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There are many reasons why we may shed tears in the office – a close friend or family member passed, a big project went under, or maybe it's just one of those days where nothing seems to go right. In any case, it's important to bounce back and regain control of the situation. We asked our followers what they would say to a friend who cried at work, and have included some of their answers below.
Helene Jackson: Crying is an emotional reaction to something. Sometimes you need to cry because if you didn't you would beat the heck out of the person. It isn't always a sign of weakness.
Tabitha Naomi: "Congratulations. You're human."
Sonja Flye Oliver: To me, that's a loaded question because it would largely depend on the circumstances. I just might be inclined to speak to them both! There's always room for words of encouragement.
Christina Interiano: I wouldn't know what to say, but once they stepped away, I would hug them privately.
Camille Favale: Tell her to wash up and retain herself in the bathroom, then take her out to lunch for a shot of whiskey and a pep talk.
Peggy Noe Stevens & Associates: Listen and encourage the person to step back and consider the issue. Sometimes, you need space and time to reassess a situation in order to handle it better.
Laura Newberry: Actually, it takes both courage and confidence to cry or FEEL anything at work. I'd say, keep it moving girlfriend. You're the best of the best. Growing takes both grieving and celebration. Tears can express both. I'd thank her for her candor.
Process Psychology. Sydney Process Therapy: Yes, having emotions is part of being a human being. I would say that there was a valid reason for the tears and support the person to realize it may be a good thing that happened. It is a strength, not a weakness. It may also help the boss think more about how they impact their staff.
Many of us have come from homes that are less than perfect and have mixed feelings with the people who raised us. Mothers are no exception. Exercising our power involves forgiving those who have let us down. There’s a great release of energy and resources as we forgive people from our past who have hurt us. This spills over into all of our relationships at home and on the job. Instead of trying to prove how “right” we are by fighting an old battle that has not been resolved, we have the opportunity to get closer to the people who are in our life now.
“Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.” —Oprah Winfrey
“We cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude toward it. Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness. Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate — thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising.” —Maya Angelou
“Everything is just as it needs to be. And if we would forgive, our minds and hearts would open and we could see another possibility.” —Iyanla Vanzant
“The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.” —Marianne Willamson
We will all undoubtedly face challenges in our lives. What truly matters is how we react to those challenges. Will you let one obstacle throw you off track, or will you get back up and try again? It takes strength, determination, and resilience, but we are all capable of setting the goals we achieve for ourselves. See what some of these notable figures have to say about perseverance, and how you can find it too.
–Video by Nicolena Basso
Julie Smolyanksy knows what it takes to make a business work. When her father, the former head of Lifeway Foods, suddenly passed away in 2002, she came on board as the CEO at just 27 years old. The company – known for its production of Kefir, a cultured dairy drink popular in Eastern Europe – has grown into a multimillion dollar business under her leadership. We caught up with Julie and asked her a few questions about her path to success, and how her daughters inspire her to do more.
Q. Who early on saw in you something you might not have seen in yourself?
A. My father was the one who saw leadership qualities in me early on. He pointed out strong female role models to me when I was a child – everyone from female CEOs to politicians. He told me I could do anything I wanted, except be the President of the United States, and that was only because I wasn’t born in the U.S.
Q. What strategies have grown your business into the multi-millions?
A. During the economic downturn we invested in talent, scooped up competitors, and implemented social media early on in our communication strategy. We value cutting-edge innovation, new product development, and quick execution. ProBugs, our organic kefir for kids, offers time-crunched parents healthy eating options for their children and has been one of our most successful innovations.
Q. What risks have you taken in your career?
A. One of the biggest risks we took was changing the packaging on kefir. We went from a 3”x5” sticker to a full-sleeve label with bright graphics and space to describe product attributes. It required the purchase of an expensive machine and we had no idea if customers would even like the new packaging. The CEO of one of the largest dairy companies in the country told us the style was “quirky” and “unique” and that we should reconsider the change – and for a moment, we second-guessed ourselves. We questioned our decision until the day the new packaging hit the shelves. Our product sales sky rocketed and we are now the leading kefir manufacturer.
