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Archive for the Hard Won Wisdom Category

Connect Carefully: Friendship and Betrayal in the Workplace

I once asked my now ex-husband if he wanted to go out for dinner with the girls. “No thanks,” he said. “You all get together and talk about things like … growth.”

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Well, yeah. That’s the beauty of being a woman. We connect. We get to know each other deeply and we support each other in our personal and professional networks. Is there anything more validating than glancing at a friend and seeing that she has picked up on your sudden feeling of frustration or anger doubt – without you having to even say a word? cytoxan abana realty

I would never have had the courage to conquer my obstacles without my friends cheering and pushing me from the sidelines. But, I have to admit I have trusted a few women who never deserved that trust. This is a stumbling block for many, many women in professional environments.

Sometimes our willingness to so freely connect makes us vulnerable. If I stand in front of an audience and ask, “How many of you have been stabbed in the back by another woman?” almost every hand will go up. I usually follow-up by asking, “How many of you confronted the woman?” Only a few hands will rise. seroquel

That is the downside to our connections. Some of us trust too easily and reveal too much, which can put us in extremely vulnerable positions – especially if we award our trust in a competitive work environment. We expect more from women because we feel like we give more. When we are hurt by another woman, we are often too hurt or afraid to look her in the eye and ask for an explanation or say that we didn’t like it.

It seems easier to grouse about it with other co-workers than it does to go directly to the source of the conflict and say, “Why did you do that?” But, when we say nothing, we condone the betrayal. Confrontation is tricky business and should be handled as diplomatically as possible. The person must know you are watching so it doesn’t happen again. You don’t want to be messed with. You aren’t a victim.

Network and connect freely, but be careful who you count as your friend. The friends you have are priceless. Just know who they really are and learn to connect carefully.

Making the Hard Decision

There are occasions where our greatest growth comes from making the hard decision to cut losses and move on. Let’s say you launch a business and quickly start losing money. Time passes and you lose more money. It continues like that until you realize the hemorrhage won’t stop until you either shut down or file bankruptcy. You prove nothing by sticking with an obvious loser. The boldest option is quitting before you are completely sucked under. But, get the information you need to know that your decision is made from the power of information and insight, not fear.

Or, in another case, let’s say you have a real bully of a boss who is holding you back and making you miserable. He has made it clear he isn’t going anywhere and you are stuck with him – probably for several years — if you stay. You don’t want to be pushed out, you know you didn’t deserve the ordeal and it certainly isn’t fair. You shouldn’t have to leave. But, staying just gives him the power over your psychological well being. . Does it require more confidence to stay in a bad situation, or to pack up and leave? Quitting requires more strength in this situation. But it shows you decide your destiny, not some jerk. You may feel pushed out, but leaving in this kind of circumstance really means you are “firing” your boss.

Weak people encounter test points, stop what they are doing, let themselves feel bad, then slow down or quit altogether. Strong people see those moments for what they are: tests of stamina, creativity and willpower. They may ultimately choose to leave a losing situation, not because they are weak but rather, because they are strong.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books and speaks to corporations and organizations about courages and creative leadership strategies.

Make up your mind

Whether you are going on a diet, training for a marathon, heading back for your MBA or changing jobs, the most wrenching part of a challenge is making the decision to really do it. I don’t mean the “It’s Monday so I am going to go on a diet” decision, but rather, the “I am going on the diet” decision.

You can decide to do something, but if you or others are able to easily dissuade you from carrying through to your goal, you haven’t made the decision to do it. You have instead made the decision to try to do it, and that is something entirely different.

The decision to “try” is the decision that greatly minimizes your chances of success. You begin by giving yourself an out. You are saying, right up front, that you might not be successful. That doesn’t mean you will fail. I just means that your success will likely come by happenstance, not pure determination.

A decision to “try” is always better than doing nothing, but make that kind of decision consciously. Don’t let it serve as an invisible wedge between you and a goal that could be achieved if only you’d thought it through and made the proper commitment.

