Tuesday, December 1, 2015

12 things Successful Women do differently*

Casually surfing, I found this article by Emma Gray - Senior Editor of HuffPost Women. I decided to share an abridged version of it in 2 posts - and my comments will be in purple. I believe that they are tips that we can use as we build our plans for Leaping in the Leap Year ahead... 

1. They are deeply passionate about what they do.
"Without passion, all the skill in the world won't lift you above craft," wrote dancer Twyla Tharp in her book, The Creative Habit. If you don't love what you do, you're probably not going to be motivated to go above and beyond, to innovate and to stand out in the workplace. But if you're passionate about your career, it will make putting time and effort into it pleasurable, not a chore.

2. They don't expect perfection - of themselves or those around them.
Research has shown that wasting time and energy trying to be "perfect" only leads to unhappiness. Successful women know that that they can't do everything well all the time. Beating yourself up for your perceived flaws will only dampen your abilities at work, not to mention your mental health. "We each, if we're lucky, will have our chance to leave a mark on the world, but we are trying too hard to be perfect," wrote Barnard president Debora Spar in an op-ed for Glamour magazine. "So don't emulate Wonder Woman; think about what's wonderful to you instead. Then boldly, audaciously, joyfully, leave the rest behind."

3. Often, they become the boss.
Many successful women have figured out that if you're the boss, you can set your own rules. As editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan Joanna Coles said at the Third Metric Conference in June: "The higher you go in a corporation, the easier it is ... The truth is you get more control." And when you're in control, you have the ability to create a more sane, happy and balanced workplace for yourself and your employees. EW: If you ask me, I prefer the word "Leader." Leaders inspire while bosses instruct.
We should aim to inspire & empower more people.

4. They marry well -- or not at all.
Successful women know the value of a true partnership. As Sheryl Sandberg observed in Lean In: "I don’t know of a single woman in a leadership position whose life partner is not fully - and I mean fully - supportive of her career." And many successful women forgo marriage all together. Despite not being wed, women like Oprah Winfrey, Condoleeza Rice and Diane Keaton seem to be doing just fine. EW: Indra Nooyi (PepsiCola CEO) who I wrote about** attributes her success to her husband. For any married woman to be successful, she needs a (very) supportive husband. Having said that no woman should hold up her aspirations and drive to success because she's not (yet) married.

5. They believe that they will be successful.
Not to go all "If you build it, he will come," on you, but believing in your own success - no matter how crazy your idea might seem - is integral to achieving it. Kay Koplovitz, founder of the USA Network, echoed this sentiment in a July interview. "You have to be comfortable that you can think your way through and actually execute your way through to the desired outcome," she said. "I expected to be successful." Bottom line? Confidence - and faith in yourself - is key.

6. They're not afraid to take risks.
Sheryl Sandberg says that all women should ask themselves the question: "What would you do if you weren't afraid?" Affecting change - in your career and beyond - requires the ability to stop playing it safe every once in awhile. Successful women don't make reckless decisions, but they do know how to take a calculated risk. Sandberg took her own advice, and wrote the bestseller, Lean In.

* http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/26/things-successful-women-do-differently_n_3787406.html
** http://empowered-women-excel.blogspot.com/2014/06/behind-every-successful-woman.html

Sunday, November 15, 2015


...not resistance, is the right (and best) response to change.

I'm sure we've all heard the unchanged adage that
"Change is the only constant thing in life."
Now, whether or not you agree with it doesn’t change the nature of Change...
It remains the same - i.e. "Change."

An equally important thing to know about Change is that:
"Whether or not you resist change, change will still occur."

Change doesn't take any human being's permission in order to occur. For instance, every time you blink, or don't, change has occurred - at least the time has changed from a minute or even second ago.

With that as our backdrop,  we know it's human to (try to) resist change. This fact became even more evident when I had to manage and lead others through a significant Change Journey. As the changes unfolded and the related challenges surfaced, I kept telling myself and others that we needed to be resilient, not resistant to it. It wasn't the easiest thing to do but I know it was the best thing to do.

Being resilient energizes you from within and you show up better and more effective as a leader and even as an Individual Contributor. Being resistant to change drains one's energy and erodes the value one could have added to the future - your future.

