Friday, February 26, 2010

The Law of...

When cleaning out some papers from a desk, my husband found a one sheet document with many laws listed on it describing what each of them are. He can't remember where or who he received it from but it sounds like a Brian Tracy teaching.

One of those listed is the Law of Expectations. It says 'Whatever you expect with confidence will have a tendency to materialize in your life'. If you think about it this is so true both from a negative and positive viewpoint.

There are those that have an upbeat, optimistic attitude about life in general and typically have written goals they want to achieve, and through their hard work, belief, visualization and affirmations their goals materialize. They expect them to come true because they believe it with all of their heart and soul and do what it takes to get there.

Then there are those that complain about everything; their job, their kids, their spouse, their boss, their coworkers, their cats, dogs, weather - just life in general. You know the type, "Woe is me because nothing ever goes my way". In other words, the "Debbie Downers' or the "Nick Negatives". And guess what? Most of the time things in their lives remain pretty much the same which they too complain about. Why? Because that's what they expect and therefore that's what they get.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Compartmentalizing 'Singlemomship'

Being a single mom is not easy to say the least. Juggling time to be at work, spending time with the kids and having some 'me' time can be quite a challenge. As any mom knows kids can be very demanding of our time and by the end of the day, we are exhausted.

Being a mom is a job of constant teaching and giving if you think about it. From the moment they wake up in the morning, we’re helping them get dressed or picking out clothes, fixing breakfast, dealing with the "I don't want to go to school" while they drag their little butts around the house verging on making everyone late for work and school. Did they remember to grab their lunch and their homework? Okay, everyone in the car and buckle up! No, you can't play video games on the way to school..... Even though it may seem so routine, moms are constantly teaching. How the mom reacts to each situation is teaching the kids something.

I know it's a lot of responsibility and that's what being a single mom is all about. And it’s not just getting them off to school or getting ready for bed, it's the baseball practices, it’s juggling how to get them to and from while you're at work, it’s the finances or finding time to clean the house or simply take a warm bath. Just finding time to take a bubble bath and enjoy a glass of wine without the kids knocking at the bathroom door is difficult to do. But it's a must for single moms to find time in their week for a little 'me' time. If you don't make time to take care of yourself and refresh your own body and soul, it will be more difficult to take care of everyone that is depending on you.

Is it easy to juggle all these things? No, but it can be done. I recently gave a young single mom of two the following advice about putting the responsibilities of ‘singlemomship’ into compartments and dealing with each compartment differently.

Compartment One:

When the kids get up in the morning and everyone is getting ready for work and school, focus on this. Do not get on the phone with friends and try to juggle calls and getting ready. Stay focused on the tasks at hand. Make sure you get up early enough to allow time for you to get ready before the kids wake up, then helping them get ready will be less stressful in the morning.

Compartment Two:

Kids are either in day care or school for the majority of the day and you are at work. So, this is a long period of time that mom and kids are separated from one another (and hopefully a good break for both). Enjoy it!

Compartment Three:

Next comes the after school / after work time. If you pick up kids and are driving home with them, don't get on the cell phone or text message, instead talk to the kids. Ask them how their day was; after all you haven't seen them for probably nine hours. They want their mom's undivided attention. Take this time to interact with them. Once you get home, it can be a little hectic with homework, getting the kids in the bath and fixing dinner but focus only on these things. The time you have each night between work and bedtime is probably about 2-4 hours so make the best of it. Don't let email, text messaging, TV or phone calls be a part of this time with the kids.

Compartment Four:

Once the kids are all tucked away in bed, it's now 'me' time and getting ready for the next day. Prepare the kids lunches the night before, iron the clothes, do some laundry or return calls/emails and then take your bubble bath and enjoy a glass of wine in peace and quiet.

Organizing your tasks throughout your day will make things run much smoother; you'll feel less stressed and frazzled and you will have juggled all the things a single mom must do. You are amazing!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Visualizing the Course

Many life coaches, sport coaches and motivational speakers encourage their clients to visualize their dreams and goals to help them achieve success. I've been watching the Olympics whenever I get a chance because they inspire me to say the least. Here are people that have devoted so much of their time, talent and money just to have a chance to compete in the games and give it their all day day after day.
One thing I noticed the other day in the Super G skiing competition with both men and women - several were visualizing the course and the outcome of the race, I'm sure. They were able to look at the course prior to the race but they could not ski the course so many were visualizing themselves skiing down the mountain.
Their eyes were closed and their bodies moving in motion as though they were on their skis making their way to the finish line. There's a lot to be said about visualization. If we visualize our goals and dreams and really feel the excitement of being there, then when we actually arrive there it will feel so normal as though we’ve been here before; a feeling of comfort one might say.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Politicking v. Networking

Politics in the workplace: some people live for it and others can't stand it. I've always been the type of person that doesn't enjoy dealing with company politics although it is necessary at times. I've worked by the belief that if you do your job well, work hard, be a team player and bring value to the organization then chances are you will climb your career ladder to greater heights.

