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The Job Doctor on BAD BOSSES

Submitted by Womenworking on Fri, 03/27/2015 - 08:29

Our new feature, The Job Doctor, is here to answer your questions! This week Helene tackles tough topics like a boss who doesn't take a working mom seriously and how to deal with office gossip. See her advice below. 

Have a question for The Job Doctor? Leave one in the YouTube comments!


Video Editor: Michelle Purpura


Dare to Live Fully: Redefining Confidence

Submitted by Womenworking on Thu, 03/26/2015 - 11:30

Helene's special guest this week is Laura Whitley, executive vice president, Bank of America. Laura's upbringing supported her to be courageous and gave her the ability to take on new challenges and trust her intuition. 

Here are some of the highlights from the program:

On getting comfortable with the uncomfortable…

LAURA: Being uncomfortable or having shaky knees is not a bad thing, it tells you that you’re about to embark upon a learning experience. Learning and growing is always good. 

On intuition…

Trusting your gut is really leveraging your experience. Intuition comes from many experiences and factors. I have trusted my gut in making important decisions. If the situation does not line up with what my instincts say, it tells me there’s something amiss and I need to understand [what’s really going on].

On being “totally”confident…

HELENE: I’ve interviewed high level leaders, and the idea of being totally confident in moving forward is just not real. These women wanted to make a difference, picked their issues and took some risks.

On taking on a new challenge…

If we’re pulling back, out of the fear that perhaps we don’t have enough skills in place to move forward, then we’re depriving people of our talent, and could pass up some great opportunities.

To hear more from Helene and Laura, click HERE.


The Energy You Bring to the Room

Submitted by Womenworking on Thu, 03/26/2015 - 08:48

Have you ever noticed the people who walk into a room and bring with them energy you can feel? Perhaps it’s the energetic way they walk in, grab their chair, and sit down. Maybe they are announcing their arrival with a smile and a comment or greeting. In any case, one’s presence can be pleasant or negative. It can affect the others in the room. How does this occur? According to Matthew Lieberman in his book, Social: Why our Brains are Wired to Connect, his research as a neuroscientist concludes that our brains are hard-wired for being social. We have built-in radar for others’ energy. This is a powerful part of the first impressions we make with others in our presence. It has a large bearing on our reputation. It’s also part of our body image. How can we become more aware and in charge of the energy we bring into a room?

Energy arises from the inside out. According to Tony Schwartz of the Energy Project, the quality of your energy is a product of: 

Oprah Winfrey said on her finale show: “Nobody but you is responsible for your life… You are responsible for the energy that you create for yourself, and you are responsible for the energy you bring to others.” A guest on her show sent her a sign she hung up outside her office door that says: Please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space. Oprah said, “All life is energy and we are transmitting it at every moment. We are all beaming little signals, like radio frequencies, and the world is responding in kind.”

Here is how you can beam the most authentically positive energy whenever you walk into a room:

Attend to the four areas of energy: mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. 
Scan yourself for these four important energy sources to notice what requires more attention. Is it sleep, exercise, emotions, purpose and vision? Then, see what might make a meaningful difference.

Create a daily energy-building routine with simple techniques that build positive habits into your energy field.
Our energy field determines the state of our physical body. Replace the word “Body Image” with “Body Mindset.” This takes you from comparing the way you look to other people, and moves your focus to your energy and what your body can do. Short exercises, for less than 10 minutes per day, will help. Here is one for body image: Every day for 21 days, say or write down, “What I am grateful to my body for is _______, and why.” Where energy flows, our attention goes. 

Find what feels authentic for you in raising your energy. Give conscious attention to what you want to bring into the room before you enter it.
Here are five energizing practices you can use before you enter:

  • Speak with a colleague or friend who gives you a lift with their humor and positive energy. Since we are hard-wired to be social, this energy is contagious!
  • Close your eyes and notice how you feel. Is there tension that is robbing your energy? Get in touch with your emotion and notice the need behind it. 
  • Imagine the place you find most positively energizing – perhaps relaxing and beautiful.
  • Check your posture. Are you standing straight and tall or are you slouched? Your posture and walk affect your energy.
  • Take slow, deep breaths as you remember your purpose or goal. Visualize yourself making progress.

-Andrea Zintz, Career Coach, President, Strategic Leadership Resources

Body Image: How to Change our Beliefs

Submitted by Womenworking on Wed, 03/25/2015 - 08:43

Our minds are truly amazing! Due to advances in neuroscience, scientists now know so much more about how the brain truly functions. In previous blogs, I have referred to some of this research about how our subconscious mind has a partnership with our conscious mind. This new knowledge enables us to use simple techniques for better thinking. When we think more clearly for our own well being, we can experience an ever-happier life. The way we view our bodies is a big part of how we feel when we look in the mirror and bring our presence to work. But, can you modify your beliefs and your strategies? Yes! This is all available to you with what your conscious mind can do.

Known as neuroplasticity, scientific findings show we all have an innate ability to restructure the gray matter of our brains with our conscious-mind. We can consciously alter our beliefs and our strategies. However, for these conscious alterations to become integrated into our subconscious mind, we must consciously practice this new belief.