A lot has been said by many people about Change and Resilience...but I like this one by  Jamais Cascio:
Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected. Sustainability is about survival. The goal of resilience is to thrive.
As I wrote this piece up, it occurred to me is that a seed will never "grow" up to a plant if it resists the changes that occur to, in and/or around it. The Palm tree doesn't resist the wind, nor does it let the wind uproot it - it just stays rooted and resilient. Likewise, if you want to thrive not just survive, be (rooted in God) and resilient in times of change.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

How do you show up?

Last month, this question came up in my mind after I read this verse:

 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.” (Matthew 5: 13 - MSG)

So I had to reassess how I "show up" at work; let me explain...

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Be inspired...

...and inspire others

Two weeks ago, when I was doing some writing for another purpose, I stumbled on this quote:

If you always hurt people with intimidations instead of encouraging them with inspirations, the world will change, but you will not be the reason for it.*

Thursday, October 1, 2015

"Good enough" is not good enough...

Welcome to the last quarter of the year.

This is usually the time some of us start to look back on the past months/passing year and assess our performance - if we don't, our Managers definitely do.

Consequently, I felt it imperative to share on "Good enough is not good enough...

Too many times people give themselves what I'd call "a good reason" not to be or do their best. Actually it's an excuse and as we know in our personal and professional lives, excuses never take you very far. 

In my opinion, the reason why "good enough is not good enough" is because "The enemy of 'best' is not 'worst,' it is 'good enough'." "Good enough" is the phrase that keeps us from stretching ourselves. In fact is it is the phrase (excuse) that we come up with when we start comparing ourselves to others instead of comparing ourselves to ourselves. The only person you MUST always compare yourself to and be better than is yourself.  You must take personal responsibility for yourself as Galatians 6:4-5 says:
Each person should judge [examine; test] his own actions [or achievements; work] and not compare himself with others. Then he can be proud for what he himself has done. Each person must be responsible for himself [will carry their own load]. (italics mine, Expanded Bible)

We are each responsible for ourselves - so focus on going beyond "good enough" and be your best self ever. God, not the sky, is your limit.
Have an impactful 4th Quarter.


Saturday, August 1, 2015


What comes to mind when you hear the letters ABCD?

For most of us it will be "Above & Beyond the Call of Duty" - and rightly so too. However, the letters ABC popped in my mind as all we need to excel in our careers - "D" was added later.

So for this post, ABCD stand for Attitude, Brains, Connectedness, Determination.

A lot has been said & written about our attitudes and how they impact the rest of our lives. I even shared a few Attitude quotes over 3 years ago* When I think about "attitude" my favourite quote is:
"Your attitude, not your aptitude,
determines your altitude."**

Walter Scott's opinion is that: "For success, attitude is equally as important as ability." I believe Attitude is more important because attitude is about your perspective and response to people and things around you. It's good to have aptitude/ability (aka brains), but best to have a great attitude. A great attitude is what makes you humble enough to learn from others what you don't know - which leads us to "B."

B stands for Brains. To excel in your chosen career/job, you need to know and grow in your knowledge too. Having some knowledge is a good starting point...gaining more knowledge and skills is making progress. Anyone who wants to rely on all they knew...and don't want to know more/new things (pun intended), is already regressing because others will continue to progress. One way to progress/advance our knowledge and skill base is by the connections we have. So let's move to "C."

Connectedness is the wise realization that "no (wo)man is an island." We all need at least 1 other person in order to progress in life. It's one thing to stretch out your hand to connect with another person and another to know which outstretched hands you want to take a hold of.

It takes both discretion (using our brains) and Determination to stay connected with the right people. We also need determination to focus on self-improvement, despite the challenges we face, in order to advance your career.

So as you think about your career, think ABCD...and you'll experience success.

* http://empowered-women-excel.blogspot.ca/2012/05/about-attitudes.html
** Zig Ziglar

Monday, June 15, 2015

Who helped up...who can you help up?

5 quotes for you to think about, take to heart and "take to act"


Which of these quotes resonate the most with you?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Focus on your feathers...

