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How to Stop Being Afraid of Success

Submitted by Womenworking on Wed, 08/20/2014 - 08:26

Most of us are familiar with the fear of failure. What if I don’t do what others expect of me? What if I make a terrible mistake or I’m not able to do my job effectively? Will I really be able to balance both a career and a personal life?

Those are all real fears. But I also find that in the workplace, many people suffer just as much from a fear of success.

Success brings a different set of life experiences and challenges. What happens if I’m really successful? How will my life change? Will I be expected to deliver even more and more—until I finally fall flat on my face and fail?

Many of us also face something called the “Imposter Syndrome.”  We go about our lives each day, doing perfectly fine, but deep inside we don’t feel qualified for the position we hold or the compensation we receive. Inside, we’re afraid that we’re just not as good as we pretend to be. Eventually, we’ll be exposed as imposters.

I’m surprised by how many very successful men and women tell me they feel like imposters. This includes executives and leaders and people who are highly respected in their fields. These are people we would turn to as role models.

Unless you’ve faked your credentials or you’re lying about your qualifications, in most cases this is a simple self-esteem issue. We’ve been conditioned to believe we can only achieve so much. When we go beyond that, we start to question if we really deserve what we get.

My mentor, Alan Weiss, says that your first sale is always to yourself. That’s true whether you are an actual salesperson, or you’re selling an idea or a project to your colleagues and peers. If you don’t believe in yourself, how will others believe in you?

One way to overcome the fear of success is to envision exactly what success looks like. If you get the big promotion you’ve been working towards, how will life change? You may have a bigger salary, a better title, a nicer office, more interesting projects. But you might also need to work longer hours, attend more meetings, or give up some of the tasks you enjoy doing now. If you’ll be promoted from within, you’ll have a different set of peers. Maybe you’ll even have to manage some of your former colleagues. How will that feel?

Fear of success is just as real as fear of failure. And, like many other fears, it will lose much of its scariness if you can bring it out from the shadows and look at what’s bothering you in the light of day.

-Linda Popky, President, Leverage2Market Associates


How to Stop Being Afraid of Success

Submitted by Womenworking on Wed, 08/20/2014 - 08:26

Most of us are familiar with the fear of failure. What if I don’t do what others expect of me? What if I make a terrible mistake or I’m not able to do my job effectively? Will I really be able to balance both a career and a personal life?

Those are all real fears. But I also find that in the workplace, many people suffer just as much from a fear of success.

At first, this may sound strange. Who wouldn’t want to be successful? However, when you think about it, success brings a different set of life experiences and challenges. What happens if I’m really successful? How will my life change? Will I be expected to deliver even more and more—until I finally fall flat on my face and fail?

Many of us also face something called the “Imposter Syndrome.”  We go about our lives each day, doing perfectly fine, but deep inside we don’t feel qualified for the position we hold or the compensation we receive. Inside, we’re afraid that we’re just not as good as we pretend to be. Eventually, we’ll be exposed as imposters.

I’m surprised by how many very successful men and women tell me they feel like imposters. This includes executives and leaders and people who are highly respected in their fields. These are people we would turn to as role models.

Unless you’ve faked your credentials or you’re lying about your qualifications, in most cases this is a simple self-esteem issue. We’ve been conditioned to believe we can only achieve so much. When we go beyond that, we start to question if we really deserve what we get.

My mentor, Alan Weiss, says that your first sale is always to yourself. That’s true whether you are an actual salesperson, or you’re selling an idea or a project to your colleagues and peers. If you don’t believe in yourself, how will others believe in you?

One way to overcome the fear of success is to envision exactly what success looks like. If you get the big promotion you’ve been working towards, how will life change? You may have a bigger salary, a better title, a nicer office, more interesting projects. But you might also need to work longer hours, attend more meetings, or give up some of the tasks you enjoy doing now. If you’ll be promoted from within, you’ll have a different set of peers. Maybe you’ll even have to manage some of your former colleagues. How will that feel?

Fear of success is just as real as fear of failure. And, like many other fears, it will lose much of its scariness if you can bring it out from the shadows and look at what’s bothering you in the light of day.

-Linda Popky, President, Leverage2Market Associates


What Does Your Boss Really Want?

