International Women’s Day!

It’s International Women’s day and Citibank  has some “secrets from the professional sisterhood”- with 15 insider tips for building confidence and connections.  I find that most of them apply to a woman’s personal development as well.  I hope they will inspire you!

1. Listen to your inner voice and take note of the things that ignite your zest for life.

2. Focus: keep your eyes on the prize, however you define it.

3. Keep learning and challenging yourself.

4. Create your own tomorrows: don’t wait for someone to tap you on the shoulder. Ask for what you want.

5. Celebrate your successes.

6. Push through your fears.

7. View failures as a springboard to propel you even further.

8. Always look ahead, behind, up, down and sideways: you never know where the next opportunity will come from.

9. Reflect rather than react, strategize rather than “stew.”

10. Network, network, network – and then network some more: inside your organization,within your industry, across your community, etc.

11.  Always hire people smarter than you.

12.  Never apologize for your greatness.

13.  Don’t take things personally and let go of the negative swirl.

14.  Feel free to change your mind – often.

15. Have a plan B, C and D: don’t let life catch you unprepared.

Really? I thought this was 2013.

Do you think that women and men are treated the same in the workplace?  Of course not!  I was reading an article in Psychology today that explained that men were penalized for being less aggressive and moral whereas women who were less aggressive and moral earned more.

Really? So as I woman is it wrong to be aggressive? ask for promotions? higher wages?  Where is the line between assertive and aggressive?

I asked myself the other day if I were a man would I be charging more for my coaching and counseling.  Maybe.  Maybe women are still undervaluing themselves but are we being given a choice if we are rewarded for being “moral and less aggressive”.

In my research, it seems that women who are assertive are often seen as get seen as aggressive or bitchy. Further, if women get mad they are out of control and incompetent whereas for men it’s reasonable and can be a plus.

There is hope.

Quoting Amy Gallo’s article in HBR

“Don’t feel you have to muster interpersonal coldness to accompany your assertion. Feel free to be friendly and empathic while asking for your needs to be met,” says Ames. Find your own style instead of trying to imitate others. This is especially true for women. “Women need to be aware that becoming more like men is not sustainable,” says Cox. Nor do you need to be more assertive in every context every day. “You can bring out your competitive side when it’s useful and you can dial back and be accommodating when it’s helpful,” says Ames.

Play around with setting small goals and see how others react.  Spend time with co-workers so they know who you are and understand your ambitions. Feel strong and self confident as you develop your style of assertiveness that will bring you maximum success.

What if your resume…??

You may be thinking of that dreaded traditional resume you create detailing your past jobs in which you try to make jobs like sales clerk sound like you were managing the store. The employer may pick your resume from a pile or hear about you from a friend.  What comes next is what they find when they type your name in Google- your real resume.

Ever try this yourself? It can be amazing what you’ll find.  Remember that New Year’s Eve party at Amy’s two years ago?  Those drunken photos you have are still on Facebook.  Luckily, there are websites such as www.steves.digicam.com that give instructions on how to delete incriminating photos or albums.  Remember that you cannot delete other people’s photos of you (you could ask a friend to do so).  Otherwise your best bet is to “untag” these photos so when someone searches for you it will be more difficult to find you. You might want to remove that youtube video of you and your friends with spoons on your noses as well.  (http://support.google.com/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en-GB&answer=55770)

If there are other things in your background you aren’t proud of that can’t be removed, be prepared to explain to your potential employer that they aren’t representative of who you really are.   If you notice that there are good things in your “self googling” that you are particularly proud of and want to share, then highlight them and be prepared to emphasize them in the interview.

Congratulations- now that you’ve cleaned up a bit, you can breathe easier but remember from this day forward, remember Big Brother is watching.

What will your “two steps forward” be?

I was starting to panic as I approached my 30th birthday. Unhappy with my job, unhappy in love, and feeling disconnected from others.  I would walk around New York City by myself and frequently pass the tiny storefront of a dive bar in Chelsea called the B.M.W. (Beer, Music and Wine) bar.  I was intrigued by the musicians playing on the stage and wanted to go in and listen, but I would have to pass by the stage and people would stare.

One Sunday, courage and curiosity won out and I boldly took my two steps forward into that bar.  They were having an open mike with guitarists blasting out their two original songs as if it were The Bowery Ballroom.  I hadn’t played my guitar in about seven years and never in front of an audience.  I was asked if I wanted to try to write my own song and perform it next Sunday.  I didn’t know if I could do but I couldn’t wait to go home, dust off my guitar and try.

I did it and it flowed from there.   There, I meet the man who was the recording engineer on my CD, which is called “Two Steps Forward”, based on a song I wrote about moving on from your past.  He is now my husband.  I am now at peace with my career choice, and my relationships.

I often think about what my life would be like if I didn’t step in that bar on that day.  Step outside your comfort zone and see what happens.

SMART resolutions for 2013

As the New Year approaches, women begin contemplating their resolutions.  This can be a disappointing process as we often aim high and are surprised when by January 5th, we are already eating pints of Haagen Daaz, have stopped exercising, are working long hours and are spending too much time on Facebook.

Here are some smart ways to make resolutions based on Neuroscience Coach David Rock’s SMART model for goals.

First- A goal must be:

Specific–  A lot of women want to drop the holiday pounds they put on or a few pounds or more in 2013.    If you are going to achieve this goal, be specific.  How much weight?  Am I going to count calories or eat less carbohydrates? Drink more water?  Eat many small meals?  Am I going to do Zumba classes three times a week or 20 pushup and sit ups a day? List as many details as possible.    Don’t forget to make the goal Attainable.

Measurable– Health experts say that measuring waist size is a more accurate measurement than pounds.  Whatever you are going to measure (whether you can fit in that black dress or not), be consistent.  Measure yourself in the morning when you first get up.

Attainable– Don’t set yourself up to fail!!!  Make a reasonable goal that you can achieve and you will start the new year with a sense of accomplishment.  Have someone help you be accountable for your diet and exercise program.

Relevant- Goals are only realized if they are relevant to you. Only if losing weight is important to you and you are motivated to succeed, can progress be made.  Maybe this is a goal for you, but you are preoccupied with something else more important right now.

Time Limited– Your goal has to be completed within a certain time frame.  Pick that time frame and stick to it.  If you succeed, congratulations!  If not, find a new goals when you are ready and make it SMART!