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Why You Need to be Kind to Yourself During Change

Submitted by Womenworking on Thu, 04/24/2014 - 08:29

In my last post I talked about the chaos of change, and how this can create fear. Don’t hesitate to acknowledge the fear, and take care of yourself. This is a time for self-nurturing. Here are some suggestions:

When you’re feeling insecure, address it. When you sense a fear, speak to it. Take time to focus on your needs.

Talk to people who are supportive, not people who will trivialize your feelings and tell you everything will work out for the best, when they have no real knowledge of the situation.

Change whether good or bad, can place stress on your body. Don't ignore it. Find outlets to give your mind and body a break. Practice deep breathing and relaxation. Take time to exercise, go for a walk or enjoy the outdoors.

Be patient. Change takes time. Recognize it could take a while for the dust of change to settle--and be patient both with the process and the people who are affected by it. Your demonstrated patience will give security and confidence to those around you.

Make a list of how the change you’re going through can benefit you. Visualize yourself staying calm, and being successful.

-Simma Lieberman, "The Inclusionist"
Career Coach

Coming from Strength

Submitted by Womenworking on Wed, 04/23/2014 - 06:35

We are always evolving, and as we trust ourselves more, we will act from strength. This is no easy task and involves a process of learning to trust our instincts and logic, rather than reacting from a fearful place. 

There is a big difference between reacting to something and acting from strength. Reacting fearfully does double damage.  We injure others but more importantly, we injure ourselves.  Acting from strength, on the other hand is empowering. 

We are smart, intuitive, and can offer ideas that make a difference. With awareness, we pause before taking action, then speak from our strength.

Observing Earth Day Around the World

Submitted by Womenworking on Tue, 04/22/2014 - 13:44

Today is Earth Day…some history: On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans paraded in streets, parks and auditoriums to rally for a sustainable environment after the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Earth Day is now recognized in 192 different countries and the Earth Day Network (EDN) promotes some of these campaigns. Here are a few:*

In India, EDN will host workshops throughout the country to provide environmental education and skills training for sustainable lifestyles to young girls and women.

In Switzerland, the International School of Geneva will be hosting a “green sale”—selling organic food to raise money that will be used to purchase and plant trees throughout the campus.

Earth Day is celebrated in Tunisia by the Higher Institute of Applied Biological Sciences of Tunis, which will be hosting a “Go Greener Maya Campaign,” where college students will present projects to reduce, recycle or reuse waste.

In the Caribbean, the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis will take part in a “Clean Island Sweep,” hosted by the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society. The public will be taught how to care for the island through activities led by the group members.

-Written by Andreia Bulhao

*These may not be the only activities in each country.

Step Into Spring on Earth Day

Submitted by Womenworking on Tue, 04/22/2014 - 08:20

The temperatures are finally getting warmer--and that means it's time to head outside. Spring is in full bloom in New York's Central Park and Conservatory Gardens. Check out our video and get into the spirit of Earth Day. Enjoy!

Video Editor--Alexa Payesko


What You Need to Know to Deal with Change

Submitted by Womenworking on Mon, 04/21/2014 - 08:10

Let's face it: change isn't easy. Whether it’s positive or negative, chosen or imposed, it almost always causes stress, uncertainty, and general unease.

Leaders need to be aware of the challenges change presents to their employees, whether dealing with lay-offs, mergers, retirement, or other changes in structure or approach. 

We can all be aware of the challenges change presents in our own lives and the lives of people that we work with, or who are in our family.

The first step in learning to deal with change is understanding how it works and what it looks like. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Changes have a beginning, middle an end, but begin with an ending!
  • To begin the change process, you need to let go of old ways and old ideas. Say goodbye to the past with confidence. This is important as you become more empowered, start living your life for you, and move up in your organization or develop a new image or identity.
  • The middle can be very chaotic, ambiguous and scary. Uncertainty is high. It may take a leap of faith to get through it. There may be a temptation to go back to what was comfortable even though you were feeling stuck.
  • Looking back at how you have successfully dealt with change in the past can help you go through change in the present. It can also help you lead other people through change.
  • How quickly and easily people go through the change process can depend on whether the change is imposed by outside forces (budget, management,) or as a result of a personal, conscious choice. It can impact whether the outcome will be positive on negative.

-Simma Lieberman, "The Inclusionist"
Career Coach


Compassion and the holidays

Submitted by Helene on Sun, 04/20/2014 - 08:01

Holidays bring up some uncomfortable feelings. If there is a loss in the family, grief may be prominent. For those of us who came from dysfunctional homes (most of us), unresolved feelings may be unspoken. And if you are alone, loneliness may rule the day.

