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Women Just Do Stuff Differently

do betterI recently shared an article with the members of the Women’s Business Network of SE MA.   In this article, “‘Leaning In’ Isn’t the Answer”, published by the Business Insider, Sabrina Parsons of Palo Alto Software explains that she is not an average CEO.  On occasion, she brings her 3 kids with her to work and encourages her employees to do the same.

In her article, Ms. Parsons opines about the much talked-about book by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” . Although she agrees with Sandberg’s opinion that we need to continue to fight the leadership role gender gap in corporate America, she does not necessarily agree with the contention that women need to play into ‘traditional’ workplace norms – to do all that it takes to move ahead and succeed, often at the expense of their personal lives.

Ms. Parsons acknowledges all of the efforts and gains by the feminist movement of the 70s and 80’s.  She points out, however, that what they worked so hard for may have molded norms that forced women to behave like men in that setting.  Often, they were faced with impossible circumstances of working incredibly long hours, give everything they had, often to the detriment of their personal lives. She states, “I think that driven women always go beyond the call of duty, and certainly working moms know how to work as hard as anyone.”   She goes on to make the point that what needs to change is how and when women work.

Here is the part that really resonated with me – and gives me hope that the future for my daughters in the workplace will, hopefully, be more conducive to a full-life experience than when I started in my career. Ms. Parsons has made it a priority at her company to encourage her employees to do what they may need in order to succeed at work while raising their family.  Children are welcome in the workplace. Parents are allowed to leave to take their kids to the doctor if necessary.  Dads may need to work from home.  Others may need to have freedom to take care of aging parents.  The employees at Palo Alto Software are happier and more productive because of this culture.

I don’t know…..It just seems so very HUMAN.   This is good stuff.

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My Time Management Journey – Part I

How ironic.

time managementMy husband still can’t get over it.  I have recently become a social media community manager for a productivity expert.  Mitch still laughs when he thinks of me researching, tweeting and posting on the topic of time management.  He is of the impression that I, Susan Finn, just might be the worst time manager in the history of the world.  Aha – but he is so very, very mistaken.  As with so many things in life – it is really all about from which angle you approach an issue.  What Mitch sees as poor time management, may actually be excellent time management. If I can fit a few more things into those last 15 minutes before leaving for a party or serving dinner, then, I feel that I have, indeed, used that time wisely. In fact, I will probably keep tweeting and posting while we are driving to the party or to the market. (No worries – he’s driving, I’m posting – I always practice safe text)  I happen to think that is an excellent use of time.

So now, as I have become more engrossed on this topic of time management and productivity for my client, I am actually quite intrigued by it.  I am beginning to start to use many of her strategies in my day-to-day life.   Simple changes such as only working on emails at certain times during the day, creating a ‘filing’ system for my email inbox to isolate the tasks that will be most effective for productivity, and not just be busy-ness, setting a timer and more.

I found this helpful infographic on Project Eve. It was originally sourced from Success Sculpting System via Visual.ly.12-ideas-to-increase-productivity

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Renewing the Passion for Your Business

Guest post by Jeanne Riley, LMT (*)

renewalA recent focus group explored the topic “Renewing the Passion for Your Business. “

One of the benefits of starting or running your own business is you have the opportunity to do and share what you love.  Your business is something you are drawn to, something you are good at and committed to, something you really enjoy focusing your time and energy on.

Still, starting up a new business is hard work and it can take several years to build up a thriving business.  The stress and workload can be daunting.  Temporary setbacks can be demotivating.  The lag time in profitability can make you question your business plan and sometimes maybe even your sanity.    So how do you maintain the motivation, the commitment and the stamina to keep doing all the things it takes to run your new business?

We consulted many resources and discussed some of the tactics entrepreneurial experts and business coaches advise.  We also found some fun simple exercises to help boost your productivity and creativity.

1) Take care of Yourself First.  If you do not take care of your own health and wellbeing, you will not have the stamina to continue breathing life into your business.  Think of this like putting the oxygen mask on yourself before the kiddos in an airplane.  If you are unconscious so is this business you are trying to nurture.  Serial entrepreneur Jen Groover says making your health a priority can help you maintain the mental clarity you need to stay at the top of your game as an entrepreneur.1  So, remember to eat well, exercise both your body and your mind and find the time and resources to help take care of you.  It’s not a luxury to take care of your SELF.  It is a necessity.

2) Delegate or automate.  Even if you love what you do, there are business requirements that are tedious, repetitive, that you do not like to do, or that you do not have enough expertise to do well yourself.  This may mean taking on an additional expense, but the time saved means you have time to find more ways to increase your profitability.   This also means building a support network.   Scott Gerber, founder and chief executive of Sizzle It! and the Young Entrepreneur Council, says automate the mundane, partner with local business and create a boredom back-up plan to avoid burnout.2  (note from Susan – WBN members may want to follow this up with the upcoming Break-Out Session – “Delegating and Outsourcing” – scheduled for 11/29)

3) Walk away when you need to.  OK, not really.  It’s not that simple, but you need to have boundaries.You need to have enough space in your life to allow for other outlets.  Startup America Partnership Chief Executive Scott Case calls this ‘white space’  and advises 15 to 30 minute breaks to step away and release the pressure.3  We all have days where we need to put in 110% effort, but if you do this constantly you are creating a big deficit.     These other activities feed who you are and help you maintain the creativity you need to find flexible, simple, creative solutions to grow your business.

