Archive for the ‘Confidence’ Category

Solving Sexism the Chameleon’s Way

I was inspired by the insightful comments you all had on Monday’s post.   My company is considered small by Corporate America standards, so I’m not bombarded with big company BS and internal politics on a daily basis.  Regardless, I agree with most of your comments…sexism (as well as other “isms”) is still an ongoing battle in the workplace.

We have a saying at my office….

Don’t come to me with a problem.  Come with a problem and a suggested solution.

I like that saying and adopted it from (gasp) a bully of a man.  Regardless, it works to get collaboration going on problem-solving. 

So, what are we going to do about this battle of the sexes?  Here are my suggested solutions:

Solution #1.  Revenge!  Let’s put out a worldwide call to female executives.  From this point forward, they may only hire assistants with these qualifications…


My apologies to the guys…us girls needed needed a little visual pick-me-up.

Solution #2.  Throw in the Towel.  All the men can work, contribute 75% of their incomes into a new government-run program called “Feed and Pamper the Women” and all the ladies will sit back at the expensive spas, hire man-servants to clean our houses and watch our kids, and….errrr……no.  Next.

Solution #3.  Be a Chameleon.  Let’s face it. Men and women are different creatures.  Physically, the differences are obvious.  More importantly, the way we show ourselves to the world is different.  From early childhood, stereotypical ways of acting are reinforced in boys and girls. 

Girls – be polite, speak softly, don’t fight.

Boys – toughen up, get in the game, don’t cry.

When these stereotypical ways of projecting ourselves are brought into a competitive environment (workplace, politics, buying a car, negotiating a deal…whatever), who do you think is going to play that game better?

To be viewed with absolute equality in the workplace, I think women need to Chameleon and better adapt to the environmentWe need to project more confidence, speak louder, be more assertive, and act like leaders.  And while doing this, not completely check our femininity at the door.  Books

The Brown Paper Bag Girl expressed it well in her comment “…a significant aspect of equality is women believing and acting like they are equal. After all, you get what you put out there.”

Being chameleon-like doesn’t always come easy.  My bookshelf is filled with books like these…because we’re all in this together.


What other suggestions do you have to bring more equality to the sexes?

We’re moving on to a different topic on Monday.  Be sure to check back! 

If you liked this post, you may also like Lookism.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye

In the old days of England, the Town Crier had the official duty of standing in public and shouting, or “crying” official announcements.  Sometimes he’d ring a hand-bell and shout Hear Ye, Hear Ye to attract more attention.  Hear Ye simply means Listen Up, People… 

Photo Source

When I have something important to say, I don’t ring a bell.  I don’t shout.  And I certainly don’t stand on a street corner with a scroll.  I usually just make my point calmly and hope that people have their ears open and brains tuned-in. 

Note that this calm-talking tactic only works when the husband person you are addressing is looking at you.  If they are peering over your shoulder at the ESPN Sports Report, you do not have his their attention.  In these circumstances, you have my permission to invest in a large hand-bell.  Ring-a-ding-ding-ding.  

Announcing facts like a Town Crier vs. stating opinion are different, yet I know a lot of people who state their opinions as if they are facts.  And, it can boil over into an argument when the other person disagrees or is passionate about the topic. 

I’m not shy about expressing my opinions during conversation, but I don’t go out of my way to argue a point.  I rarely stand on soap boxes.  My father, on the other hand, was born on a soap box. 

Me:  Hi Dad.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Dad:  Hi Kiddo.  Did you see the paper today?

Me:  Well, yaaaaa.  Tomorrow is Black Friday.  Didn’t everyone in America get today’s newspaper?  It’s super-coupon day, don’t ya know

Dad:  Did you read anything except the ads?

Me:  Nope.

Dad:  I wrote an editorial.

Me:  Oh no!  Dad!  You didn’t!  Not again!  It’s Thanksgiving for goodness sake.

Dad:  I didn’t know they were going to publish it today.  It’s a holiday and the editor probably needed to fill space.

Me:  Do I even need to ask what it’s about?

Dad:  You know what it’s about.  And…I even said that….

Me:  Oh Vey!  Dad!  Can’t you keep your opinions to yourself?

Dad:  Nope.

The thing about opinions is that they’re expressed from a person’s personal point-of-view.  Opinions are not right, wrong, true, or false.  They are based on a set of facts, filtered through our intellects, emotions, circumstances, and perspectives.  

Think of everything in the world…going through your personalized filter system…

Regardless of what comes out the other end of our internal filters…we are constantly making decisions about what to express and what to keep to ourselves. 

There are too many times when I wish I could have hit the rewind button and took back something I said, or expressed my opinion differently.  However, there have also been times when I kept quiet but should have had the courage to express my unpopular opinion.  What about you?