Submitted by Womenworking on Tue, 08/19/2014 - 08:24

Your boss may give you a list of tasks to accomplish, or a due date for a project. She may tell you what meetings to attend or where she needs you to represent the organization. There may be reports to complete or courses to attend. Often, there are conflicting deadlines or priorities.

As a long-time people manager, I can tell you that although all of those things are necessary parts of the job, they’re not what your boss REALLY wants from you. There’s a whole other layer of expectations that are usually left unsaid. However, left undone, they can unravel a career.

Yes, you need to complete the tasks required of you—that’s a given. But what your boss wants from you goes beyond that.

She wants to know she can count on you. This means that you will do what you say you will, when you say you will have it done. You won’t agree to commitments then just not come through.

She wants to know when things are going off track. Good managers want to know when issues arise, long before the whole project goes south. They want a heads up that there’s an issue that might impact quality, delivery, or customer satisfaction.

She wants solutions, not just problems. Whenever possible, come to a manager with a proposed solution (or multiple solutions), rather than just raising an issue. You may need your boss to make an executive decision on how to proceed, but give her some options to choose from.

She want you to manage her. This may sound counterintuitive, but a good boss expects you to know how to work with her to get what you need. If your boss is very visual, that might mean showing her in writing how something will work. If she’s oral, don’t send long documents. Have a discussion where you get to the point. Understand how your boss works and play to her strengths.

She wants to feel she can trust you. This means more than just delivering on tasks. It means you are honest and have integrity. It also means you have good business judgment and can be trusted to act in an appropriate manner to represent your organization, both within the company and externally.

She wants you to know she’s human. That means she’s prone to mistakes, just like you and I are. She’ll have off days or times when she’s distracted by a personal issue. She’d appreciate being given the benefit of the doubt in these situations, just like you’d want her to do for you.

Give your boss what she really needs and you may find you’re getting more of what you need from your work relationships in return.

-Linda Popky, President, Leverage2Market Associates


Director Penelope Spheeris on Family and Hollywood, Part 2

Submitted by Womenworking on Mon, 08/18/2014 - 08:33

What is the most rewarding aspect of your career? The most challenging?

The most rewarding aspect is when people (especially young people) tell me that my movies have changed their lives. What better reason to do the work? The most challenging part is managing politics and living with the volatility of the business. I feel fortunate that I was able to make movies and a good income when that was possible. 

As someone who has built a successful career in comedy, what’s one of the funniest or most fun memories you have from your career?

On the last day of the shoot on Wayne's World, Mike Myers and Dana Carvey were dead tired.  We were filming the scene where they watch the planes fly over the Pacer (which was really on a sound stage). They started ad-libbing and making up the funniest lines, like out of nowhere! They were laughing so hard, they could hardly speak. That was a precious, brilliant moment from two brilliant comedians. I will never forget it.

Where do you see your career going in the next 5 years?

Anna and I are preparing the release of The Decline series and until we get that done, I am putting everything else on hold. She is forcing me to do it and do it right. People really want to see them and I have been negligent in releasing as it has taken a while to recover from my mother’s passing, but we are on track to release them soon!

You’ve done several films about music. What drew you to that?

Music was my escape when I was a kid. After the carnival that my father owned, we grew up in trailer parks and were quite poor. We would collect bottles and scrape up enough money to go to the movies and buy a couple 45’s. Actually, just like today, music gets kids through a lot of hard times and identity crises. I recently got my California state license to be a foster parent and have had four pre-teen foster kids. I watch them use music and movies to make their lives better and remember doing the same when I was that age.


Director Penelope Spheeris on Family and Hollywood

Submitted by Womenworking on Fri, 08/15/2014 - 08:24

We recently interviewed Penelope Spheeris, director of Wayne's World and The Decline of Western Civilization, among other notable films. She shared with us some of her insights on family, the entertainment industry, and lessons she has taught her daighter.

Stay tuned for part two of the interview, which will be posted on Monday.

Was there anyone growing up who saw something in you that you didn’t see in yourself? 

Growing up my mother, Gypsy, would say, “Penelope, you’re too smart for your own good.”  It was delivered in a critical tone, so I assumed she thought I might become a criminal.  As time passed I realized she was referring to my analytical mind.  I am fortunate to have the ability to perceive and understand situations from a great many perspectives. This trait has been has been useful with my documentary films.   It helps me objective and hopefully unbiased.

