The wise woman in me asks why it takes so long to understand familiar principles. Does it take a certain amount of life experience to understand the veracity of simple truths? Are we too busy rushing through the days to consider the truth about right and wrong and how healing must include the act of forgiveness.
As I sit and contemplate the work issues women discuss with me in coaching sessions, I know that often the conversation is about a “wrong” or “hurt” that happened years ago in a different setting. Because a woman still carries this wound, it continues to color what she experiences today. She may avoid certain opportunities, responsibilities, and future happiness because of a negative experience in the past. Why is it so hard to say to ourselves, “Yes what happened was not right but I am going to put it behind me and move forward?” I am going to forgive the people involved. Is it our egos?
Yesterday I wrote about self-reflection and contemplation as gifts and now I am saying the practice of reflection can also help you deal with adversity. Today I am talking about the unavoidable work conflicts we all experience at one time or another and how we move forward.
One of the chapters in my book is about conflict in the workplace, and my advice is it is best to always remember your work life s not your total life and a business decision should not be seen as a personal decision. A difference of opinion about how to do the job may seem like a personal attack or that the person in the conflict does not value you. However as critical as the conflict may seem in the short-term, ask yourself will this difference of opinion and who wins be as important to me a year from now? Does this conflict impact my life in a major way? Listen to your inner voice.
Don’t be a victim in conflict but learn how to let the less important issues become part of the scenery and not stop the entire play. I counsel that often you will be a better person to carry a memory of a conflict’s issues forward but not give the memory permission to change your life. You may be further ahead by simply putting the conflict away and walking forward.
As difficult as this advice is to both give and receive……sometimes it is best to walk forward armed with knowledge but open to the world of possibilities. Vow to not make the same mistake twice. Knowing yourself and your values helps in any conflict at work or in life.
Four weeks ago today, I fell during my daily fitness walk and dislocated both elbows and broke my forearms. In one moment, life changed for a strong independent and very busy woman. We know this can happen to any of us but how often do we rush head long through life, even our times designed for physical and mental health? I know about the importance of living in the moment but was not “in the moment” when I fell as I was thinking about everything but the walking.
Now four weeks later and half way through the initial healing process, I am beginning to recognize the gift that I have received. My life for the past forty years has been about helping others. Never in my wildest dreams had I really considered what it would be like for me not to be able to help others or not be able to take care of life’s basic needs for myself. Losing the use of both of my arms has a way on insuring you no longer take life for granted. Just touching my face or feeding myself was a chore. I can only imagine how those who have been hurt permanently must feel.
During this time I occupied myself with self-reflection, one of the life principals I teach in my book, VOICES Words From Wise Women and discussed often as part of my coaching practice. Self-reflection is so critical to career and life success, and yet I had neglected to implement it myself on an annual basis. Too busy helping others, I guess. This is a problem for many women; too busy to help themselves.
What a gift the fall was as now I have spent four weeks reflecting about where I traveled in life and setting goals about where I still want to go. I understand again how even the teacher must slow down to in order to be more effective. Why did it take an unfortunate fall to bring me back to what is critical, reflection on our blessings?
I am giving myself a break and counting us all human. So when, as they say life gives you lemonade, make sure you take the time to understand the problem and how you got there, and then develop a plan to move forward. Many of the most poignant success stories in life come from people who have “fallen” down more than once but continued to get up to move forward again.
Another client of mine, Dr. Anne Blackhurst, was named last week as President of the University of Minnesota Morehead. Congratulations, Anne! You will be a fine president and we will all be looking forward to your accomplishments. Anne understood at the beginning of her search that she must be 110% committed to her goal of becoming a president and put all of her effort into the interviewing process. As a marathon runner and an educator who dedicated herself to becoming the best in her profession, she brought her personal skills, knowledge, and previous experiences to the table during the entire process. You will be a role model for other women seeking to make a difference in their fields. Kudos. Best of luck!
If you watched or read any news outlet this week you know that Facebook’s successful Chief Operating Officer and newly minted billionaire, Sheryl Sandberg, has just released a book about women in leadership roles, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. I have it ordered and will begin reading it Wednesday. You need to read some of the reviews. Sheryl joins a growing list of “Wise Women” who are thoughtful, experienced and have achieved some career success and now want to ease the path for other women in the workplace. Kudos to Sheryl.
