Career development

Why I am against Women's Empowerment

Me: "I work with executive women to help them become more impactful and inspiring leaders."

Them: "Oh - like women's empowerment"

Umm...no...in fact, nothing like that.

Every post or headline you read right now is about empowering women. I LOVE the concept - it's my very purpose and mission in life to help women find their voice, be visible, and present, so that can unlock their power and confidence.

Some of the most powerful and influential women in the world currently, chair the World Economic Forum's annual meeting 2018 last week at Davos, Switzerland.

Some of the most powerful and influential women in the world currently, chair the World Economic Forum's annual meeting 2018 last week at Davos, Switzerland.

I do NOT like the word "empower".

Let's look closely at the word.

empower, verb (used with object)

1. to give power or authority to; authorise especially by legal or official means:

I empowered my agent to make the deal for me. The local ordinance empowers the board of health to close unsanitary restaurants.

2. to enable or permit:

Wealth empowered him to live a comfortable life.

Can you see the problem I have with the word?

Let me help you out a bit more.

The most relevant synonyms for the word empower (verb: authorise, enable) in a search on thesaurus.com are:

allow, entitle, entrust, grant, legitimise, permit, vest.

Allow? Permit? The word implies that power must be given to women...by someone else...presumably men. What I know for certain from knowing myself, my mother, my grandmothers, my sister, my female relations, all my female friends, my clients, and numerous role models and inspiring women around the world, is that women have shedloads of power! It doesn't need to be GIVEN to us. We don't need to be ALLOWED to have it. In many cases, it is simply a question of harnessing it, embracing it, unlocking it. That's what I help women do.

The movement described as women's empowerment is actually about opening up ourselves (men AND women), and the systems we've created, to creativity, different thinking, new opportunities. It's about creating space for expansion.

I'm open to new names for this movement. In fact, maybe that's it. Here's to - 

Women's Expansion.

Do you want to expand the possibilities for yourself and harness your power and confidence? Hit reply and let's set up a call to find out what is possible for you. (It's much more than you ever imagined!)

 

Sheryl Sandberg and other #girlcrushes

Who is your #girlcrush?

Actually, I have three:

Christine Lagarde: Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.

Sallie Krawchek: CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, and former CEO of Merrill Lynch

Sheryl Sandberg: COO of Facebook, author, and founder of LeanIn and Option B organisations.

I was honoured to attend a breakfast meeting this week with one of the local Lean In chapters who welcomed Sheryl Sandberg.

She is so, so impressive and inspiring.

So much great advice and tips she shared from a career perspective (e.g. “Have a short-term plan and a long-term dream”, “Think big!” I'll share more of these in other comms), as well as from the perspective of societal change (“Equality isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s good for you.”)

I came back totally on fire and more committed than ever to help women find their voice, set clear, healthy boundaries, so they can uncover their power and confidence to become impactful leaders and inspiring role models in their lives and careers.

Switched on LinkedIn and saw another inspiring article from my other #girlcrush, Christine Lagarde, speaking from the World Economic Forum’s Davos meeting about the advancement of women and their place in society...

...to which I ‘liked’ and responded with a comment that included the phrase “Happy women mean happy societies.” One eloquent individual responded to my comment with,

“What a lot of baloney.”

BAM! Dropped from a height.

I didn’t respond (If he is not going to make an effort for intelligent discourse, my energy is better used elsewhere.) I get it. When you get visible and vocal, not everyone agrees. I’m OK with differing opinions.

Here’s where I was going with the statement, “Happy women mean happy societies.” It’s in the same vein as Sheryl Sandberg’s comment that equality is “good for you.” Studies have shown:

  • That men who support inclusion rise through the ranks quicker than those who don’t.

  • That companies with diverse boards perform better financially and are more innovative than those who don’t.

  • That children whose mothers work outside the home are better socially adjusted.

  • That women whose mothers work outside the home are more likely to hold positions of responsibility and earn higher wages.

  • That men whose mothers work outside the home are more likely to contribute to the household and spend more time caring for children.

Essentially, what makes a woman happy has the effect of making those around her happy or at least, more content. Women are the gatekeepers on relationships and they set the tone for them. They contribute significantly to social cohesion, social inclusion, and social empowerment which the World Economic Forum describe as factors leading to a happy and decent society.

And if that’s baloney, I’m a spicy sausage! :D

Bisous!

Children Benefit from Having a Working Mom, Carmen Nobel, Harvard Business School Newsroom https://www.hbs.edu/news/articles/Pages/mcginn-working-mom.aspx

What Makes a Happy Society? Claire Wallace, World Economic Forum https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2014/11/makes-happy-society/

ME - Live on Radio! WT?

I am over-the-moon excited!

A childhood dream realised!

I'm featuring on a radio show in France, accessible worldwide via the magic of the internet.