Q. How do you navigate between work and family?
A. I schedule everything from time for self-care and workouts to time with my family and friends. Otherwise it’s easy to get into a “work-only” rut, which I find is stressful and self-defeating. If I’ve been traveling for work, I try to schedule extra reintegration time at home. Even taking a walk and playing in the park with the kids for an hour can help us reconnect.
Q. Guilt serves no one. How do you shed feelings of guilt that are holding you down?
A. When we’re with the kids we feel guilty we’re not working on that big project; when we’re working on that big project, we feel guilty we’re not with the kids. We can all drive ourselves crazy with this. I try to only work on things I am really passionate about, and I try to find greater purpose to what I’m doing. When I realize what I’m doing will benefit others, it’s easier to shed those unwanted feelings.
Q. You have two young daughters. How do you build confidence in them?
A. I always applaud them for attributes other than how beautiful they are. I compliment them on their creativity, their kindness, what good friends they are, their bravery in trying new things, their intelligence, and their artistry. I hope to instill in them an idea to live with passion, to be of service to others, to be generous, and to have the confidence to take on any challenge.
Millennials. They’re confident, self-expressive, and on-track to be the most educated generation in our nation’s history. They’re also a bit misunderstood, especially in the workplace, where their affinity for technology and distaste for traditional hierarchies can lead to intergenerational tension on your team. How can you best leverage Millennials’ boundless talent and ingenuity, while promoting productive relationships?
“Generation Y” tends to approach the workplace with a different mindset. They crave constant feedback, and see their ideal boss as someone who plays the role of coach/mentor. They have a strong “intrapreneurial” streak, meaning that they are innovative and want to launch new ventures – but they want to do it with the support and resources of a major company rather than strike out on their own. They’re fluent in technology and believe it helps them do their jobs better. They see themselves more as “free agents” in the work world, and 25 percent expect to have at least six employers in their lifetime.
If you’re managing or trying to recruit Millennials at your business, here are some ways you can bring them on board for a mutually beneficial relationship.
Listen and learn about their generation. Don’t buy into what you read in the paper or see on television. Get to know the young people on your staff before dismissing them as self-absorbed or privileged. If possible, integrate what Millennials want from their workplace into your company culture. For example, instead of trying to force more face-to-face communication, create a pro-technology environment that uses a range of methods – email, text, instant messenger, telephone – to best accommodate everyone’s working style.
Provide feedback and manage expectations. Millennials crave real-time coaching. They are trying to move up the corporate ladder as quickly as possible, and will absorb any information you have that will help get them there. Try to provide honest feedback in essential areas, such as communication and public speaking, while helping them set realistic expectations for performance and work-life balance.
Help them grow. As mentioned above, young employees are on the move. In one survey, “opportunity for progression” was the number one factor that attracted Millennials to a company. They don’t necessarily want to take over the company in five years – they just want to be assured that when they work hard, it won’t go unnoticed. Consider structured ways to mentor and sponsor your brightest young staffers to help them advance quickly. This can be done simply through adjusted job titles; for example, assistant account executive to account executive to senior account executive.
Unleash their potential. Employees rarely stay with one company these days. In fact, it’s common to change jobs every two or three years – so prepare to have a revolving staff. But just because young workers may not be at your company for the long haul doesn’t mean you can skimp on nurturing them. Help them explore their creativity, innovation, and talent through long-term projects and “hot” assignments.
Two decades ago, Marilyn Waga and her daughter, Meredith Waga Perez, opened their own floral and event design firm, Belle Fleur. With Marilyn's background in hospitality, and Meredith's experience in fashion design, the business found great success – they've been featured in the pages of Harpers Bazaar, Town & Country, and The New York Times. Here, the mother-daughter entrepreneurial duo share what they've learned about themselves and each other along this "phenomenal journey," and what floral arrangements you should keep in mind when selecting a gift for the special women in your life this Mother's Day.
–Video by Nicolena Basso
Confidence has been on everyone's minds lately – we all want it, and we want to know how to get it. But confidence is just like a muscle, it needs to be exercised frequently to make it stronger. So it's time to start taking risks! The more positive outcomes that happen as a result, the more confident you will feel going forward. For more advice, heed the words of these influential individuals.
