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New Thoughts

I’ve been gone for two weeks, even though my automatically-updating blog made it look like I was really cranking out the copy. It started with an event in Dallas, then Anchorage. Then, I went on a much-needed cruise. The Dallas event was for the Network of Executive women. I’m still high from it. So, now that I’m back, I am thinking new thoughts that I want to share with you.

If you know me at all, you know I am a rabid cheerleader for the Network of Executive Women, a collection of powerful women who are set on advancing each other — and the rest of us. The group represents the retail and consumer packaged goods industries, but I’ve made myself a stowaway in its ranks because it has given me more energy, validation and purpose than any other group around. NEW is not just about networking and making contacts that will propel a career. It’s about connecting, heart and soul, and sharing this historic moment for women as we ascend to levels we once only dared to dream we could achieve.

The visionary at the helm of NEW is a whirlwind named Helanye Angelus. Helayne just retired as a VP for Procter and Gamble, but she’s still quite young. I have never met anyone like her, and if I could share anyone with all of you, it would be her. I call her “Hurricane,” because there is no stopping her when she gets moving. She is a brilliant believer who dares to think big thoughts and devise a strategy that will make her ideas a fast reality. Helayne is the reason The NEW Woman Rules exists. We had an idea, she got the fire, fought the fight, gave me the green light and, because of her, I was able to write a book that I know will track other women faster and higher.

I should note that NEW’s executive director, Joan Toth, does a lot of the heavy lifting for Helayne’s ideas. They really deliver a great one-two punch and I’ve never seen anything like it. Both of them are my teachers. They’re in the photo with me — Helayne in green, Joanie in black. And, of course, Helayne leading the conga line with some of the most accomplished women in America following.

Helayne understands that women leaders today are creating a legacy that will foster success for women long after we clock out. That’s why I love her. She’s not on this mission for some self-serving agenda. She’s doing it because it matters to her soul. And that makes it matter to mine.

There are so many women who make the group rock, and I think of all of them as my sisters. Helayne and Joan make it roll.

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

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.

The negative tapes in your head

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We are always talking to ourselves. We wake up in the morning and get ready for the day and decide quickly if it is a good hair day or a bad hair day. If we look fat or thin. For some reason, we are very eager and receptive to self-criticism. We do it all the time. Why? What possible good can come from that? Yet, we invite self-negativity and give it unlimited air time in our brains. We will freely subject ourselves to a powerful barrage of nastiness, yet we’d never be so cruel to a stranger — or someone we don’t like. We are mean to ourselves, and we don’t even see it for what it is.

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Think about the negative things you have said to yourself in the last 24 hours. Just think of them! If someone said those things to your child, you’d want to rip that person apart. Yet, you find viagra free sites edinburgh computer cymbalta and fibromyalgia are saying these things to yourself, the one person you must love before all others! Why do you stand for it? Do you realize that the tapes are rolling when you do this? That those negative thoughts and feelings get stored on your internal hard drive?

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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Enjoy the Moment

I often think of a story told to me by Kathryn Sullivan, the first American woman to walk in space. Her mission was to deploy the Hubble Telescope, and it entailed complicated, intricate steps that all had to be perfectly executed.

“This was not the time to be staring out the window. We had the professional futures of other folks and a lot of federal money placed in trust in our hands.”

While she was doing her work outside the space shuttle, Commander Bob Crippen called out to the astronauts and had them take a second to look away from their tasks “…so we would know this was not a (training) repetition in the safety tank. It was the real deal. There was a planet over our shoulders. He made us pause to absorb the reality, and I’m so glad he did. We could well have gone back in the airlock and said, ‘Was that the (training) tank or was that for real?'”

When we immerse ourselves in so much intensity, it is so easy to lose perspective. The reward is not only achieving our goals, but the joy that comes from trying to attain them. Which memory means most to you – getting your college diploma, or remembering the things that happened on your way to earning it? Your wedding might have been a crown jewel moment in your life, but wasn’t it fun to go through all the giddiness of meeting and falling in love?