Whatever it is for you, honor yourself. If you are not there for you, who will be? There is no wrong or right. No one needs to measure up to an expectation of how the holiday "should be." It is what it is.  Acceptance is the key to peace.

I wish for you a day of compassion, however you may be feeling.

How to Stop Sabotaging Yourself

Submitted by Womenworking on Fri, 04/18/2014 - 08:28

Photo credit Bob Riha

Let’s face it, sometimes we’re our own worst enemies—and often, we don’t even realize it. We asked psychiatrist and author Judith Orloff how we can stop holding ourselves back. Here are her suggestions.

Listen to your gut. Your intellect can help you approach challenges, but your intuition can lead you to the solution, as well. If you don’t balance the two, you might end up pushing too hard and exhausting yourself or alienating other people. I strongly suggest this three-minute surrender meditation: close the door to your office, relax and follow your breath. Quiet your mind. Ask your intuition a question, such as, “How should I proceed with this deal?” and see what ideas come to mind or what gut feelings you experience.

Ditch perfectionism. Rather than obsessing over outcomes, do everything you can, then let go and allow the situation to unfold in its natural way. Know what you can control and when to back off. Don’t keep pounding on a closed door.

Manage your anger
. Don’t hold it in or criticize yourself for feeling this way. Be compassionate towards yourself and talk with friends or journal about anything that makes you angry. Set boundaries with “energy vampires” who push your buttons.

Don’t be controlled by fear
. Companies are downsizing and careers aren’t as stable as we might like. Your concerns are real. But if you keep the focus on your fear, it will get in the way of your productivity and creativity. Rather than worrying about the future, bring yourself back to the present moment and do what needs to be done today. Breathe slowly and calm your body. Picture your fears as passing clouds in the sky, then focus on something positive and loving.

Stay positive. In the morning, replace stressful thoughts with one supportive affirmation. During the day, try to be of service to those around you. Frame challenges in terms of what you can give, rather than what you’ll get. Don’t criticize yourself. Take difficulties one step at a time and be sure to enjoy yourself.

(Photo for Judith's headshot Bob Riha.)

Judith Orloff is the author of The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life

What You Need to do to Promote Inclusion at Work

Submitted by Womenworking on Thu, 04/17/2014 - 08:28

At some point in our lives, we will all need an ally.  Women and men need to be allies for each other and work towards gender diversity and inclusion.

An ally is someone who is willing to take action in support of another person, in order to remove external barriers that impede that person from contributing their skills and talents in the workplace or community.

Being an ally takes courage because it might mean speaking out against comments or jokes that are racist, homophobic, sexist, etc.

If the people making those jokes are people like you and you’ve known them for years,  it might mean they stop inviting you places, and start to exclude you. It also means that even if the person is another woman, you need to step up and speak up.

It might mean recommending a talented male employee for a promotion, who keeps getting passed over because they are disabled, and people making the decisions don't think he can do the job because of his disability and don't bother finding out.

It might mean even reporting another woman to a manager at a higher level, because they refuse to stop harassing another employee based in their gender, age, race/ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

It might mean that if no one else steps up, the bully will single you out, and hopefully you'll have an ally who will stand up for you.

It might mean that by stepping up as an ally, you've helped your company turn a profit, because you've helped create a workplace where everyone has an opportunity to excel, and where customers across the whole diversity spectrum love to do business.

It also means that you have to support the people who support you, no matter how different they are from you.

-Simma Lieberman, "The Inclusionist"
Career Coach

Expose the Impostor Syndrome

Submitted by Womenworking on Wed, 04/16/2014 - 07:35


Joyce Roche in her book The Empress Has No Clothes talks about the impostor syndrome head on.

"The impostor syndrome, at its core, is a distortion in the way we see ourselves.  The trouble is that we believe the warped image to be reality--the "truth" we've somehow managed to hide from the rest of the world. We are petrified that we will be discovered and spend nearly all of our energy guarding against that possibility.

One of the most difficult aspects of the imposter syndrome is the fact that it demands that we keep our feelings a secret.  Don't stay silent. Find a way to speak about your fears.  Whether you do it with a trusted friend, a coach, a mentor, your partner, a therapist, or in a journal, give voice to all the feelings churning inside.  (Writing to yourself can be one of the most effective methods to face the impostor syndrome.  It was for me and many others)."



Why You Need to Monitor Your Stress Every Day

Submitted by Womenworking on Tue, 04/15/2014 - 08:37

Does negative stress sometime feel like it comes on suddenly, without warning?  If so, it's likely that it has actually been slowly growing but you haven't been aware of it until it’s almost too late. That’s why it’s so important to realize when stress starts creeping up.