Details:

"Happy Hour with Ollia"

on Radio Enghien IDFM 98, Tues 9th January, 2018, 7-8pm.

Tune in on www.idfm98.fr (click on blue icon top left "écoutez en direct") or 98.0FM in the Ile-de-France region.

It'll include some of my own choice of music as well as an insight into my work, beliefs and desires for women and leadership. Beyond that, I have no idea!

You can listen to other episodes of Happy Hour with Ollia on Soundcloud. Listen in! It's a great show!

Radio Enghien LI.png

[NEW PODCAST EPISODE] Money matters

A new episode of my podcast, the Womanly Art of Leadership Sessions has just been released and it's one of my favourite topics:

MONEY!

It's not that I'm money-hungry (though it certainly allows me to live a life of freedom), but it is because the topic is so full of angst for people, especially women.

"Money is like sex - no-one talks about it but we're all supposed to know how to do it" Michelle Gyimah

Join me on this episode where Michelle Gyimah, a money mindset and women's empowerment coach talks about her guilty secret of debt, and how overcoming it, taking control and leading herself out of it led to other areas of her life improving too.

If you haven't yet subscribed to the Womanly Art of Leadership Sessions podcast, do so over at Apple Podcasts (you know, old skool iTunes) or by registering here.

How food can lead to leadership - seriously?

A new episode of the Womanly Art of Leadership Sessions podcast has been released and this week, I'm speaking with Dana Dinnawi, a health and well-being coach who discusses the importance of food to leadership.

What? Really?

She describes how taking charge of your food, eating 'clean' and being more mindful about it leads to better habits in other areas of your life too.

More focus.

Better clarity.

You can't give the best of yourself if you're running on empty - Dana Dinnawi.

Listen in and if you haven't already subscribed, do it here

Practice THIS every day!

When was the last time you gave thanks?

A truly, warm, heart-felt thank you?

Today I am going to do just that.

2017 is drawing to a close. It's been a weird and wonderful year for me, and you have been a part of it. You have kept me motivated and focused on my goal to see more women in leadership positions, and to add value to your life in some small way.

I want to thank YOU.

  • If you love me because you're related and you support me and my next big plan, I thank YOU. Having a loving family is second-to-none, and I love you right back.
  • If you love me because we're loyal, and long-time friends, and you love seeing what I'm up to next, I thank YOU. Knowing I have friends like you makes me stronger and feel safe in the world.
  • If you are an acquaintance whose paths I've crossed with in the past, and you like what I have to say, I thank YOU. You make me strive to keep learning so I can add value to your life.
  • If you signed up somewhere, (probably on one of those annoying ads on Facebook), and you read my posts now and then, I thank YOU. I appreciate that you take the time, and my goal is to give you more value so you read them more often.
  • If you signed up somewhere, (again, probably on one of those annoying ads on Facebook), and you're thinking about unsubscribing almost immediately because you didn't like what I had to say, or you thought I spammed you, I thank YOU. You make me stay humble, recognise that I can't be all things to all people, and be OK with that.

A lot is written about the practice of gratitude. It is an excellent daily practice to include in your morning routine. It is hard to stay negative when you are practicing gratitude - it's physically impossible to do the two things at the same time.

Write down each day what you are grateful for and why, and even better, tell one person each day.

FEEL the difference!

Merci, grazie, gracias, kia ora, danke, thank you!

I'm excited for 2018 and I've some big plans.

Do you? Do you want to kick start your 2018 so you make it your best year ever? Book a call and let's discuss how we can get you achieving all you desire for your life and career in 2018.

How do you view your value and your worth?

Do you have a hard time feeling you deserve a raise?

Do you feel you have to work hard for a six-figure salary?

I've just got off the phone with a client - we had an amazing discussion about how she feels that her self-worth is tied up in how much she earns.

I get it - because I felt that way for a long time, too. I felt that I was a lesser person because I wasn't earning what I really wanted. It was like I had a price on my head - a number that others could see and would judge me as a person because of it.

My client and I are working together to uncover her self-confidence and one of the outcomes from the program is that she wants a raise of between 18% and 60%.

I asked her to write down the salary range and her response was, "It will be difficult to get", and that she feels she doesn't deserve the increase.

Do you feel like this?

Does how much you get paid feel like a reflection of your worth as a person?

Just. Stop. It. PLEASE.

The thing to differentiate here is that:

Self-worth and value are not the same thing.

You can have worth as a human being, and offer value to other people. Two people will see your value differently e.g. one employer will value your skills more than another, a friend will value your time more than another. It is not about YOU as a person. It is about THEIR perception of what you have to offer. Just like in an auction, one bidder will outbid others because they perceive greater value, and THEIR DESIRES drive their perception of value.