Remember that as you go on your way. Some of your experiences will be quite trying, but they really provide you with a defining moment to live all out and be who you are. Enjoy that. The reward is in doing something different, pushing yourself, feeling the support from your friends and family as you dare to be bold.

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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.

 

Moving Along

The concept of “moving along” varies by individual and situation. You define what is right for yourself, but approach that decision with strength and power, rather than fear and weakness. Choose the option that will challenge you and help you grow. Protect yourself from harm, but don’t insulate yourself from risk. Do what is best for you.

Life is complicated, and what works for you might not work for me. When you find yourself at one of those life test points and feel your commitment to your goal starting to dwindle, you have to honor yourself. If you decide to persevere, do it because it is best for you. Same thing goes if you decide to quit. Just don’t give too much power to worrying about what people will think if you quit, or if you persevere and ultimately “fail.” These tests are all about what you learn in the process, not what you gain in the end.

People use their power in different ways. I don’t judge those who quit, but I do applaud those who quit a challenge because it is the right option, not the easy option. Use the moment to build strength and character, not sacrifice it.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books and speaks to corporations and organizations about courages and creative leadership strategies. can you take aleve while pregnant cla vaccine

Self-intervention and leaving the negative behind

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It’s time for an intervention with yourself. If you want a better life, you must take the easiest of baby steps to make it happen. All you have to do is figure out a few good things to say to yourself in order to get your mind to let go of the negativity.

If you are going to have continued sessions of self-talk, why not make sure the message you are reinforcing is the message you want to reinforce?

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I always offer a huge disclaimer about my being a recovered cynic. I’m going to talk about self-talk and affirmations, and it is very easy to poke fun at the concept. Saturday Night Live had a standard feature mocking them, with the character of Stuart Smalley being played by Al Franken. The segment featured “Daily Affirmations With Stuart Smalley.” Franken would say, “I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!

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What I know is this: Some of you are going to just roll your eyes and walk away at the mere suggestion of using affirmations to refocus and re-energize your life. That is your right. Then again, if you think like that, it is because you have programmed yourself to think like that.

Time for a change.

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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.

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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Achieving the big reward

I just had a meeting with a woman who is starting her own business — slowly. She saved money, then quit her job to start her own company. She’s distracted by her freedom, making time to do errands, clean the house and work-out.

And that’s fine. If she’s just taking a vacation.

But, if her success vision is not the most important priority she’s got, she will fail. She’ll fail knowing that success wasn’t important enough for her to make the commitment that comes only with hard, difficult work and sometimes torturous learning.

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I am surprised that I so easily found the self-discipline to work at home and be self-employed. I quit my job as a journalist to write my first book and encountered every possible obstacle that delayed my success for years and made me wonder what would become of me. There were so many obstacles that, upon driving through the toll booth on a local bridge, I wondered if I could find employment as a toll-taker.

The one thing I knew was that I was doing everything I possibly could to ensure my success. I worked so hard. I bounced back every time my book was rejected, every time something else told me to just give up and find a job. It was the hardest challenge of my life, and the most valuable learning experience.

What I learned is that you have to run strong and hard and with so much determination that you believe you will combat your obstacles and win — regardless. There is no room for self-doubt. There is also no room for distraction, procrastination or laziness. From the time you start your own business, the clock is ticking until you either succeed or run out of resources. You can’t waste a single minute.

I was able to make it work by starting every Monday knowing exactly what I would accomplish that week that would push me closer to achieving my goal. I knew what I’d have to accomplish every single day. If I had to work a 20-hour day, I had to work it.

I walked away with the big prize. Freedom. My reward is the ability set my own hours and be in charge of my own destiny doing work that is meaningful and challenging for me.

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But, freedom is a privilege. It is absolutely earned. Success will not come to you. You won’t achieve anything significant or lasting if there is the tiniest crack in your commitment. You can’t be in this challenge part-way, because if you are, you will fail.

If you are in it to win, make yourself win. If you are just taking a temporary powder from your career, that’s fine. Book a cruise, enjoy the heck out of it,  then go find a job.

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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