Intention: Without It, You’re Just Partying With People You Don’t Know

Business development. Marketing. Sales. Pipelines. ABC = Always Be Closing.

In the end, it comes down to networking to get your business and/or career going.

Networking seems to have gotten out of hand, especially in a LinkedIn world. Don’t get me wrong. I love LinkedIn. I encourage others to join, and even develop very robust profiles for clients.

However, just the last week, I received a LinkedIn request from a man who was linked to at least a dozen of my contacts. So, I emailed several of them to ask if they knew this guy and what their thoughts were about him. Only one of them even knew who he was, and she had only met him briefly regarding possibly working together, though nothing came of it.

At the same time, I replied to this man asked him how we knew each other. He said he didn’t know. I then asked why he wanted to link with me. He said his business involves a lot of report writing. Therefore, he thought we could do business together.

Great! When do you want to talk further? No reply – so far.

While I hold out hope that something comes of this outreach, I found it interesting that all of these people did not know whom he was, yet they were linked to him! In fact, one other friend of mine said this guy was linked to a lot of good people, so he must be OK.

Yikes!

This made me re-examine how I want to define “networking” going forward.

I vow to pay more attention, to go beyond gathering business cards as a sport. I want to be more focused and targeted, because frankly I can’t keep up with everyone I meet, and I understand that not everyone I meet is meant to play a significant role in my life.

I remember reading Bob Beaudine’s book, “The Power of Who.” Basically, he says we already know everyone we need to know to be successful. What we need to do is mine that list better to find those who can help us and/or support us as we grow.

This all brought me full circle back to a lesson learned from Marsha Clark, outside the normal POS channel, regarding “Intentional Networking.” She identifies two principal types of networks:

  • Friendship Networks – Social in nature
  • Instrumental Networks – Based on exchanges of advice and information, and on a readiness to help each other out

She offers this sage advice when developing both types of networks:

  • Before – Give yourself a goal for each networking event you attend. Do you want to meet a specific person? Maybe the speaker? Maybe three business prospects with specific characteristics? Maybe someone who will train with you for a marathon? Then jot down and practice (a) the one or two points you want to make about yourself, (2) one or two conversation starters and (3) two or three questions you can ask people to find out more about them.
  • During – Talk to people you do not Acknowledge and chat briefly with those you do know, but do not spend the bulk of your time in your comfort zone. Maybe your friends can introduce you to someone new. When you do ask for a business card, take care to write on it where you met and something unique and interesting about them. Keep your goal in mind, and meet the people you came to meet.
  • After – Reach out promptly to those you met and include something that shows you listened. Maybe send a news article about something you discussed, or information on a meeting/event that would interest them based on your discussion. Decide who is key in your networking group, and proactively reach out in a systematic way. Maybe you set Monday mornings or the third Thursday of each month for touching base with people whom you would like to develop a relationship, or who can help you achieve your most important goals.

For those who like worksheets and checklists like I do, here is a great one from Marsha – the Intentional Networking Handout – to get you started with your new focused intensity.

Some interesting factoids from Marsha regarding gender differences in networking and the impact of those differences (again, that is one of the most important aspects of POS – the “so what” that goes with the data points):

  • Women: Instrumental networks are made up of both men and women, and friendship networks are predominantly female.

Men: Both instrumental and friendship networks are predominantly male.

Impact: Women’s ties to men in their instrumental networks are weaker, and therefore less valuable.

*I would add that this means it is incumbent on women to initiate the relationship with men. We cannot wait to be invited, we must do the inviting!

  • Women: Derive little benefit from weak ties, and for a man to do a favor for a woman, his ties to her must be strong.

Men: Benefit from maintaining numerous ties that are relatively weak.

Impact: Since women are generally at lower levels in the organization, research suggests that women need stronger ties than men to counteract the effects of bias, and gender stereotypes.

*I would add that women need to find a level of comfort with being just casual friends with men and still ask them for help. Conversely, we need to get comfortable – aka not offended – when people, especially men, ask us for help despite not maintaining a deep friendship.

