Gig Tip: Do not reveal? Hmmmm.


I had a lunch today with a woman in my industry who is extremely well-known and successful.  She climbed through the ranks within her company and wound up running a subsidiary for many years, innovating and taking the company to new places based upon her vision.   She is now retired from that organization but still busy at work doing “her own thing”.   I had a meeting with her in our offices and it was following this meeting when we went to lunch together, just me and her.  This gave me an opportunity to move beyond the topics we were discussing and ask her thoughts and advice on what worked for her during her career, juggling the roles of a mother and extremely successful businesswoman.

As you can imagine, her situation is unique and unlike many of ours. Her first response was “live-in help who we continued to employ even after the kids went to college.” Uugghhh. That does not apply to me/you very well.

She quickly recognized this and her next piece of advice was something more relevant to me at least. However, I’m not certain if the advice has kept up with the times. Her thoughts were that you separate the kids from work. You don’t reveal too much information. Your co-workers don’t need to know the details. You don’t mention “sick kid” or “soccer practice” but you rather talk about “a needed change in plans” or “a conflict”.

Shush!

I have mixed reactions on her piece of advice of “do not reveal”.

  • I can see her point.  Some people just do not feel comfortable hearing to much information so you may have to be careful with what information you choose to share and with whom (e.g., who really wants to hear about gas movements of your baby or hear you say the same stories over and over??!??!).  Obviously, it is difficult enough to do your job, do your job exceptionally well, and do your job exceptionally well compared to your peers.   Let alone stand out even farther from the pack and exceed all expectations.   Packaging is important.   Perceptions are important.   You do not want to be perceived as not being able to achieve super-stardom because of potential dependability or predictability situations due to children (e.g., sick children).
  • However, she also is in her 60’s and likely made her climb in the 70’s and 80’s, a very different time than today.  There are more women in the workforce these days, with more choices on how to care for children while at work (nannies, daycare, nanny-shares, etc.).  With technology, work is bleeding more and more into the home, therefore isn’t it reasonable that home bleed into work? Are there situations when is it OK?  How private does one need to be to be successful?

I think it depends on the office culture, the dynamics between you and your boss, the kind of work that you do, the industry that you are in, your own personality, the personalities of others in your office, the portfolio of back-up childcare providers you have at your fingertips if/when your kids get sick, and a whole host of other reasons.

But her tone, her packaging, her poise as she gave me the “do not reveal” advice stopped me in my tracks.   I do not think I will ever be a closed-book in the workplace (that just isn’t me, right?), but maybe I should stop and think before I disclose too much of the block and tackling required on the kid-front.   And maybe save the good stories for when the stories are meaningful to those that want to hear them.

I never wanted to be in a job where I felt like my children were liabilities.   Maybe that is why I was so unhappy as a management consultant for so long.  Where I felt like I could not do the basic requirements of the job because of my kids.   Like having a child was analogous to having an illness.  I never wanted to put my children in that kind of position within my own mind or within the minds of others.   I want to CELEBRATE them — BUT if I am NOT working in an industry that celebrates children, or with a company that celebrates children, or with people that celebrate children, then I guess it may be worth thinking about how much information (e.g., limitations because of the kids) I share with my coworkers.

I have not figured this out yet obviously and I am still thinking through the application of this advice in my own situation — in an industry that is typically dominated by men where work is intense and expectations high.    My company has already created hybrid roles and work schedules to better fit my needs.  So the cards are out there.   I guess going forward I will think before I offer up too much information about my hand or the cards that I hold.

Thoughts ladies?  How much do you share?  Do you feel comfortable talking about the kids in your workplace?

Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

Advertisements

Gig Tips: 9 ways to enhance your professional network


I look back on the different jobs that I’ve had, the opportunities that I have had, and also the future outlook for myself (professionally speaking) and I cannot under-estimate the value of the network of individuals whom I have had the pleasure (or  sometimes displeasure) of interacting.