Emotional reactions usually stem from your assumptions about how life “ought to be,” not from actual events. Awareness of the power you have to change your beliefs and strategies provides the presence of mind to see the assumptions and false beliefs before you make decisions.

Using self-observation, awareness, and self-questions, here are 4 steps to shift your beliefs and strategies in a more positive direction. These are based on research by neuroscientist, Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz.

Notice your automatic responses to yourself as learned brain-strategies that you can change.

This step requires you be non-judgmental about your responses. You are not weak, inferior or defective as a human being. Your brain is hard-wired to love solving problems and to face and resolve challenges. Our thoughts are simply learned patterns that can be unlearned. Those old embarrassments from your adolescent years may have been translated into judgmental beliefs about your body and mind. They could be distorted perspectives.

Ask yourself, “Is this response true about me? How might I view this same quality in my best friend?” You always have the option, to choose the thoughts, emotions, actions you want to express instead. 

For example, when I looked in the mirror and noticed the wrinkles on my upper lip, my hyper-focus on this quality of my face was coupled with the assessment that I’m looking old. This brought on sadness about becoming “old” and less attractive. I knew this was a distortion. How? When I notice small wrinkles on the faces of my friends, I don’t make the same judgments about their faces that I make about mine.

Re-frame the assessment the way you might if you were another person.

Reframe a certain thought or self-assessment so you can clearly see what is true and what is not true. Step back and separate yourself as someone different from the belief or assessment. When you do, you have a clearer picture of what you can change, and what you have no choice about. When you see a distortion, use a descriptive word that resonates with you and calls your attention in a profound way. 

For example, I called the wrinkles above my lip a sign that I’m old a “big lie” and a “misguided belief.” This consciously shifts my focus to something opposite from what my brain has been automatically been doing. This step puts the power in your conscious mind and develops your innate ability to choose your responses to life.

Refocus your perception of yourself on what you consciously prioritize and most value.

Think about your life and what you most value. See your body, mind and spirit as aligned to what you most want to create in your life. Ask yourself, “How do I want to feel about myself? What perspective aligns with what matters most to me? What does my body do for me that helps me achieve what matters?” Your answers to these questions will galvanize your subconscious mind and sharply focus your energy on creating thoughts, ideas, and actions that align with your highest purpose.

My answers to my inquiry were my yearning for wisdom, grace and beauty. When I decided to change my belief about “old,” I changed how I felt. I made a powerful shift to decide that the changes in my face were indications of wisdom and beauty. After all, I saw those qualities in other women I admired. Then, I began to feel appreciative and my confidence improved.

Take action to express your commitment to this priority or value.

This step is about what you say and do (your behavior). You have to think differently and also perform differently instead of the old way. This means changing what you say to yourself and about yourself to others. This may mean catching yourself in “I’m sorry” and pausing. Do this by giving your brain new things to do. This is where the change in brain chemistry occurs, where you are creating new neural patterns with your new mindset. Action is key. Actions tell your subconscious mind that the first three steps matter to you.

By consistently taking action, changing the old or habitual response you used, you are consciously self-directing changes in your brain. These changes will make it increasingly easier for you to shift your beliefs about your body image, especially situations that normally trigger you. The more you practice a behavior, the more likely your subconscious mind will integrate it as habit. You have learned to change your beliefs!

The best outcome is that you get to consciously choose what you will create or change as you develop a kinder and more positive body image.

-Andrea Zintz, Career Coach, President, Strategic Leadership Resources

Can't Sleep? Try These Strategies

Submitted by Womenworking on Tue, 03/24/2015 - 10:21

Quality and quantity go hand in hand when it comes to sleep. If you sleep deeply (quality), but for just a few hours a night (lack of quantity), your brain and body don’t get what they need to rejuvenate. If, on the other hand, you spend plenty of time in bed at night, but the quality of sleep is poor—you’ll have the same problems. You deserve to be well rested and to sleep in peace for the appropriate amount of time. 

Thought for the Day

Fake it till you make it. Whenever someone asks you how you sleep, respond that you sleep like a baby. You’ll create a new story about yourself, and that will make it into a reality. 


“I drift off into a deep restful slumber with ease. My dreams take me on beautiful joyful journeys. I wake feeling well rested and energized.” 

Bedtime Practice

While you are lying in bed tonight, take a moment to examine the quality of your thoughts. Sometimes when I’m going to bed I realize that I have to get up early and I won’t get all the sleep I know I need. I start thinking about how sleepy I’m going to be in the morning, and I have to catch myself, because I know this sort of thinking can disrupt the quality of sleep that I do have available. Instead, I say an affirmation: “I am going to wake up easily, feeling awake and alive. I am going to have a perfect night of sleep.” 

Bedtime Writing Exercise

Keep a notebook and a pen by your bed, and use it as a safe holding place for your thoughts. If you find your mind racing at bedtime, write down any to-dos, worries, ideas, or goals. Trust that they’ll be waiting right there for you tomorrow. For now you can rest easy. 

