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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Five Words for Female Professionals--Second Word

     Yesterday's word challenged you to be bold in pursuit of your goals.  As women, we can't deny ourselves the opportunities to compete equally in the workplace for what we are qualified to do.  Neither can we keep placing everyone else's needs at home before our own.  We have to go boldly forward in gaining what brings us fulfillment in our lives.  We have to enjoy life too!
     Today, I challenge you again to get closer to your goals (and you must have those in place first!) by considering words that will motivate you to achieve.  The second word for female professionals who are striving to improve their lives in 2014 is strategy.  That's right: strategy.  Just declaring what you want to do is not enough.  Talking about it to your friends or coworkers won't necessarily make it happen.  You must be strategic in your thinking and your planning when it comes to making something concrete come to fruition.  For example, if you have been wanting to write a book--a novel about cybercrime with a female protagonist--but it's only been a thought in your mind, then you've got to get it out of your head and onto paper.  I've spoken with several women who say they have a book in them.  But have they written anything?  No.  It's merely a dream.  A goal deferred.  They're not sure how to go about it.  And they keep putting it on the back burner because they weren't "bold" in their efforts to make it happen.  So other things got in the way.  Now they are years down the road, and nothing has been completed.
     Strategy says to the individual, I'm going to think critically about what I want to do.  Then I'm going to research it and talk to anyone who can help me.  I'm going to do the legwork, the arm work, the brain work and any other work necessary to set myself up to make this project a part of my life.  I'm going to work it like a job and get it done.  Women who create a strategic plan are more likely to reach their goals because they have something real to work from.  They have a path to follow.  Being strategic means thinking the project through from start to finish and putting all of the necessary resources in place to reach the awesome ending you've dreamed up for yourself.  Therefore, think, plan, do and achieve.
     If you want to learn how to be bolder and strategic in 2014, join us for the new "Women's Forum on Leadership" on January 14, 2014 at the Capital City Club in Columbia, SC.  Contact Betty to register and to get further details.  Look for the third word tomorrow.  Receive all five this week and be the first to state them in the comments section of this blog to get free tuition to this awesome series.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Five Words for Female Professionals

     With a new year on the horizon, most of us are looking at what we can do to make an improvement over the last.  We do it every year.  It is a time of new beginnings.  Kudos to those who have the ambition to do better.  Whether it's to grow your business, your circle of influence or your knowledge, striving to be better is admirable.  You are an exception when you are purposeful in how you live.  Far too many people don't want to or are afraid to make the next move that will give them what they want.  Many don't want to make the effort because it will be too hard or they fear failing.  Thus, they stick with what is comfortable and familiar.  They settle.
     For women, this belief is especially debilitating.  Not only do they limit themselves, but many people in the world couldn't care less if they stayed at a level of mediocrity.  Other females who don't want to compete with them and men who don't take them seriously won't urge them toward their own personal success.  But for women who want more and are willing to battle discouragement to get it, they will be rewarded handsomely if they don't give up.  The battle requires using words as one cache of weapons.  Positive words.  Motivating words.  Hopeful words.  There are five that I believe will help female professionals start the journey, stay on the path, and ultimately reach their goals.  Every day this week, I will share one.  By Friday, the first five women who can relay all of them to me in the comments section of this blog will receive discounted tuition to the new "Women's Forum on Leadership" to begin on January 14, 2014 at the Capital City Club in Columbia, SC.  The forum is a three-part educational series on leadership designed especially for female professionals who want to grow in their skills and knowledge about leadership.  The first female of the five to respond will receive free tuition.  The other four will receive half off.
     So write this one down:  boldness.  The first word to apply to your move toward goal attainment is boldness.  Approaching your goals timidly is sure to get you pushed aside due to circumstances, other more assertive people or poor timing.  If you want to hit your mark, you can't shrink back, wait, stand still or be slowed by fear.  You must take the necessary risks that will get you closer to the outcomes you envision for your life.  Want a promotion?  Go for it.  Want to increase revenues for your business?  Go get them.  Want to start a new business?  Do it.  Want to get healthier?  You can make it happen. Too often women allow their insecurities to hinder them.  They second-guess their abilities and allow doubt to cloud their vision.  Be bold in your desires.  Let your passion lead you.  Reject fear and set attainable goals.  What you want is within your reach.  If you are realistic about it, you can achieve your dreams.  It may take a minute, but go forth boldly like one who knows they will win.  Be confident.
#leadership #goalsetting #assertiveness #communications #womeninbusiness