Your father owned a circus—did that influence your desire to work in entertainment?

My father, Andrew, owned a carnival and I was raised with the traveling menagerie until I was almost seven.  When I directed my first narrative feature, Suburbia, I walked onto the set, looked down, saw all the cables, all the randomly parked trucks and I felt like I was right back on the carnival.  When The Decline of Western Civilization first showed at the Fairfax Theater in L.A., I was in the ticket box and flashed back to sitting on a shelf as a child watching my mother sell tickets to what the carnies referred to as the “local yokels.”  I have always been very comfortable with the “entertainment” aspect of filmmaking, but not so much with the business aspects.  Painful as it is, I’ve had to teach myself the business part and I think I am pretty good at it after all these years and get a great joy in advising up-and-coming directors.  My agent says, “Penelope, you are my only client who actually reads the contracts.” 

You worked as a waitress to put yourself through film school at UCLA. How did that experience influence you? What did you learn from it?

I lied when I got my first waitress job; I said I was 16, but I was 14.  After quite a few divorces, Gypsy was a single mom with four kids and needed some help, so I contributed my waitress wages to our family.  I worked as a waitress for ten years and met my daughter Anna’s father while working at IHOP on Sunset Blvd.  I was able to put myself through UCLA Film School with minimum wage and tips.  I realize that’s not possible today with the cost of college, but I did it back then. I worked till 2:00 a.m. then hitchhiked to UCLA by 8:00.
 
You have a daughter. How old is she? What have you tried to teach her about achieving her goals?

Anna is now 44 with three children. She is my business partner and my soul sister. I recently thought it would be fun to take an online I.Q. test.  I scored in the “very supreme intelligence” category, but Anna took the test and scored higher! Not only is she innately smart, but I have tried to teach her to trust her intuition, always listen first, deliver criticism gently and try to make the world a better place. She is an expert at managing our daily business from real estate to filmmaking and an amazing dog rescuer!


How to Act Powerfully

Submitted by Womenworking on Thu, 08/14/2014 - 08:37

When we use our power, we communicate confidently. And we inspire others beause we are honest and exhibit integrity. More specifically, let’s look at when we act powerfully and when we do not.

Acting powerfully

We’re able to understand what’s needed in a given situation and take appropriate actions.

We take into account the needs of other people, while also taking good care of our own.

We’re direct and assertive in communicating with others.

We dare to take risks because we know that’s how change happens.

Loss of Power

We react out of stress and regret our actions.

We don’t consider our own needs a priority.

We’re unable to communicate our needs and resent others who don’t take care of us.

We play it safe and rarely attempt to do things differently.

Adapted from Our Power as Women, by Helene Lerner. Conari Press.


How to Showcase Your Talents Starting Today

Submitted by Womenworking on Wed, 08/13/2014 - 08:41

Admit it. If you’re like most of us, you probably focus more on your weaknesses than what you do well.

If we have 100 interactions in a day and 98 of those go well, we often seem to have a tendency to fixate on the two that don’t. We ask how we could have done better. What should we do differently next time? How badly did those mess-ups hurt us?

In most cases, however, it’s likely that those small things you didn’t do well each day are not really that critical. In fact, they probably mean more to you than to the people around you. In most cases, other people may not even be aware that something went awry—unless you tell them.

That’s why it’s so important to focus on what you do well. Make a list of those things you’re good at. For example, this might be working effectively under tight deadlines, handling tough customer situations, or closing new customers.

Take a moment to appreciate the great work you do and how you add value to your organization. Just a quick “Hey, I did that well!” aside to yourself when completing a task is a great place to start.

Find places to showcase your strengths. Look for opportunities to take on new assignments in areas where you excel. Be sure to claim credit where credit is due.

One note. Sometimes there are things we do really well that we also really dislike doing. You might be a whiz at creating fantastic spreadsheets, but if you hate working with Excel, that’s not something you’ll want to be doing any more than absolutely necessary.

So look for those opportunities where your strengths intersect with your passions. Ideally, these will be in areas that your organization thinks are valuable, too.

At the end of each day, take a moment to reflect on what you did well that day. And give yourself a pat on the back for the great work. Focus on owning your strengths.

