Can we reverse these pernicious trends and finally create the possibility of true work-life balance? I believe we can. For us, things are different. We plan on having it all. But is such easy confidence warranted? I think not. In fact, women in their 20s and 30s are dealing with the same cruel trade-offs. If anything, the choices younger women must make are more difficult than ever. Young women are delaying childbirth even longer, too. If you compare women in the two age groups by calculating what proportion had a child by 35, younger women seem to be in worse shape. Indeed, among ultra-achievers, no one in the older group had her first child after The hype around the miracle babies of high-tech reproduction is falling on eager ears.
Amy, 29, is just embarking on her career. Her story is probably typical. Go doctors! The luxury of time she feels is, unfortunately, an illusion. The first challenge is to employers, to craft more meaningful work-life policies. Professional women who want both family and career know that conventional benefit packages are insufficient. These women need reduced-hour jobs and careers that can be interrupted, neither of which is readily available yet. And more than anything, they need to be able to partake of such benefits without suffering long-term damage to their careers.
At 39, Joanna had worked for five years as an account executive for a Chicago head-hunter. She believed her company had great work-life policies—until she adopted a child.
Running Out of Juice
I work 60 hours a week 50 weeks of the year, which leaves precious little time for anything else. Joanna began looking for another job. These less ambitious policies seem to be of limited use to time-pressed, high-achieving women. So, what do professionals want? The high-achieving career women who participated in my survey were asked to consider a list of policy options that would help them achieve balance in their lives over the long haul. They endorsed the following cluster of work-life policies that would make it much easier to get off conventional career ladders and eventually get back on:.
This would allow for three months of paid leave, which could be taken as needed, until the child turned Restructured Retirement Plans. In particular, survey respondents want to see the elimination of penalties for career interruptions. Career Breaks. Such a leave of absence might span three years—unpaid, of course, but with the assurance of a job when the time came to return to work.
Reduced-Hour Careers. High-level jobs should be created that permit reduced hours and workloads on an ongoing basis but still offer the possibility of promotion. Alumni Status for Former Employees.
Analogous to active retirement, alumni standing would help women who have left or are not active in their careers stay in the loop. They might be tapped for advice and guidance, and the company would continue to pay their dues and certification fees so they could maintain professional standing. Policies like these are vital—though in themselves not enough to solve the problem. In particular, companies must guard against the perception that by taking advantage of such policies, a woman will tarnish her professional image. Outside the fiction of human resource policies, a widespread belief in business is that a woman who allows herself to be accommodated on the family front is no longer choosing to be a serious contender.
Top management must work to banish this belief from the corporate culture. High-achieving mothers who have been able to stay in their careers tend to work for companies that allow them access to generous benefits: flextime, telecommuting, paid parenting leave, and compressed workweeks. In contrast, high-achieving mothers who have been forced out of their careers tended to work for companies with inadequate work-life benefits. I heard a wonderful example of the loyalty these kinds of policies engender when I spoke with Amy, 41, a marketing executive for IBM.
Her son had just turned three, and Amy was newly back at work. As she described the policy, it applies not only to mothers; others have used it to care for elderly parents or to return to school. The leave is unpaid but provides continuation of benefits and a job-back guarantee. I have urged policy makers at the national level, for example, to extend the Family and Medical Leave Act to workers in small companies and turn it into paid leave. State and federal governments could also accomplish much by providing tax incentives to companies that offer employees flextime and various reduced-hour options.
And we should promote legislation that eliminates perverse incentives for companies to subject their employees to long-hour weeks. My book focuses on what women themselves can do to expand their life choices. Figure out what you want your life to look like at Give urgent priority to finding a partner. My survey data suggest that high-achieving women have an easier time finding partners in their 20s and early 30s.
Have your first child before The occasional miracle notwithstanding, late-in-life childbearing is fraught with risk and failure. This, too, can trigger enormous regret. Choose a career that will give you the gift of time. Certain careers provide more flexibility and are more forgiving of interruptions. Female entrepreneurs, for example, do better than female lawyers in combining career and family—and both do better than corporate women. The key is to avoid professions with rigid career trajectories. Changing from a super achiever to an excellence achiever means growing and learning from every experience.
It also gives room to become a creative collaborator because you are no longer threatened by those around you who may get in front of you. As a recovering super achiever I look back on so many memories with the sadness of "coulda, shoulda, woulda. Who are you pleasing? What are the benefits? Can you still get to the top of your career ladder with less obsessiveness? And, learn from me. Each experience creates memories. Invest in meaningful experiences that create memories of delight.