Keep a check on your stress levels by keeping a record. Rate your stress levels on a scale of 1-10 (1 being not stressed at all, 10 being stressed to the point of being dysfunctional ,or severely limited in terms of your activities). Jot down in a bulleted form your emotions, behaviors, etc., and your stress rank.

This doesn’t need to be a time intensive activity. Spend just a few minutes  each day writing on a small notepad you keep next to your bed, at your desk, etc.
After a few weeks, look back and try to identify patterns in your stress (computer crashes, particular corporate events, interactions with certain individuals). Look for ways to reduce stress by eliminating these stressors or triggers, and if that’s not possible, look for opportunities to build in stress-releasers (exercise, baths, sleep-ins, etc.)

The point is to focus on your emotions and yourself for a few minutes each day. Because this exercise is self-reflective in nature and helps you feel grounded, it is a powerful stress-fighting tool itself.

Once you’ve done this for a few months, it can become a quick mental exercise, and you can forego the pen and paper altogether. Like a vital stats check on your mental health, you can monitor your stress levels automatically and determine when you need a dose of a stress-relieving activity.

-Simma Lieberman, "The Inclusionist"
Career Coach

Mini Retreats to Help You Recharge, Even on Workdays

Submitted by Womenworking on Mon, 04/14/2014 - 08:18

If taking a vacation isn't a practical option for you at the moment, what can you do to unwind and feel more balanced?

Know yourself. Don’t compare yourself to other people. Know what gives you a sense of peace and balance, and what makes you feel off-kilter. If you relax by reading, set aside some time to do that. It makes a difference in your day, if you do something relaxing right before sleep in order to wake up calm, relaxed, and stay focused throughout the day. If you want more time to be with friends, schedule that time in your calendar. Keep a notepad by your bed so your can write down those brilliant ideas that keep you awake all night. It will be easier to fall asleep once you write them down.

Don’t wait for the "right time" to relax…you will likely always be busy.

Wherever you go you bring yourself with you
. It doesn’t make a difference if you are on a cruise, relaxing at home, or playing golf. If you do not know how to create an internal sense of balance, you will feel the same as you always feel wherever you are.

Balance can be a state of mind.
Take a slow, deep breath whenever you are feeling rushed and overwhelmed. It will help slow down that feeling of always being rushed and worrying about the next task, while you’re doing something else that needs your full attention. Take a break from multi- tasking and try doing one thing at a time.

It might feel strange but you’ll be calmer, more productive and strangely enough you’ll get more done in less time.

-Simma Lieberman, "The Inclusionist"
Career Coach

Our Community on What Makes a Powerful Woman

Submitted by Womenworking on Fri, 04/11/2014 - 08:19

Our online community answered the question, "What makes a powerful woman?" Take a look at their responses.

Video Editor--Alexa Payesko

How to Start Feeling More Balanced Today

Submitted by Womenworking on Thu, 04/10/2014 - 13:12

Almost any time I read an article or hear someone speak about life work balance, the solution is the same--take time off, take your family on a cruise, take your family with you. There are a lot of people who do not have the real time, budget, or desire to do these things.

You may not have a “traditional family,” you may be single, a single parent or are taking care of your own parents. There are those of us who don’t want to wait for the big trip but want to have a sense of peace and balance every day.

Here are my suggestions:

Get rid of the old mantra that you have to do it alone. No one achieves professional success without help from others. Think of your friends, family and colleagues as your personal community and get over any reluctance to ask for help.

Community brainstorm session. Invite some of these personal community members to your house, tell them that you are feeling overwhelmed, tired, overworked, stressed and out of balance. Ask them to share their own best practices and ideas of how to adapt a few to your life.

Let your community offer their resources. When my partner of 18 years passed away and I became a single mother of an eight-year-old boy, I had no idea how I could continue speaking across the country, do what was necessary to run my business, and stay sane. Friends and colleagues came together and helped create a community for my son. People were willing to stay overnight, and take him to activities while I was away, or needed to attend meetings. My son was taken to baseball games, movies and trips, so that I had time to myself for reflection, exercise and socializing with adults. If you are a parent, this is when carpooling can be a good idea. If you don’t have children, and are feeling overwhelmed and you are working all the time, ask people in your personal community to come and get you for lunch, coffee, a movie, etc. When they show up, make sure you go. The workaholic world will function without you for a few hours.

-Simma Lieberman, "The Inclusionist"
Career Coach

Tasty Easter Recipes from Trisha Yearwood

Submitted by Womenworking on Wed, 04/09/2014 - 08:38


Spring is here, and with it come all of the season's holidays and festivities.