-Linda Popky, President, Leverage2Market Associates


Why You Need to Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask First

Submitted by Womenworking on Tue, 08/12/2014 - 08:27

As women, we are often so busy taking care of others that we forget to take the time to take care of ourselves. Between spouses/significant others, kids, and work commitments, life can be quite crazy.

However, it’s critical to our ongoing success that we take the time to help ourselves. If we are tired, stressed, and burnt out, we won’t be able to be effective in either our home or our professional lives.

Those annoying airline safety messages always tell us to put our own oxygen mask on first before helping others. Why? Because without enough oxygen we aren’t useful to ourselves or to anyone else.

So, given all that’s on your plate every single day, how can you ensure you get enough oxygen for yourself?

Try breaking this down into three categories: Daily, weekly and special occasions.

Start by putting together a list of the small daily things you need to do to take care of yourself. This could be a few minutes at the start of the day for yoga or meditation, a cup of coffee midday with a friend, or special time in the evening with a family member. Your goal is to schedule at least one of these activities into your day, every single day.

Second, look for the battery “rechargers” that help you gain the energy back you need to recharge at the end of a long, tough week. This might be a long bubble bath or a night out with friends. Schedule these so that you have at least one of these recharging experiences on your calendar every single week.

Third, plan the big getaways or events that really mean a lot to you. This might be a nice family vacation, or perhaps a getaway without the family. It might be a special event you’d like to attend, or a celebration with friends.  Pick a date, put this on your calendar for a definite time in the not-to—distant future, and let those around you know you’ve made the commitment to this event.

Now, here comes the hard part. When things get crazy, you’ll be tempted to cancel or postpone your “Me” time. Don’t do it! Consider these to be business appointments that would have a serious repercussion if you didn’t show up as planned. And that’s true in a way. The business benefiting here is you.

Take the time to take care of yourself. The renewed energy you’ll have will allow you to take care of others around you as well as yourself.

-Linda Popky, President, Leverage2Market Associates


Why You Should Start "Bragging" Today

Submitted by Womenworking on Mon, 08/11/2014 - 08:10

If you’re like most of us, you were taught to do your best and you’d be rewarded appropriately. Women, in particular, seem hesitant to blow our own horns or sing our own praises.

The problem is that no matter how good you are, if you don’t reach out and tell the world, you’re going to miss key opportunities. It’s not that people are purposely passing you by, but there are so many other stimuli that your value can get lost in the commotion.

In my upcoming book Marketing Above the Noise, I talk about how all of this noise in the marketplace hurts organizations and brands as they try to market themselves. Here’s something I don’t talk about in the book: It hurts each of us as individuals as well.

A big part of your career planning in today’s environment should be making sure you are getting good visibility for the work you do with your management team.

This doesn’t mean you should be arrogant. Nor does it mean you should be obnoxiously promoting yourself at all times and in all places. However, it does mean the onus is on you, not your manager, to make sure you get credit for your capabilities.

Men do this all the time. Women, not so much. We tend to wait for others to promote us, rather than to promote ourselves.

In my last post, I talked about building the personal brand for which you’d like to be known. Once you’ve done this, look for opportunities in the work environment where you can shine. Then stand up and take your rightful place in the spotlight.

If you’ve led a major new initiative or been part of a team that is receiving recognition, make sure you own that experience. Look for opportunities to speak or write about the great work you’ve done. Perhaps there’s an internal meeting where you can speak. There might be a company blog or intranet looking for content—submit a short piece. There may be the chance to mentor others so they can learn how to do this great work, too.

Don’t stop at internal opportunities. Are there industry associations you can join? Many of these groups would be thrilled to have a competent, respected professional like you in their ranks, or on their committees. What about volunteer or pro bono work? Look for opportunities that use your specific skills and capabilities. Anyone can stuff envelopes, but perhaps you can update the organization’s database, create attractive fliers for the next group event, or solicit donations from community leaders.

It’s important to make sure that you keep your online presence updated. Include information about your successes in your LinkedIn profile. Post relevant comments in appropriate LinkedIn groups. Create a blog, if that makes sense, or comment on someone else’s professional blog.

Finally, always be aware of what people will find about you when they search online. Google yourself and see what comes up. If there’s not a lot, consider how you can build your online presence (hint: more LinkedIn posts, join Google+, post videos to YouTube, etc.). If there are multiple people with a name similar to yours, try to build an online presence that will differentiate you from them and bring you to the top of a Google search.