That is the route from being obsessive or compulsive, needing to be the best. More business options: You get to choose from lots of work possibilities, be it your own start up to moving into the C-suite early in your career. More worldly adventures: You get invited to be a speaker at amazing events on many continents. More contacts: You are called upon by important others to share your ideas, and they come to you for discussion and debate.
Repeat them quietly. Instantly anchored! Sensory Reprogramming: Mental worry tends to get us unhinged, and classic anchoring techniques shift us away from the mind, back into our optimal states of being. Visualize the sensory details of this place. Calm will return quickly. An anchoring technique, applied with quiet commitment, invokes a powerful inner shift within 30 seconds. Make them a daily habit. And reap your anchoring rewards. Our environment triggers behaviors or responses in us.
When to Cooperate and When to Compete. What Are Your Hidden Strengths? Your strengths will get you in the door, but to make progress you are going to have to become more of who you are and draw on your hidden strengths. Hidden strengths are not weaknesses. They are capacities you have that have yet to be recognized, developed and utilized. They become your Learned Strengths. Your strengths and weaknesses need to be managed. Strengths need to be managed so that they are not overused or overbearing. Often they can be delegated.
But the area between the two—your hidden strengths—not only provide a deep pool of strengths to draw on but they will help you to smooth out your rough edges and bring into balance your natural strengths. Is it Time to Disrupt You? Disruption can be a powerful and positive force. If we are to work with and take advantage of the disruptions in the world around us, we must be willing to disrupt ourselves.
Return on Character We live in an age where wisdom is only wisdom if it is supported by numbers. There are two obvious problems with this. First, we miss a lot because we are looking for immediate return. And so it puts our focus on the wrong things. And secondly, as a result, we tend to assign value to things in terms of numbers. It is assumed that if it gives us the best numbers, it must be the best choice or behavior. Nevertheless, it is satisfying when the numbers do add up.
The 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity The 5 Choices is a nuts and bolts solution to greater productivity. To improve the situation we have five choices to make in three areas : Decision Management, Attention Management, and Energy Management. This is really the foundational choice to make. Too often we get caught up in Quadrant 4 spending time or too much time on the trivial things that contribute nothing to our life. Q1: The Quadrant of Necessity.
Q3: The Quadrant of Distraction. They are confusing motion with progress, action with accomplishment. These are activities that are neither urgent nor important. When we get burned out we often go here for escape. If we stay too long, we can experience depression and even despair. These are that activities that will make a real difference in terms of accomplishment and results like proactive work, achieving high-impact goals, creative thinking, planning, prevention, relationship building, learning, and renewal. But you have to make a conscious choice to operate in this quadrant.
Identify your roles. Organize accordingly. The five energy drivers are adequate movement, proper diet, sleep, relaxation, and positive social connections. Your brain is your number-one asset in a knowledge-work world. Fuel it properly. Are You Uncomfortable? The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership.
Do You Have Moxie? They are tough on the outside but soft on the inside. When knocked down they know how to get back up and they can bring others with them because they are likeable. They have a passion for what they do and have a need to make a positive difference in the lives of others. They have ambition and want others to share in it.
They know how to pick themselves up after a fall. Street Smarts. They know how the world works and what makes people tick. Baldoni breaks moxie down into five characteristics that you can practice and develop to be a leader that demonstrates moxie. Each characteristic is brought to life through the examples of leaders who have demonstrated it in their own life and leadership.
The first is Mindfulness. Second is Opportunity. She is motivated by a desire to make a positive difference. Third is X-Factor. She has the persevering spirit that radiates resolve. Leaders with the X-Factor are humble, and their humility attracts others to them. These can all be examined and improved. In addition, look for opportunities to improve through more training and consider taking on responsibilities that stretch you.
Fourth is Innovation. Sometimes you need to take risks. That means thinking differently, doing differently, and rewarding others who do the same. They are tuned to the future. That gives rise to innovation. They are focused on making a positive difference in their teams and in their organizations. Preparing and developing yourself now sets you up to make better decisions when you do get knocked down. Moxie is full of great stories and examples making it immediately relatable and practical.
It is structured so that you can thoughtfully and tactically look at each of these areas to see where you can better prepare yourself. Baldoni also provides an appendix that works as a handbook to guide you in this. Questions, examples, additional thoughts and action steps help you access where you are at and what you might need to do next. Moxie is not just about your work life, it also impacts every other aspect of your life and positively influences the lives of those you touch.
Leadership Impact: Where it Comes From Why do some leaders make an impact, while others flounder after initial success? How to Find Leadership Blindspots. The 12 Rules of Respect.