Do you find it easy or difficult to express your opinions, especially the unpopular ones?

The Catalina Eco-Marathon

  • There are limits on talent.
  • There are limits on physical ability.
  • There are no limits on effort.

I spent the weekend on Catalina Island, California, to cheer for my friend Stacey as she crossed the finish line of the Catalina Eco-Marathon.  Congratulations, girl…you did it!  I’m so very proud of you.

This was no ordinary race.  It was mostly a trail run, with over 6,000 feet of elevation.  Up and down these hills…

With spectacular views from the top…

I’ve never been to a marathon before and had imagined the field of participants as being very fit, muscular, young, and pumped full of super-human adrenaline.  The thing that was most surprising and inspiring was seeing the age-range of the runners.  There were quite a few marathoners who were well over retirement age.  In fact, I talked to one 72-year-old who has run over 100 races.  Goes to show that age isn’t a determining factor when setting out to achieve a goal. 

I realized that we should never again say to ourselves “I’m too old for that” or “I can’t do that” when setting a goal.  That kind of self-defeating talk prevents us from even trying to reach our dreams…whether they’re about fitness, career, personal, or otherwise.   

We may not all have the physical ability to climb Mount Everest…or the talent to win an Olympic medal.  But…we have both the ability and the talent to put 100% effort into reaching for our goals…whatever they may be.

My friend Stacey didn’t start to train for her first marathon until just before her 40th birthday.  Training was not easy, but she was determined to put forth the effort.  She ran the San Diego Marathon in under 4 1/2 hours.  This year, she ran the Catalina Eco-Marathon, one of the most difficult in the country, and crushed her personal goal by 20 minutes.

There are a few things that I’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t.  As I sit here and think about these un-acheivements…I don’t know what’s stopping me other than…me.  The starting line is at my feet.  The training plan is in my hands.  I can’t see the finish line, but I know that it is out there…waiting to be crossed. 

Is there something that you’ve always wanted to achieve, but haven’t made the effort?  Why not?  Is it time to make the commitment to put in the effort and try?

Negotiating in Business-Land

The Boss-E side of my personality is making a major appearance this week.  I’m in Southern California at my corporate office for meeting after meeting after meeting.  Actually, I’m typing this on the airplane….wishing the mild gut-wrenching turbulence would stop.  For my own safety and the safety of those around me, I better remain seated.  After all, I don’t want to spill this plastic cup of Minute Maid on the nice man beside me, causing widespread panic like Snakes on a Plane. 

For most of the week, my company will be updating its Business Plan and Business Model.

  • Business Model = spreadsheet that shows a company’s budget and cash flow.
  • Business Plan =  how a company operates in its field (marketing, staffing, production, sales, etc.).

For my entire career, I’ve always been at the negotiating table with men.  I’ve worked hard to get where I am, but I still think they need me there to balance out the testosterone levels.  All I can say is, it’s been both interesting and frustrating. 

If most women are like me, we simply don’t approach negotiations the same way.  For men, it’s a battle to be won…against the economy…against the competition…against the forces of nature.  If my business partner shows up to the meeting tomorrow in a suit of armor, I wouldn’t be surprised.  Women, on the other hand, don’t come bearing armor.  Plus, it’s not very fashionable in this century.

If you think about it, a lot of situations require negotiation…

Man:  I want barbecue ribs for dinner.

Wife:  I’d rather have baked chicken.  I have a new dress on today and ribs are too messy.

Man:  I said I want ribs.

Wife:  Well, I said I don’t.

Man:  Then I guess you won’t be eating, because I’m making the damn ribs.

A lump forms in your throat.  Tears well up behind your eyes.  Your man doesn’t care about you or your new Ann Taylor halter-dress.  He didn’t even notice that you spent half the day doing laundry and cleaning the kitchen.  Your face feels hot.  You can’t hold it back…and….

Wife:  Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Man:  Okay, we’ll have the chicken.

The thing about us girls is that it’s hard for us to take the sappy emotion out of an argument or heated negotiation.  We want peace.   We want to find the middle-ground.  The guys can get in each others’ faces, name-call, and still be best buds when it’s  all said and done.  I can’t even imagine crying at a business meeting, but it’s still hard for me to be an emotionless shell just because I’m in a conference room talking arguing about budgets.  Come to think of it, maybe the armor would help.  At least no one would see my mascara running behind the face shield.

How do you react when your opinion is challenged?  Are you are good negotiator? 

Being Boss-E

My parents tell me that when I was a little girl, I was bossy.  They’re right.  I remember having strong little girl opinions and telling people what I thought they should do.

  •  We’re going to ride our bikes now.  Go home and get your wheels.
  • Let’s put on a talent show and charge the neighbors 5¢ admission. 
  • Tell your mom to make cookies so we can sell them at the lemonade stand. 
  • Dad.  We’re playing Barbies.  Move off the couch.  It’s their house.  

