Challenges, Financial, Tips

Financially Fit or Financially Finished

I am certainly not a finance expert – saving money and not overspending has always been a challenge. I have found some great resources to share about finance, career, salary negotiation, financial planning, and investments on http://gogirlfinance.com/. Great articles and interesting information.
I often say the greatest gift I ever gave myself was an executive and life coach. However, equally important a gift was the selection and partnership over the past 7 years with my financial advisor. As an executive coach can help one weather a career and professional development, a financial advisor (a really good one) can help one weather financial challenges, changes, and create a comfortable plan for the future.

It takes a village – in all aspects of our lives. I intend to stay financially fit and avoid being financially finished!

Challenges, Confidence, Tips, Working Women

Stuck

Life gets busy and you go through the measures of the day – at work and at home. Then you need to do something on a more forward-planning and strategic basis and you stop. In your tracks. Cold. What do I do? I am stuck. You freeze and you don’t know how to get “unstuck”. Are you procrastinating? Are you tired? Uninspired? You try to get out of the rut but somehow you can’t.

If you are a fast paced career woman (perhaps juggling a family and other outside activities) getting “stuck” can be a scary thing. We typically don’t think much about the “stuck experience” when we are on our “A” game, operating on all cylinders.

So know this: from my experience, getting “stuck” happens to all of us at one time or another. Getting “unstuck” can be hard work and can also seem like a mountain to conquer.

A wise mentor has coached me through being “stuck.” That mentor shared a few key questions to consider in those moments:

• What exactly is stopping you from moving forward?

• Do you have a fear of failing?

• Or do you have a fear of success?

• Are you avoiding dealing with a specific task?

• Do you not know how to do something?

• Are you overwhelmed?

• What exactly is the roadblock in your way?

The experience of being stuck can sometimes be an opportunity to reassess where you are in life and what you want. It can be the catalyst for action or change. Then as my mentor shared with me: “Move forward, one step at a time…that is how the journey begins.”

Empowering Women, Tips, Working Women

Working Women’s Survival – What I Learned from Jenn

I read a great blog article a few weeks ago titled Practical Tips for Women. The article’s focus was on business travel and business settings, the differences between men and women in that space, and how women can offer other women tips on how to manage navigating those situations.
My first instinct was to focus on the business setting challenge. My tip on how to manage the business setting of a meeting is to manage it “like a boss” – owning that seat at the table and ensuring I did in fact sit at the table. Great advice and certainly a tip I share with people I mentor – both men and women!
But then I began to think more about the practical tips I have gathered over the years that have simply made being a career professional easier on me and certainly those around me. I then thought about a former colleague of mine (we will call her Jenn). She was super organized from the day I met her. Jenn had a bag that had every possible need one could have in a business meeting. She had extra power cords, extra phone cords, pens, markers, highlighters, paper – you name it, she had it in the bag!
She also had an organized bag of “life needs” – band aids, Tylenol, nylons, chapstick, mints, etc. If I ever needed something, my go to person was Jenn! Jenn and I worked on and off together for a number of years and I often thought her organization was on the border of a compulsion. That is, until I began to travel for work. I was always forgetting either a hairbrush, hairspray, a toothbrush, or mascara. After some time, I created my travel cosmetic bag, my travel hairbrushes, and my travel makeup bag. Exact duplicates of what I use every day but sitting in travel bags in my suitcase. I also included nylons and an extra pair of sunglasses. When I travel now (whether it be for a day, a few nights, or a week) the only things I need to pack are clothes and shoes. Seems like such a small thing but it saves so much time and leaves no room for error.
Now when I pack to travel, I think of Jenn and her obsession to be organized – she had it right all along. It saved her time, saved her sanity, and while we worked together it saved mine!