This Is the Secret Force Behind All High Performers
How to Discover Your What. What Keeps Leaders Up at Night? Balance: The Business—Life Connection. Self-leadership is fundamental to good leadership, but it is not the end-game. Self-awareness for self-awareness sake has a limited value. Through introspection and reflection we can get to know a great deal about ourselves—as far as we know.
The problem is that we don't know what we don't know. Only when we are able to test our assumptions about ourselves, can we know if we are getting it right. It is when we see ourselves in relation to others and in relation to a higher purpose that we really begin to clarify and many times even identify our core values, beliefs and intentions. We can all know who we think we are, but it isn't until we get out and interact with others that we can begin to see where we are right and where we have been fooling ourselves. Who we are takes on meaning when it is in the context of our relationship with others.
Superman's stance on "truth, justice and the American Way" is pointless if he remains isolated in his Fortress of Solitude. His values only have meaning in relationship to other people. All the self-knowledge in the world counts for very little if it is not put to work in the service of others. Self-awareness that points to your unique contribution in the world is leadership. Who you are is leveraged when it is placed in the service of other people. Surely we must lead with integrity—in a manner consistent with who we are. However, the only way to know if we are really doing that is by looking at how we impact the lives of others—how our leadership is experienced by others.
Self-awareness provides the opportunity for us to close the gap between who we think we are or want to be and who we actually are at a particular point in time. But that can only be achieved with feedback of some kind. It's a book about trust in leadership and the trust that is generated by knowing who you are and leading as that person. At thirty-five, I was already an executive vice president with Turner Broadcasting, overseeing two divisions and reporting directly to the second most senior executive who soon would be named the company's CEO.
I believed that I was very much at the top of my game, already delivering a lot of high-level presentations, and getting consistent positive feedback. I was more than a little offended by the suggestion that I needed any help at all with my communication skills. But I went. In Atlanta, I participated in Speakeasy's exclusive, invitation-only workshop for C-suite executives. Called "The Leader's Edge," this intense three-day workshop focused on communication style and delivery with respect to leadership.
In spite of my initial resistance, I did my best to participate without revealing my conviction that I felt superior to this target audience that needed help with communication and presentation skills. I wasn't the least bit nervous when it came time to watch the video recordings of our individual presentations. I was sure I'd done just fine. With the others in our group, I watched as the executive persona of Scott Weiss delivered his speech from the screen.
The guy up there looked pretty good. Very sure of himself. Very corporate. Very buttoned up. I expected to be told, as I always had been before, that I was a very effective presenter. But after a moment, Sandy Linver, the faculty leader who had directed our session turned to ask me a question.
Very confident. If you could separate yourself from this person and experience him objectively, would you want to hang out with a person like that on the weekend? But I looked at that person frozen on the TV monitor and thought about it. Reluctantly, I had to tell the truth.
I was. I had just admitted that the person I was projecting was not someone to whom I could relate. He wasn't even someone I really liked! And apparently, I wasn't the only one to be put off by Scott Weiss's executive persona. In our remaining time together, other members of the audience began to offer more specific impressions of how they had experienced me as a communicator, and as a person. Not real. Those were just some of the terms they used. I had never heard myself described this way before. I felt like the emperor with no clothes.
I had not gone to Speakeasy for a consciousness-raising experience. But I sure had one. In the weeks following that close and uncomfortable encounter with my own executive persona, I did a lot of thinking. I examined what I had learned about how others actually did experience me, and thought about how I wanted people to experience me. There was a gaping abyss between those two extremes, and I realized that I had a lot of work to do to bring them closer together—to become more congruent as an individual and as a leader.
I needed to find my authentic self and learn how to bring more of my real personality to my vocation. I appreciate Scott Weiss sharing this story, for it's not just a process all growth oriented leaders must go through, but a process we must seek out continuously. Feedback is a process that, if we allow it, will keep us honest with ourselves. We see things as we are; and we see ourselves through our intentions.
Executive Women and the Myth of Having It All
Feedback gives us a reality check that we are free to accept or reject, but without it we have no way to combat our own self-deception. We must be able to experience ourselves in relation to other people if we are to have a genuine understanding of who we are and why we do what we do. So the place to begin if we truly want to know ourselves is to reflect on the impact that we have on others. Only then can we lead authentically knowing that our inner being is congruent with our outer behavior. Self-awareness is vital to the development of a leader. But it's not navel-gazing. It is not an inward focus.
It is an outward focus.