In the end, women need to identify what we want and what we need. We then need to ask for what we want and need, and to strategically seek out those who can help us.

Yet, all of the data seems to point to women hesitating to do just that – ask. We are more worried, than men, about whether someone will like us. We are more concerned, than men, about creating deep, long-lasting relationships. Therefore, it seems we are more apt, than men, to view this focus on a goal at every event, and the subsequent requests, to be, in some way, bad.

As POS teaches: It isn’t good or bad, it just is.

I’ll end here with a personal experience that demonstrates the difference between men and women, and how we view relationships.

I recently took part in a supplier diversity day sponsored by a large, international company in Dallas, TX. Several hundred small business owners, like me, were at a daylong event that culminated in a reception. During that reception, I heard a voice say, “Juli? Is that you? It’s me!” I turned to see a man with whom I had worked in Washington, DC, in the late 1990s.

This man ran up and hugged me, and introduced me to his friends – the people running the event! He took me into the backroom and introduced me around to people. He asked me who I wanted to meet, and promptly ran them down to introduce me. He told everyone how amazing I was – and we hadn’t spoken in decades.

He does not need to keep in touch, to keep me in his Rolodex. He does not want a quid pro quo introduction to anyone in order to make introductions for me. As much as I tried to inquire about him personally, he kept it light and airy. And, just like we learned in POS, he kept moving to stand by my side instead of across from me. It would have been annoying or I might have thought he was flirting, if I hadn’t already been taught this gender-specific body language.

I have to say, the male way is way easier than the female way. Yet, I still felt an unease, like I was using him because I did not have anything to offer back. However, I have to say, if he ever calls me to ask for an introduction – I’m on it!

MARSHA-ESQUE JULI-ISM: “If you network without a goal, you’re really just partying with people you don’t even know.”

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Intention: Without It, You’re Just Partying With People You Don’t Know

Women & Money: Or Why 78-cents on the Dollar Is a Really Big Deal

Financial independence for women is long overdue. As we celebrate our nation’s birthday, I would like to offer some facts to think about between flipping burgers and heaping sauerkraut on hot dogs.

Women earn 78 cents for every $1 a man earns in the United States, according to the latest numbers.

For most of us reading this, we understand that this stat shows that women don’t get paid as much as men, yet 22-cents doesn’t seem like a huge deal.

What if I told you the accumulated disadvantage of that 22-cents over a lifetime tops $2,000,000???

Power of Self (POS), the leadership class I have been raving about to everyone, was an eye-opener. I am big on “context.” As a speechwriter/ghostwriter/storyteller by trade, I am always pushing clients to put their data points into context so the listener/reader/viewer knows how to digest their facts and figures.

POS put this mundane, routine data point – 78-cents on the $1 – into context for me.

I was just a toddler when the Equal Pay Act was signed in 1963. That year, the Census data showed women with the same work experience as the men to which they were compared made 59 cents for every $1 the man made.

Over the decades, this number has gone up and down.  It has not been a straight, upward trajectory to the 78 cents we now earn compared to our equivalent male counterparts.

I recently read a blog post quoting various news sources that analyzed the US Bureau of Labor Statistics data, which showed that even in female dominated industries, women make less than men with the same experience.

Yet, wages are only the beginning – one benchmark – of our financial lives. Think of all of the financial aspects of our lives that are tied to our salary:

  • 401k/403b/TSP – All of these employer-sponsored retirement plans are tied to a percent of our salary for BOTH the amount we can put in AND the employer match of 3-6 percent of our salary.
  • Social Security/Medicare – Contributions and benefits are based on salary.
  • Corporate bonuses are often tied to salary.
  • Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) – Increases to cope with inflation are based solely on salary level, not on which specific cost went up and who might be impacted more. For example, increases in costs for transportation/gasoline will impact low-wage earners more than high wage earners, because we all pay the same added price for the gas and it is a bigger percent of the low-wage earner’s paycheck – as opposed to housing prices that we can control somewhat by buying a higher or lower priced home.

