Some will say that being a mom is a fulltime job, others will say that it’s their purpose, while some will argue that it’s a little bit of both. All moms have their own take on their parental role, their responsibilities, and their desire to lead a fulfilling life both as a mom and an accomplished professional individual. Sometimes, it may feel as if you’re not up to the task of either, especially when your youngling goes through those milestones such as teething or first ear infections, and your boss wants the proposal done yesterday.
Fortunately, moms everywhere have come up with a slew of strategies to reach a fine balance between both. One can indeed fuel the other, and with the right planning and a little bit of creativity, you can make the most of both of these roles and enjoy them to their full extent – yes, even when the flu strikes!
Don’t play the guilt game
Way too often, moms blame their desire to have a career for missing out on certain moments that seem irreplaceable in your child’s life. The truth is, even if you were to spend every minute of your day at home, you’d likely miss some of them while you’re taking care of all the chores around the house, too, or while your spouse is spending time with your baby. Guilt gets us nowhere. Instead, try focusing on how you’re contributing to your child’s future as well as present with your professional goals. First off, you’re ensuring financial stability for the family, you’re able to save up for a college fund, send them to an amazing kindergarten, and you’re setting a real example for your kids to be independent, hard-working, and loving.
Quality childcare for your kids
When you’re handling those projects at work, and you know your child could use some more quality time with stimulating games and interaction with other kids, then you can start setting up their schedule in addition to your own. One of the best solutions is to let them join a playgroup with their peers and spend quality time playing, learning through games, and bonding with other kids. This is especially important for toddlers, at their most sensitive developmental age when it comes to cognitive advancement, developing motor skills, and the like. So, while you’re at work, your little ones can spend that time learning and playing with their friends.
Organize special family time
Quality time for your youngsters comes in many shapes and forms. Now that you have their childcare all set, you should also make time in your busy schedule to connect with your kids. Most moms can set aside their weekends for those special bonding sessions, for camping trips with the entire family, or picnics in the nearby park. If the weather won’t allow you to spend more time outside (and preferably away from those screens and digital gimmicks), you can head to your favorite restaurant for a family lunch.
Then again, sometimes staying at home can also give you time and space to bond with your family. You can cook together, make those extra special fudge brownies, and play fetch with your pooch. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant to inspire true bonding and build a stronger relationship with your kids.
Add some flexibility to your work
On the other side of the spectrum, your superiors need to show plenty of understanding and care for your priorities. As a mom, you’ll need to have the freedom for those unexpected trips to the doctor (once again, those ear infections can be quite a pain in the neck), and to stay at home and care for your kids if they get sick, or even if you’ve been just too busy spending extra hours at work.
In such situations, discuss flexible work hours with your boss. Perhaps you can work from home on certain days and attend meetings via Skype. You also need to set clear boundaries that work stays at work – no more late correspondences from home, when you should be reading a bedtime story. By all means, be in your full-career gal mode when you’re at work, but at home, don’t miss out on those special family moments.
Ask for help and support
Delegate! In every aspect of your life where you feel you need a hand, don’t be afraid to seek help and support from your family as well as your colleagues. Maybe someone can take over your shift when there’s a special occasion at school, or a parent-teacher conference. Then again, maybe the grandparents can step in from time to time and bond with their grandkids while you invest a little bit more time to wrap up an important client presentation. Maybe you can set up a carpooling system with other parents to have more time on your hands for self-care.
Essentially, balancing a packed schedule on both fronts can be more of a burden than a challenge when you avoid asking for support. Make sure you have a trusty backup system, and you’ll be able to nurture both of your roles in harmony.
Juggling momhood with your career will always come with unique challenges just for your situation. Use these tips to brace yourself and prepare yourself for them, and you’ll enjoy both of your roles even more!
I am constantly being asked, “Should I hire a coach?” … and my response is often to talk people out of it.
I know — I am a coach. Why would I do that? I absolutely believe in the power and process of coaching. However, I also recognize when people aren’t clear about what coaching is, or aren’t ready to make the investment of effort.
