Monthly Archives: September 2011

Got Your Big Girl Panties Game On?

Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

Put on your Big Girl panties and go for the gold. Women often do business “politics” with pull-up diapers and wonder why they aren’t achieving the goals they set out.
I’ve been wondering what the difference is between how men operate in the workplace and how women operate. In my corporate career, the most challenging job I had was managing a group of data entry employees, which were all women. [Of course, they were all women, it was one of the lowest paying jobs at the company!! – but that’s entirely an different discussion.]  The cat fighting for status was brutal and for years I’ve been trying to perceive what makes a team of men different than a team of women. Yes, it can be partly that we’re from Venus and we’ve been trained to listen to our emotions more than those Martians.

One thing I’ve understood from Games your Mother never Taught You, a book I read in the ‘70’s is that men, more often than women have been able to play team sports – football, basketball, soccer, although that that is gradually changing. They learn from that experience to rely on team-mates, that the team wins or the whole team loses and there is praise for the individual that made a game point for the team. They also learn that a single skirmish is just a single skirmish. It is an opportunity to learn more about how this specific game is played – about the opponents strengths and weaknesses. Without that bedrock perspective, a skirmish takes on an entirely new meaning.

For many women, losing a skirmish is devastating, shameful and cause for revenge or escape. When you lose a bid for a position, especially to another woman, or lose a contract to another firm, even one that played “dirty”, or are assigned to work under an incompetent, annoying boss, what do you do? It seems to be a girl’s response to attempt to sabotage the person who got the job you wanted, post nasty stories about the dirty company on your facebook page or blog, and mean gossip talk your new boss. All those responses are responses of a victim acting from a place of powerlessness. Yes, we live in a male dominated society where the male way of doing things and being in the world is the standard, but what is the female standard that we want to create – that acknowledges our access to feelings and visions and proceeds from knowing that we are powerful business women?

What skirmishes in your life have you allowed to derail you and take you out of the game? If those skirmishes were a long time ago, you might be able to see a bigger picture by now. That’s what those Martian boys have that helps them get a different perspective on each skirmish – they are in the game to win, and losing a skirmish can, if you let it, teach you how to play with more skill, more resources, and more power —if we can remember not to sweat the small stuff, and on the journey to our vision, it’s all small stuff, just minor course corrections as we stay on track toward our life passion to those Big Dreams of yours.  (Check out for more ideas on how women do and can play the business game.)

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Filed under Business Planning, Image & Identity, Inner Coach, Motivation, Sheryl Eldene, Uncategorized

Business Hoarders Beware!

By Gail Z. Martin

We’ve all seen the reality TV shows about hoarders, people who just can’t throw away anything.  Sadly, their houses are often filled to the ceiling with junk and their lives become more and more constrained by their precious stuff, things they won’t get rid of but can’t actually use.

Professionals theorize that hoarders get some kind of psychological comfort from all their stuff, feeling safe because they have more than they could ever need.  Maybe they were deprived as children; who knows?  In the end, whoever inherits the stuff usually ends up carting it off to the donation bin or the junkyard, because it’s past the point of being useful to anyone.  Hoarding is a waste of time, money, space and things.

Maybe you don’t hoard stuff.  But could you be a business hoarder?  Here’s the profile—if it sounds familiar, you’ve still got time to change your ways!

  • Do you hoard information and connections?  Are you afraid to share tips, make referrals or pass along helpful news?  (Your precious information has a shelf-life.  If you’ve already used it, hanging onto it without sharing guarantees it will be stale and useless then next time you need it, and no one else will benefit from it either.)
  • Do you hoard ideas and opportunities?  If you hear about an opportunity that might benefit someone you know, do you ignore it or pass it along?  How about an idea that you can’t use but that might be useful to someone else?  When you hoard ideas and opportunities, we all lose out, because someone who might have made something out of them may miss a chance to create something of benefit to everyone.
  • Do you hoard help and collaboration?  Some people are so fearful of being taken advantage of that they get paranoid about offering help or working together with others.  Some like to hoard control, refusing to take part in anything where they aren’t the boss.  Both approaches waste personal and professional opportunities for growth and exposure, and make the community that much poorer because of your lack of participation.  Overcome fear and a need for control, and contribute!