The way to achieve seemingly impossible challenges is to only focus on the possibility they present. You may face obstacle after obstacle, but those are just part of the challenge. Embrace possibility. Believe in it. Truly commit to making it happen, and possibility has a way of becoming reality. lisinopril half life drug

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Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books and speaks to corporations and organizations about courages and creative leadership strategies. lisinopril titration protocol

Get the Job Done

People don’t invest their support or money in people who will let them down, so if you lose confidence in yourself, others will lose confidence in you. Do you invest in someone who isn’t sure he or she can pull off the task? Do you give your trust to someone who thinks naked weapon free he or she can do it? Or, do you find the person who knows with absolute certainty that he or she will find a way to do the job – no matter what? You choose the one who is going to get the job done. Period. So, know you will get the job done, and know you have the fortitude to find a way to do it despite whatever obstacles come your way.

I learned this lesson during my lowest professional moment. My first book had been rejected by every major American publisher. My first agent wasn’t communicating. My dream of a life as a successful author was in tatters – and it seemed as if the gods were conspiring against me, giving me every sign that it was time to give up.

“It isn’t going to happen,” I said to my friend. “And I have to accept it.”

“If you lose faith in your product, no one else will have faith in it,” she told me.

And, I knew she was right.

But, how could I believe in myself when I hit a wall at every turn?

I took inventory.

I knew I had a good product. The book featured interviews with world-famous trailblazers who had learned how to succeed and lead – the hard way. It had information that could help other people. As a consumer, I would have loved that book because it had the mentoring wisdom I so desperately needed as a manger. And, their stories made for compelling reading. I had a good book. What I didn’t have was a publisher.

I had to find a way to get that book sold and on the shelves.

But, how?

The hardest challenge was revving myself up to do battle again. I had to find the strength to believe in myself when it seemed like no one else believed in me. When I hit a wall, I usually need to get more information to figure out what is going wrong. So, I did some research and found out that my initial vision for the book – where all the interview subjects got their own chapters – wasn’t marketable to big publishers because that format does not sell tons of books. What I had to do was reorganize, restructure and rewrite.

I needed an agent. Well, my first agent was a real dud, but I felt stuck with her because I’d turned down about ten others when I chose her. But, I started thinking about it. There are thousands of agents. Surely one of them was right for me. So, I started sending out query letters.

Within a week, I had another dozen agents who wanted the book. I chose the one who I thought would believe in me and my dream. Did she ever. She got me my choice of publishers.

Hard Won Wisdom wound up being a best-selling, Oprah-featured book.

But, it almost never was.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books and speaks to corporations and organizations about courages and creative leadership strategies. heart and souls dvd

It all comes down to you…

If you aren’t doing what you really want to be doing, it’s because you really don’t want to do it.

Okay, stop. I know that about half of you out there are about to slide into the big snooze because you’ve tired of over-simplistic generalizations that put the responsibility for your success, mediocrity or failure squarely in your own lap.

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There is so much in life that you can’t control, right? And, maybe there is a reason that you do not fall into my over-simplistic generalization. Maybe there is something else to blame. There are a few valid excuses out there, aren’t there?

Yes. But, not many. sciatica treatment human growth hormone

I am my greatest obstacle, and you are yours.

But, we are also our greatest assets.

Once we commit to accomplishing something, we can do it. But, it takes vision and, perhaps more than anything, commitment. The commitment gets you started and keeps you moving once the obstacles pop up.

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The world is filled with success stories from visionaries who saw possibility and lived it. We hear these stories all the time, of people who started poor and wound up rich, people who couldn’t speak a word of English but wound up running major corporations…

Sometimes those examples seem so remote, like fodder for Reader’s Digest or USA Today or Forbes, but those things always happen to other people. People who seem to have some sort of special success gene that must have been implanted by aliens.

But, you know there is no secret success gene.

You want something, you can manifest it.

You dream something, you can live it.

You just have to see it, commit to it, and work like hell to make it real.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books and speaks to corporations and organizations about courages and creative leadership strategies.

Recommit to your vision and your success

If you are going to do something hard, you will encounter moments when you wonder why you are bothering. Why choose a difficult path when you can choose an easier route? That less stressful approach will always call to you if you haven’t truly made up your mind, committed and continued to recommit on a daily basis.

Every day, remind yourself of what you are after and why you want it. Write these reasons down so that you can refer to them whenever you start thinking about letting go of your dream. It is so hard to maintain momentum when you encounter hurdles that you must get past, or even when you become bored. happens what when snort lexapro you

There are often moments when we encounter shortcuts as we try to accomplish our goals. I have learned the hard way that shortcuts often prove to be the long way around an obstacle.