Add to the salary issue, the facts that:

  • Women live longer than men. It is common for the husband to become ill, and need long-term nursing care that eats up the bulk of the couple’s nest egg. This leaves the surviving spouse, usually a woman, to live a decade or longer on what little remains.
  • Women are charged more for a variety of consumer products and services throughout our lives. For example, dry cleaners often charge 99-cents for a man’s shirt, and $2-3 for woman’s shirt. Birth control used by women is a lot more expensive than birth control used by a man.
  • Women are most often the custodial parents in a divorce, with child support awarded to only about half of the custodial parents, and only about 2/3 of those receive it – that means only 33½ percent of custodial parents actually receive child support, so those children are being raised on the woman’s lower income. (In all fairness, women who owe child support to custodial fathers aren’t much better at paying, but that situation is just more rare.)

So what do we do about this, besides cracking open a bottle of wine and lamenting with friends?

This is where the Power of Self Program really kicked in for me.

Ask.

Yep, it is that simple. Well, the answer is simple; the execution can be a little more difficult. (We’ll talk about negotiations later, in a future blog post.)

Women need to ask for what they want, and cash matters.

Women often ask for non-monetary compensation like more time off and schedule flexibility. Yet, why do we not think we can have cash also?

We need to get past the idea that asking for money equals greed. Cash is security. It gives your life options. You don’t have to stay in a bad job, a bad relationship or a bad neighborhood if you have the money to leave and to support yourself.

To put that 22-cent data point into further context, here is the example given in POS:

Man and Woman, both age 22, right out of college receive job offers of $35,000/year. Man negotiates on average, a raise of 4.3 percent. Woman negotiates an average of a 2.7 percent raise. The first difference is $560/year or less than $50/month, which seems small.

Apply that same percentage increase year-over-year until retirement age of 65. The Man’s salary is $213,941. The Woman’s salary is $110,052 – a difference of $103,889, almost double!

Here’s the kicker: If the Man banked that difference and only earned a 3-percent annual rate of return on the extra income he earned, he would have $2,120,731!!

That figure does NOT take into account bonuses, retirement matches or COLAs.

The person most affected by this is your daughter, your mother, your sister, your wife, your best friend.

And for 51 percent of America, that person is you.

MARSHA-ISM: This week’s installment of the “Marsha-ism” comes from her former employer, EDS. She likes to quote their motto: “We hire winners. And when we can’t hire winners, we hire people who hate to lose.”

Armed with my POS info, not only do I hate to lose, but I am painfully aware of exactly what I am losing.

Women & Money: Or Why 78-cents on the Dollar Is a Really Big Deal

4 Critical Career Qs To Illuminate Your Career Path

The key differences between running a foot race and running on a treadmill is that the first one actually gets you somewhere and let’s you see how you stack up against your competitors in real time.

You can be fooled into thinking the two activities are the same, if you just measure your time, distance and sweat.

However, if you want to get ahead in business, you need to understand (a) where you are (b) where you are going and (c) how you will know if you have arrived…while all the time tracking your competition.

To that end, we learned in POS the four (4) critical career questions to ask yourself, because the answers will help you find the best path to reach career satisfaction.

  • What are the characteristics of your ideal role?

This is not a job title or a specific company or even a specific industry. Instead, this is a list of characteristics of your actual role in the organization: manage people vs. manage projects, work outside the office vs. office job, work with children vs. work with the public.

I learned that I want (a) a flexible schedule, (b) the ability to meet interesting people, (c) the opportunity to envision a big, new future and strategize fun ways to get there, and (d) to feel like my efforts will make a difference in the world.

  • What are the characteristics of your ideal boss?

This would include such things as a preference for someone who is hands-on so you can learn from them or hands-off so you can work at your own pace. Or maybe you want someone who is in the office with whom you can brainstorm, or someone who lets you work from home.

