By Kathy Korman Frey
Kathy Korman Frey, entrepreneur in residence at George Washington University School of Business and founder of www.HotMommasProject.org, continues her series of posts on work-life issues. Who has mastered this balancing act so critical for quality of life, and how?
It’s the New Year and to celebrate, we’re going to stock your toolkit with tips on how to give you the most return on your investment of time. Time is something many of us simply don’t have anymore. So let’s start with our first Toolkit Essential -- Self-Confidence.
1. Believe in yourself.
At the most basic of levels, before tackling any challenge, it helps to believe we can do it. This is even more important for women and girls because research shows we test lower than our male counterparts in the area of self-confidence. Here are a couple of personal stories about trusting your own instincts.
Sara Sutton Fell, founder of FlexJobs.com: Listen to Yourself
When my friend and I started our first company at age 21, plenty of people thought – and told us – we were crazy. We worked hard to find mentors and experienced business people to help guide us. Initially we probably gave more credit to their ideas than we did to our own. When my friend and I look back, we agree that we should have valued our own instincts more. They proved more true to our mission and ultimately may have served our company better. Instincts are not always right, but you have them for a reason. They are probably the most important thing to listen to in decisions and your career.
Dr. Joni Carley who co-authored a book with Deepak Chopra and Jack Canfield called Stepping Stones to Success: Trust Your Feminine Instincts
Have confidence in your feminine instincts. The more you act and speak from those instincts, the more credible and successful you'll be. My work at the United Nations is in developing values-driven leadership. As an organization, it is almost crippled by the old paradigm style of male dominated bureaucracy, where people feel discouraged about the values they came to live out there. But, the ones who muster the courage to break through and who talk about their spirit, their feelings and who don't buckle to the extreme protocol are the ones who eventually end up being looked up to. They take an awful lot of abuse on their way to the top because exposing the more feminine instincts does create vulnerability in the short run, but the evidence at the UN is clear that it creates strength in the long run. So look inside, spend time getting inspired, keep valuing relationships and keep doing the "soft" side of your work - it may not be quantifiable with standard business measuring sticks yet, but professionals who develop those "softer" aspects do end up being able to take them to the bank. It turns out those are of much more sustainable value than stocks.
2. Find someone who believes in you.
Exposure to mentors and role models (even in written form) helps increase the self confidence in women and girls. January is National Mentoring month, a perfect time to solidify a relationship with a mentor. Go out and find the support you need. Here’s Josephine Geraci, founder of My Mom Knows Best:
I'm so grateful I came across Stacey Kannenberg during one of the most challenging times in my life and my business. My dad had passed away in January and I just couldn't get over the grief. I know the sadness from losing my first husband had resurfaced while grieving my dad. To make a long story short, she took me under her wing and got me motivated to get back into my business. The very next day, I opened my office door and slowly started going through months of paper work, within a few days, my phone rang and it was the producer of ABC News’ Nightline! I would have missed that opportunity if it were not for Stacey.
3. Mentor others.
Mentoring is not just for the mentee. Your own sense of value is solidified through mentoring. So help the next generation and yourself. Here are some ideas:
Stay tuned for our next post in this Essential Toolkit series with more tips and examples.
More from Kathy Korman Frey on Work-Life Issues: