding technical expertise and an aptitude for strategic thinking. You probably have already delivered strong results, succeeded in various roles, and sought ways to improve processes and efficiency. Although making the list is an achievement in and of itself, it is only the first step. Now, as your journey as a “High Potential” begins, what steps should you take to position yourself for realizing that potential? EW: Indeed it’s one thing to “get on the list” Congrats!!! Now, how do you (plan to) stay on the list? It know how - it's actually as simple as ABC...

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

One resolution

Mid last year, I found out that January is Mentoring month so I decided to start off the year with a related resolution. In fact, I made this resolution a few years ago - and took action and it has continued to pay off...in more ways than one. 

I like what Karen Dee, the President and CEO of  Fifth Third Bank (Central Florida affiliate), said about Mentoring and encourage you to make that one of your resolutions:

"Find a mentor early in your career and,
as time goes on,
give back
by being a mentor to someone else."

I'll do my best to share mentoring tips this year - please feel free to send any other tips you know &/or have experienced to me. We can "mentor" each other on mentoring :)

Wishing you a really wonderful year ahead... invest in yourself and in others.

Don't forget to appreciate all those who have been your mentors - at one time or the other.