I can just see the comments now: why are you writing only to women? Do you think men “get” everything about business … due to their … what … superior hormones?
There are 10 big issues that I’ve noticed many women in business are having problems with --and I have solutions. I have them because I’ve been consulting, helping people grow their businesses, for 25 years. I started out at Harvard Business School for an MBA, and then succeeded big-time in business. (Remember Rainbow Brite, the little doll that had the most successful launch year of any doll in history? I was product manager. Remember Xerox selling what we’d now call “enterprise software” -- to run most all aspects of a business? I was top sales rep in that company in my first year selling. Etc.) I led teams, and I helped my employers bring in big money. We brought in good profits, too.
So now I “advise.”
I help people understand what’s working, and what isn’t, about their businesses (and sometimes their “business” is just finding their next job). I challenge them, support them, push them a little, and make sure they’re moving toward THEIR goals. (And if they don’t have goals, I help them formulate them, first, so anything we do can be measured against their own targets.)
Here are 10 “big-picture things” I’ve noticed that are hurting women more often than men in business, and the fixes:
1. Fear. Many women are afraid to really test themselves. They SAY they’re busy, and that they want to be careful not to take time away from their partners, children, pets, homes … but the truth is, they’re afraid. Probably they’re afraid of failure. Some are afraid of spending ANY money – and it’s often true that you’ll need to spend money to make money. THE FIX: don’t have a false dichotomy in your mind – it’s not true that you’re either a warm, loving person OR you’re a hard-nosed businessperson. You can be involved in business and still have time for your family and friends, if you act like an adult and structure your time properly.
2. Distraction. It seems everybody’s distracted these days. I’ve come to see it as a misguided reaction to too much stimulation. THE FIX: don’t have multiple devices in front of you. Don’t allow “stress” to drive you from one thing to the next without any real focus on anything. When you need to get some specific thing done, tell yourself, “I won’t do anything but THIS for an hour,” set an alarm, and don’t allow yourself to be interrupted. Put a rubber band around your wrist, and when you catch your thoughts wandering, snap yourself, and remind yourself that you’re not doing anything but this one thing for an hour!
3. Bad attitude. It’s been said that there’s an epidemic of mental illness in the world. Perhaps that’s true. If you have any doubt about whether you might be depressed, see a professional therapist. But if you’re just dealing with the challenges of life, stop being such a Negative Nellie. THE FIX: I like Oprah’s idea of writing down 3 things I’m grateful for every single day. Even if you don’t write them, think about it – aren’t you happy to be alive on this day? Haven’t you seen a beautiful face, or a graceful tree, or a lovely sunset? Why wouldn’t you focus on those things, rather than the things that haven’t gone your way? Where you place your focus determines how you’ll feel about your life, and the attitude you project.