So detach from the two - your self-worth is NOT directly related to your value to others. They just see things their own way. And you know yourself, that the people who value your time and energy as you value theirs, are the ones you want to spend time with.

Take that same thought process into your career. If your employer or prospective employer doesn't value you, it's not about you as a person. It means the fit isn't right, IN THAT MOMENT.

Need help to prepare for the salary conversation? Are you tying your self-worth up in your salary? Book a call and let's discuss how we can get you feeing worthy AND valued.

It's arrived! My baby is here!

I'm very excited to announce the birth of my baby...

- the Womanly Art of Leadership Sessions podcast!

Interviews with women leaders about their journeys and challenges, the lessons they learned, and the advice they have to share.

Subscribe, listen, then like and review in iTunes. Please share with those women leaders you think would love to learn from others!

Are you in contraction or expansion?

Stop for a moment, and tell me...how do you feel in your body?

Do you feel tight and tense in your shoulders and back, or your haunches?

How is your breathing? Is it shallow and fast?

Do you miss what's going on around you because you're focused on what's going on in your head, eyes to the ground? 

Does it feel like there isn't an easy answer to what's challenging you right now?

You may not have use this word for it, but I know you recognise how it feels to be in contraction. It's a tight, unnatural and uncomfortable feeling and we truly FEEL it in our bodies when we experience it. It feels like you're closed in a box too small for all your limbs, and you can't see solutions or opportunities even when they present themselves. You're too contained in your box.

Contrast contraction with expansion.

Expansion is light.

Expansion is openness.

Expansion is possibility.

Expansion is excitement.

Expansion is opportunity.

Expansion is creativity.

Expansion is asking better questions of yourself and others.

Expansion is having the same challenges as you do when you're in contraction, but you're coming at them from a very different, more open and abundant place, one that encourages "What if..?" questions. A place of no self-imposed limitations. When you're in expansion, you're able to think more creatively about your situation, expanding your options.

Contraction and expansion are like the difference between hope and desire, closed and open, fear and confidence, scarcity and abundance, surviving and thriving.

I've been listening to some mind-bending podcasts lately, that have had the unexpected outcome of expanding my mind to everything. When you listen to or read life-affirming material like this, it has a tangible impact on how you see the world. If you don't already listen to mind-expanding podcasts, do it now!

So stop and listen to your body.

How does it feel? Do you feel like you're in contraction or expansion?

PS Need help getting out of contraction and into expansion about your life and career? Book a call and let's discuss where you're at.

PPS Want to expand your mind? I'm very excited to announce I'll be launching my Womanly Art of Leadership Sessions podcast shortly! Stay tuned for more info soon!

 

Naww...When Harry Met Meghan

Everyone loves a good fairytale romance.

We can't help ourselves. Whether you're a royalist or not, there is something that captures the hearts and imaginations of women the world over when a handsome young prince plucks his beautiful princess-to-be from amongst the 'commoners'.

It gives us hope that one day it might happen to us (or is that just me!)

It is true fairytale stuff.

And it annoys me that a Prince-Harry-engages-actress-Meghan-Markle story evokes this response in me. It tells me that, despite everything - despite the fact that I have created all I have in my life, despite the fact that I have been quietly determined to achieve a life and career I love - deep down, I am conditioned to desire to be scooped up and rescued.

It is conditioning.

Joseph Campbell, an American mythologist and writer of the 20th century, studied the stories of all the cultures in the world and identified there was a common theme - a story of a restless young person, called to a purpose, who faces struggle, and personal demons, and ultimately conquers. The theme appears in Bambi, Luke Skywalker, Greek mythology - it's the basic premise of just about every story ever written, spoken or shot on film...and none of these heroes are women.

You see, women wait.

In this scenario, women feature as mothers, wives, or daughters, waiting for the hero to return victorious. Women have waited for centuries - waiting for husbands and sons to return from war; waiting to be rescued by a prince or a knight in shining armour, waiting for Dad to 'fix' things...

And we're still waiting...

We have made great advances so that we can choose, to a large extent, how we desire to live and work, and yet:

  • We wait for our good work to be recognised, rather than actively being more visible, or asking for a promotion.
  • We wait for the company to pay for our personal and career development, rather than proactively making learning and growing a lifelong mission. (Really? Your own personal development is someone else's responsibility?)
  • We wait for a raise to be offered before actively asking for one.
  • Sometimes, we'll even stay in an unhappy or dysfunctional relationship or job because we're waiting for something (the kids to grow up, the mortgage to be paid off, etc).

So I urge you to STOP WAITING.

Write your own story and be your own hero and inspiration.

How are you waiting in your life and career? What are you waiting for? What obstacles are you putting up that are really just excuses in disguise?

If you'd like help to break down the barriers you've created to living and working as you desire, book a call and let's discuss where you are now, where you want to be in the future, and how to get you there.