Remember: As good as you might be, there’s no music unless you make it. Go out and blow your own horn!

-Linda Popky, President, Leverage2Market Associates


What do You Want Young Girls to Know?

Submitted by Womenworking on Fri, 08/08/2014 - 08:44

We asked our Facebook community, "What do you want young girls to know?" Their responses were insightful and supportive. Take a look at a few of them.

Amanda East: I want them to know what respect is. Respect for others but most importantly respect for themselves...

Barbara Howell:
Dont rush your life away. Focus on your dreams and personal growth. Relationships will come on their own time. Learn to focus on you and embrace your liberty and independence.

Jenny Ayala: Correct people the FIRST time they disrespect you or else you set the standard for others to follow. You are NOT a victim in life unless you choose to be...You decide your worth. If there is something you want in life go get it! Dream BIGGER! There are certain seasons in life that are lonely, learn to enjoy your own company and remember seasons change.

Ethan Boggio: Respect yourself and never let anyone else's opinion of you define who you are.

Marti Geron: Never settle, get your education so you will always be self-sufficient.

Tara Eden Ewing: Embrace your feminine power and listen to you intuition, it is always correct!

Cecelia Bittner: That looks, grades, clothes, or the opinions of others have absolutely nothing to do with worth. That we are are inherently valuable and worthy of love.

Robyn McCrory-May: Don't be in a hurry to grow up. Embrace every moment. Make decisions that will positively impact your future. Take the time to learn who you are and what you want and never compromise yourself. Don't be afraid to dream big, but always have a goal. You can be and do whatever you work toward. Respect yourself and the world around you and demand the same in return. Be true to yourself...always.

Kathryn Ravelo: Don't try to please others. Set goals and do your best to achieve them. If you fail, pick yourself up and try again. Love yourself before trying to love others.


How to Build the Personal Brand You Truly Want

Submitted by Womenworking on Thu, 08/07/2014 - 08:37

In our last post, we looked at understanding what your colleagues say about you and your personal brand. Now, armed with this information, let’s look at how you can build the personal brand you really want.

Here are a few suggestions to get started.

Own who you are. Your colleagues have a perception of who you are in a business sense. You may not be happy with their perceptions or you may even disagree with them wholeheartedly. However, if you are getting the same feedback consistently, you can’t ignore that this is the view of you that people see.  Look at what you’ve been told. What are the positive aspects? How are these traits manifested in your personal, as well as your professional life? How can you build upon what people think you already do well?

Perceptions evolve and change. Nothing is set in stone. It’s possible to change the way people perceive you, but it means you must have a focused effort to develop a different image. If you’re currently thought of as quiet and slow to make decisions, you’ll need to work hard to show how you can be more engaging, more assertive, and move more decisively. You’ll want to look for opportunities where you can show your ability to move quickly and to command the necessary presence when needed.

Understand what the organization rewards. Is it risk taking or prudent, methodical decision making? Is it creativity or detailed follow through? Focus on those attributes in your personality that mesh with what your organization’s values. It’s not unusual to find aspects of your brand that are better rewarded outside of work. However, if nothing you see yourself standing for is aligned with what your organization’s values, it’s time to look for a new place to work.

Fix the fatal flaws. It’s often best to focus your efforts on building your strengths. However, sometimes there are key areas that can really benefit from extra attention. For example, if the career path you’re on will require good speaking skills and oral communication is a weakness for you, you’ll want to find a way to correct this. Join a Toastmasters Club or volunteer for assignments where you can practice your speaking skills in a safe, non-threatening environment.

-Linda Popky, President, Leverage2Market Associates


Creating a Personal Brand: How do You Want to be Seen?

Submitted by Womenworking on Wed, 08/06/2014 - 08:16

As a marketing expert, I am often asked to help businesses improve their branding or develop a compelling value proposition. It’s critical that organizations are clear about the value they provide customers. This allows them to create the right targeted messages to attract consumers to their brand.

What may not be as obvious is that it’s just as important that individuals create powerful brands for themselves.

Your personal brand won’t likely be found on product packaging or be the focus of a major advertising campaign. But it will be visible in online venues like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

It’s also critical to your career. How do you show up in the work environment? What image do you project in terms of how you talk, how you look, and what you wear? Do you appear self-confident and assured, or timid and out of place?