Its ultimate goal is to improve our connection and effectiveness with others. The self absorbed leader struggles with self-awareness and emotional intelligence because self-awareness is about how we are perceived by others. It's about understanding how our behaviors are affecting other people. And we just can't do that by focusing on ourselves.
It is easy for us to focus on ourselves—to think people just don't understand us. And when we do, we tend to rationalize rather than grow. Explain rather than listen. Disconnect rather than lead. Self important leaders can't see how they are sabotaging themselves because they focus on their needs and feelings and not those of their followers. Consequently, they don't encourage feedback because it never seems relevant to them. An inward focus dooms us to operate from a place of weakness—never able to see what is holding us back.
It is in the character of great leaders to have a great appetite for feedback. It's a gift and still the best way to gain an awareness of ourselves. You might think of it as a personal scorecard. To see where we need to grow, we need to see how we affect other people. Only then can we begin the introspection that will lead us to a deeper understanding of ourselves and learn to move past unproductive thinking and develop new behaviors.
How to Make Better Decisions "Why do we have such a hard time making good choices? We often just go with our gut. And that hasn't always served us well. We tend to define our choices too narrowly and see them in binary terms. We miss other options. Confirmation Bias. We develop a quick belief about a situation and then seek out information that confirms our belief. When we want something to be true, we look for reasons to justify it.
Short-Term Emotion. Our emotions paralyze our decisions. We think we're working it out, when all we have really done is kick up "so much dust that we can't see the way forward. We think we know more than we actually do. We can't shine a spotlight on areas when we don't know they exist. As it turns out, most of the "decisions" we make do not involve any real choice. They are whether-or-not, yes-no decisions. We do not even consider other choices.
Like a teenager, we "get stuck thinking about questions like 'Should I go to the party or not? A more enlightened teen might let the spotlight roam: 'Should I go to the party all night, or go to the movies with a few friends, or attend the basketball game and then drop by the party for a few minutes? And consider asking others who have "been there done that. Encourage constructive disagreement. Consider the opposite. Consider the "outside view"—the averages. If possible, run small experiments to test our theories.
Attain Distance Before Deciding. How about 10 months? How about 10 years? Also, identify and stick to your core priorities. Perhaps the most powerful question for resolving a personal decisions is, "What would I tell my best friend to do in this situation? We have to stretch our sense of what the future will bring—both good and bad. Think about the extremes. The future is not a "point"—a single scenario that we must predict.
It's a range. Set a tripwire: "We will act when…" a predetermined set point occurs. Making better decisions is a choice. This process will help us to make better choices. Are You a Giver or a Taker? Learning the Wrong Lesson. Fred 2. Fred exemplified an attitude of exceptional service delivered consistently with creativity and passion in a way that values other people. The problem is we view struggle as a negative. But struggle is how we grow. Where Winners Live. If I did that, if I was good to my family, true to my friends, if I gave back to my community or to some cause, if I wasn't a liar, a cheat, or a thief, then I believed that should be enough.
We begin with values that drive our behavior based on intrinsic rewards. But over time, something can happen if we are not careful. Competitive pressures weigh on us. The chance for extrinsic rewards like money and power loom larger. First change your thinking. The behavior will follow. It all starts with a thought. How to Avoid the Artificial Maturity Trap. Feedback Can Be Fun. You According to Them. They have limited our responses. And it profoundly affects our ability to adapt. Behaviors and Mindsets that Ruin Careers. Leadership by Choice. Influencing Up. The Titleless Leader Leading without a title is about taking personal responsibility.
We—the world—is in desperate need of people who will choose to lead whenever and wherever they can. People are frustrated, angry, disillusioned, tired, and afraid. Not to mention skeptical, cynical, and distrustful. And those plaques touting people as the most important asset should be taken down.
Not everywhere, of course, but in far too many organizations. But we have a choice. No one needs to appoint you, promote you, or nominate you. You decide. What Russell is talking about here is a different kind of leadership that starts with what all good leadership begins with: self-discipline. It is taking responsibility for the outcomes in your area. Negativity Loops Destroy Intention When the stakes are high, negative thinking is a no-brainer; it comes naturally to any of us.
Living intentionally is the path to success, but what happens when our intentions are derailed? Kristi Hedges is an expert in executive presence. Negativity dramatically affects your ability to lead. Negativity pulls us down and inward. Positivity pulls us up and outward. Negative thoughts have two characteristics: they are permanent and universal. When they have setbacks, they see the issue as temporary and specific, not permanent and pervasive. Most of our pessimistic thoughts are just catastrophizing with little or no root in reality.