Sleep Strategies 

If you have trouble sleeping, try the following tips to improve your snooze time: 

  • Don’t exercise within three hours of bedtime.
  • Avoid alcohol in the evenings (it might make you feel sleepy, but it actually interrupts sleep).
  • Don’t consume caffeine after 2 PM.
  • Check that your medications don’t interfere with sleep. 
  • Establish a regular bedtime and wake-up time, and stick to it. 
  • If you nap, keep it to under an hour per day. 
  • Cooler bedroom temperatures promote sleep. 
  • Remove or cover lights, glowing screens, or lit displays.
  • Use a white-noise maker or a fan if outside noises keep you up. 
  • Get black-out curtains if daylight or outside lights are an issue. 
  • Allow only sleep and intimacy in the bedroom; do all other activities in other areas of the house. 

 Adapted from Mind Your Body, by Joel Harper, Harper One, 2015

Our Presence, Our Body Image

Submitted by Womenworking on Mon, 03/23/2015 - 08:42

We are always complaining about our bodies! 

I am too tall, too fat, too thin, or too short. Our hair is too thin, too straight, too kinky, or too curly. Rarely do we hear someone say, “My body is fabulous!” “My body is beautiful.” “My body works.” “My body takes me through life.” Body image is the way you see yourself and imagine how you look. Having a positive body image means that, most of the time, you see yourself accurately, you feel comfortable in your body, and you feel good about the way you look. I have been especially interested in this topic over the last six months. Why? I am aware of it myself, and I have two daughters who I’ve observed through their development—and their suffering. 

Women develop much of their self-esteem through girlhood. 

We develop our image and identity. These experiences stay with us through adulthood. Face it; girlhood was mostly a rough time for everyone. We often think we are the only ones that feel that way. However, during a women's meeting on this topic yesterday, high school-aged young women staged a beautiful performance for us that expressed this painful period of our lives. They started it with a survey of 11-year-old girls as to whether they would rather be fat or lose an arm. They answered they would rather lose an arm. A sad but often true condition of a young girl’s psychology. 

How does this play out as adults? 

The image we hold of our body makes a difference to our treatment of it. The image we see in the mirror may be a real or distorted view of who we are. Based on this view, we create either a positive or a negative self-image. Self-image is important because how we think about ourselves affects how we feel about ourselves and how we interact with the world around us. A positive self-image can enhance our physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Conversely, a negative self-image can decrease our satisfaction and ability to function in these areas.

Women have a wonderful superpower—our emotional and intuitive connection with others and ourselves.

How can we rewire our self-image, so it serves our health and well-being, our best thinking, and the quality of our energy, so we feel joy when we look in the mirror? During our passage through adolescence, we processed our individual and social experiences through self-reflection and expression and came through with an authentic presence as adults.

As adults, we continually take in information and evaluate ourselves in multiple situations. We ask ourselves: “How do I look?” We evaluate our performance: “How am I doing?” We assess ourselves in relationships: “How important am I?” With a positive self-image, we recognize and own our assets and potentials while being realistic about our liabilities and limitations. With a negative self-image, we focus on our faults and weaknesses, distorting failure and imperfections.

During the wonderful performance of these young women, the audience—myself included—was crying. We saw our unresolved pain and unanswered questions reflected in the messages, movements, and songs from our pasts. During our discussion afterward, we shared our varied reactions to what we experienced. We left feeling more powerful and connected.

How can we improve our leadership presence? How can each of us call attention to body image for ourselves in a positive way? My blogs for the remainder of March will address: 

  1. Making conscious modifications to our beliefs and strategies: questions we ask ourselves, and our self-talk.
  2. Making improvements to our body image through eating and exercise, our use of energy and sleep.
  3. Dressing in accordance with our objectives, and using the “Eccentricity Ratio” as our guide.
  4. Using our voice to carry our message powerfully—to achieve the greatest impact.

-Andrea Zintz, Career Coach, President, Strategic Leadership Resources

Straight Talk at JPMorgan Chase

Submitted by Helene on Fri, 03/20/2015 - 11:07

Great event today. I sat down and had a fireside chat with Sam Saperstein, the Chief Marketing Officer for Commercial Banking, JPMorgan Chase. 

I was so impressed with the women in the audience. The questions they asked were authentic and right on target. Emily, my web editor, and our intern Michelle were there too, and recorded some key insights. 

Helene: Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. If you’re uncomfortable, it means you’re growing. 

Sam: My rule is, get your hand up in the first 10 minutes of a meeting. 

Helene: As long as you know who you are, you can use the language that the other person is comfortable with. That’s effective communication. 

Sam: Every boss I’ve had has had a different style. You need to be able to flip quickly. 

Helene: There’s no one who doesn’t make a mistake. We all do. Don’t buy into self-condemnation. Learn the lesson and move on. 

Helene and Sam take questions from the audience. 

A Happy Life is...

Submitted by Womenworking on Thu, 03/19/2015 - 16:09

You are the only person that can create the life you want. 