–Video by Nicolena Basso
As a celebrity fashion stylist, I hold a special place in my stylebook for hi/lo dressing – when high-end designers collaborate with low-cost retailers. I don’t see price tags when choosing styles – I make my decisions based on budget, quality, and aesthetic. Those who spend their life savings just to wear a label are doomed to see empty bank accounts more than one should in a lifetime. So for the more cost-conscious shoppers out there, there are some great hi/lo options in full swing for spring. Here are my selections, including a quick preview of what you can expect this fall to help you stay ahead of the game.
Kate Young, a Hollywood fashion stylist to actors like Michelle Williams, has turned her signature style into a small collection for Target. It’s a modern and fresh approach to spring with a variety of daytime dresses simple enough for the workplace but flirty enough for the evening. Slim bags, jewelry, and footwear complete the look, all ranging from $15-$90. Kate’s collection made its debut in stores and online on April 14.
Kate Hudson is taking her first stab at designing by launching her own line for Ann Taylor. Little is known about it, other than that it will translate Kate’s red-carpet style into everyday attire – here’s hoping for an affordable version of the clothes we see on this celebrity-turned-fashion-designer. Be on the lookout for the line, debuting at Ann Taylor stores and online starting May 20.
Michelle Smith, designer and founder of Milly, is bringing her signature preppy-chic prints and bold colors to Banana Republic this spring. It’s a 60-plus item collection for men and women featuring reissues of six popular Milly prints, as well a new one. Prices will range from $45 to $175 for women’s apparel and $39.50 to $130 for jewelry and accessories –much more budget-friendly than Milly’s main collection, starting at $400 a dress. The women’s pieces will include work- and spring-friendly attire, including maxi dresses, skirts, and shorts in a variety of on-trend colors. Keep an eye out for the designs, premiering in Banana Republic stores worldwide and online this May.
Catherine Mallandrino is coming to Kohl’s in Fall 2013 with an 80-piece collection. Keep your eyes peeled for its debut, as prices for this designer will range between $36 and $130. Catherine’s work is expected to be a fantastic addition to the history of high/lo design. There are no photos to be previewed yet, but if you are fashion and penny savvy you will want to be one of the first in line when those doors open. These pieces will sell out quickly, mark my words!
Previews of pieces from, left to right, Kate Young, Michelle Smith, and Catherine Mallandrino.
Got workplace fashion questions for Pamela? Write them in the comments section below or email them to administrator [at] womenworking [dot] com.
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.
Traditionally, women are excellent managers because of our ability to juggle several projects at once and get our work done efficiently. But some of us fall short when it comes to planning for ourselves and our future. Taking steps toward creating future success is as important as doing your current job. You need to be confident in your abilities and self-promote to get ahead.
Perhaps underneath our very real concerns of juggling responsibilities and finding time for self-advancement is fear. We may doubt if our career goals will ever materialize so we do not take the necessary actions to achieve them. But we should not let our fears stop us from fully expressing our abilities as workers. You can be afraid, but move ahead anyway.
For those in need of support, start the process of planning your career growth. Here’s an exercise that many experts have used to build confidence, as it points out how much you’ve probably already achieved.
Make a list of your accomplishments and skills at different ages, starting with your twenties. For example, “In my twenties I was a salesperson for a publishing company and won a paid vacation as the top sales rep” (accomplishment); “Good people skills enabled me to do this” (skills). Continue to inventory your accomplishments and skills for your thirties, forties, fifties, and so on.
Now read the list through and really recognize what you have accomplished and what skills you possess. Don’t throw this list away, but refer to it when you need to bolster your confidence. Acknowledging your past and present successes will help you create your future career moves. Remember, “growing a career” takes time and involves a process of discovery. You must have a realistic picture of where you have been (complete with all your successes) in order to move forward.
Excerpt from “Our Power As Women” by Helene Lerner
When Lauri Ditunno graduated with a degree in marketing, she had no idea that she would soon trade in file folders and spreadsheets for pastry bags and buttercream. After attending the Culinary Institute of America and training as a pastry chef, Lauri opened her own business, Cake Alchemy, in 2009. Similar to the fabled alchemists, she enjoys turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. She's created cakes for Jamie Foxx, Natalie Cole, and Katy Perry and was featured on WE TV's Amazing Wedding Cakes. Learn more about the brains behind the business below.