I'm reading a really interesting book by Valorie Burton - one I recommend to you too. One of the things she stresses is the importance of knowing and focusing on your strengths versus being drained by your weaknesses - or areas for improvement - as we now like to refer to them. In her words, "...both Scripture and research show that when you focus on building on your innate strengths rather than fixing your weaknesses, success flows more easily and authentically."*
Thinking about strengths, the peacock comes to mind. I cannot remember if (or where) I heard this or whether it was dropped in my heart. It went something like "The peacock is proud about it's feathers until it sees its feet." Now that speaks to remaining grounded and humble - as we should all be - but the peacock's feet don't ever stop it from spreading out it feathers.
Likewise, we must never allow what seem like weaknesses or shortcomings hold us back from fully expressing our strengths and succeeding. What we need to do is pay attention to is improving our strengths...and where necessary, reach out to others who can complement us. Valorie puts it this way: "Leverage your strengths and the strengths of others."** Marilyn vos Savant who once had the highest recorded IQ per the Guinness Book of Records, puts it this way:
"Success is achieved by developing our strengths,
not by eliminating our weaknesses."

Moving that to "Feather-phrase," the peacock doesn't (and can't even succeed, if it tried to) do away with its feet otherwise it will not be grounded... so it just chooses to focus on it's feathers. One more thing to note when focusing on your feathers is that the quality of a bird's feathers plays a critical role in if and how well or even how high it can fly - if it's a bird that can fly. So to successfully focus on your feathers, strengthen your strengths & success will come more naturally. I know because it's worked for me.

* Successful Women think differently by Valorie Burton, page 74.
** Successful Women think differently by Valorie Burton, page 98.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Impactful investment

As we aspire to advance in our professional and personal lives, it is imperative to look beyond the money can or feel we should make.

I was chatting about a few colleagues about how people decide on who to vote for. One colleague shard a story about how a few years earlier, she'd decided on who not to vote for. According to her, a well-respected female leader was approached to give a talk to some young girls. The intention of the organizers was to get a leader to inspire the girls to follow their dreams and put in the hard work to make them come true.

When one of the organizers approached this female leader and asked her if she'd be available to speak to the young girls, she said that evening was free and also told them what her "speaking fee" was. Thoroughly shocked the representative shared the outcome of the meeting with the other organizers. Needless to say, the rest is history - especially the fact that that female leader lost the opportunity to make history herself.

Now I'm not saying that not speaking for free, rather than for a fee, was what made her lose the election - but I'm sure it contributed to it. How do I know? People pass on the story...that's the only way I got to know. I'm deliberately being vague about some details so I don't inadvertently pass on the story. For me there's a bigger lesson here.

Whoever said this - which I got from the internet - is spot on. Imagine for a moment if this lady took the time to speak to this impressionable young girls and even went further to donate her speaking fee (from her own funds) to the NFP organization. Yes Wow! What an impactful investment of time that would have been.                                                                              As we aspire to be better and get more in life...spend as much time, if not more, thinking about how you can give back - investing your time to empower others - girls and boys alike. Although we may not all be mothers, most women have a natural nurturing instinct and the best of us, nurture and empower those around us. Strive to be one of the best.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The stairs

When I stumbled on this quote I smiled and decided to share it because I agree with it.
I know that there may be a few people who have gotten to the top very quickly and in some cases, time has shown that "speed kills."

After reading this, I looked up the benefits of stair climbing and found a few that have some relevance to career advancement and even success in other areas of life.

  1. Stair climbing strengthens your lungs and heart. Stronger lungs allow you to take in more oxygen. A stronger heart allows you to rapidly deliver the oxygen-enriched blood to your muscle fibers. As a result, you’ll feel better. A more efficient body has greater immunity, so you may not get colds as often, and your likelihood for developing chronic health problems such as Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure will be significantly diminished.* EWE: Talking about success, when your success or elevation is gradual, you develop stronger emotional muscles and the chances of your being easily discouraged reduces.
  2. Every time you climb a flight of stairs, your body releases chemical endorphins, a type of neurotransmitter, making you feel happy and calm. Over time, your ability to focus and concentrate will improve, and you will feel less stressed out. Your self-esteem and self-confidence will improve as you successfully meet your fitness goals, become more toned and muscular, and are less distracted by physical fatigue.* EWE: Again, taking the stairs to success helps you develop and deepen your stress management skills. Taking the stairs to success has a way of grounding you so that you're not easily (re)moved.
Taking the stairs are about personal effort - except someone carries you up the stairs. That personal effort makes you appreciate the challenges others face and make your more compassionate and willing to support them. The power has to be in you in order to take the stairs, so then you are in-powered to empower others. Enjoy the stairs...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What time is it?