Video Editor: Michelle Purpura


The Secret to Achieving Big Goals

Submitted by Womenworking on Thu, 03/19/2015 - 08:31

We all want to achieve goals, right? Of course, achieving a goal is a basic and universal human need. I just wrote two blogs about the power having a vision has to move us from managing to leading. It’s important to have a vision and goals we can anticipate and work towards so we can achieve something meaningful. However, focusing so much on the goal that we lose perspective about the journey can be a source of frustration and unhappiness. 

Danielle, a woman with whom I worked, was committed to self-improvement. Well read in many self-help books, she was a wonderful goal-setter. She always set self-improvement goals, and focused tirelessly to achieve them. She also believed that in reaching her personal goal she would achieve happiness at last. But this isn’t so.

Why? It’s our very attachment to the goal that can prevent many of us from achieving long-term, lasting change. It’s about sustaining the gain. Even if we achieve our goal, we cannot stay there without commitment and discipline. For instance, I can hit my weight goal—and be there for 2 days—before I start gaining again. I have to keep a sustainable eating plan and go to the gym.

Whether it’s weight loss or achieving greater credibility, most of us want to see results right away. It’s easy to lose enthusiasm for change when reaping the rewards seem so far down the road. Unfortunately, we humans crave instant gratification and the prospect of prolonged trying can be a turnoff.

Instead, try focusing on the effort, rather than goals. In this way, we can notice the journey to the goal and distract ourselves from being results-obsessed. We are no longer measuring whether we attained the goal to feel rewarded. We set ourselves free to appreciate the process of change and our role in making it happen. We are now taking our mind off frustration with roadblocks to achievement (including our own) and how long it takes to make visible progress—because we’re enjoying the daily journey towards our vision.

So, as you take each step during the day along your path to making changes, remember: 

  • True personal change takes time—it's a marathon, not a sprint. 
  • Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out. This sustained journey can be fun as we put our minds in the present, while keeping our vision in mind.
  • If we make the effort, we will improve. If we don’t, we won’t.

Danielle shifted her attention from her goal to her journey. She found herself much happier! When we commit to a goal, we know that our vision, commitment, motivation, support system, patience and self-discipline are allies along the way. Enjoy the path each and every day! This helps us sustain what we achieve.

-Andrea Zintz, Career Coach, President, Strategic Leadership Resources

3 Easy Steps to help You Realize Your Vision

Submitted by Womenworking on Wed, 03/18/2015 - 08:41

In a recent blog, I talked about how important having a vision is, and how it can take you from managing to leading. Based on research on appreciative inquiry, there are four stages to building and implementing an inspiring vision. The four stages are aligned to the Four Ds: Discover, Dream, Design, Deliver. I will focus on the first three. Whether you are seeking to make a personal life-altering decision or leading a team seeking a better way to achieve a goal, these steps are proved to work every time!


This is a fun stage because you are exploring and analyzing past successes and accomplishments—your own or the team’s. The point is to focus your creative energy on the positive, rather than being caught in what didn’t work. Tapping into positive energy from past accomplishments will help you feed a creative mindset. This contributes to an ambitious vision. 

When I was helping my team become more high performing, we explored what worked successfully with other teams. We individually tapped into what helped us feel connected to the goals, each other, and our decisions. This also helped us build the confidence that we had knowledge and skills to reach an ambitious vision.


In this second phase, the goal is to tap into your creativity, as well as the team's. Brainstorm questions to ask and answer them to arrive at ideas. What is an ideal picture for the future? No idea is too crazy, stupid, or unrealistic during this step. Go for diverse ideas and experiences. Groups with diverse thinking styles come up with better solutions than groups of experts on a single subject.

Be careful of getting stuck in negativity: We can’t pay for that. We don’t have enough time. We tried that before and it didn’t work. Instead, think about what the ideal future would look like if you had millions of dollars or six more months. Turn negative thinking into creative thinking.

When my team was coming up with our vision, we brainstormed questions to ask ourselves such as, if we had all the resources possible and no limitations, what would we love to see in 5 years? When we found ourselves getting negative, we turned it into a “how to” question such as, “How to pay for this?”


In the Dream phase, you came up with options, ignored roadblocks, and tapped into potential visions of a better future. When you have a list of a few ideas that excite you or your team, you’ve arrived at the third step—the Design stage. You can begin to decide what the future should look like. Prioritize ideas from the Dream stage into which is most important, or which options best suit the needs of your stakeholders. During the Design phase, you begin to create an action plan. 

My team met regularly to work through our ideas. We took each stakeholder and asked ourselves, what would would satisfy or delight them? We began to work out designs for what would support those factors. As we analyzed each word of our vision, such as “sustainable growth,” we discussed what “sustainable” meant to us, and what “growth” really looked like. The vision became more meaningful and “real.” We became inspired.

This is where your hard work pays off. As you begin to roll out the vision and take steps towards reaching it, you or your team can benefit from a constant reminder of past accomplishments, current skills and abilities, and the desired future (vision). As you meet roadblocks during the implementation, re-framing your perspective of “roadblock” to “opportunity” will help you maintain a positive outlook. 