When I wrote my first book profiling great women trailblazers, I gave each woman her own chapter, which meant doing the interview, writing it up and moving on to the next person. It was a format that was very comfortable to me, and it was faster than a traditional journalistic approach. A few agents asked me to integrate the quotes from those great women into thematic chapters, but I knew that would be five times the work. I’d have to come up with common themes from the interviews, then pull together ten or more women’s comments into each chapter. So, instead of committing to do that extra work, I just chose an agent who liked it the easy way.

It was my vision, right?

Well, that vision didn’t sell. I lost a year to trying to pitch what I’d written the easy way. At the end of that year, I had a book that wouldn’t sell and was way deep in a financial hole.

I turned to a friend of mine, whose son was an editor for a major publisher in New York. I asked if he could review the proposal and tell me what I needed to do to sell the book.

“The women you have interviewed are spectacular,” he told me. “But, you have to rewrite your book. It has to be thematic if you are going to get a major publisher to buy it because, as it is, it is an anthology. Anthologies don’t make money.”

So there I was, having lost a year and facing the same daunting writing challenge I’d been asked to confront in the first place. If only I’d chosen the hard path!

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I dove into that rewrite and soon had my choice of publishers. The book was a best-seller. But, I have to admit that my search for ease had been costly to me on so many levels.

After that, I started noticing situations where I had an easy or a hard choice. Every time I chose easy, I wasted time and effort. Every time I chose hard, I just had to buck up, be tough and get it done.

The only way to get through those tough moments is to continually remind yourself of what you are trying to accomplish – and why. It takes a firm commitment bolstered by a consistent recommitment.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of eight books and speaks to corporations and organizations about courages and creative leadership strategies.

Don’t look for ease, look for strength

I went to a concert last night with a friend who has been having one of those year-from-hell-good-God-I-can’t-take-it-anymore moments. With good reason, too, because it really has been the year when everything that could possibly go wrong professionally has gone wrong for her. One thing after another. There was a frivolous professional grievance filed by a spiteful former client. Legal bills that escalated from outrageous to astronomical. A settlement that should have ended things but instead made the problem mushroom to other parts of her professional practice.

Last night, she showed up at the concert with more bad news: Someone had gotten hurt in the parking lot of her office building, and the building manager was able to force her out of her shared office arrangement since there was no lease.

She’s had enough. She wants to quit her practice and get a job. There wouldn’t be so many problems, one on top of another, each one getting bigger and bigger, if it weren’t some sort of sign that she should be doing something else. She’s exhausted and depressed and can’t stand the thought of anything else happening. There’s been so much bad news – way too much bad news – and she just wants it to stop.

“I just think this may be telling me it is time to leave the profession,” she said.

If she does, it is a real shame for the people she serves – and for herself — because she is gifted in her work and deserves great success. But, she’s lost faith in herself. Her reserves are depleted and she doesn’t think she has the energy to deal with another disappointment or setback. If she does abandon her work, she will do it because she is surrendering to a merciless run of horrible luck, not because she doesn’t want to do the work and not because she can’t succeed with it. It’s a decision made out of frustration and exhaustion.

Don’t look for ease, look for strength. Like all of us, you will go through difficult times, and how you emerge depends entirely on your approach adversity. You either give power to your obstacles, or build strength to deal with them. You can’t know when a run of bad luck is going to end, but have faith that it will end.

I have been taught something profound from every one of those old, unpleasant test points I have experienced in life, and my difficulties have ultimately led me to far greater personal or professional success than any of the accomplishments that came with ease.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books and speaks to corporations and organizations about courages and creative leadership strategies.

Why make waves?

I just got an e-mail from a reader who wonders why it is even worth it to stick her neck out there if the pushback is so forceful.

If you are a mustang, you are a mustang.