I appreciate all those that are interested in working with me directly. The truth is, I only take on a few coaching clients at a time. At the level I want to serve my clients, I don’t have the capacity for more.
So, for those who have reached out or are considering coaching, I’ve instead tried to help them think about:
Whether they actually need a coach.
How to select the right one.
I recently helped someone through this process, and she told me that it would make a great blog post, so here it is.
Before you hire a coach, ask yourself these questions and actually write down the answers.
What does success look like?
What would make this coaching engagement worthwhile?
What am I trying to accomplish?
First things first: If you don’t know what difference you want to see, then you don’t have the ability to enable a coach to help you make that change.
If you know exactly why you are hiring a coach — for example, to help manage the transition into a new role, to improve your presentation skills, or to shift the perceptions of the people around you — then you are at a good starting place.
The next thing to consider is: How will you know that you’ve accomplished success? Again, it comes down to really knowing what you want. Nobody can help you get where you want to be if you don’t even know where that is.
If those two questions don’t present a problem for you, then you need to find the right coach for you. Think about your working style. A good coach will challenge you to think. When you look into a potential coach, you can ask:
Do they have the skills that you are looking for?
Are they interested in working with you?
Do you get along well with them?
Then, of course, there are the logistical questions that you will need to use to filter out your coaches, like cost. If money is tight, maybe try a coaching program that you can leverage, instead of one-on-one work. If that doesn’t work and you’re still struggling, reach out to me! I have a team of coaches that are here to help. (If it would actually help, that is.)
Need a coach, but not sure how you’ll be able to afford one? Next week I will share some alternatives to paying for coaching.
Writing a book is always a humbling process. You have a plan for how it’s going to go and then, surprise surprise, it takes all kinds of turns you don’t see coming. The final version of The Connector’s Advantage has some sections that were not a part of the original outline.
Being a Connector, I talked to a lot of people about the book which evolved into including over two dozen expert’s advice throughout the pages. One of my favorite concepts came from a conversation with author and podcaster Robbie Samuels. The third section of the book is all about expanding your connections and how to be an Inclusive Networker.
Here’s a little excerpt from the book:
“We are in a time in history where showing respect for diversity and cultural awareness is a priority. As a result, there’s an increased sensitivity to what we say and an emphasis on political correctness. I believe most organizations and individuals are navigating with intentions of inclusiveness, though they’re often unsure how to execute on that objective.”
Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and this concept of an Inclusive Networker has been fresh in my mind. All sorts of groups of people experience bias and struggle with inclusion, in corporate America today, including people of color, older workers, veterans, women, those with disabilities, and the list goes on.
A Connector has diversity, in every form, in their network. It is that breadth that makes someone a Super-Connector.
I tackle this topic in The Connector’s Advantage and, with the input of a few experts, suggest three tips to create a space where people can show up and share more of their full selves. This is how we create an environment of inclusion.
1. Recognize and embrace the unicorn within
How do you stand out? It’s likely that, at some point, this has made you feel uneasy. Instead, embrace it. Your differences give you power. Be an Inclusive Networker, starting with embracing yourself.
2. Don’t call out the differences, call out the similarities
Sometimes similarities are harder to see than differences, but they are always there. Watch your statements and make sure that they make people feel included instead of excluded.
3. Have a Host mindset
There is a difference between inviting someone and welcoming them. Which do you do? It’s not enough to just ask someone to join. Make them feel like they belong. Make them feel valued.
Social interactions are a subtle thing. Did you know that your body language or your level of eye contact can play a huge role in being an Inclusive Networker? It’s true! I talk about this and a lot more in The Connector’s Advantage, which is now available for preorder!
As we close out another year, it can be a good idea to do an inventory on our wins and our losses. What goals did we achieve? What eluded our grasp? What unbelievably good fortune came our way? What slipped past us?