Do you project stability? Innovation? Trustworthiness? Adventure? Responsibility? Risk taking?
Do those around you feel comfortable asking you for your input and support? Do they trust you? Do you reflect the key values your organization represents?

There’s no right or wrong answer as to what your personal brand should be. Except that it needs to reflect the real you. It takes much too much energy to sustain a false persona over a long period of time. And it’s unlikely you’ll be able to do this well.

It’s also important that you understand the core values of the organization for which you work. Do they match what you hold important for yourself? If not, the incongruity will cause tension and stress, as well as hurt your career prospects.

How do you know what your personal brand is today? Try this exercise. Write down as many attributes as you can that reflect your personality at work. Possible choices include: dependability, experience, maturity, innovation, creativity, integrity, spontaneity, technical ability, political savvy, assertiveness, team orientation, enthusiasm, nurturing, persuasiveness, stability, attention to detail. Feel free to add to this list.

Now ask a few colleagues or peers to each tell you the five words that they think best describe you. Be open to their input. Don’t agree or disagree. Just collect the data.

Compare these to your original list. How much overlap do you have? Are there any surprises? What have you learned? Do any of the new responses resonate with you? Where do you see patterns?

In the next post, we’ll look at how you can take what you’ve learned and use that to build the personal brand you’d like to project for the future.

-Linda Popky, President, Leverage2Market Associates


How to Know When to Leave Your Job

Submitted by Womenworking on Tue, 08/05/2014 - 08:17

In the workplace, we are often so focused on trying to do our best—to improve even difficult situations—that sometimes we miss what’s blatantly obvious: We’d be better off leaving our current employment and going somewhere else.

Many unhappily employed people clung to their existing jobs during the recent recession. They were afraid of facing the prospects of finding a new job in the poor economy. But now the situation isn’t quite as difficult. That means you have options besides putting up with a job that is uncomfortable, not challenging, or perhaps even toxic.

So how do you know when to stay and when to go? The best way to judge is to listen to your head, your heart, AND your gut.

Your head will tell you logically what the job is worth to you. What are the opportunities for advancement? Are there assignments that would expand your scope or offer opportunities to build additional skills? Are you engaged and challenged on a regular basis? These are the facts you can list on a simple sheet of paper.

Your heart will tell you what’s best for you emotionally. Do you enjoy the camaraderie of your peers? Can you create a better working relationship with your manager? Are there aspects of the job that still make you feel good?

Your gut will tell you what you’re feeling on a deeper level. Does this job make you hate getting up in the morning? Do you dread the end of the weekend? Do you feel tense and stressed? Are these issues ongoing and persistent?

Sometimes your head and heart will disagree. In that case, you’ll have to weigh the options and make a decision.

But when your gut sends you a message, listen carefully. If in spite of all the good reasons you think you should do something, your gut says it’s wrong, it most likely is wrong for you.

Accept that. Rather than trying to fight an ongoing uphill battle, put your energy into finding the next opportunity. No matter how much logically or emotionally you want to make things work, your gut has told you it’s time to go.

-Linda Popky, President, Leverage2Market Associates


Move Through Your Fear

Submitted by Womenworking on Mon, 08/04/2014 - 08:26

What inhibits you from moving forward? When you identify a goal and take actions to achieve it, you open yourself to the possibility of risk--getting or not getting what you desire, as well as the consequences of that result. It's frightening to step outside your comfort zone, which is what you are doing when you take a risk. You'll likely be afraid, but that doesn't have to stop you from taking action.

As Susan Jeffers, author of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway says, "As long as I continued to push out into the world, as long as I continued to stretch my capabilities, as long as I continued to take new risks in making my dreams come true, I was going to experience fear."

The bottom line is--you can take a calculated risk and move though your fear.

Adapted from Smart Women Take Risks, by Helene Lerner. McGraw-Hill.


Career Coach: Welcome to August

Submitted by Womenworking on Fri, 08/01/2014 - 14:12

Linda Popky is the president of Leverage2Market Associates, a Silicon Valley-based strategic marketing company that helps transform organizations through powerful marketing performance. Her clients range from small businesses and consultants to mid-sized companies and Fortune 500 enterprises.

