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A Very Merry Unbirthday To You, To Me

I was always charmed by the scene in Alice in Wonderland where the Mad Hatter brought up the idea of the Un-Birthday.  A big fan of birthdays, both mine and others, I loved that every day could be a celebration for everyone. My sister and I have a running joke that birthdays mean cake, and any time there is a discussion about birthdays we yell, “CAKE!” Yes, like all siblings, we have our weird moments.

But enough about my relationships with my sister, I want to get back to the idea of un-birthdays. For this month it’s MY birthday. A real one, not an un-birthday. So before I get to my request – and it’s a good one – let me share a little of the idea. Continue reading “A Very Merry Unbirthday To You, To Me”

Talk to yourself. It will bring about wonderful things.

I Talk to Myself. I Think You Should Too.

In the hallway of my office is a giant post-it note. On it, in bright colored markers, I have eight bold thoughts I’ve collected to remind me to pull up my pants and get to work on what I’m trying to manifest. I won’t share all of them because they’re personal to me and my journey, but I’ll share one. It says:

Imagine you made Oprah laugh. 🙂

Continue reading “Talk to yourself. It will bring about wonderful things.”

Do you and your mentor define the word the same way?

Want to know the definition of “mentor”? I looked it up.

Men·tor – ˈmenˌtôr,ˈmenˌtər/
noun
1.
an experienced and trusted adviser.
“he was her friend and mentor until his death in 1915”
synonyms: adviser, guide, guru, counselor, consultant; confidant(e)
“his political mentors”
verb
1.
advise or train (someone, especially a younger colleague).

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t hear someone talking about being a mentor, getting a mentor, or just exploring the whole idea of mentorship. I’ve said this on many occasions, but I don’t think we all have the same meaning for a mentor. When I asked people what a mentor does, here’s what they said:

  • Helps me get ahead in my career/advocates for me.
  • Shares their expertise in a particular subject.
  • Introduces me to people who can help me.
  • Helps me work through challenges in my workplace.
  • Advises me on how to maximise my career path.
  • Is someone who can empathise with me when I need someone to listen.
  • Someone who helps me figure out what I need to do to level up in my career.

Continue reading “Do you and your mentor define the word the same way?”

Tears and Laughter: A Lesson in Empathy

Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash

The door opens and a customer walks in. My first thought? “I wonder how long it will take me to get her clothes off?”

It’s 1993, and I’m a manager at a high-end bathing suit store in Austin, Texas. What I knew then, and know today, was if you opened the door to my store you were never “just looking.” You wanted a bathing suit. As the manager, I knew that if you were going to walk out of the store with a bathing suit, we had to overcome two giant obstacles. Continue reading “Tears and Laughter: A Lesson in Empathy”

If you date a job, one day there will be a break up.

Angela ended the conversation with “You’re going to write about this, right?”
My response “Well I am now. But I’ll change the names to protect the innocent.”

What were we talking about? Angela had decided it was time to quit her job, and understandably she was nervous about the conversation with her boss. So nervous that she hadn’t slept much the night before, hence the quick coaching session the following morning.

What was making it hard for Angela was this wasn’t the “I quit!” type situation. Her boss wasn’t being a jerk, the work wasn’t terrible, she loved the company, and she adored her team. She knew, however, that what the company needed and what she had to give weren’t in alignment. It had been that way for a while, and it was time.

We’d talked before about how to approach the conversation. The following is what Angela asked I share with you.

It’s time to be practical but practical from the other person’s perspective. You’re about to mess with someone’s world, so put yourself in her shoes.

We tend to think (or not sleep) a ton about the emotional reaction of the person we’re breaking up with. How will they react? Will they get mad? No one wants an emotional or angry response. I often find the best thing to do is to pretend you’re the person hearing the news. What questions might they have? What are their next steps going to be? What might worry them? Continue reading “If you date a job, one day there will be a break up.”

Meet a Ladybadass: Emerald Archer – Researcher, Leader, Change-Maker

Imagine for a second you’re meeting someone for the first time. You’ve been introduced by a friend (thanks, Brady) and your preparation work has you just a little nervous. You’ve read words like “military” and “Ph.D.” and “guns,” but you’re also intrigued by words like “gender” and “stereotype.” What picture do you have in your head?