If we’re not careful, however, this kind of thinking can lead us into a trap. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find it much easier to fixate on what didn’t happen instead of what did. And then before I know it, I feel a sense of time running out. The end of the month becomes a deadline for all of the goals I still haven’t met and for all of the good fortunes that I haven’t received. I start ruminating on what 2018 might have looked like. On what I’m not holding in my hands this very second. And pretty soon, all the wonderful surprises and achievements and goodies of this year aren’t nearly as important as what I have yet to accomplish (ideally before December 31st.) Because down deep is this nagging thought: if it didn’t happen already, then how on earth can I expect to ever see it happen??
Whenever I start feeling like this, I remind myself to make room for faith. I don’t necessarily mean spiritual faith, though that is a big part of this time of year. What I’m referring to is the unshakeable conviction, despite all evidence to the contrary, that your highest good is on its way to you – even if you can’t see it yet.
One of the definitions of faith in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is a “firm belief in something for which there is no proof.” And proof, as we all know, is paramount. It certainly comes in handy when we’re at a holiday party, catching up with inquisitive friends and family. Did we finally get our novel published? Uh, no. Meet the love of our life? Not quite. Get that promotion? “Nope,” we may say, our spirits a little crushed.
Not yet, we must think.
Because the Universe hasn’t forgotten about you. It’s just on its own timetable. It’s still cooking up miracles, and the more faith we have in those miracles coming to us, the sooner they’re bound to arrive. In fact, it’s the very fact that you don’t have proof that makes having faith so powerful. Faith requires you to believe in your wants and desires more than in the reality you can actually see. It demands that you believe in yourself. It pushes you to take action. It calms the part of you that fears change. And it’s the mechanism by which we can actually attract our highest good into our lives.
But we also have to do our part to keep our faith strong. Here are some easy strategies to keep our faith strong and vibrant as we head into 2019:
Meditation. Spending at least ten minutes a day focusing on our breath and clearing our mind not only helps us calm the chatter in our brain, it can connect us with the voice inside of us that knows good is coming.
Gratitude. Every night before bed, write down ten things in your day that you feel grateful for. They can be as simple as “the roof over my head” or “the joke my coworker told over lunch.” Feeling grateful for all of the good in our lives helps us know that more good is being cooked up and sent our way. (Plus, it also helps attract more in our life to feel grateful for!)
Affirmations. Every day write down what you want as if you already have it, know it, or embody it. Write it in a sentence five times in a row. Example: “I am a brilliant author with a published novel.” The act of creating affirmations tells you that something already exists. It takes it out of the unknown and plants it firmly in the here and now.
Having faith in the not-yet-seen isn’t easy, but with practice, it can become second nature.
You have all you need inside of you to make 2019 your best year yet.
Considered by many to be one of Los Angeles’ top coaches, Gretchen Hydo is a professional certified and credentialed life and business coach, keynote speaker, and thought leader, who has spent over ten years working, hands-on, with individual clients and notable companies, providing tools and practical tips to produce unprecedented results and meaningful life and business changes. www.gretchenhydo.com.
I created the 2019 Transformation group with women like you mind. I don’t know about you, but I am so tired of seeing messages that make women feel like they are less than or that they aren’t good enough. We are good enough. You are good enough.
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How do we create soulful connections? Some of the most popular actors in movies of the last decade have come out of the “Improv” world simply by saying “Yes, and…” to their fellow actor in scenes that are improvised. This makes the scene crackle with possibility because everyone’s in the same creative flow, living in the moment.
Doesn’t that sound like fun? Don’t we also respond well when the other person we’re talking to not only acknowledges our point, and builds on it?
Put “but” into the mix, however, and it’s like a record scratch. All of a sudden a previously smooth road has a jarring speed bump in it. Insert even more buts and a potentially joyful interaction can turn into a jolting, unpleasant experience, and we’re not even sure why.
Making the change from “but” to “and” for myself has been hugely transformative, as it has for my clients as well. One, in particular, started using this technique recently and was able to create possibilities in her life that weren’t available before, so I thought I’d share a little more about it with you.