Time management is a skill that any & every serious-minded person must have. Time, once lost, can never be recovered. Jesus knew and taught the importance of right timing. In John 7:6 & 8b, Jesus said: "This isn’t my time. It’s your time—it’s always your time; you have nothing to lose... It’s not the right time for me.”*
If you do things before your time, you'll very likely lose something. King Saul lost the kingdom because he went ahead of time to sacrifice rather than wait for Prophet Samuel as he was instructed to.**
On the flip side, if you do things after your set time, you'll have already lost - except God in His mercy restores what was lost in that time.***
I'm sure you've heard the saying that:
"Today is a gift - that's why it is called 'The Present.'"
Time is also a gift - that can be invested, spent, wasted or lost outright.
Time will always tell what you did with your time (pun intended). Put differently, "Today is the tomorrow, we talked about yesterday." (Anon)
There at least 2 things we need to know and note about time:
  1. Everyone's time is different. Just as you cannot live by another city or country's time except you need to align your work to that time zone, likewise, you cannot use another person "timing" in life to determine or do what you need to do.   
  2. You cannot create time, you can only manage it & put it to good use. Any time not put to good use is lost forever.
To make the best use of your time, you have to know what your priorities are, plan your work and work your plan.

With 90 days (Q1) gone forever,
What are your goals?
What are your priorities?
What are your plans?

"What time is it?" It is time to create your future...your future begins today..

** 1 Sam 13: 8-12
*** Joel 2:25-26 - I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the great locust, the grasshopper, and the caterpillar, my great army, which I sent among you.  You will have plenty to eat, and be satisfied, and will praise the name of Yahweh, your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and my people will never again be disappointed. (WEB)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Women as Leaders: What is different about leading other women?*

When I finally got around to reading the edition of the Glass Hammer where this article was, I was glad I did and just had to share a portion of it because the tips resonated with me.
As you read these tips, 3 things I encourage every woman (manager or not), to remember is that:
1.      You are a woman and will only be effective if you remain one in all your dealings – whether you’re leading women or men.
2.      Another thing that has worked for me when I manage people is “tough love” – women are great at this too.
3.      These 3 tips are already wired into you. We're good at delivering results through others. Just think back to how your mother got you (and your siblings) to do house chores or even how you're doing that successfully in your home now. So just function as designed…be authentic.
So here’s an excerpt from the article
Three Tips for Leading Women*
Here are some actions you can take to address your staff’s expectations:
1. Be friendly and relational with female staff members. Show an interest in the personal lives of your staff by asking about their weekends and vacations and inquiring about sick spouses or children. But be sensitive to cultural differences. In some cultures, it is not appropriate to share personal information outside of the family. The only way to be sure you are being sensitive is to ask people what is comfortable for them.
2. Share some personal information about yourself, within limits. For example, share stories about your weekends, family, and hobbies.
3. Listen to complaints and problems—but put a limit or boundary on how much time you are willing to do so. Let people know that you want to know when something is wrong in their personal or work lives and that you will help find solutions if you can. You need to know if something is distracting them from their work or they are facing other barriers to their productivity, and they need to feel that you care about them as human beings.
We can adjust our leadership styles to meet the different needs of women and men who work for us. Differences in our socialization mean that, as women, being relational at work is probably easier for us than for our male colleagues. Our challenge is to use the leadership style that works best for those we are leading.
When we take our "leadership" seriously, we can become healers because our care and compassion would help people at home and at work. When all is well with people at home, they show up at their best at work and everyone wins. Lead and empower others as the woman you are… When you do your best as who you are, one thing is sure amazing results and rewards will follow.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The heart of the matter...