-Andrea Zintz, Career Coach, President, Strategic Leadership Resources

Stylish and Sweet Spring Trends

Submitted by Womenworking on Tue, 03/17/2015 - 08:41

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t mind losing an hour of sleep if it was going to help push winter out of the way and let spring come on in! We’ve had enough fun with our cable knit sweaters and boots of every color and height… time to put them away and make SPRING FORWARD! What isn’t there to love about spring? It’s longer days, more fun in the sun; we all come out of hibernation! We want to shed those comfort food pounds we gained from being inside so much, and start showing off our bodies… right?! No more layers upon layers of clothing; we want to feel lighter and brighter as the days grow warmer. Feel fresh and look our best! Well here are some guidelines to consider when unpacking and purchasing your warm weather wears.

It’s the cooler and softer side of spring’s color spectrum that has all the designers this season abuzz. I personally can’t help constantly smiling at all the pretty sheer colors, especially the blue hues for the season. I hope this also makes you want to rush to update your spring wardrobe right away! Spend the last of these cozy winter nights inside clicking away for Spring’s hottest trends so you’re ready when the weather breaks.


Spring 2015 Color Trends

Aquamarine A cool calming blue with a watery feel; it’s a light and airy shade.

Scuba Blue It’s so reminiscent of a tropical ocean; a blue hue that looks and makes you feel invigorating.

Lucite Green A soft mint green that gives a soothing glow.

Classic Blue A classic color we are all too familiar with. Pairs well with all the other spring trend colors.

Toasted Almond A warm sun-kissed hue.

Strawberry Ice A soft pink-like shade that evokes a feeling of being “pretty in the pink” without being too overbearing.

Tangerine An energizing yet subtle shade of orange. Energizing and great as a pattern.

Custard A soft banana hued color that reminds me of crème brulee; creamy and decadent.

Marsala A warm burgundy wine color with a brown undertone.

Glacier Gray A soft gray; a perfect neutral that, much like the classic blue, is a great color to pair with the other spring trend colors.


Now, I couldn’t leave you this month without a few points to guide you on WHAT to get that’s hot…

Polka Dots are back and it’s not just for kids! They evoke a daintily sweet and feminine appearance. They come in various sizes, from large to small… choose one.

Chunky ColorBlocks are popular this spring. The hot mix of neutrals, anchored by bold colors in wider bolder stripes, is a great style option for all ages.

Robe Mode for spring, with the kimono’s simple and sleek silhouette, is getting all the buzz this spring. It’s uber comfy and perfectly pairs with denim. If the whole kimono style top is too much for you, take elements of it and try wearing the wide sash like a belt for a dress or top.  

Jumpers are still all the rave! This season the hot jumper is OVERALLS. This farmers’ staple is comfort & fashion with a slimming silhouette to be sexy and stylish. Jumpers will be around year after year; in a variation of styles for the picking.

Neutrals and Exotic Skins. Luxuriate in the rich textures now shown in the calming spring trend colors.

Gold Barrettes are simple ways to elevate your half up/half down do’s this spring (shown at Celine shows recently).

Next month, I will give you a more comprehensive breakdown of spring to-do’s in shoes/accessories and more! Until then, stay warm and get your closets ready for the great season ahead!

Pamela Watson is an experienced stylist who currently works as the trend expert for Builders of Style, where she prepares A-list clients for red carpet events, music videos, concerts and award shows. Have a question for Pamela? Either ask below or email administrator [at] womenworking [dot] com

True Leaders Have Vision

Submitted by Womenworking on Mon, 03/16/2015 - 08:32

Today it's essential to improve your strategic thinking if you want to move on from being a manager to a leader. It’s no secret that the environment in which your organization does business is always in the midst of change. One of the main requirements of a leader is the ability to devise a clear strategy for her team, department, or organization. It's critical to develop strategic thinking. This means creating and selling a vision of a compelling possible future, and doing this in a way that influences and motivates stakeholders to follow.

Here are three compelling reasons why developing and selling a vision is such a powerful leadership tool.

Vision provides a sense of where you—and the team—are headed. 

This is especially important when leading during times of uncertainty. So, how do you as a leader come to see that future and understand it? It may seem counter-intuitive, but leaders who look backward before looking forward actually look farther ahead. You can’t make progress toward the future if you are unable to understand where you came from.  Your history is important, and the team or organization’s history holds much of what’s important to its members. These include values and what the people who are part of the team stand for. It’s the foundation that got them from where they were to where they are now.

A vision paints a future that inspires hope and engagement. 

This is done by asking others to tap into values and their sense of future possibilities.. Ask others to dream about the future along with you. Ask them to approach this exercise with a sense of experimentation, fun, risk-taking, and standing firm on the principles to which they are committed. Vision conveys an ideal about a new and exciting concept, solution, or process—and about what success looks like. Basically, a vision is a word picture that others can see in their mind’s eye.

A vision fosters innovative thinking and risk-taking. 