They destroy our game. Learn to challenge your thoughts before, during, and after a stressful situation. Find a pregame ritual—a repeatable process to get yourself in the zone of your intention—to get yourself into a positive frame of mind from the outset. When you have a physical reaction in a stressful situation, accept that it is a normal response and use helpful strategies to work around it, including taking deep breaths, pausing, and simply acknowledging them.
InsideOut Enneagram. Flip the Script. The Power of Habit Habits will always be with us. Some good. Some bad. But how do you replace bad habits with good habits? More importantly, how often do we ask ourselves if what we are doing is really just a habit? We are less intentional than we think we are.
Develop a Relentless Solution Focus. The Compound Effect. Finding Gratitude in the Common Things We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. Do You Have Moral Overconfidence?
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Most will behave well or poorly, depending on the context…. Business leaders need to remember that most of us have too much confidence in our strength of character. Nohria is exactly correct. Good leadership is humble leadership. Humility is living in truth. The truth about our limitations and an understanding of our proper relationship with others. Humility gives us a better understanding of how we are to treat each other.
Without it we operate from only one perspective—our own. This kills influence. As leaders, we are to work with people, not over them. It is far too tempting to think hierarchically and not relationally. A humble leader will close the gap between themselves and others. Humility manifests itself in understanding the need to learn. Authority disciplined by humility is teachable. We never arrive. It is merely an opportunity to learn from another perspective. If you stop learning, you stop leading.
Leadership has a way of revealing our weaknesses. Practical Genius is a Choice Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses you. Work-Life Balance? Are You Up, Down, or Sideways? There are no guarantees in life. We can be proactive, but there are some things that are completely outside of our control.
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We must learn how to interact with the forces in our life that are bigger than we are to create the outcomes we desire. No matter where we are—up, down, or sideways—there are things we can do to mitigate the downs, take advantage of the ups and maximize the sideways times in our life. And it is eroded the same way. It is a worthwhile practice to think about your choices and where they are leading you on a daily basis. If you told them 10 years ahead of time, "Hey, let's cook the books and all get rich," they would never go along with it.
But that's rarely how most people get drawn into activities that they later regret. When you are at step A, it feels inconceivable to jump all the way to step Z, if step Z involves something that is a total breach of your values. What to Ask the Person in the Mirror While we might like to think otherwise, here is a fact about successful leaders: Successful leaders go through significant periods of time in which they feel confused, discouraged, and unsure of themselves and their decisions.
They feel as if they should be somewhere else, doing something else. And un successful leaders go through the same thing. The trick lies not in avoiding these difficult periods; it lies in knowing how to step back, diagnose, regroup, and move forward. Have a Nice Conflict! Reading Have a Nice Conflict was like listening to my Dad again. Behaviors are the tools we choose and use to support our self-worth. You can look at personal strengths like behaviors.
They represent the different ways a person can interact with others to achieve self-worth. When a person tries one of these strengths and has success with it, they use it more often. Other strengths might have rendered poor results, and so they might tend to use those less and less. They become our modus operandi. What are they overdoing? What are they really trying to accomplish? Most likely, their intent is not to annoy you. Conflict can happen when other people misinterpret your strengths.
We want to recreate the success they have enjoyed in our own lives. So we try to imitate them. It seems like the shortest distance between two points. Of course, we are trying to copy a result.
What we often fail to see is the work it took to get them to the place where they could do what they do. A big part of the problem is the lack of confidence we have in ourselves. Sometimes in watching the success of others, we lose faith in ourselves. Jazz saxophonist Stan Getz took a teaching position at Stanford in I always tell them that they have to be themselves. If you want to try and do the same thing, it will only be an imitation, however perfectly you will do it. I keep on trying to convince them that they have to play what they feel themselves.
Your hero is the only one that can play it that way.
Obsession with a Topic
Be yourself. Success easily erodes humility. It is the humility that comes with a habit of respect for others. Humility is all about perspective. They focus on the work, not themselves. They seek success—they are ambitious—but they are humbled when it arrives. They know that much of that success was luck, timing, and a thousand factors out of their personal control. They feel lucky, not all-powerful. Oddly, the ones operating under a delusion that they are all-powerful are the ones who have yet to reach their potential. Be a leader. But do not belittle others in your pursuit of your ambitions.
Raise them up instead. The biggest leader is the one washing the feet of the others. The result, when it comes together—the execution of a great idea—should be humbling to any leader. It is humility coupled with ambition that correlates with results. Does Your Wellbeing Need a Boost? Gallup scientists have determined that there are five universal and interdependent elements of wellbeing that differentiate a thriving life from one spent suffering: Career : liking what you do every day Tip: Every day, use your strengths.