The question has to be asked: why would well-meaning, good-hearted people like you and the people you know knowingly or unknowingly create this friction in conversation? Consider this:
A group of people are sitting in a circle around a particularly interesting sculpture in the center. Each gazes upon it and develops their unique take on it. Each has their own uniquely distinctive perspective. Some see it straight on, some from the opposite end. Some similar, some very different. Yet, all shared as they sit in this circle together.
I think the world is like this. We all have a different outlook on things.
But then as humans, we hear a perspective that is different than ours and tend to scratch our head and wonder how on Earth can that person not see what I’m seeing?“But their idea is backward!” normally well-meaning, kind-hearted people will point out. And that my friends, is what we call a judgment.
When our judgments are in play, they keep us separated. In a world where everyone truly is longing for closeness, for togetherness, wholeness, oneness – we must be willing to drop our judgments to allow ourselves to come into alignment and therefore unity with others.
So why is it even a bit toxic to “but” into people’s space?
When we choose to use “but,” in a way we are discounting the other person’s perspective. We are making them wrong by superseding their position or perspective and invalidating their point… and by extension, them. When we use “but” we are making ourselves “right” and the other person “wrong.” “But” keeps us attached to our positionality.
“And” allows us to share and enhance the perspective without discounting or excluding the other person’s point. It’s inclusive, which feels good and even makes us feel secure on a primal level. “And” recognizes that we’re both sitting around the circle with our different perspectives being as worthy as the others.
It seems simple, right? Just change the word “but” into “and” and watch the love flow! If you’ve been “butting” your whole life, however, it will take some awareness around this to create the “and” habit and let things flow.
Give it a try. Notice the next time you’re about to say “but” and instead say, “Yes, and…” I guarantee you will have more of their respect and admiration and maybe most valuable of all, their trust (a form of love). When you have someone’s trust, the most miraculous things can blossom that otherwise wouldn’t have seen the light of day.
Because we’re all in sacred circle with each other, our very humanity at the center, it’s up to us how we engage with it. With each other. And with our Selves. See if this strategy assists you in making soulful connections.
This week I’m delving into the god-awful whirlpool our society has found themselves caught in with no chance of escaping anytime soon; this is our addiction to our social media, apps, and constant need to be available through our devices. This epidemic is prevalent wherever you look. No matter what your age, gender, or socioeconomic status, you are not exempt. First let me start by saying these handheld devices have been a complete blessing while driving on unknown routes, saving me from continuing in the wrong direction or being able to get in instant contact with a loved one at a time of need. My issue is not that we have become dependent on these remarkable objects of technology, it’s we are losing out on precious moments and they are preventing us from creating memories because we are glued to the screen. It’s painful when I see a couple out to dinner & they haven’t looked up from their phones to engage in a conversation, or a child tugging on his mother to show her something his inquisitive mind just discovered and she pays no attention to him.
The commitment we have to our phones, the excessive checking we do throughout the day and even in the middle of the night, is unreal. My awareness of these habits made me realize that every time I would wake during the night, I would routinely check my phone. I think the healthiest way to a happy medium is setting aside times to do this. If you are a business owner, you know the importance of being available or having constant content on your pages, but we owe it to ourselves to unplug and really start living. I made a few rules for myself. I didn’t wake up, eyes still half closed, and reach for my phone to start reading emails or scrolling through the gram. Instead, I would allow myself to indulge in a much more relaxing and beneficial start to my day. My email, social media, and phone now had a designated timeframe and it led me to be much more productive. I also applied this to the hour before I went to sleep. I need time to unwind, digest the day, and read a chapter of my current book. Arianna Huffington, the co-founder and editor-in-chief for The Huffington Post, has made it a nightly practice to not bring her phone into the bedroom after collapsing from exhaustion while reading work emails. She even created an app with Samsung which tells people who try to contact you that you are unable to be reached because you are “thriving”. How cool is that? And if those trying to reach you don’t respect the time you need in order for yourself to live a healthy and fulfilled life, then I think you already know what you need to do with those people.