An inspiring vision invites stakeholders to consider new approaches, while honoring the core competences that have generated success to date. By its nature, a vision causes everyone to take a long-range, broad approach to problem solving and decision making. This encourages dreaming of what’s possible, analyzing trends, thinking ahead, and planning.

The ability to look into the future is the quality that distinguishes leaders from managers. Developing and articulating a vision serves to motivate and empower yourself and others. Practicing with a personal vision is the best way to develop the skill.  In my next blog, I will describe the steps to developing and selling a vision.

-Andrea Zintz, Career Coach, President, Strategic Leadership Resources

Trust Your Intuition

Submitted by Womenworking on Fri, 03/13/2015 - 08:13

When an opportunity comes your way... Go for it!

Video Editor: Michelle Purpura

Dare to Live Fully: How to Attract a Sponsor

Submitted by Womenworking on Thu, 03/12/2015 - 11:47


In this episode of Dare to Live Fully, Helene talks with Michelle Gadsden Williams, Global Diversity Expert. Growing up in a close-knit family of women, Michelle learned early on the value of being surrounded by a powerful community. She offers advice on how to attract and build relationships with power players (sponsors), and more.

Read some of the highlights here: 

[On defining a sponsor…]

MICHELLE: This individual is a true champion, a staunch advocate. Someone who convinces others that you deserve that promotion or pay increase, putting your hat in the ring. They’re doing a lot of heavy lifting on your behalf. 

The relationship should be reciprocal. There are some things that the sponsor proactively does for the protégé. But the protégé also has to do their part as well: promoting and protecting the legacy of the sponsor. It’s a two-way street that can work incredibly well on both sides.

 [On how to attract a sponsor…]

HELENE: We need to do our homework. We need to figure out who the person is, who is the power player that we want to address. What are his or her pet projects? What can we contribute to help them? When you meet informally with a power player, take an interest in one of their projects, and let them know some of the ways you can help them. Why not also slip in one of your strengths or accomplishments? Let them know who you are. 

I want to say to any millennials that might be listening: Sponsors are within your reach. Take opportunities to meet them. Go to association meetings and cocktail receptions where they might be. It’s within your reach. Keep in mind how you can help them.

To hear more of Helene and Michelle's motivating conversation, CLICK HERE. 

This program and future shows will also be available on iTunes. Don't forget to give us a 5 star rating!

5 Ways to Boost your Confidence in Making Difficult Decisions

Submitted by Womenworking on Thu, 03/12/2015 - 08:34

How can we ensure that our decisions are right for the situation, for those impacted by them, and especially for ourselves? There is a powerful method I use to help me make the best decisions. The method is called TENOR, and is an acronym for 5 steps to effective decision-making. Developed by Charles Jones, researcher with the Institute for Adaptive Mastery, this method helps to bring the important role of emotions into play when considering decisions we make.

Let’s use an example to make it come alive. Jenna was feeling anxiety about her decision to present her work at a conference. The date conflicted with a planned family vacation and her family was looking forward to it. The vacation gave her quality time with her parents, husband and kids. The conference would give her exposure for her work, was good for her career and would please her boss. 

T stands for note Tension. Tension arises when you resist feeling an emotion. Focusing your conscious awareness at the site of tension is the first step to availing yourself of the information carried by this emotion.

Jenna felt tension in her body. When she thought about the choices, she noticed she furrowed her brow and was biting her lip—two symptoms of a painful emotion, which she then identified.

E stands for feel Emotion. Emotions are messages from your subconscious. Pleasurable emotions arise when your subconscious has the assessment that you ARE on track to fulfill a need. Painful emotions arise when your subconscious has the assessment that you are NOT on track to fulfill a need. To understand the information your subconscious is sending to your conscious mind, you must FEEL the emotion.

Jenna noticed she felt anxiety. She knew that she preferred to go on vacation, but since her boss asked her to make this presentation as a developmental opportunity, she felt conflicted. Her anxiety was connected to saying no to a chance to share her work with a large number of people who could help her career.

N stands for articulate Need. Needs are instinctual motivations that drive your decisions. Each emotion, painful and pleasurable, maps to a distinct need. For example, your need to achieve causes the feeling of frustration. The need to assert rights feeds the feeling of anger. The need to mitigate a risk is underneath anxiety. If your subconscious mind determines you are not on track to meet the need, it sends painful emotions to your conscious mind. You must articulate the underlying need to get to the important message of your emotions. 

Jenna felt as deeply as she could into her anxiety, and realized there were risks associated with each choice. This meant that to make an effective decision, she would have to identify the risks at play for her in this situation. If she said no to her boss, she would risk the possibility he wouldn’t ask her again, and he may not see her as committed to developing herself. If she chose the presentation, her family may feel she was not interested in quality time with them or for her own well being. 

O stands for create Options. Now that Jenna has articulated both her need and the risks that underlay her anxiousness, she can create options for herself. 

There are three ways to resolve a painful emotion. You can fulfill a need by modifying: (1) your strategy for fulfilling this need, (2) your beliefs for assessing the fulfillment of this need, or (3) your beliefs that drive how the need is assessed—that it is no longer an issue in this situation. Creating at least one option for resolving a painful emotion enables you to move forward.