In 2009, Linda was named one of the top women of influence in Silicon Valley and inducted into the Million Dollar Consultant® Hall of Fame. She is the first marketing expert worldwide certified to offer the Private Roster™ Mentoring Program for consultants and entrepreneurs. Linda is the past president of Women in Consulting and is a member of the Society for the Advancement of Consulting (SAC). She serves on the Strategic Development Board for Watermark, the organization for exceptional executive women who have made their mark.

Linda has taught marketing at San Francisco State University’s College of Extended Learning, University of California Santa Cruz Silicon Valley Extension, and West Virginia University’s online Integrated Marketing Communications program. She’s the author of workbooks on Marketing Your Career and Promoting Your Non-Profit.

Her new book, Marketing Above the Noise: Leveraging Timeless Principles for Strategic Advantage, will be published in early 2015.

A classically trained pianist, Linda recently released Night Songs, a CD of classical piano music.


Why We Need Best Friends

Submitted by Womenworking on Fri, 08/01/2014 - 08:24

FRIENDSHIP is a hot topic, so we created a video with some of our favorite quotes. Take a look!

Video Editor--Chole Motisi

Music Provided By: Ally Calvine - Ukulele Fun
Royalty free Background Music No.1


What You Need to Learn from Rejection

Submitted by Womenworking on Thu, 07/31/2014 - 08:24

A couple of days ago, Bob* called me and I could hear the excitement in his voice. He had been unemployed for a year after finishing college and had just found his first job. That year had been a trying time for Bob, however, he kept networking, going to interviews and dealing with rejection after rejection. So when he got his job offer, he not only had reason to celebrate, he started his new job having learned three important life lessons:

Persistence pays off. Bob worked hard the year after college painting houses making a paltry $12.00 an hour. He got discouraged and lost his vision at times. That’s okay, because he kept going on even when he didn’t feel like it. He networked, reminded his friends from time to time of his job search, asked for recommendations on LinkedIn, did volunteer work, and refused to quit. There were many days when Bob thought that his hard work and persistence was all for nothing. But it wasn't—it  paid off.

Change happens slowly, then suddenly. I’ve heard many motivational speakers and authors say that “Change happens in an instant.” Yes, I agree. It happens in an instant—but usually that “instant” happens after a long period of not giving up.  We would all like to be instant millionaires. However, we know that the change we want is a process that is often slower than we’d like. The good news is that if we keep at it, we reach the tipping point and then the change happens suddenly. Bob learned that if something was important, if he kept at it, it would happen "suddenly"--after he put in the required time and effort.
 
The more you put into something, the more you value it. I’m not saying it’s a virtue to make something harder than it has to be--it's not.  However, life shows us that the rewards go to those who are willing to put the time and effort in. If you want to run a marathon, you’re going to have to put in the miles of conditioning and the time it requires. You can certainly go to the pawn shop and buy a medallion some marathoner pawned, but it won't mean anything. To succeed in life, when things get hard for you, remember to keep at it. The more you give of yourself to get what you want, the more reason you will have to celebrate.

*Name was changed.

-Alan Allard, Career Coach


How to Start Doing What You Want to Do

Submitted by Womenworking on Wed, 07/30/2014 - 08:17

Sometimes, in a coaching session, even my “best” clients lapse in the complaining mode. When that happened recently in a coaching session, I listened fully, empathized with my client and then asked him “Do you mind if I give you a crazy suggestion?  When he gave me the go-ahead, I said, “Great, but first, let’s back up so I can ask you another question. What he had been complaining about was work related, and I asked him, “Why are you working on a project that you say you hate?”

His reply was, “Because I don’t have a choice—I’m the only one who can do this and my boss expects me to do it.” “So,” I responded, “You are doing something you don’t want to do?” “That’s exactly right,” he replied, feeling very understood. “I hate it but I have to do it.” I understood what he meant, but I definitely disagreed with his conclusion. In fact, I don't think we ever do anything we don't want to--even though we might tell ourselves otherwise.  The fact is, if we dig deep enough, we have reasons for wanting to do most of the things we do, all things considered. For instance, I might not (on the surface) want to vacuum my house, but if I really think about it, I do it because I like a clean house.

When you tell yourself you “have” to do something or that you don’t want to do something, you will create internal resistance. After all, who likes to be told they have to do something? We always have a choice—and if we really think about it, we can find the reasons that, all things considered, we actually want to do a lot of we do. If that's so, how should I view the things I don't want to do--at first glance?