It’s an interesting paradox: what gets hoarded ends up being wasted, while what is shared seems to multiply endlessly.  Share information or contacts with someone, and odds are that they’ll not only share with you, but that their sharing will lead you to others who will do the same.  Share ideas and opportunities, and the person who you share with just might offer you a way to participate and benefit, or the outcome of the information you shared might create something that opens up unexpected new horizons.  Share your help and be willing to collaborate, and you can gain a network of friends, contacts and resources that will keep on giving for years.

So conquer your business hoarding tendencies and see what blossoms!

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Never Compromise your Dream

by Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

“If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all is left is a compromise.” (Robert Fritz, The Path of Least Resistance).

 In working with the Sweet Spot material, after the background check to determine your strengths, your beliefs, and your life purpose, the next big step is to determine what goal you will work with as you move through the process.

When we allow the “How” to be part of the “What” discussion, we open ourselves to a compromise between what we really want, and what we understand how to create. What if Mother Teresa, as a child was asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” She might have responded, “I want to be the pope”.

Let’s imagine that her mother, well schooled in the principles of the law of attraction. said, “Great, honey – what is the first step you’d like to take in that direction?” Little Teresa might have asked to attend a Catholic grade school, supported by nuns where she could share the vision of the life dedicated to the church. As she grew, with her eye on serving the Church as Pope, she joined an order that allowed her to serve globally and learn all that would be needed to become Pope. Along the way, she would have learned that the Pope job is reserved for men only, and, she could take on changing the gender attitudes, or she could chose to serve the Catholic Church in a way that pleased her and used her keen talents of working in the church structure and caring for children.

In a difference scenario, her mother might have said “Oh, I’m sorry, dear, you can’t ever be Pope, that’s only for men”. Then little Teresa might have decided to work in a day care, with little kids, since that seems like a compromise between serving God in a global way and being a woman in today’s world.

Yes, this is a highly unlikely scenario, but I ask you, what goals are setting for yourself, simply because you can see the “how” and you are allowing yourself to dumb-down your dreams to meet your current skills, resources, experience, or expectation? If you actually could do, be, or have anything your mind can imagine, what might that be. Chapters on how will come much later. If you try to mix how with what, the result usually is a stalemate, a stuck in what is, and all that is left is a disappointing compromise. Dream Big, it’s your soul’s birthright.

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Simplifying for Success

By Gail Z. Martin

It’s not rocket science, it’s…well…marketing.  So if your marketing plan looks like the details of a space launch, maybe you’re trying too hard.

Oh, I’ve been part of large company marketing roll-outs that have massive strategies and huge hour-by-hour timelines.  That’s OK if you’re truly a huge company mobilizing hundreds or thousands of people for a synchronized launch.  For a solo professional or small company’s marketing needs…not so much.

Many business owners get immobilized by what they perceive as the required effort for a marketing campaign.  If you’re one of those people with the deer-in-the-headlights look when it comes to marketing, I’d like to offer this advice: do a little, and then do a little more.

Start by getting clear about your #1 business goal for this year.  Make it tangible, and make it measurable.  Don’t just say “I want more business,” say “I want to see 25% more revenue.”  Instead of “I want more clients,” say “I want to land 10 new clients who spend an average of $2,000 each.”  See the difference?

Once you’re clear on your goal, hone in on the target audience that will help you achieve that goal.  Be very specific, and get to know their likes, dislikes, their usage habits and their spending patterns—create a very detailed picture of your ideal client.  Make sure that you also figure out what your ideal prospect really, really needs, and what problem he or she thinks is urgent to solve.  That will help you craft your message.

Once you know your #1 goal and your ideal client, your first marketing effort should be to figure out where those ideal prospects are already congregating, what they’re reading and listening to, what clubs they’re joining, what events they’re attending—you get the picture.  Now put yourself in front of your ideal prospects where they’re already gathering, and communicate the message that you have what they need to solve their big problem.  That’s the heart of effective marketing, in a nutshell.

Complicated? Not really.  People often make marketing more complex than it needs to be because they’ve skipped steps one and two and they begin thrashing around, sending out messages hither and yon because they don’t know where to find their ideal prospects, or they secretly believe everyone is a potential customer (they’re not).

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the very idea of marketing, back up, breathe deeply, and simplify.  You’ll be glad you did!

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Filed under Business Planning, Gail Z. Martin