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Take Your Power Back

Take Your Power Back

A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult. ~Melinda Gates I rarely talk about politics, mainly because they seem to bring out the worst in people. I mean the absolute worst! This last presidential election in the United States was just downright brutal. Whether you were a #NastyWoman or a staunch Trump supporter, I believe that is one thing everyone can agree on. It was one ugly fight. However, that is not what this article is about so breathe. I want to talk about one of the themes that arose after the election and that was women and how we process our feelings. Every woman I know felt some type of way about the presidential election results. She was disappointed. She was afraid. She was happy. She was angry. She was confused. She was indifferent. She was hopeful. She was numb. She was worried. She was frustrated. She was relieved. She was sad. She was excited. She was mad as hell. She may have even been some combination of all of the above. It doesn’t really matter, but one thing was for sure… she had some feelings about what was happening in the world around her. And that’s where things became interesting. As women turned to social media and other outlets expressing their feelings about the election results, those who expressed those feelings of anger, disappointment, sadness, and grief were “encouraged” to get over it, stop focusing on the negative, to pick up and move forward, etc. Why? Why must we stuff our feelings so...
Why Can’t We Just Say NO?

Why Can’t We Just Say NO?

No is a complete sentence. ~Unknown Over the years I have become quite fascinated by this tiny two-letter word ‘no’. Normally in my sales trainings, I encourage participants to get comfortable with the word ‘no’ because it’s a normal part of the sales process. Unfortunately, you can’t get to yes without a few no’s. Yet this tiny two-letter word has the power to stop people in their tracks because they are afraid of hearing it. Lately, I’ve noticed that not only do many of us hate to hear it, we also hate to say it. Particularly us ladies. I will be the first to admit that I am VERY guilty of not saying NO sometimes even when I know I want to or really should. I love how my husband Toby deals with no, he just says it. He doesn’t offer any explanation nor does he feel any guilt after he says it. If only that could be the case for myself and many of the women, I work with. You may be wondering what suddenly piqued my interest in evaluating how I deal with no. It all began in the grocery store. I recently went out to our neighborhood Fry’s grocery store and as I was walking in I saw the Cub Scouts standing near the exit. I hate to admit it, but my initial thought was “oh great… why can’t I just shop in peace?” Oh but wait… it gets better. I realized that once I was inside the grocery doing my shopping this was the day for the pillow ladies to be there. O-M-G… these ladies...

Did He Just Call Me a Whiner?

Despite everything, no one can dictate who you are to other people. ~Prince We hear a lot of talk about the difference in communication styles between the sexes and yet sometimes it can still be a little shocking when you find yourself face to face with one of those “different” interactions. A few months ago I was talking to a male colleague about a project that we were working on. One of our team members threw out an idea and I had several questions. During my string of questions, my colleague remarked, “why are you whining?” Wait… what?! Did he just call me a whiner? OH. NO. HE. DIDN’T!!! When did asking questions become whining? Can we just say I saw RED?! Because the truth of the matter is, he NEVER would have said that to one of the guys. EVER!! And how should I respond? Do I stop and address the question? Do I defend myself? Do I pretend I didn’t hear that and simply stay focused on the topic at hand, because at the end of the day, I still need answers to my questions? Is that a headache forming in my head right now? So many questions raced through my head in .02 seconds. I wish I could tell you that I remained calm and politely asked him to repeat the question, but that isn’t quite how it went down. Instead, it sounded more like “Did you just call me a whiner?!” Fortunately, the situation didn’t escalate beyond there. Everyone took a deep breath, regrouped, apologies were issued and my questions were answered. However, it made...
Is Your Company’s Culture to Blame for Decreased Employee Engagement?

Is Your Company’s Culture to Blame for Decreased Employee Engagement?

“Both men and women want to work for organizations that recognize talent in all its varieties.” — Orit Gadiesh Employee engagement is a big topic right now in the marketplace and for good reason. A poll by Gallup states, “less than one-third of U.S. workers were engaged in their jobs in 2014.” This means that the majority (51%) of employees were “not engaged” and “17.5% were ‘actively disengaged’ in 2014.” The lack of employee engagement costs U.S. companies billions of dollars each year in lost productivity, opportunities, and turnover. So what can organizational leaders do about it? Take a look at your company’s culture. According to a recent article in Harvard Business Review, an organization’s culture has a direct impact on employee engagement over time. The interesting part is that for men, ambition and confidence went up, while for women it went down drastically after two years with the organization. Why the disparity? The article states that women reported, “their direct supervisors don’t know their career aspirations, or what to say to support them. Others reported feedback like ‘you’re not cut out for’ top management, or ‘you don’t really want it.’” With the aging baby boomer population, who hold many of the leadership roles within organizations and with nearly 60% of college graduates being women, companies can ill-afford to ignore these findings. However, the truth is, many organizational leaders simply are not equipped with the skills and tools necessary to properly coach their team members. If you’d like to learn more about a simple, proven coaching process designed to equip your managers and supervisors with the skills needed to...
I was Humiliated and Mortified!

I was Humiliated and Mortified!

My first job out of college and my introduction to corporate America was with a labor union, which was predominantly middle-aged, blue collar male. And here I am, a young attractive woman. I felt as if I had literally been thrown to the wolves. My boss had a volatile temper and thought that he was doing me a favor and had given me “a wonderful life” despite the hostile environment in which I worked. I can recall a time when the VP called me into his office. He’d just been reprimanded because of a task that he failed to complete. Once in his office, he proceeded to yell at me saying, “What the #$%^ is wrong with you?!” Somehow his lack of initiative was my fault. In that instance I managed to muster up the courage to stand my ground and tell him that he wasn’t going to speak to me that way. However, it didn’t stop the blatant disrespect or eliminate my feelings of fear and intimidation. I can also remember one evening while at a company party, one of my male coworkers walked over and placed two balloons on my chest, right in front of everyone. I immediately ran out of the room. I was HUMILIATED and MORTIFIED! How could he do something like that? What was he thinking? When I escalated the issue, he said he didn’t remember doing anything like that. And apparently no one in attendance that evening could recall it either. Therefore, I was questioned about whether it really happened or not. After his half-hearted apology, which went something like, “if I did that...
Is Aggression Acceptable for Women Leaders?

Is Aggression Acceptable for Women Leaders?

“Female ambition is such a complicated thing to play because it is an aggressive quality, and people respond very badly to women exhibiting any kind of aggression.” – Romola Garai A few months ago, I facilitated a workshop titled,Lies, Myths, & Stereotypes: 3 Ways Men & Women Communicate Differently and How to Use it as Your Team’s Competitive Advantage (I know… that’s quite a mouth full). Anyway, as luck would have it, I facilitated this workshop twice in the same week in two different cities and here’s what I noticed. One group had more men than women while the other group had more women than men. In the group where the men were in the majority, the women remained extremely quiet and didn’t speak up much. The same happened with the men when the women were in the majority. Hmm… At first, I didn’t realize what was going on. Was it something I said?! Then I met Chuck* (not his real name). He was one of the attendees at one of the previous workshops and he invited me out for a cup of coffee. I took him up on the offer. While sipping on my caramel Frappuccino, Chuck began to share with me that I was speaking to the proverbial “elephant in the room” and actually asked me to talk to the men more. What?! Really? He shared that many men know they can do a better job when it comes to communicating with women, but they often aren’t sure how. Oh boy. What have I gotten myself into? Well after months of procrastinating and attempting to pretend as if I...