Recently published books point to issues blocking women from top positions in business and the non-profit world.
- Our educational institutions graduate more women every year than men but the number of CEOs and Board Members remains low
- Many women leave the workplace after spending years in middle management and not getting promoted into executive roles
- More women are starting entrepreneurial work options than ever before
- Women still earn 70 cents on the dollar of what men earn in comparable positions
Every woman knows what the issues are at work and it is up to all of us to create a new discussion of the disparities in salaries and promotions we face. In fact this is also important to men who have a wife, daughter, mother, or friend working to sustain them through work. We all have a stake in this conversation.
The subtle discrimination that over half of our US workers deal with in their career development continues even in 2013. Women ask me all of the time, “How can I be promoted in my current workplace?” “Why is the man in the next office still making more than I am since I have the same educational background and level of experience?” I was asked recently in a television interview, “Why the economic downturn has so severely impacted women in hiring, promotion, and downsizing efforts? “ The answer is that long held, cultural stereotypes still persist in men and women’s perceptions about work and careers
Sounds like Lean In is a must read. I also suggest you also put on your reading list, How Remarkable Women Lead written by Joanna Barsh and Susie Cranston from the McKinsey Consulting group. Last year in my book, Voices Words From Wise Women,
I shared advice and leadership tools through the stories of many successful women who were interviewed the last twenty years. The more you read the more you understand how pervasive the issue of UNDER employment for women continues even in 2013!
It’s time to get back to blogging about women, leadership, and work & life Balance
Here’s a question I often ask my clients, “When was the last time you thought about not following up on that personal goal?” Or the question might go, “So when was the last time you truly did something for yourself?”
Ahh…life it runs away from you. Women get so busy …..that their personal time to pursue spiritual reflection, read a new book, take a class, or pursue healthful practices of self-care like exercise, drinking enough water and watching their eating …all of those personal things just seem to get forgotten. I am no exception here and it is especially true during the holidays. I have been so…busy with work and life that I have not even blogged. My reflections about women and our universal issues are an important part of my life and my self-care but it just hasn’t gotten done lately. My apologies readers.
This over worked and out of time feeling is an almost universal condition for women who work, have families, and busy lives. This is especially true as we approach the end of the year. In fact “Finding the Balance” is one of the topics from my book, VOICES Words From Wise Women and it gets discussed in every group of women with whom I speak. It’s not just me…but “Every Woman” who struggles with balance. How do we develop successful work lives, keep our personal lives going, and take time for our self-care related to the mind, body, and spirit? Not an easy task. Rule Number 1: Be conscious of the need to find balance every day of your life. I will be thinking about it and writing every day so stay tuned. Here come the holidays!!! KJ
Mother’s Day is around the corner, and all of us have been touched by a special woman in our lives. The person who bore us and raised us has no equal. It’s great that every year we take a moment to remember those who are/were our mothers. After all, these women influence society and teach us to define what is important to us. Mothers are the ones who helped us become what we are today.
The older I get the more I realize the influence of your mother is present throughout your entire life. In my own world last week when my first book went to a best seller status, I wished my mother was still here to see it happen. After all, the book was written for her and is a tribute to wise women everywhere!
My mother believed that we are defined by the love and care we give to others. She taught me that we are all equal in the almighty’s eyes no matter what our nationality, our gender, our age, or our race. She believed we all experience defeat at some time, but the important thing is to never, never… give up! A stubborn Scots woman for sure was my mother.
I know that you, too, can name values your mother taught you to revere. How did your mother influence your goals for work and life? Why are you different because of what your mother taught you about life? How did her influence impact your career choices?
As you think about your own mother this weekend, I suggest it is also time to reflect about the public dialog about women and mothers in the world. You cannot watch the news or read about current topics and miss that we still evaluate women on how they look rather than on their contributions to society. Really listen to what people say. Look at who the politicians are who talk about legislating a woman’s reproductive decisions. Women still do not have the same access in the workplace with regards to salary and promotions. Older women have a more difficult time finding another job after a lay off than do men of the same age. Yes, sexism and ageism still exist.
This mother’s day give a true gift to women. If you are going to celebrate Mother’s Day then realize how much you owe to your own mother and stand up for women everywhere and honor women at work and at home 365 days a year!