–Video by Nicolena Basso
Maxwell Ryan took a job as an interior decorator fresh out of college, but felt that it wasn't the right fit. After transitioning to teaching, he began to realize how crucial the shape and layout of the classroom were for educating his students – and he made the switch back to interior design. Now, as the owner of Apartment Therapy, Maxwell has become known as a design guru and life coach specialist, emphasizing the importance of simplicity, comfort, and a lack of clutter. His living tips have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and HGTV. Check out his tips for "Green Living" this Earth Month below.
–Video by Nicolena Basso
When things start to pile up, you may feel unsure of which direction and what actions to take. Pause and take time to reflect; know that you already possess the knowledge and skills that you need to find your way. Trust your "inner-self," and let your intuition guide your actions. Listen to these words from today's leading ladies to help you along the way.
–Video by Nicolena Basso
Do you hold on to hurts of the past?
Do you hold on to mistakes you have made?
Do you find yourself being too critical?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, reflect on the following:
No one is perfect. No matter how hard we try to be, we will never measure up to the unreasonable demands we place on ourselves.
So isn't it about time you "dropped the rope?" Know that you did your best at the time, and forgive yourself for not doing better.
If there is someone in your life that you owe an amend to, why wait? Now, is the time to share how you feel. The more you wait to do that, the more your energy is consumed with regret. And it is hard to move on.
When I look back on my life, I see how the difficult moments were my greatest life lessons.
Exercise: Say this inwardly to yourself--to the higher energy that dwells within you:
"I am now ready to let go of what has been holding me back. I forgive those that have harmed me, intentionally or unintentially. And most importantly, I forgive myself."
Gluten-free meals are fairly common on menus today – but back in 1998, when Elana Amsterdam was first diagnosed with Celiac disease, they were nearly impossible to find. “I would try to order gluten-free food and waiters would think I was involved in some new religion,” she recalls of the “dark days” of Celiac.
But it wasn’t until three years later, when her son developed similar symptoms, that Elana embarked on cooking her own gluten-free meals. She worried that without flavorful alternatives, her son would never experience the joy of a birthday cake or chocolate chip cookies. “Children, like adults, want to break bread with their peers. It’s sad for a child when he has to eat something different. I didn’t want him to feel left out.”
She experimented with gluten-free ingredients in the hope of recreating her family’s favorite recipes. Through trial-and-error, she found what worked and what didn’t – such as using almond flour rather than rice flour, due to its flavor and consistency. The true test came when she delivered her original cupcakes to her son’s classmates; not only did they like them, but they were asking for more. “When the kids liked it, their moms started asking for my recipes, and that’s why I launched my blog in 2006.” Three years later, her first book, “The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook” was released, followed by “Gluten-Free Cupcakes.”
Unfortunately, Elana’s health continued to decline, and several years ago she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She learned that sleep, exercise, and diet were the best ways to manager her symptoms, so once again Elana took to the kitchen to heal. She turned to the newly popular “paleo diet” – a nitrate-free diet that relies heavily on fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, eggs, and nuts. She launched a section for paleo-inspired recipes on her blog, which inspired her upcoming cookbook, “Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry.”
Since the blog’s launch, Elana’s Pantry has grown to over 500,000 unique monthly visitors. But launching a business is nothing new for Elana – prior to picking up the baking bug, she was the founder of one of the first environmental consulting company in New York, ECOSAVE. “I’m a bit of a serial entrepreneur,” Elana confides. “When I graduated from college I knew I wanted to do things to help other people and to actualize my entrepreneurial ideas. That’s my favorite part of my website – I get to put out over 800 free recipes for others who are looking for tasty ways to address their dietary restrictions.”
Elana’s third book, “Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry,” will hit shelves on June 18th.
Are you speaking up when you need to or are you holding back?
We need your voice to be heard.
If you are having difficulty putting your ideas forth, become more aware of your negative self-talk.
Are you thinking that what you are about to say won't be appreciated? What negative belief do you have that isn't allowing you to speak up?
Question that belief: Ask yourself, is it true? It probably isn't. And as uncomfortable as it may feel, let your voice be heard.