Do you know that I reach out to my network for personal and/or professional reasons AT LEAST WEEKLY to help me navigate through a problem and/or obtain information.   Most of the time I’m leveraging my network on a DAILY basis, but at a minimum I would say I’m leveraging it weekly.

network

Image source:  collegemedianetwork.com

How can you improve YOUR professional network?

  1. Realize and know the sources of the people in your network.  For me, my network consists of:
    • existing/previous colleagues
    • alumni from graduate school/college/highschool
    • existing/ previous clients
    • friends and/or neighbors in select fields (personal friends, moms/dads at daycare, moms/dads of your kids’ friends, etc.
    • select friends of friends, in select field
    • select individuals who have touched the work that I do through the years (e.g., vendors, partners, people I have interviewed, etc.)
  2. Keep contact information up-to-date; I am a fanatic about keeping my Outlook and personal email contact lists up-to-date with current email addresses and snail-mail addresses.  Whenever I receive an email from someone I have not heard from in a long time, I make sure the email info is current in Outlook, my personal email address book, etc.
  3. Use LinkedIn.   I am an avid user of LinkedIn.  I cannot believe the power of this tool and responsiveness of people who then become part of my own network once I start working with them
  4. Use alumni databases.  I use alumni databases extensively to find people in the right locations, companies, or skillsets that I need help with; also message boards that are set up within the alumni databases I find to be extremely useful
  5. Know how you most feel comfortable in reaching out; feel confident and believe in your story when reaching out; I’m definitely more email heavy than many people.  I’m a visual person and a record of something tends to work best with me (no kidding, hence this blog).   I do use phone, however less frequently.  I find that my first phone call outreach is a bit awkward, but once I get my story down and the reason why I’m reaching out, the dialogue gets much better and I am much more at ease with verbal outreach.   I love interacting with people and find that face-to-face for me works best – I will go out of my way for face-to-face meetings where at all possible – and my favorites are over food and/or drinks.  🙂
  6. Be genuine.  Reaching out to most people are usually when you need something.  Let’s face it.  But sometimes, I reach out to people just because I am thinking about them (e.g., ex-collegues whom are now my friends), or if I come across information or something that I think would be of interest to someone specifically.   I’ve had people reach out to me with canned emails around my birthday with the wrong information about me in their database – each time I get these I cringe; in my outreach to my network I try as best I can to personalize everything.   You build a reputation over years and decades… but you can destroy a reputation in a millisecond.   So in my communications I try to be sincere and genuine – and those that know me know that I write / email like I talk…  I try to make email communications personal and as human as possible.
  7. Be responsive.  If someone in my network is reaching out to me (email, VM) I do my best to respond within 24 hours, if possible.   This is similar to a recent post I did on Give and Take — if someone is reaching out to me for help, I want to give them the respect and respond as quickly as I can – I want to recognize them, see them, and let them know that I am dependable.  What comes around goes around.  I am much better at this in my professional life than my personal life.  Just ask my mom or the best of my friends.   😦
  8. Grow your network selectively.  I have done this by:
    • Asking for contacts through existing contacts, friends of friends
    • Joining appropriate groups in LinkedIn or other on-line forums
    • Opening myself up to the prospect of meeting new people at work events, conferences, kids’ school events/ parents of kids’ friends, social gatherings, industry networking events, the person sitting next to me on the plane….
    • Opening myself up to change – a new job, a new place to live, a new role at the company, a new hobby, a new parenting support group…
  9. Use it!   Make it a habit of leveraging this asset – get comfortable with it!!   The more active you get at maintaining and reaching out to people in your network, the more comfortable you will be at networking in general and continuously building upon it and leveraging the power of the people you know – but in a genuine way.

I’ll likely be talking / posting about some or all of the above in more detail at a later time, but I wanted to start my thinking at least at this level and we can go from there.

Any input ladies?  Any other ideas on how to build, cultivate, and nurture your professional network to help with your job/career?

Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

Gig tips: Be proactive with your career and set goals


I saw this on twitter and thought it good to share. Have a great week ladies!!!

http://bit.ly/1128mXw

– Mama K

Gig Tips: Focus and Concentrate!!


Do you sometimes feel like you are running in all directions and not getting anywhere?   Think of the roles that we play:  mother, spouse, co-worker, boss, subordinate, sister, daughter, friend….   and all the things that we are meant to do to be successful at each.

But this post is about being able to focus and concentrate at work…

Photo source:  http://www.subliminalmessagecds.com/html/subliminal_message_cds/focus_concentration.htm

Do you find that you can’t help but let these kinds of thoughts creep into your head:

  • What are we going to have for dinner tonight?
  • Shit… I forgot to defrost something
  • What about my kids’ hives the other day?  Is this some sort of food allergy?
  • What do I need to do to get that promotion at work?
  • How am I going to get this stuff done by 5:00 PM when I have to rush out of here?
  • I wonder what is on TV tonight?
  • Will husband help me with the laundry?
  • This daydreaming has got to stop…. his body, his hands… his smell…  I want to get sweaty right now.   Wait a minute, are those kegels that I’m doing right now?
  • Let’s check my personal email again.   I know it’s been 15 minutes, but still…
  • I still need to order things for the kids for Halloween….
  • Shit we have 3 birthday parties this weekend….
  • ….
  • ….
  • ….

If you’ve come here thinking that I’m going to share my wisdom on how I focus at work, this is the wrong post for you baby.   I have been distracted lately with big work meetings, ramping up and ramping down, my personal love life heating up (think FIRE, think “talent”), the divorce process wearing on my patience, sick kids, and a draining bank account…. Work has been good for me at this time since these meetings are keeping me on track, a bit.  But still….

How to focus?  How to concentrate in the midst of all of this?   Maybe I’ll start a list and then lose my focus and come back to it (HA).    Sound like a plan?    Here it goes:

  • Write out a do-able list at the beginning of the day.  It has to be realistic, it has to be manageable.
  • Schedule meetings that need to be done that day and the next that will help you to push your work along.  My work is always dependent upon someone else at some point in time, so it’s important for me to carve out appointments in advance to give me a deadline to shoot for.
  • Turn off your personal email.
  • If really pressed, and if you can actually do this, turn off your work email too.
  • Get your desk organized.  Clear away clutter.
  • Get a big glass of water to refresh yourself.
  • Every 30 minutes or so, get up and stretch.  Walk away and take a break.  Then come back to what you are doing.
  • If something enters your mind that is distracting like a to-do item, write it down, or email it to yourself, etc. so that you feel like you’ve captured the thought but you can move on away from it.
  • Think about why it is that you are doing this particular task.  What is the end result?  What will be the impact?   How important is this?
  • Just get started.  Sometimes starting the effort is the hardest part.  Just dive in.

OK, I’m losing focus now and doing my kegels again (stop it!!!!).     I’ll turn back to this topic again, I promise.

In the meantime, what do you do at work to focus and concentrate on the work things that you need to do????  Please share!

Thanks for listening, and humoring me.  Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start!

– Mama K

Gig Tip: Have your clothes WORK for YOU


It may just be my style, or lack thereof, but I’ve decided to follow some simple rules when it comes to clothes for the workplace:

Must Have’s:

  1. It must not itch.  ANYWHERE.  Not at the seams, not at the frills, not in the collar, not under the armpits, ANYWHERE.
  2. Similar to the above, it needs to be COMFORTABLE.   You need to feel like you can run from your house (with clingy kids) to the minivan to the train station to the office and sit/stand/present/walk around and then back again back home without the clothes getting in the way.   You have enough things to worry about let alone having your focus misdirected to your damn, uncomfortable clothes.
  3. It must be FLATTERING for you.  It must work with your body and make you feel sexy.  I know you are a mother, but you are also a woman.  You need to feel like one.  You need to feel like the clothes are enhancing you – looking good on you.  DO NOT BUY SOMETHING THAT ONLY LOOKS OK BUT HAS A GREAT PRICE-TAG.     Absolutely do not do that.   You will wind up filling up your clothes with mediocrity, wasting your money, and not feeling good about yourself.
  4. The simpler, the better.   Anything too trendy does not pass the test of time, and my closet (and bank account) is limited — I simply cannot have several closets of clothes and cycle through them through the years when things come back in style.  So call me a frump.   I have thick skin.
  5. It must not break the bank.  I don’t like paying full price on clothes.   Suggested retail price is a fabrication of imagination.   I don’t mind paying more for simple, muted classics though (e.g., black blazer, black pants, etc.).

(not me, but a dress by Three Dots)

Nice to have’s:

  1. I absolutely love it when I buy something that I feel can take me to the office yet also be worn on the weekends, or with the kids, or out to a casual dinner.  You get it.   Time is too limited for changes.   Space is too constrained for multiple sets of clothes in bulk.   Streamline your life.
  2. I love it when it is made of a fabric where I can launder it myself.  I despise the cost of dry cleaning and also the piles of clothes and the extra trip/errand that needs to be done.   It is so much easier for me to collect the stuff that I can launder with gentle soap on a gentle cycle and then hang dry.  I don’t mind it at all, especially when I know it is saving me money and giving me versitility with what I am wearing.

My favorite in terms of brand is three dots.   Very comfy clothes that work well and play well.   My favorite stores right now are Amazon.com (of course — they make it so easy to find things, sort, filter, and find great deals) and believe it or not, Kohl’s (especially at the end of the season – you can find DIRT CHEAP clothes that feel and look great – again, the simpler the better – so great for layering or even waiting until the next season).

When it comes to shoes, I still have a lot to learn.  I keep some heels in my office drawer but have not yet perfected the shoe thing in terms of comfort, style or durability.   I’ll think about that going forward.  I have some favorites, but nothing I can fully endorse.

In short, have your clothes work for you, versus you working for your clothes.    ‘Nuf said.

What other ideas do you ladies have???   Please share!!

Hope everyone is having a good start to the week

– Mama K

Gig tip: Remember


I’ve been dreading this day; it honestly feels like the tragedy has just happened each time this day rolls around.    And it makes me feel farther away from my family and friends; here on the West Coast I’ve felt that attitudes and feelings are not as raw as they are on the East coast.  This is just my feeling, I know a large generalization.

I left this morning feeling subdued.  I did not put the radio on.   And then I passed by an overpass, literally 1/4 mile away from my house.  I pass this overpass everyday, several times a day.  And there was a parked van, and a man walking along the overpass with a flag, and the overpass completely decorated with flags.    And cars underneath honking.  And honking.  And honking.  Let me tell you, people do not normally blow their car horns in California.    But today they did as they went under those flags.

We will never forget, even out here on the West Coast.   But I miss everyone back East, more so today than ever.

I guess what I want to say is there are tragedies in this world.   The shuttle explosion, the shooting of JFK, the shooting of MLK, the war, 9/11.   But the 9/11 tragedy feels so different.   It is the blending of tragedy and workplace on such a large scale.   It is something that somehow we can personally relate to… we each go to an office each day.  We each start off our day with our own simple routines.   It almost feels like we can put ourselves in that position – if we try to use our imagination.  I do not know what it was like.   But I can imagine.  And it touched normal, American families.   This we can relate to.   Maybe this is why it hurts so much when we think back.   And scares us so much when we look forward.  For us, for our children.

And when we go to work each day, we need to be aware that our co-workers can be suffering with their own tragedies in silence.   So on this day, Remember.  And be sensitive.  And remember to be sensitive going forward to those around you who may be suffering in their own way.

– Mama K

Gig Tips: Speak up at meetings


I’m feeling tired tonight so I want to write something short, sweet, and to-the-point.

