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Friday, October 24, 2014

Chasing Goals in Heels: Commandments for Career Driven Women

Sadly in many professions, we may be the minority at our offices or a minority as an entrepreneur. Gender disparity in the work force has been and issue since women began working and unfortunately the higher up we climb on the ladder of success the less women we may see.

So how to we deal with that? "Owning our truth"! It's a phrase that I recently heard from Gabriela Alcantara-Diaz and woman who has worked in advertising and marketing for 25 years and now has her own consulting agency. The truth is you're a woman and you can't hide the fact that you are unless you're dealing with someone who is blind and deaf. Why not own it?

There are several qualities that as you may have that put you at an advantage including "nurturing" qualities which are great for maintaing client relationships and as for "over thinking" -- consider yourself a strategist and critical thinker. Not to mention we are amazing negotiators! So if you're the only woman in a boardroom, own that truth and let out a silent chuckle because you have an edge over everyone else in the room.

Action without purpose will eventually lead to complacency. Purpose is the encouraging sister to passion and in order for us to remain passionate in our career goals we must also seek out the "why". Why are you drawn to your career of choice? What do you feel like you were put on this earth to do? What would you be happy doing even if you didn't get paid? Your purpose is your unique selling point, your niche, your compass when you lose your sense of direction.

Every minute task or short term goal should essentially lead to your greater purpose.The greatest advice I ever received was to think of myself as a brand. If you were a brand, your purpose would be your mission statement.  

Confidence is a secret weapon suitable for any industry/ career. However, so many people mistaken having a catty attitude with merely being confident -- FALSE. Confidence is the ability to walk into a meeting and be sure of yourself and your abilities no matter what others may say or think. Cattiness is broadcasting your level of superiority over someone else to make yourself look and feel better. Although we are not responsible for other people's happiness, the way we treat others is a direct reflection of us. If you're a walking breathing brand (yes, we are still branding ourselves), your catty attitude towards others runs the risk of tarnishing your brand. 

I always like watching shows such as "Undercover Boss" and "What Would You Do" because it really gives a lot of insight on human nature and it reminds me that even though you think no one is pay attention, you never know when someone will be. If you continue to exemplify a behavior good or bad, it will become a habit so we should all be mindful of mistaking our cattiness for confidence.

Many times women must work harder in the work force just to get noticed. But don't just work harder, take it a step further and work smarter. A universal skill for all professions is the ability to think on your feet. Find more efficient ways to increase your work ethic and always search outside the box for solutions. You can either use a shovel to move a big hill of dirt for hours or search for a bulldozer to do it in minutes.

One thing I've learned throughout my jobs and internships is that bosses are less interested in your actions and more intrigued by results achieved by those actions. Don't be so quick to "do", sometimes a great "thinker" gets their desired results much easier.

Your career is not and will never be who you are; it is what you do. Whether it's hanging with friends who still have no clue what you do for a living or a hobby that is completely outside of your career, you should always find time to be who you are --- outside of your job description. This seems to be even harder for those of us who are entrepreneurs because the line between work and leisure are blurred (this can happen to us bloggers sometimes as well).

Work/life balance is key to an effective work ethic and learning how to create that balance should begin sooner than later. This is definitely where I struggle. I sleep with my phone next to my head. It's usually the first thing I check when I wake up and the last thing I check when I go to bed. Your personality, health, sanity, and/or happiness should never be directly linked to your profession. I've learned the hard way that your position doesn't give you worth, YOU infuse worth into your position.

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