I learned that I want a boss (I substituted “client”) who (a) challenges me to figure out how to solve a problem with parameters such as deadlines and budget, (b) opens doors for me to meet interesting people, attend interesting events and/or travel to interesting places, and (c) is available for bouncing ideas off of them.

  • What are the characteristics of your ideal culture/environment?

This would include preferences of solo office with a door vs. collaboration in one big room; or a startup company having a growth spurt vs. a stable company with established processes; or even a company with a “buy local” philosophy vs. one with an international focus.

My Conceptor Tribe (check out Brainstyles) helped me to envision this environment of (a) people around me if I need them, (b) a big conference table to work on, (c) big white boards and/or chalk paint walls to draw on, and (d) lots of different colored sticky notes and colored pencils and file folders. I need to create big, then break down into smaller steps. A sterile workroom with pre-established protocols for releasing information would likely bore me in the long run.

Yes, I loved working at the Pentagon. It is not at all what the stereotype would lead you to believe. The planning was loud, chaotic and deliberative. The execution was in lockstep.

  • What are your personal differentiators?

Successful candidates will likely have more than just one differentiator. Instead, your differentiator will likely be your unique combination of skills and experiences.

For example, as a speechwriter, I have the unique combination of having covered speeches as a reporter, written speeches for the speaker, as well as chosen the speakers for events. Therefore, I know what speakers want to have for an effective talk, what reporters consider when choosing which event/speaker to cover, and what event hosts need from speakers to attract attendees and news coverage. And now that I have created my own business, I also understand that all communications should support sales vs. be a cost center, and I know how to establish reporting metrics.

Write these answers down where that you can easily find them. You can pull them out next time you are considering a career move – whether up in your current organization, or out to another organization. If your current job, or the new one you are considering does not stack up to these lists, ask yourself how you can change it.

POS helped to switch my brain from escaping a bad situation to creating a good situation, as well as switch from blaming the job or company or boss for the bad situation to analyzing why one or more of them are not right for me. This refocuses my frustration to my situation from a “them focus” over which I have no control to a “me focus” over which I at least have some limited control.

A very subtle, yet very important distinction…akin to the “boundaries” revelation.

MARSHA-ISM: “Lead with your brains, not with your boobs.”

When considering what to wear at work and in interviews, women especially are advised to keep this Marsh-ism in mind. Women need to understand that numerous studies show that men think about sex, well, A LOT! You are welcome to be sexy, but if you want to keep the attention of everyone in the room on your words, it is best to have the answers to the above Qs and a conservative top with long skirt or pants.

Sometimes we have to set boundaries with our physical appearance, as much as with our words.

I am not saying this is fair. I am merely saying it is so. That is another example of what POS is all about – getting the facts, so you may use them to your advantage.

 

4 Critical Career Qs To Illuminate Your Career Path

HELP! Or How I Recruited “Team Branson”

For years, I have heard the saying (credited to author/speaker Jim Rohn) “You are the average of the 5 people with whom you spend the most time.” Over the years, this has prompted me to look for opportunities to be the 2nd dumbest person in the room – I mean, c’mon, I want to be able to help someone.

This can be difficult, not because I’m so darn smart, but because it is hard to get people to admit to, let alone share, their expertise. I’m saying that sitting in the same room with Warren Buffet doesn’t help unless he imparts some wisdom, or at least chats about his business, right?

I also learned that it doesn’t do any good to hang out with smart people if you aren’t going to tap into them!

Sounds ridiculously simple, but I am finding via the Power of Self (POS) that I know a lot, but use only a fraction. Or maybe the lesson is that I overwhelm myself with information, and then don’t take the time to figure out how to use it…or maybe more to the point, I don’t learn ways to integrate the use of the information…make it part of my habits and routines.

The POS “Support System Matrix” (which totally needs a catchier title) was quite the eye-opener. A pattern quickly emerged that I was turning to white women over 50 years old for advice and support in my life, despite the fact that I had a wide variety of friends of different ages, genders, religions and ethnic backgrounds.