Grammy Award-winning country musician and Food Network star Trisha Yearwood shared with us two of her family's favorite Easter recipes.

Trisha is the best. She has enthusiasm for whatever she undertakes. 

Try her recipes.  Enjoy!



Baked Ham with Brown Sugar Honey Glaze


18-20-pound smoked ham, water added, ham hock removed
1 16-ounce box light brown sugar
1 cup (8-ounce jar) clover honey


Adjust the oven racks to accommodate a large covered roasting pan. Fit the pan with a shallow rack. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Unwrap the ham and rinse it in cold water. Place it on the rack in the roasting pan. Cover the pan with the lid and open the vents in the lid slightly to allow steam to escape. Bake the ham for half the estimated cooking time. (Total cooking time is about 20 minutes per pound.) Halfway through the estimated cooking time, in a separate saucepan, mix the sugar and honey  until smooth. Pour the mixture over the ham. Continue baking ham, basting occasionally with the drippings in the roaster.

Check for doneness at the end of the estimated cooking time by inserting a meat thermometer at a meaty point (not into fat or touching bone). It should register 160 degrees F.

Allow the ham to stand for 15 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to set.


Potato Salad


5 pounds red potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch cubes
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, and diced
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
black pepper

Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan or pressure cooker (see note). Add 2 teaspoons salt and enough water to cover the potatoes. Boil the potatoes for 30 minutes, or until they are tender when pierced with the point of a knife but hold their shape. Drain the potatoes, transfer them to a large mixing bowl, and allow them to cool completely. Add the chopped eggs, mayonnaise, and sweet relish, and fold gently to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Note: The potatoes may be cooked in a pressure cooker. Sprinkle salt over the potatoes. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and pressure-cook for 5 minutes. Release the pressure immediately and drain and cool the potatoes.


How to be Resilient During Any Challenge

Submitted by Womenworking on Tue, 04/08/2014 - 08:27

Even in the face of challenging situations, there are things you CAN do to stay resilient.

What is that mysterious quality that allows some people to be poised under pressure while others of us are bobbing to keep our heads above water?  Here are three practices from psychologist and corporate resilience trainer Sharon Melnick that will help you focus and move forward:

Take control – or let it go. We often experience stress when we feel out of control. But we can be proactive. What aspects can you act on and what are those you can’t? Focus ALL your attention on where you can have an impact. Take 100% responsibility for that, and don’t expend energy on what you can’t change.

For example, my client had a boss who was a screamer. For months, he would yell at her in a meeting and she would be rattled for the rest of the day, wondering if she should leave the company. But I taught her a breathing technique to calm herself and not be hijacked by her boss’s negativity. She remained confident by understanding that his behavior was due to his limitations, not hers. She also began to frame her requests with his agenda in mind. Within a few weeks, she could leave meetings feeling positive and she was able to get a buy-in for her big idea.

Train yourself to stay steady. Do you want to stay cool-headed in the face of challenges? Your physical reaction to stress can make your emotions more intense. By learning to relax your body, you’re more likely to stay composed and collected.

Your nervous system has two parts to it, an “On” button that gives you energy so you can respond to perceived threats, and an “Off” button that brings calmness and rejuvenation. Though our bodies evolved to have a balance between the two, persistent stress means most of us are almost always switched "On." We are therefore only using the part of our nervous system that sets us up to worry. Make it easier for yourself. Try pressing the “Off” button with a one to three-minute deep breathing exercise that will instantly relax you so you can shift your perspective and see more possible solutions.

Don’t project the worst, project the best. No matter what challenge is in front of us, our knee-jerk reaction is to worry. But that only serves to drain our energy more. Why not visualize the solution? Here’s how:

Exercise: Imagine a time in the future when the challenge has been worked out. Put yourself in this scenario. Ask your ˜future self” what she would advise you to do right now. By realizing that there is a solution for every problem, you are more apt to find creative alternatives.


Why You Need to Stop Trying to Control People

Submitted by Womenworking on Mon, 04/07/2014 - 08:17

It’s too easy to get distracted on our way to the top by people, places and things we can’t control. It’s a way that we sabotage ourselves.

We can get sidetracked by the needs of others, sudden seeming emergencies, and small irritations that take up mental space and interfere with our staying on the  strategic course we’ve set for ourselves.

Sometimes we think that only we have the power to handle a situation, help a friend or give the right advice.  We might think that not taking control in these situations is giving up our personal power. It’s hard to let go but the reality is the more we try to solve other people’s problems or push them to follow our advice, the less control we have and the less energy is left to take care of our own careers while other people who are not burdened with the need to “help” or who are able to stay on their path, pass us by.

