Pushing Through The Glass Ceiling

shattered glassSuccess and being successful has nothing to do with gender, colour or social status. Success and being successful has everything to do with committment, hard work and a can-do-it-attitude. It’s nice to see that women all over the world are starting to push through the glass ceiling to take their rightful place managing and leading Fortune 500 Companies. Women are now out pacing men in starting small businesses. According to research  conducted by The Centre for Women’s Business – well over 10.1 Million firms in the USA are owned by women – employing more than 13 Million people.

“It may be the Cock that crows, but make no mistake that it’s the Hen who decides when and where to lay the egg” – Margaret Thatcher

Dee Dee Myers – author of “Why Women Should Rule The World” believes that women are more successful at running small businesses because women can make people accountable for their actions but, they can also be there to support them. “Females have that trait, where maybe most men do not”. What women seem to come by naturally is empathy – the ability to see things from another person’s point of view. An important 21st Century skill. Unfortunately most men still have to learn it. Mary Matalin, former counselor to President George W. Bush was quoted as saying – “Women around the World are rewriting history at a ferocious pace with or without mans permission”. It’s easy to argue that men haven’t been doing such a great job of managing things lately.

“Be selfish with your time. Learn to say no to things you do not have an interest in. You are not serving anyone when you spread yourself too thin. Your first obligation should be to yourself. You cannot be any good for someone else unless you are first good to yourself.” – Larry Winget

A very dear and close personal friend of mine likes to remind me now and again that she doesn’t need a man in her life to “complete” her. She’s capable enough to do that all on her own. After all – she’s be operating her own very successful small business now for over 30 years. She knows who she is and she’s not afraid to speak up and ask for what she wants. That’s one of the many qualities I love and admire about her. Men who feel threatened by that are neanderthals, still living in the past. They need to get over themselves and wake up to the realities of a new order of things where women have a seat at the table. It’s great to see that more and more women feel the same way. We are all going to be better for it.

Copyright (c) 2015. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Brian is available for workshops or keynote speeches on a variety of soft-skills topics. He’ll work with you one-on-one to insure your event is an overwhelming success. To find our more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit http://briansmithpld.com

Mothers Are The Ultimate Control Freaks

IMG_20140511_145439A “BIG” high-five to all the Mothers out there. Without your love, guidance and dedication most of us would not be here. I hope everyone got the chance to be with their Mom or at least talk with her on her special day. I’m one of the lucky ones because I got to spend Mothers Day with my Mom. Having my four brothers and sister there was a bonus. It’s been more than 50 years since all of us where together on Mothers Day. Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s was an interesting time. Perhaps not as challenging as it is now – but with eight of us living under the same roof, it had its moments. And through it all my Mother was able to maneuver the ship through the occasional rough sea and stay the course without ending up on the rocks and sinking.  Mothers are the ultimate control freaks but they control in a very special way.

Mothers are Teachers: My Mom taught me the difference between right and wrong.  To be respectful of others. To be kind. To help those in need. She taught me how to be a man. And more importantly she taught me how to be a parent.

Mothers are Referees: In spite of growing up with four competitive brothers and one sister in the house my Mom still managed to keep the peace. She’d have to intervene once in a while and make us go to neutral corners and take a much deserved time out. My Mom walked quietly but carried a big stick. She just had to give you that certain look and you understood.

Mothers are Guidance Councilors:  My Mom was the voice of reason. She guided me with a soft-hand and a gentle push. I could always count on her to be my soft-place to fall so I was never afraid to venture out on my own and take chances.

Thank you Mom. I love you. I am forever in your debt.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Are you looking for a keynote speaker or workshop facilitator who can entertain and inform on a variety of soft-skills topics including: powerful communication strategies, time management and personal effectiveness or how to deal with difficult people and challenging situations better? Visit http://briansmithpld.com

We Have a Voice – It’s Time We Started Using It

images (11)I participated in a weekend twitter chat hosted by @Kate Nasser – The People-Skills Coach, that reminded me that we have a voice, a very loud voice. And we need to speak up because politicians and company executives are listening. The silent majority needs to speak up against bullying, rape, violence against women and powerful companies like Monsanto who are counting on you and I to say nothing at all. We can’t make a difference you say. No one cares you say. And no one is listening. Tell that to Lululemon’s Founder and Chairman Chip Wilson who was forced to resign and step away from the company he started, a month after he made controversial comments that angered their customer base and sales took a nosedive. And tell that to the fast food industry who were swayed by public pressure to put nutritional values on their packages and menus so that consumers could make an informed decision about the foods they eat.

Worth Remembering … “It always seems impossible until it is done.” – Nelson Mandela 

Monsanto: Protestors in over 40 Countries around the World participated in a march against Monsanto and Genetically Modified Foods (Referred to as GMO’s). What started as a whimper is now beginning to sound more like a roar. A number of American States have passed laws requiring any GMO food or seeds to be labelled as such and prohibits any food containing GMO’s to be labelled “Natural”. A number of Countries including Canada are drafting and passing similar legislation. 

Bullying: Do a Google Search on “bullying” and you’ll get 24,600,000 results in 0.67 seconds. The cry against bullying is more than a flavor of the month – it’s a revolution. Bullying is a learned behavior. But community groups, school boards and governments working to eliminate bullying is not enough – Parents need to step up and teach their children that bullying is not cool – it’s not OK. Is there a connection between bullying and suicide among young people? According to a report published in 2006 by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) there is. They believe that suicide is rarely a spur of the moment decision. There have been a number of highly publicized suicides among young people recently that supports their findings and law makers are beginning to take note.