The Matrix which I will call “Team Branson,” has three columns – Personal, Professional and Organizational (could be a church, a volunteer board, etc.) – and five rows – Clarify, Comfort, Confront, Crisis and Celebrate.

You put the people (it can be more than 1) in each square that you turn to for help in those areas. For example: Who helps you get through a crisis in your job? Who do you turn to for help to clarify your next steps with a problem on your volunteer board? Who celebrates personal milestones like birthdays?

Several things came out:

  • Spouses – If your spouse is in every square, and only your spouse, this could be a sign for trouble in a marriage, because no one can be all things to you. In addition, you will be in a lot of trouble if that spouse is unavailable to you in the middle of a work crisis or is traveling for work on your birthday.
  • Empty Squares – If you have no one to turn to when you need to confront your boss at work, you may avoid the necessary, difficult conversation and/or you may go into it unprepared and be surprised by a nasty turn that an outsider may have seen coming.
  • Uniformity – Like me, you may inadvertently be getting the same POV even though you talk to several people because your team is too uniform in life experience.

Having an incomplete matrix or team, can cheat you out of well-rounded feedback and advice.

As a result, I discussed who I would put in my squares that weren’t already there. Easy peasy, right?

Wrong! Key lesson learned is that we need to ask people if they are comfortable playing the role we have assigned…in essence, asking them to submit to being put into a square.

Awkward? Not really.

Well…awkward for me to start the conversation, but surprisingly, I received virtually all positive responses…with a few nervous giggles and numerous requests for a copy of The Matrix, which you can find here …I mean, you are asking people to help you get diverse POVs, so there is an element of “will you be the male voice/Hispanic voice/young voice in my decision making?” Some find it awkward to both ask and to accept the role of representing an entire group of people. But as I will discuss in a future post – People are watching you, whether you like it or not, or whether you know it or not…you don’t get to choose to be a role model, the viewer makes that choice.

Again, my theme of sloppiness (see pretty much every previous blog posts) can be seen in the implementation of “Team Branson”:

I filled out my squares, then realized I wanted to juggle a couple of people…then I didn’t follow through by contacting the new “Team Branson” members at the appropriate time…I am just beginning to understand that it may be about figuring out where in existing routines I can include this new step…then I tried to force one or two interactions, which is OK but stressful…like the Magic Formula and the weekly plan, I think you have to just start doing it without worrying about technique…that will come later as you find your own way to carry out these ideas.

I strongly encourage you to fill out your own matrix and share your tales. I would be curious how you use it, what you learned from filling it out, and how you went about improving upon it. Please comment below!

MARSHA-ISM: “Slow down, before speeding up.”

This is appropriate in so many contexts! Today, it is a reminder that by taking a moment to get a team around you, and explaining their role in your life, you will be able to work quickly, in sync when you need them most. This video is a perfect example of the importance of having a team in place that knows their roles, stays in their lane, and does what they say they will do, when they say they will do it: Amazing what can happen in two seconds flat with a little planning!

HELP! Or How I Recruited “Team Branson”

Death By 1,000 Meetings, Or My Journey To Organization

This program requires a lot, let me repeat a lot, of coordination throughout this full year program. We have six 3-day weekends in the first seven months, homework between each session, 20 hours with a work/life coach, class sponsors updates, and a learning group of two other POS15 attendees that meets (ideally) at least once a month.

And everyone is very busy, or they wouldn’t be here.

As I said in an earlier post, I know that I need to change the way I do things because, as the executive guru Marshall Goldsmith book title says, “What got you here, won’t get you there.” I just didn’t know how to make the necessary changes.

So here I sit with Marsha Clark, her cadre of experts, and 30 executive women, and here’s the answer: coordination, support, accountability, mentors, protégés, input, analysis, more input, re-analysis, hypothesis testing, and failure – lots of failure – just prior to the breakthrough…and you can’t see the breakthrough until you trip over it, which makes it really hard to plan around.