Now granted, bringing value to the organization does require informing your boss of the projects you are working on that do bring value, or letting her know about the deal you just closed that saved or made the company X dollars. However, there is the other side of the coin that says 'politicking' in the office is a must for advancement. I've seen both methods become successful for individuals.

We've all seen the people that walk the "C" suite area peeking their head into the offices waving hi. I think this is a risky notion because depending on how the "C" suite looks at this - it can benefit you or backfire especially if you do not typically need to interact with them. For example: If they see Jane walking through a few times a day just to say hi or to say something of insignificance that clearly sends a message she just wanted to make an appearance - she may be seen as an annoying office politicker or someone that doesn't have enough work to do. On the other hand, the executive may admire those qualities in Jane and each time she stops by and does the parade wave - it reminds them who she is and how they may advance her in the future.
You decide what's best in your organization and for your career in regards to politicking v. networking. Regardless of which your preference is, networking with your peers and management team when given the opportunity is something I recommend you do. Networking within the organization and outside of an organization is important. It gives you the opportunity to get to know those you work with and for you to get to know them. This is different than playing a political game for advancement.

Networking: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business

Politicking: to engage in often partisan political discussion or activity

Partisan: a firm adherent to a party, faction, cause, or person; one exhibiting blind, prejudiced, and unreasoning allegiance

Friday, February 19, 2010

Don't Tell Me About Your Problems

Interviewing for a position within a company regardless of whether you know the person or not from a previous life does not mean that you should be less professional, less prepared or too relaxed. Having an opportunity to interview for a job especially in this economy should be taken seriously knowing you have some tough competition. You want the interviewer when she compares her notes to other interviewees, think of you as the strongest and most professional and skilled candidate. Take the opportunity seriously and be your professional best.

Do's and Don'ts When Being Interviewed:
  1. Do come prepared with a fresh copy(s) of your resume. You never know if there will be more than one person you'll be interviewing with.
  2. Do give eye contact although it's fine to look away once in awhile as you think about the answer to a question.
  3. Do give clear and succinct answers.
  4. Do point out all your accomplishments that will tell the interviewer you are qualified for the job.
  5. Do appear enthusiastic about the prospect of the challenges the job faces without being over the top.
  6. Do your research on the company, the management team and any recent news.
  7. Don't speak in a monotone voice. You don't want to put others to sleep or give the impression you are boring.
  8. Don't talk about your personal problems and how this job will help solve them.
  9. Don't assume you have the job or are the best candidate just because you know the person.
  10. Don't talk about all the numerous other interviews you have/had and how well they are going.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Are You Thinking About the Customer?

No matter where we go or what company we work for - chances are customer service is on our mind. If we are the customer we are focusing on how we are being treated when we walk in the door of a store or a restaurant observing if the clerk is going to acknowledge us or if the waitress is prompt in taking our order and making sure our experience is a pleasant one. Or we are focusing on how we can drive more customers to our website; increase sales through existing or new customers or how to best serve them in order to retain them long term. So, the concept of excellent customer service is not foreign to us.

Companies need to be careful when putting together policies and procedures that may make their employees lives easier, faster, and more efficient but yet leave the customer out of the loop. What I mean by that is - sometimes the focus can be so much on the efficiency or streamlining of a process that we forget to take the customer into account and how the process may impact them.

If the new process increases the work/time for the customer instead of making their experience more pleasant such as requiring them to make additional calls to get answers or being transferred to numerous departments and people, than it's probably not the ideal change.

If the customer is not discussed as part of the new process and how it may impact their experience with the company, then chances are they will experience dissatisfaction and may go elsewhere. So, don't forget to include how the customer will be impacted by your decisions; after all we expect excellent customer service in our everyday interactions and your business customers should not expect any less.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How to Ace a Job Interview in 7 Seconds

Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D. submitted an article to Pink Ladders titled, "How to Ace a Job Interview in 7 Seconds". With so many women looking for work right now due to a slow economy - it's important when interviewing for a position that you stand out over your competition. As Carol points out in her article you cannot say everything about your skills in 7 seconds, but within the first 7 seconds of meeting those interviewing you, they will have sized you up based on your body language.

She says, "According to research at New York University, you’ve got just seven seconds to make a lasting first impression. While you can't stop people from making snap decisions - the human brain is hardwired in this way - you can understand how to make those decisions work in your favor. Obviously, you won’t impress anyone by what you say in seven short seconds. In fact, it’s all about what you don’t say. Your body language."