 I did. And when Dr. Emerald Archer walked in the door, I saw a stunning sunshine-filled California girl.

 We grabbed a coffee, and we started to talk. She’s warm and humble. She’s kind and engaging. She’s intelligent and powerful. Emerald is SUCH a strong manifestation of a ladybadass. Continue reading “Meet a Ladybadass: Emerald Archer – Researcher, Leader, Change-Maker”

Sorry, It’s fixed. Here’s why it won’t happen again.

What to do when we mess up

Mistakes happen, I know I’ve made thousands of them. It’s what you do next that matters.

I was reminded of this concept over the holidays. A member of my team made a small mistake. Nothing dramatic and certainly nothing to get worked up about, but it was a mistake. When I shot her a note to confirm there wasn’t information I was missing her response both surprised and delighted me.

  1. She owned the error immediately.
  2. The error is fixed.
  3. She explained what she’d do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
  4. She gave me a little context to why the mistake happened.

THAT, folks, is basically a perfect response. So why was it surprising? The fact that this type of reaction – own it, fix it, eliminate recurrence, and context (not blame) is not something I usually see. Continue reading “Sorry, It’s fixed. Here’s why it won’t happen again.”

Women & VC Funding: Questions Beyond the Headline

Photo by Kaboompics // Karolina from Pexels 

Over the last week or so there has been a flurry of articles about the announcement from PitchBook and Fortune that female founders got 2% of Venture Capital in 2017. The article points out the silver lining that dollars invested was up by a whopping (note the sarcasm here) $500,000 from last year. Read that again: Female founders got TWO PERCENT of VC in 2017. This is nowhere close to the almost 70% of capital given to male-founded companies. While an attention-getting headline, I don’t think this actually tells me anything other than people can add.

Now before you start going there, this is not a rant (yet) about the lack of funding for female lead startups. This particular rant is about the math and the metrics behind the story and the headlines it created. Continue reading “Women & VC Funding: Questions Beyond the Headline”

Using the Snowball Method of Create Big Things

Have you heard of the debt snowball method? It’s an approach first shared by Dave Ramsey to guide people in paying down their debts. Here’s a simplified version of the approach:

  1. You list all debts in ascending order from smallest balance to largest. This is the method’s most distinctive feature, in that the order is determined by amount owed, not the rate of interest charged. However, if two debts are very close in the amount owed, then the debt with the higher interest rate would be moved above in the list.
  2. Commit to pay the minimum payment on every debt.
  3. Determine how much extra can be applied towards the smallest debt.
  4. Pay the minimum payment plus the extra amount towards that smallest debt until it is paid off.
  5. Once a debt is paid in full, add the old minimum payment (plus any extra amount available) from the first debt to the minimum payment on the second smallest debt, and apply the new sum to repaying the second smallest debt.
  6. Repeat until all debts are paid in full.

In theory, by the time the final debts are reached, the extra amount paid toward the larger debts will grow quickly, similar to a snowball rolling downhill gathering more snow (thus the name).

The theory works as much on human psychology; by paying the smaller debts first you see fewer bills as more individual debts are paid off, thus giving ongoing positive feedback on your progress. [Wikipedia]

I’m sure you’re quite baffled as to why I’m writing about debt reduction when I’m all about amplifying yourself. Well, it’s because the same mathematics of debt reduction can also apply to amplification. Instead of going from big (debt) to small, you want to go from small (awareness) to big. Continue reading “Using the Snowball Method of Create Big Things”

Which Company Would You Want to Work For?

Let me just start by saying I read a lot of articles about people development, leadership, what to do with your resume, what not to do with your resume, questions should you ask potential candidates, what should a candidate do to prep for an interview….the list goes on.

Why all this reading? It’s a little like school for me. It’s the “research and development” part of my work that gives me the inspiration for thoughtful observations on how to navigate the complicated world called work.

I am inspired by what I read quite often. More often than not I’m inspired by something that’s connected to something else I read. (That’s that human “thinking” brain I keep talking about, the one that’s not a robot that connects disparate ideas. But I digress. The conversation about our non-robotness is a conversation for another day.)

This is not about me and my reading habits. It’s about you. Specifically, a question I have for you. But all that chatter is to set up the question. Let me set up the scenarios … Continue reading “Which Company Would You Want to Work For?”