Lastly, I challenge you to have a Social Media Detox at least one day a month, but I prefer to do it every so often for longer periods of time to flush out the negativity we don’t even realize is affecting us. The constant images of fitness models or those trying to depict a “perfect” relationship is all a façade that certainly fucks with your mental state. We post something and vigorously check to see how many “likes” we have because it raises the dopamine levels, and somehow, we use that as validation. Or how many times have you started on one page and ended up on your coworker’s boyfriend’s sister’s page with 2 hours lost? Not to mention the unhealthy cyberstalking that can instantly take you out of your positive mood. The first time I did a digital detox, I would click on my IG icon out of complete habit – I wasn’t even thinking. So, I deleted the app from my iPhone to prevent that from happening. You don’t have to delete your account, but taking away the app will allow you to be successful in your detox. When you are not talking up hours of your day by looking at mindless pictures and memes, you are freed up to do many more soul-satisfying activities; reading a hardcover book, relishing in the beauty of nature, or having a deep and interactive conversation with a loved one, and that’s all I really am trying to convey in this post. If staying off your phone raises your anxiety levels and you don’t even want to think about it, you are no different than the smoker that needs their first cigarette minutes after waking up. Our phones and social media are wonderful when used properly, but we have to know when it’s time to disconnect and live IRL.
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Assessing your customers and employees is now widely recognised as a vital input to any strategy for customer-focused business performance improvement.
Understanding customers is the key to giving them an exceptional experience. To give good customer care you must deliver what you promise. But an exceptional customer experience involves getting to know your customers so well that not only do you meet your customers’ expectations but you can anticipate their needs and exceed their expectations.
To understand your customers’ needs, your employees need to have extremely good communication skills; listening, connecting, asking the right questions at the right time is all part of the caring sales process.
By building a rapport with your customers, being genuinely interested in their needs, and what’s in it for them, not you, they will reward you with their custom and loyalty.
Satisfying employees could be described as a company’s ability to generate genuine teamwork among all departments in the organisation and the need to improve processes, responsiveness and reduce overheads is focusing management attention on the major internal business functions, such as sales, marketing, credit and receivables, manufacturing, distribution, packing and shipping, quality, production planning, etc.; and to instill in every individual the constant awareness that customer service is everyone’s business. It is important to measure and understand what your employees tell others, about why your business is a great place to work, because there is a direct correlation between employee advocacy and customer advocacy.
Data collection must then lead to prompt action: event-driven assessments owned by empowered teams of service providers can help achieve this. Such a fast cycle satisfaction assessment or improvement process will not happen spontaneously: selling, training, culture change and management leadership are needed to embed action-oriented customer-satisfaction assessment.
With the right knowledge about your employees and your customers, you can work on strengthening their satisfaction and increase their loyalty.
Bringing a more Caring energy into Assessing their needs means that you, business leaders, need to take the time to listen, have more compassion and increase your receptiveness by creating opportunities for honest feedback from your stakeholders, so you can take the necessary measure to implant changes which will benefit the company as a whole.
An effective, regular and caring assessment of your business, your employees and your customers will have a catalyst impact on your bottom line…
While you can measure strategy performance against targets, an assessment of your company’s strategy and evaluating how key internal and external influences impact on the performance variables. It examines how you measure company performance and how sustainable any performance increases are likely to be over the longer term.
Now, let’s think about it:
* How can you grow by being more compassionate, open and receptive?
* How can you assess your environment better?
* How can you understand your employees’ needs?
* How can you listen to your external customers’ feedback?
* What would happen if you brought a more caring energy to the way you assess the needs of those around you?
Oftentimes, interview preparation is focused on crafting your stories and structuring clear responses to the expected questions. Do that. But, don’t forget to also prepare questions to ask the interviewer.
Wait – isn’t the interviewer asking the questions? Isn’t the point for the employer to get to know you?
Absolutely! But asking questions will show your interviewer what you think is important, how well you prepared, and how much existing knowledge of the company and position you already have. They learn a lot about you based on the questions you ask.
The most important thing to remember is that it’s not the number of questions you ask that matters – it’s the quality of those questions.