That’s when we have to let go of people, places and things we can’t control.  By letting go, we hold on to our own goals and our own possibilities for success and moving forward.

Each of us has to decide whether our own success is important, whatever success means to each of us. We have to know on a deep level that our needs are so important that we don’t put other people’s needs ahead of them. This is the time to take action, and take control of our actions.  When we find ourselves wavering in our convictions, or doubting our worth or self-love, that’s the time to call on the people who love us and will keep us on track.  That’s the time to call on our personal crew that I wrote about last week.

-Simma Lieberman, "The Inclusionist"
Career Coach

Hat Designer Lisa Shaub on Being an Entrepreneur & Mom

Submitted by Womenworking on Fri, 04/04/2014 - 08:30

We interviewed Lisa Shaub, hat designer extrodinaire. Take a look at her new styles for Easter, the Kentucky Derby, and other spring celebrations. And hear her insights about starting a business and being a mom.

Video Editor--Alexa Payesko

Why You Need Supporters Who Champion Your Goals

Submitted by Womenworking on Thu, 04/03/2014 - 08:22

Do you have a group of people that will listen to you, give you specific reasons they love you, and will tell you the truth when you ask?

Every woman needs a crew. A good crew is a group of people who:

Support you taking risks to achieve your dreams. They will never say, “What makes you think you can do that if no one else has?”  “Just do what everyone else does,”  or “Don’t take that risk.”

Prop you up when you feel like you will fall. They don’t tell you not to worry, or not to be afraid. They ask about your worries and your fears and help you find solutions. They help you prepare for success, and also assure you that if you fail, you can get up, learn from it, and be even more successful.

Hold you accountable for you’re your commitments, and don’t make excuses for you. They are willing to push you beyond what you think your limits are. Your crew will understand your feelings and then help you develop a new perspective.

In my last post, I talked about women using their power to leave environments that drag them down and serve as life obstacles.

We also have the power to seek people who cheer us on, help us solve problems, and maintain a perspective of possibilities. We can develop the habit of surrounding ourselves with people who are curious, excited about life, willing to have new experiences, and don’t feel threatened by other successful people. 

-Simma Lieberman, "The Inclusionist"
Career Coach

When to Walk Away from a Toxic Job

Submitted by Womenworking on Wed, 04/02/2014 - 08:29

This week I want to talk about power and how we exercise it. I’m often in workshops where women tell other women not to be afraid of their own power and to stop giving it away.

A power that many of us don’t exercise is the power to leave. For some reason many of us get in the habit of going to a job we don’t like, complaining about the people who work there, how the boss is taking advantage of us, or people are gossiping all the time. All of that may be true, but we don’t have to stay or engage with people who disrespect us and who try to sap our power and self-esteem. Sometimes we don’t know we’re entering a toxic environment until it seems like it’s too late.

But it’s not too late.  As hard as it may be to leave a job or situation we’re used to, we can start looking around for something better.  Don’t get comfortable with dysfunction or think that people belittling you or bullying you is normal.

Start looking for a change, and while you’re looking to move on, use your power to leave the room when you’re with people who seem toxic. Toxic people are like the flu, they keep spreading.  You don’t have to stand still and get infected.

Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you have the power to leave. Next time you start feeling like a victim, stop yourself and start a discussion about possible solutions. Ask your friends for support as you take action.

At any time in a conversation with someone who is disrespectful, you have the power to refuse to interact, or respond. Take control and don’t be afraid to say, “I’ve had enough, and I’m done until you change the way you behave toward me.”  

-Simma Lieberman, "The Inclusionist"
Career Coach

Career Coach: Welcome to April

Submitted by Womenworking on Tue, 04/01/2014 - 08:06

It's a new month, and that means a new career coach here on Simma Lieberman, aka the Inclusionist, is here to answer your career questions. She will be contributing articles throughout the month of April. We'll let her introduce herself!

I’m Simma Lieberman, a consultant, speaker, and executive coach based in Berkeley, California. For the past twenty years, I’ve been helping organizations create inclusive work cultures where everyone can do their best work. I've helped women throughout the world develop strategies to leverage their talents and skills in order to be seen and heard the way they want to be at the office. This month, we’ll focus on ways you can take your place and space in your professional life — and get control of your career at last. To check out my new e-book, 110 Ways to Champion Diversity and Build Inclusion, and learn more about me, visit my website.

Intrigued? Check back tomorrow for Simma's first post. To ask a question or make a special topic request, send an email to administrator [at] womenworking [dot] com, or leave a comment here on the blog. Here's to another month of workplace wisdom. Welcome, Simma!