There is no way that I thought I’d ever grow up to be an expert in sales. I was a nice, good girl.
And nice, good girls DO NOT sell.
As I write this I think of the inevitable connection to the oldest profession in the world, and I have to think on some deeply embedded level, there is a collective belief that selling ourselves is somehow connected to… well, selling ourselves. Nope. Sales is not for nice girls. Or decent women.
Just the idea of selling – for many women – brings of feelings of shame and embarrassment.
When I tell people that I teach women about personal finance, investing and wealth the first thing I often here is “oh, like Suze Orman!” “Nope,” I say, “not like Suze Orman at all.”
The truth is that when I worked in the investment management industry, I learned to teach just like her.
What I am coming to believe is that the model of investing that we’ve been taught and that is available in any number of books on the topic is a very masculine take on the subject. We’ve all been taught to pay ourselves first, to establish emergency funds for the rainy day that’s right around the corner, to tighten our belts, to clip coupons and to chase the stocks, bonds and mutual funds with the highest returns so that some day, in some uncertain future, we can put our feet in the sand in Florida.(more…)
I read this article this morning (you can read the infuriating article here) and something inside of me snapped. I feel angry. I feel like I need a megaphone and a huge stepladder so that I can shout out to the world, well…to women and REAL men (I’ll have more to say on what that means in a bit) to wake up. To be honest, it’s women that I want to shake. I want to reach into your core where I know your power lies and turn you on. I want you to engage your power to – I promised myself I wouldn’t curse, but I’m really, really wanting to – to bleeping stop hiding and do your part to change this.
A little context if you don’t want to go read this anger inducing piece in the New Yorker – it’s LONG. A reporter snuck in to a Secret Society Gathering of the worlds most influential and successful investment bankers, moguls and hedge fund managers. And their behavior was less than inspiring, let’s just say. Their complete disdain for those they serve was apparent and any sense of responsibility for what has occurred in our financial system was noticeably absent.
There are serious, serious problems in the world… problems that are not being solved simply because the concentration of wealth and power in this country and around the world lies with these men. They aren’t actually men though. They are little boys playing dress up in gray haired bodies that wear Armani suits. And in the case of the New Yorker article mentioned above, they’re playing actual dress up in drag and Mormon costumes, laughing at the financial calamity that THEY CAUSED.
Procrastination is a time monster all of us have to deal with. From putting off doing the bills to studying for a test or actually addressing conflicts with the boss, all of us find ourselves postponing the inevitable at one point of another. But is all procrastination the same and does it always serve the same goal? How does your personality fit with your own personal art of procrastination?
A recent study in Turkey looked at three different kinds of procrastinators: indecisive, avoidant and arousal procrastinators. Indecisive procrastinators simply cannot make up their minds. They are faced with too many choices and have difficulty selecting the one that is best for them. As a result, they postpone choosing to a much later time. Days, weeks and years go by in ambivalence, inaction and a lack of accomplishment.
Avoidant procrastinators cannot face the task they have to do, so they avoid doing this at all costs. Have to have a difficult conversation with a friend or spouse? Avoid. Have to take a look at your debt so as to do debt planning? Avoid. Have to walk past the ever-growing pile of laundry? Avoid. Avoidance procrastinators do whatever they can to not do unpleasant things.
Then there are arousal procrastinators, who postpone things to the very last minute so that they will in fact get them done (guilty!). Why start neatening up the house when your relatives are coming in two weeks? Wait till the day before because you will actually do something. Why start studying for a test three months before when you can start a week before and not waste your time staring at the wall? Avoidance procrastinators are adrenaline junkies who put things off to the last minute so that they can harness the motivation of panic.
What causes each of these types of procrastination? Indecisive procrastinators fear commitment to a choice and loss of other choices. So they try to prevent the loss as much as they can. Also, the commitment to a choice is threatening because there is the pressure to perform once the choice is made.
Avoidant procrastinators are usually filled with fear about the prospect of having to do something, so they do whatever they can to build up the courage they need. For avoidance procrastinators, looking forward to the task is like looking forward to a bikini wax.
Arousal procrastinators simply thrive on the “rush” to get things done and use their fear as a means of motivation. However, when they delay things till the very last moment, the stress can sometimes be too distracting and make it impossible to focus.