Wait, another lesson learned: Speak only for yourself – So I can’t see the breakthrough until I trip over it, and it messes up my plans…taking me longer than I thought to get where I want to go, and often along routes I didn’t expect to take.

To that end, I have whimpered and whined and questioned everyone I could: Why do I work so hard and become so exhausted, but don’t seem to make the progress I would expect given the amount of time and energy exerted???

I took a lot of advice, and tried several things. (a) I have set goals – realistic goals, stretch goals, dream goals, measurable goals, focused goals. (b) I have made checklists – daily task lists, work goal lists, health task lists, diet lists, work/life balance lists. (c) I have compiled records – tracking weight, tracking income, tracking client expenses.

The needle has inched up a bit, but not made the jump I would have hoped given the time and energy spent working to reach my business and life goals. Frustrated with my inability to jump to the next level, my coach and I discussed taking time to both plan and reflect on where my time and energy is spent.

Given my proclivity to think so big sometimes, that I overwhelm myself, my coach suggested that I just take one hour to plan one week on Monday, and then take just one hour on Friday to reflect on what I had done. NOTE: when she first suggested the plan/reflect model, I printed out the following two months and began to write in everything I had already committed to do…RESULT: lots of naps, no plan.

In the very first week, my coach noticed that my days were chopped up, so I couldn’t really concentrate long on a project, and that I seemed to drift toward networking and volunteer work a lot. She used the word “boundaries” which set off a bell!

So all of these years that I’ve beaten myself up about not being able to focus or concentrate, may really stem from my not setting appropriate boundaries. I just flat didn’t think about it.

With just that little info, I can already tell that on Week 2 of planning that I had to cancel one networking lunch and moved a couple of errands to be just before or after a client meeting, so the day wasn’t chopped up a second time, unnecessarily. I also can see that some goals I set for writing were not realistic, giving me advance notice so I could alert clients to a delay in a deliverable and reset expectations.

At the risk of making this all look easy, I want to point out that the first week, I planned on Monday…the second week, on Tuesday…first week handwritten drawing, second week created a computer form…I think setting aside a focused hour (vs. a TV hour) on Sunday afternoon would be best – we’ll try it and see…so the concept is clear, but the execution is still sloppy.

This lesson leads me to a very appropriate quote from our fearless leader:

MARSHA-ISM: “In absence of a leader, be one; in the absence of a plan, create one.”

I would add: “Even if you are not sure exactly how you are going to do that.”

Death By 1,000 Meetings, Or My Journey To Organization

Magic-ification: Let the Magic Formula Transform Your Advice

I knew it! A magic formula really does exist – a magic formula that can turn conflict into calm, passion into purpose, and criticism into compassion.

We have all met that person who seems to be able to tell you to go to heXX in such a way that you ask directions for the quickest way there before you realize what just happened! They can say “no” and deliver bad news, yet still make you feel compelled to thank them.

Of course there is a hitch: This magic formula does not come naturally at first. It takes practice. In fact, it can be downright messy in the beginning. You will fail, restart, get further, fail again, pick up where you left off, fail at least once more, apologize, backup, and then finally, cross the finish line.

The magic formula lets you convey information to others in such a way that they understand how to absorb it, and also releases you from being wed to the end result of the recipient’s actions.

In other words, the formula below will allow you to give advice to people without offending them or being frustrated when they do not take it, even when they asked you for it!

Here goes:

Step 1 – Ask Permission. Instead of saying, “Here’s what you should do (insert advice),” decide what you want to accomplish with the advice – give your opinion on a solution, offer lessons learned, or provide options for next steps – and ask the recipient if they are open to hearing that information.

For example, “Would you like to hear my thoughts on what you just told me?” or “Would you be interested in hearing what I did when I was in a similar situation?” or “A few thoughts come to mind as you are describing this problem. Would you like to hear some of them?” or “Would you like some feedback on your performance/story/action?”

By asking these questions, you are preparing the listener to understand how they should receive the information – not you telling them exactly what to do as with traditional advice, but instead offering options or information that they can use at their discretion.