Workplace Violence and Harassment:  Bullying of the Adult Kind. Provincial Governments in Canada are taking a stand against workplace violence and harassment by enacting legislation that prohibits violence or harassment of any kind and if employers or employees are found guilty of an offence, and on conviction, are liable to a fine of not more than $25,000 per offense, or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 12 months, or both. Workers have a legal right to a safe workplace and employers must do everything reasonable under the circumstance to insure their health and safety.

Worth Remembering … “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” – Martin Luther King Jr. 

We have a voice. We can make a difference. Yes progress is slow, change seems to take forever and the deck is stacked against us,  but that shouldn’t detour us from doing what we know is right. Social media and the internet have given us a platform. It’s up to each and every one of us to step up to the podium and be heard.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Brian is available for keynote speeches and delivering workshops on a variety of soft-skills topics including: communication, time management, coping with stress, dealing with difficult people and challenging situations better and developing the leader in you. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you visit http://briansmithpld.com

 

Get FOCUSED – 7 Key Steps to Becoming The Person You’d Rather Be 4

Everything we choose to do alters our brain and it fundamentally changes who we are, a process that continues until we die. Dr. Richard Restak – clinical professor of neurology at George Washington’s University Medical Center and author of “Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot: Unleashing Your Brain’s Potential” – believes that the human brain has the ability to reprogram itself. All the new research on the brain suggests that no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to change your brain for the better. Adults can learn new things given the right set of circumstance and in an environment that is conducive to learning. The point I’m trying to make here is that if you aren’t happy with your lot in life – if you aren’t happy with the cards you’ve been dealt – you have the power within you to pick up your chips and sit in on a whole new game. How bad do you want it? How willing are you to change? Motivation is inside out – never outside in. Are you ready to get FOCUSED?

 The Seven Key Steps to Becoming The Person You’d Rather Be.

Friendly: How likable are you? How much fun are you to be around? If you get invited to a house party or social event do you approach people you’ve never met – introduce yourself and strike up a conversation or do you huddle in a corner hoping someone will notice you and venture over to say hello? You don’t need to be the centre of attention but you do need to mingle and become part of the conversation. Success in any under taking is more about who you know – not what you know that matters most. Someone knows someone who knows someone who is looking to hire someone with your talents. You need to learn to be an effective networker and network like crazy. Join a service club – volunteer – and expand your circle of influence. We all like to be liked – it’s a basic human need.

Organized: Time management is life management. How you manage your time is how you manage your life. You have 168 hours in the course of a week – no more – or no less. Your time is not a renewable resource. You can’t make time – you can only learn how to spend your time more wisely. Take the time to make sure you are allocating your time to those things that are most important to you. Your life is a planned event. Where would you rather be in 12, 18 or 24 months from now? What new skills will you have to learn to get there? What pieces of the puzzle still need to fall into place for you to accomplish your goal?

Confident: What you think of yourself and say to yourself on the inside is reflected in the way you act and are seen by others on the outside. If you don’t believe in yourself – then others won’t either. We all feel insecure and unsure of ourselves from time to time. We all have self-doubt – especially if we are doing something for the very first time. You are whoever you think you are – it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think you can or can’t – you’re right. If you are physically and mentally capable of becoming the person you’d rather be – then the only person who is getting in your way – is you. You need to get out of your own way. There are a number of great books on how to develop your self-esteem. It starts with your internal dialogue. One of my favorites is “The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem’ by Nathaniel Branden PhD.

Understanding: Empathy – the ability to see something from another person’s point of view. It is to emotionally put yourself in the place of another. Empathy, understanding and compassion are closely related to one another. Daniel Goleman in his ground breaking book “Working with Emotional Intelligence” suggests that EQ – the ability to communicate and interact more effectively with others which is often referred to as soft-skills – is more important than IQ. For the most part and for most careers – intelligence is highly overrated. You don’t need to be the smartest person in the room to be the most successful person in the room. What you do need is the ability to connect with people on an emotional level. Some people are better at it then others – but it can be learned.

Sincere: It’s not what you say that matters most – it’s how you go about doing it that others will remember. If you treat others with the very best of intentions – then it will come through in the way that you treat them.  If you were to sit down and write your personal code of conduct what kinds of things would you put on that list? What set of values do you hold to be true and you aren’t willing to compromise them no matter the situation – no matter the consequences? Always be true to yourself.

Energized: What are you really passionate about? What really turns your crank? If you could pick the ideal career for you – the one that most suites your talents – what would it be? Do you love to sing – write – work with the less fortunate – play sports – dance – sell products or provide a service? Play to your strengths – do what makes you happy – do what you were meant to do. If you do what you love to do – all the other things like food, a home, money, family and friends – will fall in line.

Determined: Think Big – Dream Bigger. Attitude – your attitude is 100% in your control. Only you get to decide how you want to react in any given situation. There will be missteps along the way. You will make mistakes – there will be barriers to go around and you’ll need to navigate the odd detour along the way. But, keep moving forward – one step at a time. And never, ever give up on your dream. The words coulda, shoulda, woulda should not be part of your vocabulary.

Copyright (C) 2012. Brian Smith. Not to be reproduced or copied without written permission. Exerts of this article were taken from Brian Smith’s soon-to-be-published book – “Get-A-Grip – Wishing and Hoping Won’t Make it Happen