It’s much healthier for me to tell myself, “I don’t love doing this, but here are the reasons I am choosing to do it…” Telling myself "I don't want to do this but I have to" is the way of the victim. The other way is the way of empowerment.

-Alan Allard, Career Coach


How to Deal with the "Elephant in the Room"

Submitted by Womenworking on Tue, 07/29/2014 - 08:25

When I work with senior managers on the topics of collaboration, teamwork and communication, there is almost always at least one “elephant in the room” they need to face. Executives are usually very smart, driven and highly skilled—as far as the technical aspects of their work go. They can talk all day long about projects, budgets, strategy and everything else outside of the "human" stuff.

But when it comes to having difficult conversations, when it comes to potential conflicts or resolving past conflicts, they are just like everyone else—“I’ll bring it up tomorrow.”

Here are four tips that will make having those anxiety producing conversations much less difficult:

Get help to get the ball rolling. If you’ve been avoiding having a talk with someone for the past month, how likely is it that you’re going to do it this week? Ask someone you trust to hold you accountable for doing what you’ve been saying you’re going to do. There’s nothing like making a commitment to someone you respect to get you out of your comfort zone. You might think you shouldn’t need to do ask someone for help, but that’s what friends or trusted colleagues at work are for.
 
Know your goal.
Your outcome should be to resolve the issue or at least make progress towards that end. Although tempting, having open and honest communication isn’t about proving you were right all along or about “speaking your mind” without any regard for how you speak it. Remind yourself before the conversation begins that your goal is to do the best you can to make progress in communicating with each other. It’s okay if there needs to be more than one conversation—just remember each time what your goal is. Otherwise, we can all let our emotions get the better of us and derail our efforts.
 
Connect with the other person. It’s challenging to deal with conflict—but it’s impossible to do it if you can’t connect with the other person in some way. Tell the other person up front you respect them and you want to talk about the elephant in the room because you value the relationship and you know they do as well. Let them know that your intent is to listen fully, say what you need to with respect and to work together for solutions that are mutually beneficial. If the other person is reasonable, they will appreciate and respect you for communicating these things and they will be motivated to reciprocate. 

Own your part in feeding the elephant in the room. Since no one is perfect, we can all usually find something to own up to in the conflict. After all, if there's an elephant in the room, we're partly responsible for why it's still there. We can at least admit to that! The more you own your part in what's happened, the more likely the other person will own theirs. If you're worried about what they're going to think of you for admitting weakness, let them know that. They're probably worried about what you will think of them for admitting any mistakes and both of you can laugh about it. That's not a bad way to get started.

-Alan Allard, Career Coach


Are You Too Comfortable at Work?

Submitted by Womenworking on Mon, 07/28/2014 - 08:40

Whether you feel worried or secure about your career, you need to always answer the question of “How am I doing?” From that vantage point, here are three “career audit” questions to ask yourself:
 
Am I too comfortable? Even if you are sure your job is secure, professionalism demands that you innovate, improve and increase your value. Have you been improving your skills, taking on new levels of responsibilities and increasing your visibility in both your company and your industry? This isn’t something you do when you are thinking about changing jobs—if you wait until then, it’s too late. It’s about challenging yourself to be your best and to do the best where you are. You owe that to yourself and your organization. However, if you stay on top of your game, and you do need to seek other opportunities, you will be ahead of the game.
 
Am I marketable? Many people, when they think of how marketable they are, think in terms of updating their resume. You need to think on another level—think about having a marketable product—that product being you. Do you have the education, the certifications, the experience, the references, the network and the self-confidence you need to market YOU, Inc.? If not, don’t panic. Now is the time to assess your marketability and see what you need to have or to do in order to be valued by your current employer or future employers.
 
Am I passionate? Recently, I’ve talked to three executives about their senior managers. Every one of the executives had a senior manager who performed beyond expectations in key areas—but they had lost their “fire.” All three senior managers did great work, but their hearts weren’t in their work. Does that describe you—and don’t pull any punches here. If so, find out what’s missing for you and how you can get your “fire” back. It might be you’re overwhelmed or underwhelmed—you have too much to do or you aren’t challenged enough in your current role. Whatever it might be, if you’ve lost your “fire,” find the cause and fix it like your career depends on it—because it does.

-Alan Allard, Career Coach