Have you ever been invited to a meeting with a small group of people and witnessed one person who literally did not add ANYTHING to the meeting?   No comments, no thoughts, no feedback, no voice, no nothing.   Let me tell you, this makes me and others in my company CRINGE.   Why was that person there?   Why was that person taking up that seat?   That person should have been doing something else instead of being at that damn meeting.

Image

image source:  http://jenniferfrahmcollaborations.x.iabc.com/files/2011/06/meeting.jpg

When invited to a meeting with certain objectives, it is important to understand what your role is in that meeting.   Are you there to vet an idea?  Is the person leading the meeting trying to gain consensus for a decision to move forward in some way?  Is it to participate in a debate of an idea?  Brainstorm?  Be informed?  Contribute thought leadership that others can learn from?   WHY ARE YOU THERE???

Once you know this, it is critical that you follow through and do your part.  Fulfill your end of the bargain.   You are an employee there because they see value in you.  They want your opinion, or at least your participation.   When I am in a meeting and I see a non-participant, I get seriously irritated.   Are they not paying attention?  Do they not care?   Is there nothing in that brain to help the cause?   Whatever the reason, it does not reflect well on that individual.

So ladies, be confident.  Be concise.  Be thoughtful.  And come prepared.  And when it is you and a group of individuals coming together to share precious time during the working day, do your best to move that meeting forward.   Speak your mind.  Contribute.   Earn that paycheck.   Be objective, be accurate, and honest.  Sure, sometimes the meetings are boring.  Sometimes they suck.   But we are all strong and we know how to get through painful situations (right, remember 9 months of pregnancy??!?!?)

But whatever you do, don’t text, don’t doodle, don’t look down, and don’t stay silent.

Our time is too limited during the day to waste our own time or to waste other people’s time.

That’s all for now –

– Mama K

Gig Tips: Stock up your workspace with morning routine stuff


Getting out of the house when you’re also trying to get kids out of the house is not easy. You focus on getting the kids ready, and getting them fed, but you forget about yourself.

I remember a standard routine that I used to do….

Essentially prepare yourself for a day where you have NO time to put on make up, eat, or wear proper shoes. Get your work space set up to include a complete extra set of mascara, face powder, eye liner, lipstick, hair spray. Also a pair of simple black, high heels. Also a quick breakfast if you need it (cream of wheat packets, oatmeal packets, power bars).

20120731-234511.jpg

20120731-234524.jpg

That way, on days where you have breakdowns with the kids and you simply cannot devote ANY time to yourself to get ready for work, you can have what you need to do that AT work, once you get there. I remember plenty of days where this was a standard routine for me. No make up on the ferry with wet hair, and then I would get to work and put on make-up and sometimes even dry/style my hair if it was really cold outside.

Working moms tend to cut corners where needed and this is a place where I thought the corners were acceptable to cut. And if I have a full set of make up in my office, I know that on days if I forget to put on mascara, etc. I am prepared to complete my “look” at work without skipping a beat.

And I have no problem with cheap makeup. Especially if its sitting in an office drawer 95% of the time.

Thanks for listening –
– Mama K

Gig Tips: Believe in Yourself


I came across this article today and thought it great to share with us working mamas.  I know the feeling of having two left feet very well.  I know how it feels to seem inadequate in all that I do.  I know the feeling that I’m somehow dropping the ball on someone, something, somebody.   I know this.   I read this article and a lot triggered thoughts in me.  Although its focused on feeling confident for landing a job, I believe that we should all believe in these words in our day to day lives – at work AND at home with our children.  

I’ve inserted my comments where relevant.

picture credit: http://shalinijena.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/what-do-you-believe-in/

 

Let me know what you think.

 

article source:   Simply Hired,   5 Ways to Get Your Swagger On

July 19, 2012

5 Ways To Get Your Swagger On

By Robin Fisher Roffer

So many people I know who once had major success in high profile positions now feel like they can’t get even get a phone call returned. One former television executive just asked me, “Am I pathetic?”