Of course, by asking them these questions, you must be prepared for the recipient to say, “No.” If they do, that is your cue to move to the next topic.

When they say, “Yes,” they are giving you clear permission to share your thoughts, and have now explicitly opened the door to considering what you have to say. You will find the audience much more receptive to your thoughts than when you just tossed out your solution as unsolicited advice.

Step 2 – Lay out the issue at hand. Below is the fill-in-the-blank formula. I strongly advise using it exactly as printed below until you get a firm grasp on it. It will be messy and awkward at first, but I guarantee that it will eventually roll off your tongue so naturally, you will wonder how you ever lived without it.

“When you ­­­­[specific behavior of recipient], the impact on me was [thoughts, reactions]. I feel [name specific feeling].”*

*Key not say “you make me feel…” because you are moving from abstract “them” and focusing on your experience, your impact and your feeling.

For example, “When you failed to meet yesterday’s deadline with your report, the impact on me was that I had to reschedule three important meetings today to make time to calm down the client who was expecting the report’s results. I felt very frustrated, overworked and distrustful of your work and now, I question your ability to be a key player on our team.”

This is opposed to “You always miss deadlines and no one wants to be on your team. You make me/all of us feel like you are just trying to sabotage the whole program.”

With the magic formula, you are (1) giving the recipient specifics that they can understand, instead of a generic/general reference that can be misunderstood or refuted; (2) you are sharing your experience backed up by facts, instead of speaking for others in general terms; and (3) you are showing them the direct impact of their actions on you and what the result is, instead of inserting emotions that are your responsibility, not theirs.

Step 3 – Ask the recipient to restate what they just heard. This allows you to make sure the message you intended to send was the same message the listener heard. Communication is the received message, not the one you intended to send.

If they did not hear you right, you may have to restate the feedback again, maybe even with a new example.

Step 4 – Follow up with what you said you would offer. Going back to Step 1 – did you offer your thoughts, your experience, a few options?

For example if you offered your experience, “When I start missing deadlines, I find it’s because I’ve over committed to projects – and I love them all, so I can’t let any go. When that’s the case, I usually choose the project that is the most time consuming. That lets me keep all of the other projects by sacrificing just one. Otherwise, I stick with the most time-consuming one and really focus all of my attention there. As a result, I feel more accomplished and less stressed, because I was able to have at least some success, even though I had to admit defeat on the other project(s). What are your thoughts on that?”

Seriously, I have used this on family, friends, clients, vendors, you name it. It works! No one has said “No” so far, and those who have said “Yes” have been very appreciative.

Just as important is the impact this transformation has made on me, as the person offering up information. I find that I am no longer invested in the results. In other words, I am not upset if the person who asked for my feedback/information follows through with it or not.

I feel that the recipients have heard me and that they will use the information I provided if they so desire. However, I am not upset when they decide to do something completely different.

The magic formula moves the discussion from:

THEM: “What should I do?”

YOU: “You should do this!”

To

THEM: “What should I do?”

YOU: “Here’s some information that I have that might be useful for you as you address your issue. Good luck with solving your problem!”

As I said at the beginning: The urgent conflict is now a calm discussion; a passionate, emotional exchange now has a purpose; and advice that can sound like criticism is now filled with compassion as we merely exchange ideas.

Whew…

MARSHA-ISM: “ ‘No’ is a complete sentence.” Enough said.

Magic-ification: Let the Magic Formula Transform Your Advice

Vision = values + risk + desired influence

October 11, 2014

DAY 3: This first module was info-packed! Very enlightening, but very hard to explain in a few words. How do I explain the feeling of relief that I am part of a group where I do not need to apologize for who I am, nor do I need to downplay my accomplishments and history to fit in?

The data that is presented alongside the suggested behaviors makes the lessons much more palatable, memorable and doable. My relief and excitement are not due to learning that I’m already where I need to be in terms of personal growth and leadership. Instead, it is due to understanding that the tools I currently have are great for some things, but if I want to do more things, I need more tools. But in the end, I will be making the life I want, not the life that someone else wants for me.