4) Be larger than life.  Power poses help your body feel good and feel in charge and the physiological effect of simply moving can be significant.  “Posture affects how we think,” says Sian Beilock, cognitive psychologist and author of Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting it Right When You Have To (Free Press, 2010). “One of the ways we shape our thoughts is through our physical movements.”4

There are many resources available to help with each of the above points, in fact you do not need to look far since many of the resources can be found right here within our own WBN group.   So thank you for the opportunity to get to know each and every one of you in our monthly meetings and in these smaller breakout groups.  I love what I do and I look forward to working with you and getting to know all of your businesses.

(*) Special Submission by:
Jeanne Riley - Renewal Therapeutic Massage

IJeanne Riley, LMT, CPMT I
Renewal Therapeutic Massage

 

RESOURCES:

1) Video:  How to Maintain the Focus to Run a Business  http://www.entrepreneur.com/video/223167
2) Video:  What’s the Best Way to Stay Motivated?  http://www.entrepreneur.com/video/217835
3) Video:  What’s the Best Way to Beat Startup Stress? http://www.entrepreneur.com/video/220057/playlist/1
4) Article: 3 Postures to Boost Productivity Now,  http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/223678
more:
5 Ways to Rekindle the Passion for Your Business – Jane Porter – Entrepreneur http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/224379
6 Tips for Staying Super Charged – Grant Cardone http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/224545?fb_ref=fbrec
Six Signs You Need a Break From the Startup Grind – BY Gwen Moran http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/223742
How Google’s Marissa Mayer Prevents Burnout – BY Nadia Goodman http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/223723
How to Stop Stress in 60 Seconds or Less –Lisa Girard http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/220080
How to Build a Support Network http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/224730
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Elevator Story

hear moreFor 8 years we have been encouraging the members of the Women’s Business Network to create, refine, rework their “Elevator Pitch”.  With only 30 seconds to introduce themselves in a network meeting, we wanted to make sure that they had their message clear and ready to go.

The article I read this morning by Seth Godin just made this concept so incredibly clear and meaningful to me.  It’s not a pitch – We are not going for the 30 second sale – We are beginning a story that just needs to be continued.  Seth  says  “The best elevator pitch is true, stunning, brief and it leaves the listener eager (no, desperate) to hear the rest of it.

I love this concept and can’t wait to share it.
There…..I  did.
This is Great Stuff!

Read the whole, short article by Seth.

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5 Habits You Need to Adopt to be Effective on Social Media

5 habits

An article recently published by Anton Koekemoer on Memeburn.com outlines his views on the 5 habits one should adopt to be effective on social media.

He lists these habits as:

1: Start the day with a cup of social media –
 What are you reading with your morning cup o’ ?  Consider reading digital content to find good stuff to share with your audience.  Having another cup o’ later in the morning?  Share more info.

2: How do you look at the information that passes by you each day? – Filter your input and consider what would make good content in your social media avenues.  Keep notes and refer back to them, or better yet – Tweet, Post or update right away.

3. Blogging on weekends – or whenever you have free blocks of time. (pre-schedule blogs out in to the future)  Blogging is one of the best ways of getting found online.
.” A blog can increase your credibility, build awareness, improve your organic SEO rankings, and it’s a powerful communication channel that you can use to engage with your target audience.”  However, it can be time-consuming. Refer to  Koekemoer‘s article for a few good tips on getting it done!

4: Small updates – when it suits you…..

5: Take it with you –  With smartphones and tablets you might use your social media platforms where you are, when you are thinking of it.  Engage, respond, share.

Koekemoer summarizes with this: to have “…..social media in your everyday life it’s important that you stay consistent with your updates and connect with your target audience to increase your visibility on the social web. By using social media on a daily basis, posting updates when you have a break, blogging over the weekend, and by looking at the world from a different perspective, it will help you get your business on the social web.”

This is Good Stuff!

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Passion, Tenacity, Vision – and more

I was intrigued by the title of this recent Forbes article:  7 Qualities That Helped Me Go From Receptionist To Entrepreneur.   Nicole Smartt, vice president and co-owner of Star Staffing describes her transition from just going to work – day after day – as a receptionist.  Working for some one else’s company, she felt unappreciated.  She felt the people she worked for had no passion for their work.  That’s when she decided to use her experience and her ideas to start her own business.

Nicole describes all of the hard work, long hours and dedication that it took to really kick off a successful enterprise.  But what I really, really enjoyed about her article was her description of those 7 Qualities she attributes to her success:

  • Passion.  
  • Tenacity.
  • Learning ability
  • Vision.
  • Discipline.
  • Time management.

I especially love that she uses the term ‘information junkie’.  I think that term is great!  I consider myself to be an ‘information junkie’, as well.  (You can only imagine then, how much I love our technology these days –  a whole world of knowledge right in my purse !) AS my kids’ first grade teacher, Mrs. Schreiber, always told her students  – We strive to be Lifelong Learners.

Check out Nicole’s article, it is well-written, filled with passion and inspiration.

This is Great Stuff!