I spent half of my career trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. Was there some sort of playbook that I didn’t get the day I was filling out forms in human resources? Some sort of behavioral code that would have told me how to blend in? I can see the codebook now: “A-team employees are sure to abide, acquiesce, accommodate, and agree. Be a team player by believing, blending, bending, bowing, and buying in. See how you might comply, confer, conform, and concur.” No, I never did get my obedience training. What I got was some natural instinct for going boldly
where a lot of people wouldn’t go, for shaking things up and wondering why the status quo wasn’t more appreciative of all my good ideas and honest efforts. I spent a lot of years wallowing in low self-esteem and feeling like an outsider. A misfit. But, I wasn’t a misfit. I was a mustang!If the math doesn’t add up, mustang women don’t pretend it does.

If the emperor has no clothes, we are the ones who mention that he’s naked. We blow whistles when we see injustice. A teacher is mean to your child, and you aren’t going to stand for it. Your insurance company rejects a claim, and you appeal it because you know they are banking that you’ll get frustrated and quit. You get lousy service from a
salesperson, and you dare to say something. We all have lapses when we feel intruded upon and say nothing, but at least we are aware of it and try to honor ourselves enough to push for what is just when we’ve been pushed too far. We are strong, bold women who behave like wild mustang horses who join and leave their herds at will as they roam free on the range. We’ll run with the herd when it takes us where we think we should be going, but we’ll split off and travel in another direction if it calls us.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books and speaks to corporations and organizations about courages and creative leadership strategies.

The power of affirmations

Countless studies have proven the connection between positive affirmations (either through self-talk or hypnosis) and positive results. The concept is this: If you tell yourself you are attractive and fun to be around enough times, your brain will overwrite your negative tapes that say you are ugly and unpopular. You will actually believe it if you say it enough times.

It works. Let’s just say I am in one of my disorganized spells. I might say to myself, “I’m a mess. I can’t get anything done, my desk is out of control and I can’t focus.” Well, what is the result? I can’t get anything done and I can’t focus. But, I launch into affirmation where I repeat, “I am more organized every minute. I am on task and producing better than ever.” I might say it fifty times the first day, thirty times the second day, and so on. It doesn’t take long for me to shift into high gear and start focusing hard and doing my work. If you want proof that it works, you’re reading it. I had to get this blog going, and I talked my way into it.

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Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books and speaks to corporations and organizations about courages and creative leadership strategies.

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Labor Pains

My 70-year-old chosen sister-in-life is about to deliver a baby, and the labor pains are a killer. Her “baby” is her first book and the labor pains are especially horrid because she has to upload everything electronically to a behemoth publisher that doesn’t have time for hand-holding its first-time authors. It is a insanity-inducing process that is taking its toll.

She sent me an e-mail last night asking me for technical advice, which I didn’t have the expertise to give. Instead, I wrote back, “Calm down. This will not kill you if you lose a few days. There have been many times when I’ve had to just let things go to the wind. Your book will be ready when it is supposed to be ready, men in black movie not one minute sooner. So, just go through the motions and enjoy the process!”

It was probably not the most sensitive way to handle my loyal friend’s feelings, because she’s so close to what she is doing and is really striving to push this thing through right now. She wrote back and reminded me of the chaos I faced when my first book, Hard Won Wisdom, was released the day before 9/11. “I doubt if you relaxed and enjoyed that. True, there is no comparison, at all, with my little technical speedbump, but it just shows how anything, at any time, can throw a curved ball.”

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The truth is, I didn’t enjoy 9/11 any more than any other American, nor did I like having to figure a way to make my book succeed in that difficult environment. But, once the shock of the unthinkable tragedy set in, I did regroup, figure out a strategy and enjoy my moment. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I’ve got so many photos of going on the road, catching up with old friends, promoting my book, speaking, doing television and pushing for my dream. It was an incredibly chaotic time and I had no control over what happened with my book. I could only control one thing: My enjoyment of the moment. I laughed through it. I lived it out loud. I had so much fun, because that was the only first book experience I would ever have.

I want my friend to have fun with her moment. She has earned that. She’s worked so hard on this book and she should be able to soak that up at every turn, even when it gets a bit gnarly. If publishing were easy, everybody would have a book out there. I just hope she embraces this huge achievement for what it is, enjoying it in all its magnificence. So what if the computer is giving her trouble. Look what she’s doing!

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Yes, life throws lots of curve balls. That’s what makes it so interesting.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books and speaks to corporations and organizations about courageous and creative leadership strategies.

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