In addition, I am relieved to know that some of the things I have beaten myself up about – “sugar-holic,” not caring as much as others do about what anyone thinks, having a big vision and being distracted when I have to focus on the really deep details – are actually to be expected. They are a result of my stage in life, my personality type and my vision of an ideal world.

Better yet, since these characteristics can be expected, they can be explained, named and altered…by me…no apologies, just the facts. That is a relief. I was beginning to wonder if I had gone as far as I could go in my career due to uncontrollable circumstances. I feel the control coming back…now I just need to clarify where I want to go.

One big revelation today came when we did our values exercise. Our values help us create our vision, and our vision is what drives our impact on the world.

Vision = values + risk + desired influence

Marsha said: When we make choices in line with our value system, we can live with the consequences; otherwise, we want a “do-over.” This really hit home.

I can give a dozen examples of stories I wrote as a newspaper reporter that led to a barrage of criticism. When I believed in the story – not just the facts, because those we double-checked, but in the spirit of the message – I took the criticism without feeling the need to defend myself. But when I was told to write a story that I thought was gratuitous or jumped to conclusions, I felt very defensive when criticized. The same could be said for some statements I wrote for elected officials who had differing values than mine.

In fact, with those experiences behind me, I started my own business at noon on Jan. 20, 2009. Now that I’m in charge, I frequently tell potential clients that I “work with the good guys.” If a client of mine turns out to be someone without principles, I have a policy of politely declining their business. In order to do that, I make sure that I do not rely financially on any one client. I feel great, even when I’m having a slow month.

The Power of Self curriculum is all about learning about yourself, your power and how to use it wisely as you move through your personal/professional life. It is not about whether power is good or evil, or how to take it from anyone else. It’s about your own personal journey. It kind of reminds me of my mom: “I don’t care what X is doing. I care what Juli is doing.”

For the next few weeks – until Module 2 starts – I’m going to care a little more about what Juli is doing.

UPDATE:

With Module 1 wrapped up, I’ve been practicing the new tools: Waiting 5 minutes, trying not to intimidate anyone – unless I want to – and looking to my vision when deciding which path to take re my career. I’ve also been explaining a few things I learned to the men who are in my co-working space – only 2-3 other women here. One concept in particular keeps popping up, so I think it’s worth mentioning quickly here, because it seems to be important in my practice or I wouldn’t keep talking about it.

The concept is the way men and women organize and their power structure:

Men have a hierarchical structure, while women have dead-even power. This difference results in men staying in touch when one gets a promotion, while women tend to make new friends at the new level. Men don’t take it personally if another man moves up, because the man who was promoted may call the man left behind months or years later and help him move up. Where as women tend to “break up” with each other, or work to regain that balance which can lead to the woman on top downplaying her contributions to seem back at the same level with her coworkers.

I have to say that I’m pretty good about keeping in touch with women after we no longer work together at the same level. However, I do find that often there is tension until the other woman finds an equivalent spot. I also sometimes feel like I’m using a man when I haven’t kept in touch and then reach out for some help…though, upon reflection, they always take my call and don’t seem to be flustered by the contact. So, that’s on me. It’s good that I now understand it and can relax.

I wish you could all  see the reaction of the men when I describe this concept of differing views of power. Most of them have said that this concept explains a lot…though I’m not sure they know what to do with the info!

I’m not sure my words are adequately conveying the relief and personal power that comes from understanding these various concepts. Until now, I’ve been navigating through fog, sometimes it is thicker than other times, and now I feel the fog lifting. It isn’t that I’m headed to a new port. It’s more like I am starting to see a straighter line to the harbor.

MARSHA-ISM: “The answer to every management question is, ‘It depends.’ ” Ask questions to ferret out the real issues and determine the best solution given the players, the resources and the timing. Be consistent and predictable in your thoughtfulness, not in your reactions.

Vision = values + risk + desired influence