Challenges, Confidence, Reflection, Tips

Leaving Behind In 2016

As we enter 2017 and reflect on the future ahead, it’s also good to look at what we are leaving behind. Things, ideas, people, expectations, goals – you name it, we can leave it behind. This serves as a purging of sorts and can provide some exercise of the unnecessary!
Over the course of 2016, I came to realize (in a very strong and powerful manner) that my voice matters and that what I say has value. Not because I am anyone special but because I am me and that is special enough. My opinions, thoughts, and ideas are just as valuable as anyone else’s opinions, thoughts, or ideas. I have lived life and experienced challenges as well as success. I have knowledge, education, and awareness in my industry, in history, in world events, etc. And as such, I have educated and insightful thoughts, opinions, and ideas. They may not be in a fashion that aligns with how others think or their view of the world, but that’s okay. For years I let my voice be “quieted” to some extent based on my self-confidence, especially at work. I am leaving this behind in 2017. I will not let anyone make me feel like my voice (my opinions, thoughts, visions, and insights) is less than.
I am also going to leave behind multi-tasking (okay to be honest I am going to try ….really hard). We all know how it feels when we are talking with someone and they are taking peeks at their cell phone or start responding to a text message. The feeling is that my conversation or my presence is less important than a text or an email. My commitment is to try to be mindful of being present and being in the moment with the person I am connected with. It’s a matter of respect and treating others the way you want to be treated. What is more important than the conversation you are in at that moment?
I am leaving negativity and criticism behind in 2017. It’s simply not nice behavior. I am not going to participate in it and I will not silently support it by being a part of those conversations. Life is filled with too many wonderful things to focus on the negative.
Finally, I am leaving behind rigid expectations – of myself, of others, and of the world. Being in the moment and living in the context of life and doing the best I can each day with what I have will keep me present, serene, and a better version of myself…for my family, my colleagues, and for me!
Leave behind the anchors that have dragged you down in 2016. Think about the things that caused angst and did not add value to your life. Write them down, let them go, and get on with the business of living!
Make 2017 be exactly what you want it to be – on your terms and for you!

Confidence, Empowering Women, Family, Working Women

“For My Daughter”

FOR MY DAUGHTER
By Sarah McMane

“Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.”
– Clementine Paddleford

Never play the princess when you can
be the queen:
rule the kingdom, swing a scepter,
wear a crown of gold.
Don’t dance in glass slippers,
crystal carving up your toes —
be a barefoot Amazon instead,
for those shoes will surely shatter on your feet.
Never wear only pink
when you can strut in crimson red,
sweat in heather grey, and
shimmer in sky blue,
claim the golden sun upon your hair.
Colors are for everyone,
boys and girls, men and women —
be a verdant garden, the landscape of Versailles,
not a pale primrose blindly pushed aside.
Chase green dragons and one-eyed zombies,
fierce and fiery toothy monsters,
not merely lazy butterflies,
sweet and slow on summer days.
For you can tame the most brutish beasts
with your wily wits and charm,
and lizard scales feel just as smooth
as gossamer insect wings.
Tramp muddy through the house in
a purple tutu and cowboy boots.
Have a tea party in your overalls.
Build a fort of birch branches,
a zoo of Legos, a rocketship of
Queen Anne chairs and coverlets,
first stop on the moon.
Dream of dinosaurs and baby dolls,
bold brontosaurus and bookish Belle,
not Barbie on the runway or
Disney damsels in distress —
you are much too strong to play
the simpering waif.
Don a baseball cap, dance with Daddy,
paint your toenails, climb a cottonwood.
Learn to speak with both your mind and heart.
For the ground beneath will hold you, dear —
know that you are free.
And never grow a wishbone, daughter,
where your backbone ought to be.

Challenges, Leadership, Reflection

The Reflection Challenge

For a few years, I have worked with an Executive and Life Coach. The best gift I ever gave myself was to begin the work with her. Over the years, I have been able to work through career challenges and career highlights, life challenges and life highlights. I have learned to become the best version of myself…albeit still a work in progress!This time of year my coach has me do a couple of very powerful reflection exercises. Today I am going to share those with you and challenge you to do the same!!

1. What went well in my life in 2016?

I typically separate my work and family successes however this year was different for me. I combined what went well into one bucket – what went well in my life in 2016. No more lines between life.

The top 3 things that went well in 2016 were my career, my daughter having her 3rd son, and my promotion (and all the things that came with it – relocation etc.) As my coach and I talked further, I came to realize it was how I handled each of these events in 2016 that made them go so well. That became my overall success – how I live life, how I handle life, and how I enjoy life (the challenges and the successes).

2. The three things I am most proud of in 2016:

  •  Being present and actually living life – this is a practice I work at daily.
  • My daughter becoming an independent person and an even more amazing mother.
  •  The mentoring and paying it forward efforts in 2016. I reached out the hand and helped others.

3. Top 2 lessons learned in 2016

  • Owning my knowledge, my voice, and my impact while never forgetting where I came from.
  • Realizing that delegation is not powerlessness – it is smart business and it takes a village to make things happen. Launching a blog and a social media presence has always been a dream of mine. Once I realized I didn’t need to do it all by myself, it freed me to take the steps to put things in place.

4. What am I grateful for?

I am grateful for my family, for my career and a company that I love being a part of (and where my contribution as a leader is valued), and I am grateful for the ability to take care of my family.

5. What was something I did not accomplish in 2016?

I wanted to go back to school and didn’t do that, but I realize today that I can’t do everything all at once. So there may be a time and a place for school again, but now is not it. And I am okay with that – for today.

This is a time of year for reflections and assessing our life over the past year. Next time, we will dig into what do we need to leave behind as we enter the New Year! (Another assignment from my coach but again a journey that is worth taking.)