Carol lists 7 powerful ways to make a positive first impression. You can read more under Essentials to Career Climbing in her article. They're great tips for anyone interviewing.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Execs Doing the Dirty Jobs

Last week I watched a new show called "Undercover Boss". When I first saw the previews I thought it sounded interesting so I decided after the Super Bowl game was over to watch it and see what it was all about.

Much to my surprise, it was entertaining and thought provoking. The company featured was Waste Management, a large organization located throughout the country. The COO decided to go undercover as a new employee in several different job functions (all entry level) in cities throughout the US and work with a supervisor for a day while being filmed. As he visited each of these facilities it was an eye opening experience for him about his company's own policies and procedures as well as those that local managers implemented without company approval.

He was very touched by their personal life struggles, their amazing work ethic and attitude for performing tasks such as cleaning out and scrubbing down outhouses; truly a nasty job from most of our perspectives. In the end he brought them all back to the Waste Management office, revealed his identity and told them what he learned from each of them and the areas he would now focus on for improvement.

The moral of the story: As a manager/leader of any department or company, spend time with the people actually doing the job you write policies and procedures for or the very least include them in the decision making process when possible. Not only will the P&P be more successful to roll out and utilize on a daily basis, the employees will appreciate the effort made in making sure their voice was heard; not to mention it will make your company a better place to work.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Coming Soon - 2010 Winter Olympics

Just one more day until the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics begin. I love watching the Olympics and seeing all the competitors work so hard to get the gold medal  - to be the winner of the event and stand so proud for their country. 

While many of us will be enjoying the games from the comfort of our homes, over 25,000 people will be on site helping the athletes and visitors to ensure all goes well for each event. And this is the number for volunteers only. Can you imagine organizing 25,000 volunteers? Just think about the majority of our own community's volunteers that are needed for fundraising events on a much smaller scale and how difficult that can be to get people to sign up to participate and commit. Wow - what a task this must have been for the head of volunteers, but how rewarding it will be to see it all come together very soon.

Good luck to all the athletes and thank you volunteers for donating your time and talent so everyone else can enjoy the Winter Olympics. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"That Organizer is Stunning"

I have spent so much time and thought in designing the perfect planner for women. We launched the Pink Ladders Task Manager in August of 2009. The method for use is based on my own process over the years for managing all the tasks, projects and goals I have going on to ensure nothing gets missed.

It's printed on a 100% recycled paper with quotes from women that have contributed to Pink Ladders through their stories. It's also available in a smooth black leather binder or a pink croc style; all designed specifically for Pink Ladders. Because I know there was a lot of thought and consideration given to the filler and the binder, it's always a pleasure to hear what others have to say about it as well.

Yesterday I received an email from a woman who had purchased the pink croc Task Manager several months ago. Here's what she said, "I was flying to Florida two weeks ago and had the organizer on my pull down tray. A women sitting next to me commented "That organizer is stunning" (of course it is's your pink one). I thanked her and gave her a little background info on Pink Ladders and told her to check out your website."

Thank you for sharing your story and passing the Pink Ladders website along to her. You can get more information about the Task Manager by visiting the website above or the Pink Ladders site.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Slipping and Sliding

Snow, ice, snow, ice and it keeps on coming! It's not often we get snow where I live so when we do get it it's pretty exciting. We aren't really equipped for it other than spreading salt on the roads in hopes that it will melt it so we can all drive to work and school.

This year alone we have had several days of either snow or rain that turns into ice during the night because of the low temperatures. Unfortunately, because of the location of where my home sits, the ice and snow prevents me from leaving. Once in awhile it's kind of nice to just work from home and hang out in my PJ's but this has been occurring often lately so I am unable to leave our property whenever I want.

I know many people work from home everyday and I do enjoy it; in fact I think I get more done from home than at the office simply due to having no disruptions. But I also enjoy the face to face interaction with those I work with and want to be able to hit the gym afterwards. If I could have the snow without the freezing wet temps during the night, it would be perfect. But, thank goodness for the internet and conference calls so we can all be productive regardless of our physical location.

Monday, February 8, 2010

If I listened to everyone who said....

Saturday night I watched the movie, Amelia, the story about Amelia Earhart. There was a scene where she was having a conversation with a young lady who wanted to be a pilot just like her hero, Amelia. Her advice to this young lady was, "If I listened to everyone who said it was impossible, I'd never be flying. Don't let anyone turn you around."