...is the matter of the heart.

When you think about how successful you are or want to become/remain, it goes without saying that it takes more than willpower or "gut" - it takes heart and a lot of it.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


"Value-add" has been a common term for several years - such that in some countries there's the tax for value-added (i.e. VAT). Well, it's not enough to mouth these phrases so we "sound" as if we're in tune with current phrases...we need to know what they mean and how to be part of that movement i.e. live it.

I like Albert Einstein's recommendation:
Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.

John Maxwell takes it one step further in saying that:
To add value to others,
one must first value others.
Hence you must seek and know what is of value - knowing that one person's trash is another person's treasure and vice versa.

The easiest way to check if you know what's of value is how you manage your time - and what you do with it.

Until you add value to yourself,
you won't value your time.
Until you value your time,
you won't do anything with it.
~ M. Scott Peck

“Time is more valuable than money.
You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”
~ Jim Rohn
So as we start the 2nd month of the year, think about your values, your value and how you can add value to those around you. You're only as valuable as the value you add.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Choosing the right mentor

Mission: A mission is defined as a specific task or assignment - which implies that it requires work in order to succeed. Likewise, entering into a Mentoring relationship is a mission. It takes a lot of work - on both the Mentor and Protégée's part. So you need to be clear on your mission - Why do you think you need a mentor? What do you hope to achieve in order to declare "Mission accomplished!"?

Oprah Winfrey said "A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself."

Empowerment: Prof Shawn R. Hitchcock* said, “A mentor empowers a person to see a possible future, and believe it can be obtained. It’s that feeling that someone is concerned about you, that they want you to succeed.”
So it is important that in seeking out a mentor, it must be someone with a positive outlook to life - theirs and yours. Without a positive outlook to their own life or feel motivated to move forward, how can he/she empower you? 

Networker: Your mentor should be someone who is a good "Networker."  

Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn put it well: "One of the challenges in networking is everybody thinks it's making cold calls to strangers. Actually, it's the people who already have strong trust relationships with you, who know you're dedicated, smart, a team player, who can help you."  A good mentor should exemplify good networking skills.

Teacher: A good mentor must be someone you're willing to learn from. Like John Crosby said: "Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction."

Indeed nothing is learned until something is taught...and something is caught. So it's not enough for your Mentor to be a good "teacher," you also need to be a good/willing learner. 

Remember "Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere." ~Chinese Proverb

Optimistic:  You need to seek out and have a mentor who is an Optimist. Now that is not to say that the person should not be realistic, but like Helen Keller said: "Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence."
This ties in with what Bob Proctor said "A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you."     

Reachable: Your mentor must be someone you have access to. It doesn't have to be 24/7, daily, weekly or even monthly but you need to be able to reach the person from time to time and you need to mutually agree on the frequency.

Face-to-Face meetings are encouraged but answers to questions or guidance can be provided by email or over the phone.

Wishing you a productive Mentoring relationship...and in time, if you're not already one, you'll become a value-adding mentor to others who come in contact with you.

Another good resource: http://franchisegrowthpartners.com/mentoring

* http://mediarelations.illinoisstate.edu/identity/1213/nov/Hitchcock.asp






Thursday, January 1, 2015

Are you on the leading edge...

...or on the bleeding edge?

All of us have an edge* in life. And some of us also we want to be on the leading edge in our careers. And rightly so. As we know "Leading edge" refers to having the most advanced position in an activity.

The challenge is that in trying to do a lot and more, we stretch ourselves. In doing that, there is a high tendency to overstretch. When we overstretch ourselves and then stress ourselves and before long, you've gone over from the leading edge to what I'll call the "bleeding edge."

I believe that the best way of remaining on the leading edge is by being the best version of you...and doing your very best each and every time. As Oprah Winfrey said:
"Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment."

As we start this brand new year, aim to be on the leading edge, not the bleeding edge. Do your best. Be your best. Give your best and you'll be the best you.

Welcome to your best year ever...may it be blest in every way. Happy New Year!

*An advantage - something we're better than others at.

Can you?

That is a question that comes up now and again...as leaders we need to help those around us give the right answer.