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Critical Speaking is Not the Same as Critical Thinking

     In my daily Bible reading, I came across scripture in the awesome "The Message" Bible by Eugene Peterson that spoke plainly to negative people about their regularly unkind speech.  I like "The Message" because it breaks scripture down into the simplest terms for readers.  It's written in contemporary language, and it reads sometimes like an essay, editorial or novel without being irreverent.
     The seventh chapter of Matthew begins like this:  "Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults--unless, of course, you want the same treatment.  That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging.  It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own."  And that's just the beginning.  This is a word for believers and nonbelievers alike.  To be critical in speech is not the same as being critical as a thinker.  Critical thinking involves digging into the details, analyzing all angles, using logic.  This mindset is essential for making informed decisions and being precise in exploration and results.  Critical speech is entirely different.
     People who speak critically as opposed to thinking critically are negative in their speech.  They don't find things wrong in an effort to discover what is right, they find things wrong most of the time because they are whiners, gossips and hypocrites.  They are people who refuse to see the right side of an issue or to look for the positives in a challenging situation.  They seem to exist only to tear others down.  They are rarely satisfied, and for those of us who really do think critically, we can hear their insecurities.  You know them.  You've been exhausted by their constant sniping and putdowns.  Perhaps you've been the target of their sarcasm and accusations.  Perhaps you are them.
     Here's how you shut it down if you're inconvenienced by other people's habitually negative comments.  1) Draw the line.  Say:  "Hey, can we look at the better side of this issue or person?  I think you've covered all the bad stuff."  Don't participate.  Feeding into the conversation is like throwing a match in the forest during a drought.  2) For every negative they say, you present a positive.  Say:  "I didn't see it that way.  I thought she was great in her performance."  Every time you counter their negative comment, you show them how shallow they sound, and that you're not going to be a part of it.  3) Leave.  Walk away.  The energy around people like that is like wearing a yoke around your neck.  It is enslaving and weighty.
      Make the positive difference.  The world is not suffering from too few critics.  It is managing to survive in spite of them.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

When You See Me, What Does My Body Say?

     Tattoos.  Piercings.  Wigs.  Weaves.  Hair dyes.  Colored contact lenses.  Shades.  Suits.  Stilettos.  Excess weight.  Muscles.  Gold teeth.  Sagging pants.  Dreadlocks.  Afros.  Cornrows.  Diamonds.  Perfumes.  Body odor.  Halitosis.  Plunging necklines.  Thigh-high skirts.  Blonde hair.  Scars.  Cigarettes.  Stained teeth.  Shirt & tie.  Creased jeans.  Polished shoes.  A frown.  A smile.  A hoodie.  Sleeveless denim vests.  Ripped jeans.  Trimmed beard.  Toned body.  Heavy makeup.  Plain.  Eclectic.  Vibrant.  Drab.
     Any of these can be found on any human being every day all day long.  When we see it, we immediately make an assessment of the individual.  Positive, negative and neutral, we think we have people figured out to some degree when we see them.  A young person with violet hair and a tongue piercing may make a baby boomer shake her head.  A young African American male with sagging pants and a gold grille in his mouth may cause a police officer to slow down and watch intently on his patrol.  A middle-aged woman with a toned and trim body could spike interest from a man who thinks she believes in taking good care of herself.  Without uttering a word, a body and its upkeep say a lot to onlookers.  It's not always about your facial expressions or posture.  It is also about how you present your physical appearance that says more about who you are.
     We look at people who are well-dressed, polished, groomed and smiling and we say, "They are professional".  We look at a female with a short skirt and cleavage and say, "She's a cheap trick."  We look at a guy with a tailored suit, expensive-smelling cologne, and big diamond pinkie ring and say, "He must be paid well."  What you show is all we know.  We will judge, assume, analyze.  To some degree, we'll be correct in our assessment.  Therefore, if you want people to judge you well, consider what you're saying to them via your body habits.  Enhance your reputation with your swag.  You don't have to look rich or important.  But always consider what your body is saying to others because, ultimately, it's talking about you.