Jenna was clear that her priority was her family. She believed that if she said no to her boss, he would assume she wasn’t committed to her development and wasn’t appreciative of the opportunity he was giving her. There was no evidence that this was so. It was an assumption she was making. If she decided to discuss her situation, share her mixed feelings and her decision with her boss, she would verify or dispel this belief. 

R stands for gut-check Resolutions. Your subconscious mind can process implications of decisions much faster than your conscious mind does. If you sit with a proposed decision to allow your subconscious to work on it, this is a best practice for making sound decisions. Sleeping on it will assist you in both your confidence and resolve in moving forward with your decision and solution.

Jenna sat with her decision to speak with her boss transparently. She felt less anxious and her resolve increased to make the appointment with him. 

Try using TENOR the next time you face a difficult decision and let me know how it works for you and any questions you have.

-Andrea Zintz, Career Coach, President, Strategic Leadership Resources

The Secret to Effective Decision Making

Submitted by Womenworking on Wed, 03/11/2015 - 08:28

Your decisions define who you are. Why? Decisions are ultimately tied to our performance as professionals, managers and leaders. When you make decisions, you use them as the basis for taking action and your action leads to results. These decisions can be about who you communicate with, your approach, how you handle conflict and solve problems, etc. The results lead to other decisions and actions—and generate the impressions that create your reputation. 

When you struggle with difficult decisions, you are striving to meet a need for others and yourself—though it may be sunconciously. When the decision is important to you, do you struggle with how you feel? Do you use facts and try pushing your emotions away while they persist to nag? There is a way to make this process more effective. Consciously use your emotions to help you consider your needs. 

Notice and use your emotions while sorting out your decisions. 

Our emotions are a major factor in our struggle with decision-making. This is our subconscious mind’s way of communicating our needs so they make their way to our conscious consideration. Properly interpreted, our emotions can support us in making performance-improving modifications to our beliefs and strategies. 

Even the most challenging and painful emotions can assist us. 

Each component of every emotion prepares us to move toward what we want. For example, anger urges us to assert our rights, envy promotes improving our standing, and embarrassment allows us to undo a social gaffe.

When we make decisions, our emotions are means to help us achieve goals important to us. 

They are tools that work beyond our conscious awareness to direct us where we need to go. They are not only instruments of our survival, causing us to fight or run, but, if we pay attention in the right way, emotions call out problems and opportunities. They lead us to excellent decisions. 

In my next blog, I will share 5 simple steps in using emotions and needs to make effective decisions easier. 

-Andrea Zintz, Career Coach, President, Strategic Leadership Resources

How to Start Living with GRIT Today

Submitted by Womenworking on Tue, 03/10/2015 - 08:35

Angela Lee Duckworth in her TED talk says, “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

It takes grit to persevere through tough situations like bad bosses, lack of visibility, toxic work environments and the uncertainty of lay-offs. Sticking to your career day in and day out and working hard is how you achieve your long term goals. 

Strategies for building a winning attitude:

Use effort to build ability: 

To build excellence, we have to lead in a way where we encourage effort. If some abilities aren’t inherent, we can substitute effort to build ability. Have the desire and attitude to excel in your undertakings. Have the courage and persistence to outwork your competitor.

Invest time and effort in building a nurturing environment:

We need to invest in building environments that inspire leadership, philosophy and opportunity. Risk needs to be built into our DNA, and new ways of playing the game need to be fostered. Find and stick with people who have a winning attitude. Wean off negative energy immediatelyit will get to you sooner or later.

Stay hungry:

We are slaves to instant gratification. The next generation of talent needs to be hungrier and work harder. Remember, there is a lot you don’t know. Keep learning. Develop an unending quest for knowledge. Learn from the best and apply your knowledge to develop a competitive advantage. World class performers are always looking for world class coaches. 

Real currency is not money:

Money is not the most important measure of success. The real currency is your reputation, people’s trust in you, honoring your commitments, and delivering results. You can exchange things for money, but with currency you can build a fortune.

Be a dreamer

When we dream, there is no limit to our imagination. The thrill is in pushing your real-life boundaries and testing your potential. So, be a dreamer.

--Deepika Bajaj

Five Easy Ways to Master Artfully Apologizing

Submitted by Womenworking on Mon, 03/09/2015 - 08:30

In a previous blog, I wrote about the tendency of women to say “I’m sorry” too often. However, as professionals and leaders, we all have opportunities to apologize when warranted. We make mistakes. We inadvertently offend another party. We also see opportunities to sympathize, which an artful apology can address, such as “so sorry for the rainy weather.” Studies have shown that after an artful apology over something you don’t control, rapport increases and so does trust.

A skill in exhibiting relationship intelligence and graciousness, the ability to artfully apologize is important to both parties—the apologizer and the injured party. Apologies build rapport, trust and help relationships in breakdown to achieve breakthroughs. They are very helpful in leading change, when practices and norms are changing in a culture shift, and things are uncertain and feel complicated. Painful emotions can run high during such times, and it's a leadership opportunity to acknowledge this difficulty with your teams by offering an apology.

