Wanna Know Successful Women Secrets?
When I started the idea behind SilverPeak Development, I got to thinking about how I can best help people with Career Development, Work Life Balance, and Improving Job Skills. A friend of mine asked me to be on her Facebook Live to introduce my “business” – and I came up with these five ideas to share with her community. From my experience, all the successful women I know have mastered these little secrets in some way. And they really are simple. Everyone can make these happen in their day to day, whether you work at a Day Job or run your own business. Successful women make things happen – and here are ways that you can learn from them.
Here we go…
A Best Friend at Work is Necessary
Have you heard of Tom Rath? The author behind such fantastic books as
He’s the genius behind this Best Friend at Work thing. Because we need those vital people in our work lives to keep us going. Rath’s research shows that employees who have a best friend in the office are more productive, more likely to engage positively with customers, share new ideas and stay longer in a job.
If you read one of my previous blog posts on Changing Jobs, then you know I’ve moved around a lot. And much of that relates to having a Best Friend at work. I’ve worked at two places for more than four years. At each of those places, I’ve had that best friend.
At Employer #1, my Best Friend was also my Work Spouse. We started our jobs at the same time, we were essentially thrown into a new institutional culture with all new staff, and we made our way through it all having each other to bounce ideas off of and commiserate from time to time. Thankfully, we also both loved sushi and running. I left that job before he left his, but we are still friends to this day and have a good laugh every now and then about that first year working together and learning the ropes at this college.
At Employer #2…well, I’m still here! And I believe I have several of those Best Friends at Work. One of them happens to be my very own supervisor. I know what you’re thinking: INAPPROPRIATE.
If you consider Rath’s definition of the Best Friend at Work….that one person with whom you could not do without at your place of employment…and my boss is that person. I don’t think I could work where I do and not have her be the person I report to each day.
In the four + years I’ve been at my current job (almost five years!), I have come to respect this woman more than any other supervisor I’ve known. I love that she trusts me with information she may not share elsewhere. And that we can talk about things outside of the workplace. We have laughed together, cried together, and shaken our fists at the sky together.
Celebrate the chance to use your talents at work each day
Do you go to work every day knowing that you are doing the things you can rock with your eyes closed and get all sorts of productive shit done? That probably sounded a little convoluted.
When you begin a project at work, are you grinning so wide anticipating the fun you are going to have doing it because you are just so good at this stuff?
Or…do you go to work dragging your ass because you know that today all you are going to be doing is typing the cover sheets for the TPS reports? Didn’t you get the memo?
We were all born with inherent talents that can become strengths if we work them properly. This is the philosophy behind Strengths Quest and Strengths Finder – a sort of “personality inventory” created by Don Clifton, the Father of Strengths Psychology and Inventor of CliftonStrengths, and Edward “Chip” Anderson. Originally developed for college students, StrengthsQuest helps students make the most of what they naturally do best. Tom Rath then wrote StrengthsFinder 2.0 and the philosophy from Gallup was translated for everyone. It’s based on positive psychology and suggests, rather than improve the skills were you are weak, why not continue developing the skills where you are already strong.
Isn’t this just the smartest thing in the whole world??
I first learned about StrengthsQuest at “Employer #1” from above. I took the assessment and it really made sense to me. Prior to finding StrengthsQuest, I was a Myers-Briggs junkie but typically felt boxed in with that ENFJ stuff. I’d had my fill of Star Wars and Harry Potter personality-type comparisons. StrengthsQuest gave me more practical things to focus on; and when I was able to align my work with my strengths, I found myself being more engaged at my job.
You Must Take Care of Yourself!
Self Care is one of those things that is easily ignored, because we ladies are nurturers by design. Why do you think that the female has the baby? Exactly. Successful women know that self care is “mandatory.”
Do you know why we must take care of ourselves first? Because when we aren’t healthy and empowered, we are no good to anyone else, especially ourselves. Yeah, we’ve all been taught at some point that it’s selfish to put our own needs before the needs of others, but whoever wrote that was a workaholic and has no life.
There is a HUGE difference between engaging in Self Care and being a selfish person. Self-Care implies care of self – insuring that you eat, sleep, exercise, and relax on a regular basis. And it doesn’t have to mean that you take a whole week off and head to the spa…it DOES mean that you take necessary steps to insure that you are “okay”.
Lifehack.org posted a simple and easy to follow Five Step Plan for Self Care. Included are the following steps:
1. Start with your needs first – two easy questions to ask yourself are, “what needs do I want to meet here?” and “What do I need most in my life right now?” Those should be easy questions to answer and then you can move forward with the rest of your plan.
2. Schedule it – you have to make the time to do this. So put it on your calendar. Set an alarm on your phone. Ask your best friend or partner to ask you daily, “what did you do for yourself today?” When you schedule it and make it regular, it’s much harder to avoid doing it because now you’ve created a routine – a habit of self care, if you will.
3. Prioritize – Self Care can’t be the first thing you drop from your daily tasks when you decide you are too busy. You are the only one responsible for this, so you must make it a priority and you stick to it!
4. Be assertive about setting your boundaries – this is exactly what the article had to say, and I think it bears repeating often: “When you start setting down boundaries about what you are and aren’t willing to do, it can be hard to stand your ground in the face of push-back from those around you. Remember: you can take half an hour for yourself, and the world will still be there when you return. Successful women get this. And when you do return, you’ll be in a much better, healthier position to deal with the world around you.”
5. Focus on little and often – I can’t remember which toilet paper had the tag line of “little things mean a lot”, but it’s true. I do something very simple for myself every single day that’s part of my self care during the work day. In the morning and in the afternoon, I have an alarm on my phone that tells me to go walk for 5-10 minutes. If I’m really busy that day, I just walk for five minutes. But getting out of the office, into the sunshine, and moving around a bit does wonders for my energy level and it’s something that I do for me and me only. It’s a little thing. It means a lot.
Get Outta Town!
Vacation, Vacation, Vacation. Take your goddamn vacation days.
This commercial from Mastercard sums it all up!
Like the girl says, “They are PAID vacation days!” They are a benefit, not a luxury. And if you won’t take them for yourself, no one is going to take them for you.
You can’t get away a week at a time, no problem! Take a long weekend every month and schedule them ahead of time. A Friday and a Monday, once a month. Those days will add up and you’ll get a chance to binge watch TV, play tennis, maybe escape to the spa for the weekend. Something. Get out of town and use those days!
You Don’t Have to Be Superwoman
I really, really, REALLY love this song by Jen Foster – appropriately called SUPERWOMAN. It’s a little bit of a sad song, because it reflects a woman’s sadness that her partner sees past her and all of her efforts, but I still love it. The lyric I identify with most is, “And I am only now accepting I am human, I cannot be Superwoman.” You can ask for help. Pick your battles. Accept your imperfections. Say no. Your period doesn’t have to hold you back (thank you, Super Savvy Me, for these insights). Accept that you are human and go rock your day like the Queen that you are.