Twenty-one years in the financial industry ruined my ability to calculate numbers in my head. Today I can barely calculate 10% on a sell item. I’m not kidding! My husband had to help retrain me on that one. :/ But back in high school when the equations were simple and didn’t include so many zero’s and comma’s I really loved math. Algebra to be exact. Part of it was the belief in myself that my teacher – Mr. Hargrove gave me. Although, I think most of it was what I’ve come to know about my personality – I Loooovvvvvvvveeeeeeee problem solving. It’s what’s driven me to life coaching and helping women leaders create strategies that work for their life. As I’ve spent the last several years focused on coaching women leaders I’ve uncovered a problem that takes time to to fix (my southern slang for correct) but it quite easy to spot when you take the time to listen. It’s that feeling of being < than enough. Not tall, short, skinny, pretty enough. Not smart, educated, or skilled enough. Not enough money, time, status, influence. Read the rest of this entry
It’s interesting how when you have gone through intense events in your life you develop any eye for the issue in the lives of others. If you’ve lived in the house of an alcoholic, you know the signs. If you’ve suffered bouts with depression, you recognize the signs. If you’ve witnessed the pain and struggle of someone who is co-dependent, you see the signs. After walking through my intense season of worry that I write about in my book Freedom from Worry I have come to recognize the signs of worry in others. It’s especially interesting to watch in the Christian community because it’s a sin to worry, and thus the very use of the word is taboo. Interesting enough though, rather than to admit we’re human and prone to worry (which is pride by the way) we come up with very creative ways to make what we are doing appear to be acceptable behavior. You’ll hear people use terms like – concerned (sounds empathetic right?), over think things (thinking is smart right?), but my favorite of late is
I’m planning it all out in my head.
I must confess – I’m pretty hard headed. I’d like to think it stems from my numerous knocks against the glass ceiling but Myers-Briggs describes my personality type as “sometimes stubborn”.
INTJ - usually have original minds and great drive for their own ideas and purposes. In fields that appeal to them, they have a fine power to organize a job and carry it through with or without help. Skeptical, critical, indepedent, determined, sometimes stubborn. Must learn to yield less important points to win the most important.
“Sometimes stubborn”?…my family, in the background, could be found shaking their heads and muttering “ya think?” of that revelation. But regardless of the cause of my seemingly innocent occasional stubbornness (written tongue in cheek) I have had a few hard blows with the glass ceiling that I am sure have added to the thickness of my cranium. I want to share a couple instances and contrast the two for you today because I think there is a lesson here that we can all learn from. After all, bumps on the head are no fun and if I can save you a few hard knocks then I certainly want to do that for you.
A few days ago I wrote that as women leaders we are on the Eve of Something Great – that God is doing something great in us and yet beyond us. In that post I shared a statistic that always floors me when I see it. It’s a statistic that we, as women leaders, have dominated since back in my financial management days (almost 2 decades ago). What is it? The fact that as women you are generous. Unbelievably, generous. Here’s more details on the short statistic I shared in my previous post.
Happy New Year! It’s the first day of the first month of the New Year! Sounds exciting just saying it, doesn’t it? But if nothing new happened it’s really not the first of anything….instead just another day. Before anything happens there has to be a first, lots of firsts actually. Before you can run a marathon, first you have to develop a running regimen. Before you become a CPA you must first study accounting. Pick any activity that you have a desire to accomplish and there is a first that can be identified.
For leaders firsts are a way of life – as by definition you are ahead of those following you. As a leader you must first caste a compelling vision; you must first make problem solving in your organization a priority; you must first communicate the direction the organization is headed. There are many firsts for leaders. Quite frankly, as a women leader you have a few extra firsts to hurdle. Understanding you are wired differently than your male counterparts and that you got issues are just a few of the obstacles that you must overcome before soaring as a leader. But no worries, women consider another thing to multi-task a badge of honor unique to our sisterhood.
As a Thinker (my Myers-Briggs personality) and having the strength of Connectedness (my top 5 strengths from Discover Your Strengths) I was pondering New Year’s and all the exciting possibilities that lie ahead in 2013. As I began to think and connect the dots in my usual fashion my thoughts turned to New Year’s eve. And in the random fashion that women can be known for, I flashed to Christmas eve. Why is there no Valentine’s Day eve, no 4th of July eve, or no Labor Day eve? Only two eve’s worth celebrating?
It’s pretty rare to meet a woman who doesn’t have trust issues – go figure with all the abuse, abandonment and lack of acceptance we can be subject to in life as a woman. Yet this “Trust issue” can be a HUGE set back for women in leadership. The mostly glaring example I remember experiencing was shortly after I moved into my then role as an Investment Advisor. I had a girlfriend I had met some 5 years prior. Our daughters were in preschool together. Our husbands were like two peas in a pod. We met at child pick up and hit it off. Over the 5-6 years we knew them prior to the “big trust issue” event our families had dined together, gone to events together, attended church together, celebrated birthdays, anniversaries – she and I even walked together regularly for exercise for a a couple years. I considered her one of my best friends. Surrounded at that time by mostly stay-at-home moms (no offense) I felt a connection with her because she too was a Corporate Mom- CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of a local hospital. We had that common bond of balancing work, family, and life.
In the Mesopotamian age battles were won daily with swords and spears. Kings and their armies would ride into battle with swords drawn. It was their weapon of choice – their strength. However, when the might and abilities of their opponents were greater and defeat looked eminent the King (rather than being captured and killed by the enemy) would commit suicide by falling on his own sword. Thus the meaning of the phrase
Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword
Thus the very strength that allowed Kings to win victories every day could also become the very thing that took their lives. As women leaders there is a similar strength that you possess that can be used in similar fashion. When you maximize this strength you can win victories daily but when faced with defeat or even the thought of defeat it can be the very strength that kills you. The strength I’m talking about here is – CAPACITY. Yes, capacity. Your ability to ability to perform, yield, or withstand. It simple terms your ability to do MORE.
It’s funny how random thoughts can be the exact expression of what you are trying to relay in communicating…in writing. I have been thinking about these first few posts for a couple weeks now – what stories of my life I would tell, what lessons or encouragement I would want to share in this debut for Women in Leadership. As I was pondering those things the random thought “Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner” comes to mind. To be honest, I couldn’t even remember where I had heard it or in what context. I actually had to Google it to be reminded of a great movie about young love (the movie Dirty Dancing) behind the now infamous line. If you’ve never watched the movie and you’re a push over for movies about young love then you must buy it! If you’re like me and a bit rusty then let me take you back.