An Example – What Not Do To Do: If you ask your interviewer how many branches the company has, but the homepage of their website says, “Proudly serving our customers with 15 branches worldwide,” what does that tell them? That you probably didn’t do your research well or don’t know how to research at all. Yikes.
What You Should Already Know – so DO NOT Ask: Office locations and numbers of offices, company size, and relative financial health. Things you can find out on their website or with a quick Google search. You can reference media coverage – don’t be ignorant of it.
What You Can Learn – Ask This: There’s a second motivation behind asking a potential employer questions. It gives you insight into whether or not you even want to work there. Ask questions about company culture, what they value, and what a normal day in the office looks like. Ask what they would change if they could; the best and worst parts of the job. Ask how they would describe their relationship with their boss, team, and employees.
Not only will it show your interviewer that you’re serious about the job, but it will help you to decide if that’s the place you see yourself working.
Is Women’s Empowerment Becoming Disempowering? Is Women’s Empowerment Becoming Disempowering?
With everything that has occurred with #metoo, #seeher campaign, and most recently the Ford vs. Kavanaugh case, both women and men are at a very tense time in our society. It feels that now more than ever, genders are split opposed to working together to find solutions against the inequality, stereotypes, and harassment.
However, more recently I have found that even women are starting to tune out to what’s going on in the world and no longer what to be associated with Women’s Empowerment for fear that it will pull them into a political swing or create a negative connotation around them. The term Women’s Empowerment itself can be taken so many ways by so many people.
The current climate in our country about women equality, harassment, and speaking up is absolutely a necessity, however, as both women and men, it’s important that lines don’t blur and create extreme perspectives and thoughts that cause further damage and segregation. Terms like Women’s Empowerment and Feminism have been taken out of context and often are no longer seen as a friendly and uplifting way to support women initiatives.
As we approach the Empowered Women Rise Conference it’s important for Rise Up For You to state that Women’s Empowerment is about opening the minds of all women to the endless possibilities and success they can create in their life. It’s about becoming your best-self as the whole woman so that you can make the impact you want to make in this world and lead in ways that will positively impact those around you. It’s about showing up fully at 1000% so that you can create the change you wish to see, whether it’s in your household, your company, or your community. Women’s Empowerment is not about disempowering men but creating a safe space for women to be her best professionally and personally.
Empowering women like yourself is a beautiful and needed mission that can transform the workspace and the overall success of women. I hope you can join us on November 3rd where professional women are coming together to connect and build professional relationships as well as take themselves to the next step in their career and life. This conference is not associated with politics or any other elements that can potentially create division. We are all doing our best to build the success and happiness we want and deserve in our lives, and this conference is a platform to help you take another step towards that goal!
Did you know that the #1 fear across society is public speaking? Death and snakes round out the top 3. Would it surprise you to know that when I was a teenager, it was my biggest fear, too?
Seriously. It’s true. It’s shocking to me that I eventually made a career out of giving a speech when I wouldn’t even run for student council because it would entail doing that very thing. The idea of giving a speech in front of my classmates made me want to throw up. I thought, “Why would anyone opt in for something like that – it sounds like torture!”
So when I was a junior in high school, I took my first public speaking class. I wanted to face the fear. Signing up only exacerbated my fear. I’ll never forget the feedback my teacher gave me after a speech. He said:
I couldn’t be heard past the third row
I spoke a mile a minute (I am from Jersey, after all…)
My voice shook
If you had asked me then what I thought I would do with my life, my answer would never have been public speaking. It would have been somewhere along the lines of a corner office businesswoman in finance. Yet here I am, about to speak in front of 2,000 people at Toastmasters International!
Not only did I get over my fear of public speaking, but I actually came to enjoy it. You should know, I still feel nervous every time and I’m absolutely terrified for my largest crowd yet — but at the same time, I know I will do great.
If you relate to any of these public speaking phobias… don’t be afraid of the fear, embrace it. Use the fear and harness the adrenaline. Challenge yourself and trust that you’ll be great, too.
Maybe you also have a fear of public speaking, or maybe your fear is something else. Whatever it is, face it. You’ll get past it and it will open up new opportunities that you never imagined!