As far back as I can remember, I’ve been more of a leader than a follower.  And if I am following, I will only do it willingly for someone I trust and believe is leading me in the right direction.  At work, having leadership qualities helped me become co-owner of a company.  At home, I get teased for not being able to “turn it off.”  Sometimes my friends will call me out, tell me to pipe down, roll their eyes, or say I’m being a little too direct.  I recognize this and make light of it by joking around, like when I wear this…


In the boss role at work, I try to lead by example.  Earning respect and demanding respect are two very different things.  Earning it shows humility and confidence.  Earning it is the sign of an admirable leader.  On the other hand, demanding respect shows arrogance.  I like to think of myself as a respect-earner (E), not a respect-demander.   I call it being Boss-E, not bossy.  I’d be shocked if anyone’s ever called me an arrogant jerk jerkette.   But, who knows….It could’ve happened behind my back. 


Are you more of a leader or a follower?  Have you ever had to work hard to earn someone’s respect?

Check back on Monday – I’ve got some cool things planned for the weekend and will be bursting to tell all about them!

Between the White Lines

Earlier this week I had the chance to observe Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp.  For those of you who are not from Western PA or are not otherwise part of the Steelers Nation, let me tell yinz, that the Steelers give folks around here a reason to live during football season.  The saying that Steelers fans “bleed black and gold” is close to the truth. 

I’ll admit that I am not a die-hard football fan (it’s a horror, I know).  However, watching practice from the field changed my perspective about a few things.  

Observation #1.  Strength.  These guys are big.  I mean, really big.  Minus the pads and the helmets and the TV magic, words like superhuman and fierce still apply.

Observation #2.  Discipline and Perseverance.  Practice was carefully timed, with drill after drill after drill, in 95 degree heat.  I was heat-exhausted just watching! 

Observation #3.  Team Spirit.  There was something special going on between those white lines. 

Observation#4.  The Fans.  Support for the players was amazing.  Even with a not-so-great season last year and benched for bad behavior Ben on the field, the fans were still out there, cheering on the team.  The Black and Gold were not on that field playing for a win.  They were not in the playoffs.  This was not the Superbowl.  Let me sound it out for you – they were only prack–tiss–ing.  Yet still, there were the fans – lots and lots of fans.  So many fans that 12,500 of them showed up at the team’s first scrimmage at a local high school field the previous Friday.

I’ve played a number of different sports over the years.  (Not football.  No, not even flag football – have you seen those people-crushing photos above?!?!).  Regardless, not a single sport has kept my interest long enough that I can claim to be a competitive player.  I’m athletic, but not an athlete.  Still, when I try something new, I always do better if I have some support in my corner. 

Everyone needs fans and cheerleaders, not only in sports, but in life.  If you know someone who needs a little Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah this weekend, get on out there and give it to them!  If you need some yourself, it’s okay to ask for support, and it’s also okay be your own cheerleader…and your own biggest fan. 

Are you a good cheerleader?  Have you ever seen someone accomplish something amazing?

Have a great weekend!  I’ll be back with you on Monday.

Drinking Wine and Watching Kung Fu

Last night, my husband and I checked out a local bar for a late 9PM dinner.  He had just flown back from Business Land and a glass of wine sounded great!  

The bar scene was un-us-u-al.  Let me break it down for you…

  • a large group of 40-somethings having a birthday party;
  • two men with ponytails;
  • a random mixture of professionals and couples;
  • a few ballcaped good ol’ boys watching motocross on TV (only after pleading with the bartender to turn off the Paul Mitchell kung-fu tournament); 
  • oh, and let me not forget the group of guys with blow outs and muscle shirts who could quite possibly be stand-ins for the next season of Jersey Shore.  I wonder if they used Paul Mitchell products to get those Jersey-like hairdos?

Wow, what a mix of bar-goers on a Thursday night. 

Team Paul Mitchell (c)….

May I introduce you to the bar scene….

With such a diverse group, it got me thinking about social skills and comfort level in public places.  Some people are very comfortable going to a bar or restaurant alone, while others are terrified.  This has very little to do with Confidence, but it certainly is an indication of where you fall on the scale of Outgoing…to…Reserved.

Personally, I don’t mind going it alone, but only to certain places.  Sitting at a restaurant bar to have dinner – yes.  Saying “table for one” to a hostess – maybe.  Hitting a dance club – absolutely not.  No matter if I’m alone or with a group, I can usually strike up a casual conversation with strangers sitting next to me.  I only back off, way off, if my new friend starts to get too personal…or creepy – you know the type.

Are you outgoing or reserved?  Do you ever go places alone and meet new people?