I had to quickly pause and write down what she said because all of us have dreams and aspirations of what we want to do, places we want to go, the person we want to be and the goals we want to achieve. There will always be people who will tell us what we want to accomplish is impossible or ridiculous and if we listen to them, we will never know if we could have done it or not because we would have quit.

If you have a dream or a goal, then go after it regardless of what others tell you. Amelia did and she broke many records of 'the first woman who..." She has been an inspiration to many for her courage, her vision and her achievements both in aviation and for women around the world.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Volunteering in Style

As a proud mother of a wonderful daughter, I'm going to brag about her in my blog this morning. A couple of weeks ago she volunteered her time and talent for a hair makeover. Two women in the Nashville, Tennessee area won a contest for a free makeover which included a new hair style.

My daughter volunteered as one of the two stylists where she works; Salon FX. Yesterday in The Tennessean (Nashville's newspaper) a story was written about these two women and their makeover at Salon FX which included the picture of my daughter Crystal (above) taking a look at the winner's hair before getting started.  So if you are here in town or ever visiting, stop by and see her.

A reminder that today is National Wear Red Day so when you're getting ready for work today - be sure to wear something red as a reminder to raise awareness in fighting heart disease in women.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Helping a Co-worker In Need

Going to work is more than just walking in the door at 8am and sitting down at our desk staring at our computer all day with some meetings thrown in the mix. It's about the people we work with and interact with each and everyday. In fact many long term friendships start at work. We become friends with those we interact with so when their lives are touched by tragedy or triumph we experience a little bit of that with them.

A former co-worker of mine from several years ago was recently diagnosed with cancer and has been going through several chemo treatments while waiting for a donor for a bone marrow transplant. It's been very difficult on his young family as he is the sole provider. Last week a collection by his current co-workers was taken up to help ease the stress a little bit while he is unable to work. So, thank you to all who put this together and for everyone who donated monetarily and for your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Everyday we are making decisions about what we're going to wear to work, what to cook for dinner, what projects we should work on that are of highest priority, what meetings to attend and who to go to lunch with at the office. Many of the decisions we make throughout the day are simply a part of our routine and do not require a whole lot of thought or mental drain. But every once in awhile you are faced at work with a task that requires you to analyze, to think, to re-analyze and re-think, to analyze again and re-think again before making a decision on what will be best for the company now and strategically.

And as a result of the final decision, all parties will not necessarily be happy with the choice because unfortunately not everyone will come out in the end as a 'winner' in a negotiation or deal. But if you can walk away regardless of what side of the table you were sitting on knowing you offered the best deal you could or made the decision based on what was in the best interest of the organization, then you've done well.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It's About Attitude!

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
Thomas Jefferson
I love this quote from Thomas Jefferson because we all know people with both of these attitudes. There's the woman that's determined to achieve her goal no matter what; regardless of what the naysayers are telling her. It's all about believing you can achieve your goal and doing everything you can to make sure it happens; working hard, staying focused and being patient and persistent.
I remember years ago talking to a CEO friend of mine and we were discussing his competition in the market. I had recently heard something negative that was being said about his business and hesitated to share it with him. He reassured me it was fine because it wasn't going to hurt his feelings or change his motivation to make his company successful in the market. Then he said you have to be able to hear what your competition and others are saying about your company and deal with it if necessary. But I've learned you also must have thick skin because there are people out there that will want to tear you down and say everything negative about you and your company and if you let them get to you it will destroy you. You have to believe in yourself and what you are doing.
On the other hand, if one chooses to have a wrong mental attitude nothing can help them. It's up to us as individuals to change the way we look at things and how we live our life. If we choose negativity and believe that nothing ever goes right in our life, well guess what? That's probably true.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Prepare for February 5th Today

February celebrates American Heart Month and February 5th celebrates National Wear Red Day. National Wear Red Day is the awareness and focus on wiping out heart disease in women.

The color red and the red dress symbolize the ability all women have to improve their heart health which in turn will lead to living a longer and stronger life. I realize it's not February 5th yet but rather February 1st. However, I wanted to share this day of awareness with you today so you can start planning what red dress or outfit you are going to wear on Friday, February 5th.

I know many businesses have casual Friday so you're probably not going to give that up for wearing a dress, but even if you do wear jeans support Go Red for Women by wearing a red shirt or sweater. If your line of work requires wearing a uniform like a police officer does, then wear a red pin or watch band; anything with the color red to support the cause.

For so many years, as the Go Red for Women site notes, heart disease has had the perception that it's a man's disease and yet many women are affected by it. So put it on your calendar today to wear red on Friday, make an appointment to visit your doctor for a physical and visit the Go Red for Women website for tips and recipes on living a heart healthy lifestyle. I know - lots to do, but it's all good for you.