Apologies communicate a positive energy when the act is meant to authentically connect with another person. Someone might make an effort to apologize, but not know how to connect the apology with true empathy.

Here are some tips for artful apologies:

Ask yourself: “What is your intent behind your apology?” 

If you made a judgment error, for example, your intention may be to restore your confidence in working trustfully with this person, and to regain their faith in your credibility. Overall, the intention is to restore both parties to their best. You must first restore yourself in order to restore the relationship.

Ask the other person what they thought and felt in the situation.

Your intention must be centered on the injured person or group. Find out:

  • What their experience may have been. 
  • What is their belief system? 

Learn what it would take from you to permit that person or group to heal from what your behavior left in its wake. Be quiet and listen—non-judgmentally. 

Paraphrase what you heard them say to check your understanding.

This communicates empathy. When one or more persons feel injured, there is a change in the state of the injured party—their attention springs to the tension and emotions that result from their reaction. These emotions might be anger, resentment, disappointment, or frustration. With a graceful apology, the state of both parties elevates to a higher place; words can either cut like a knife or renew the relationship. 

Let the injured party know how you feel, and ask him/her or the group what you might do to correct the situation. 

In our diminished state, where painful or challenging emotions are loudest, we may feel reactive or hopeless. We might make quick decisions or take actions to reduce our distress. We can wind up saying things in a way that we may regret later, or that are not in our own or others’ best interests. Instead, we can use the information we learn to empower ourselves with reflection, self-inquiry, and make empowered choices. With this mindset, apologize for the unintended impact of your action and communicate your commitment to correct the situation.

Check in with yourself afterward to reflect on the situation. 

What have you learned? Determine what you can do or do differently to rectify the situation and others’ feelings in the future. If appropriate, revisit the person or group to let them know what to look for from you in the future. This reinforces you heard and considered their perspectives and feelings, and lets them know what to look for in your behavior in the future. 

An artful apology can build your leadership presence and credibility by demonstrating relationship intelligence and your willingness to learn.

-Andrea Zintz, Career Coach, President, Strategic Leadership Resources

In Honor of the Women who have Inspired Us

Submitted by Womenworking on Fri, 03/06/2015 - 09:03

To celebrate Women's History Month, check out our new video! Who's a woman who inspired you?

Video Editor: Michelle Purpura

Three Ways to be Viewed as a Leader, Not Just a Manager

Submitted by Womenworking on Thu, 03/05/2015 - 09:40

What is the secret to creating a strong leadership presence when our main duties are managing? 

Let’s look at what usually takes up most of our time; managing work, problems, people and ourselves.

Managing is all about ensuring the production of consistently excellent outcomes. To get there, we strive to deliver consistency by managing through objectives, holding people accountable for clear, measurable results, and developing systematic and well-integrated processes. The focus in managing is learning from the past and applying it to the present, and solving problems with sound decisions. These critical behaviors ensure our stakeholders—our customers—get what they expect day after day, year after year. Without these results, nothing else matters. They are the foundation on which we build our credibility and reputation. 

Now let’s look at what behaviors make up “leading.” Leading is about anticipating the future based on trends and other “leading indicators,” and developing plans to leverage that future for a competitive advantage. How can you distinguish the work of your team, department, and project by becoming more effective, efficient, and generating greater customer satisfaction and results? Leadership behaviors inspire the commitment of others in sharing and executing a vision and plan. Leadership behaviors open new possibilities for the organization and enlist the commitment of others toward a shared vision of the future. These are the behaviors that can inspire others to follow you.

It’s not possible to be effective without managing. However, leadership is also necessary to inspire followership. Here are three ways to become viewed as a leader:

1. Ask future-oriented questions

Asking provocative questions can help shift your team’s attention to considering answers. It’s a very powerful way to engage others’ thinking. Choose questions to ask that don’t have easy and obvious answers such as, “what do our customers need that they aren’t getting from anyone else?” “How else can we look at this problem?” and “What are the trends/data saying will help us improve our results?” 

Questions can unlock the creative and intellectual potential within those looking for an opportunity to grow. Our questions can help nurture the knowledge, experience, and energy within others so they can engage and grow. Helping to stimulate the engagement and growth of untapped capacity exhibits your leadership presence. 

2. Create a vision of the future and share it

Think about what is possible for you, for others, and the organization. Then write it down. Make it brief and clear. Include its benefits to others and the organization. Then share it with others in a way that engages their input. Ask them, “What merits does this have?” “What are some concerns or risks to watch out for?” “How can this be achieved?” These questions invite their engagement. 

3. Follow up to hold others accountable

The key to effectively leading is results. You can't achieve growth just through setting higher and higher targets. You need to tap into the hidden and often suppressed capacity of those around you through effective leadership. Following up with others and helping them see progress is essential. Also, expressing deep appreciation for their efforts and contributions helps others to see you as a leader they want to please.

-Andrea Zintz, Career Coach, President, Strategic Leadership Resources