We need more women leaders. We need you to speak out when you know you can make a difference.
Have you ever made one of your dreams come true? Rebecca Lieberman, owner of Besu Salon and Spa in Manhattan, has. Despite receiving no financial or emotional support from her friends and family, Rebecca became her own cheerleader and took the plunge by purchasing a vacant salon and transforming it into her dream business. Today, Besu is a multi million dollar business, and Rebecca advises other female entrepreneurs to be sure they have a plan before they get their start. Watch as she shares how she helps busy women find the time to relax and pamper themselves.
–Video by Nicolena Basso
There is nothing as empowering as being around a woman who is connected to a larger vision of what is possible. Last week I sat down with Shari Arison and we talked about her new book, Activate Your Goodness, just published by Hay House. Her heart is wide open – when you are around her you feel like you're with a long-term friend.
Shari is not only smart and strategic, but she thinks deeply about using her energy to do good. In 2007 she founded Good Deeds Day, an annual celebration of good deeds to positively change the world. The event just celebrated its seventh anniversary on Sunday, March 10, with acts of kindness performed around the world.
We can all have an impact on each other. Making random acts of kindness a part of everyday life will get us there.
–Video editor Grace Zinnel
With Daylight Savings on the east coast yesterday, it really is starting to feel like spring is on its way! No longer does the sun set at 4pm, nor are we confined inside by bone-chilling temperatures. We asked all of our northern hemisphere followers: "What are you looking forward to the most when the warm weather arrives?"
Darcy Uhrich: Walking outside in the sunshine!
Suzanne Larkin: Wearing less layers
Barbie IgoalittleCrazy Hall: Longer dog walks
Simone Stewart: The chirping of the birds
Angela Watson: The warm of the sun!
In honor of International Women's Day, we sat down with a few girls from the New York City chapter of Girls, Inc., a national nonprofit organization that inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold and teaches them how to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers. Elliya, Mona, and Tiara share which women from history inspire them and the impact that they believe their generation can have on the world. Tell us, who are your "sheroes?"
–Video by Nicolena Basso
It’s invigorating to meet an empowered leader like Shari Arison. She is at the helm of several companies, and is always looking to make a difference. International Good Deeds Day, taking place this year on March 10, was her simple idea that today has a worldwide impact. Here are the highlights from a recent interview I had with Shari.
Helene: What gave you the impulse to start Good Deeds Day?
Shari: I’ve always thought about how I can create positive change. One day I thought of this idea, it was so simple – everyone can do a good deed. People think you need a lot of money or a position in order to give, but that is not necessary. A smile that brightens someone’s day is a good deed. Helping a lady cross the street or even just buying a coworker a cup of coffee to make them happy — these are good deeds, small acts of kindness. It’s taken off because everyone connects to it.
We started seven years ago in Israel, with 7,000 people. It grows every year; last year it was 250,000 people and this year 370,000 people have signed up thus far. People hear about it around the world. We started GoodNet.org as a “gateway to doing good,” where individuals and organizations showcase how they are doing good – whether it’s for the environment, volunteering, philanthropy, etc.
More and more people have asked to join in. In Washington, there are 3,000 people going out to do good deeds. In New York we are doing a kick-off event in Times Square on March 9. This year in Uganda they will be planting fruit trees to grow fruit for the community; in the Ukraine there are 5,000 students who are going to visit hospitals, senior citizens, and the needy.
Helene: Let's discuss the workplace because you’re such a terrific leader. Working women want to have greater influence – what will help them do that?
Shari: I always say that women have insight and intuition; we need to take our unique qualities into the workplace – don’t try to be men, be the women that we are, with our values, caring, and compassion. That’s what I’ve done in all of my businesses – I’ve put my focus on values and in the long run it works.
Helene: What is true power?
Shari: I think true power is inner power. When people are connected to themselves and they are authentic, that resonates with others.
Helene: How do we quiet the negative voices that don’t allow us to step up?
Shari: It’s work. It’s a matter of recognizing them, whether they are in our own selves or in our surroundings. Acknowledge them, and then let them go. Focus on the good – what you want to see in the world, what you want to see in yourself, and what kind of person you want to be.
For more information on how you can get involved in International Good Deeds Day, go to GoodNet.org.