Getting rid of procrastination requires that you get out of your head. Instead of immersing yourself in the avoidance, immerse yourself in the outcome. To be comfortable with immersion in your goals and dreams requires more than just a schedule or reminder. While schedules and reminders can be helpful, they don’t necessarily address the root psychological issues. (I know I am terribly guilty of ignoring tasks EVEN when they’re on my calendar). To immerse yourself in a task means that you stop observing your goals and yourself and get into the thick of things. But to do this requires a certain state of consciousness-a willingness to let go of observing and trust your ability to act.
And this requires that you dare to own your own life. You have to be willing to put your entire body in action: heart rate, sweat and all. In effect, you have to let your emotions exist as they are — fear, excitement, disappointment, boredom, dread…. whatever the emotion — allowing yourself to be in it without looking at it. This form of allowing is what inspires people who act. We can exchange the thrill of last minute arousal, and the endless negative self-talk (I am a horrible person…. I still haven’t…) with the thrill of owning a life in a whole bodied way and having way more time to do it.
I’ve been wanting to be “one of the boys” since I was about seven. Despite my penchant for ballet dancing and pretty clothes wearing and my complete lack of any athletic prowess – I’ve always wanted to be in on the boys club.
I remember being in grade school gym class and being completely offended by the teacher’s explanation that boys were naturally stronger and would therefore be better at the whatever it was we were supposed to be doing. I marched my little seven-year-old-self right up to that big man and told him he was a CHAUVINIST!
He laughed. And then he said that I was the one with the problem since it was just a simple fact that boys are stronger than girls. Especially scrawny blonde ones like me. Harumph.
My mom had to fight the good fight against the boys most everyday. Her chosen profession (journalism) had been a man’s world for basically ever when she entered in the early 1970’s. She often found herself marginalized – sometimes by women who had more internal man-power than she did, but more often by men who didn’t think that women could handle the “real reporting.” Years later she would tell me, “do not cry at work… whatever you do. NEVER let them see you cry.”
Of course I picked a career in boys world… finance. I LOVED being on the sales desk of about 40 guys and THREE women. Of whom, of course, I was the “girliest.” I seriously loved it.
They made fun of my giggling, my squeaky voice, my short skirts – but like big brothers would. AND I made sure that I was always the most well-read, the most informed, the smartest blonde in the bunch, so that I could prove to them that I belonged in the boys club.
But, despite the playful banter and the loving smack downs, I knew, deep inside, that I was still looking in from the outside. Sometimes it was subtle. I’d approach a group of men talking shop and feel the ranks energetically shutting me out of the conversation. Or sometimes it was more blatant – the assignment to drive the beer golf cart instead of being invited to play from an actual golf cart.
We’re women. We’re famous for it. We hide our power, give it away, put ourselves down, hold ourselves back, or we don’t acknowledge our own real power … to shine, to make the most of our lives, to accept and to feel that we truly deserve the best for ourselves in our own lives. I’m not talking about the outdated macho definition of power, as in to “power over” someone or “power through” something difficult….not that power. I’m also not talking about the confidence and bold courage we earn as we feel our fears and take steps anyway. I mean the power that comes from living a life in line with our values, knowing our goals, and the REAL reasons we want to accomplish them. It’s the electric current fueled by our soul- that inner knowing of what we want, what we are here to do, and why – that gives you the feeling that you can do anything. But all too often on the path to owning our power we give it away or hide it. We’ve become REALLY good at finding creative ways to do it. Like:
Off I went to bed, early as usual. We’d just had a houseful – some mom friends and their children, who delightfully spent much of the evening up in the playroom entertaining themselves. I glanced down at my bedside table, and glimpsed the dish where I keep my rings each night. One ring… not two… just one. I looked all around, under books, under the bed. Nothing.
What was on my table, however, was a turquoise medallion that my son has been toting around. Evidence! I’d just put him to bed so I quietly asked “Myles, have you seen Mommy’s ring?”
“Yup, Charlotte was playing with it.”
Charlotte, the child who stores things like a little mouse – wrapped up in wads of cotton, inside of a pouch, inside of a purse, in a treasure box stashed in the back of her closet. Charlotte who has more “treasures” than Blackbeard.
So what do I do? I wake the poor thing up. “Charlotte, sweetie, where is Mommy’s ring?” After a few moments of confusion (I know, not my best mothering moment) she hops out of bed.
“Right here, Mommy!” She opens a treasure box, lifts another part out of the bottom, and takes the lid off a ceramic heart box and…. No ring.