When you question yourself in this way, you don’t show up, uncertainty does. You may think you’re fooling everyone with the right clothes and your game face, but your insecurity is all they see.

Today’s decision makers want to be reassured that they are making the right choice by hiring with you. There’s a lot of doubt in the business world and when you doubt yourself, you just add to it.

Here are five ways to step away from self-doubt and career uncertainty:

1. Connect With A Supportive Community.

Community creates contentment. That’s why it’s important not to isolate. When we separate ourselves from our feelings and from positive influences, we sabotage our happiness. To connect with your highest self, get into a group that meets regularly and say “goodbye” to people who don’t believe in you.

Mama K comment:  Look in your community for working mother groups.   Find colleagues who are working mothers and go out to lunch, coffee, etc.  Make time for each other.   Visit www.mamainmotion site frequently.  🙂

2. Move Like Jagger.

To instill confidence, you have to move in a way that tells people, “Pay attention to me. What I do and have to say matters.” Make a list of all of your accomplishments to remind yourself of how talented and valuable you really are and then read that list right before you make an important call or walk into a meeting.

Mama K comment: Look at what you have accomplished!   You have created another human being, or two, or three, or four….   You can get yourself dressed in the morning and the kiddos out the door…. you have a job and are earning money…. you are able to multi-task….   Think about the things that you offer your workplace that only you can do.   Think about how you have grown as a worker because of your experience having children (e.g., negotiating, listening, hearing, solving problems….).    BELIEVE IN YOURSELF and HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH!!! 

3. Be Cooperative, Not Competitive.

Yes, you have to stand out from the pack to get a great job or make an awesome deal. Just don’t be ugly about it — when you throw dirt, you lose ground. You want to be seen as a relationship builder who works well with others and can motivate a team to excellence – someone who can collaborate and co-create with a lot of different personalities.

Mama K comment: We teach this to our children.  Treat those like you would want to be treated.  The best way to teach our children this is through example.  Be that role model that you want to be for your children.  Do it at home, and do it at work too.

4. Stop Asking Everyone What They Think.

Let’s face it, you’re not seeking advice, you’re seeking approval. And the more advice you get, the more confused you become. The answers are inside of you. Listen carefully to your gut and let it guide you to what you really want.

Mama K comment:  I love this one.  Aren’t we all like this when we start out?  We are so unsure of ourselves?  Remember the first hour, day, week, you held your first child?   Now look at you!   You are an expert!   Think of all the other things that you KNOW you can do BETTER than others.   Again, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.   Listen to what your intuition tells you.  You’ve learned this at home with your babies.  With your children.  Somehow you just know fundamentally what they need.   Apply the same thinking to yourself.  Trust your intuition and instinct.  Be that expert at work!   You have the answer!   BE SELF CONFIDENT!   You are a superwoman!

5. Communicate With Yourself Authentically.

More than ever, people are in fear and they want to be around those with inner strength. Now is the time to know yourself, be sure of yourself and stop apologizing for who you are. If you can’t see past your failures, start being conscious in each moment so you can feel the goodness in you.

The purpose of all communication is about love, not judgments or manipulation. Check your motivations. If you’re coming from a place of desperation, scarcity or fear, stop right there and do something to take care of you. Go for a long walk, volunteer, have a good meal, get a massage or play with your children. You’ll find that through self-care your attitude will improve and the right opportunities will come knocking.

Mama K comment:   This one is deep.   Communication is so key.  But this is asking so much more.  It’s asking you to look deep within yourself and know who you are and what you want.  Be honest with yourself.  I think this is REALLY hard for working mothers to do… my thinking is that we spend so much time thinking about others that it is easy to push ourselves aside.   This is a reminder to bring you back.   And when you talk, when you have an opinion, and when you voice your opinion, TEST yourself.    Are you being true to yourself?  Are you being sincere?  Genuine?   If you catch yourself saying no, you need a “time out.”

 Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

Gig Tips: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People


I came across the article below that summarizes the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, by Steven Covey who died today.   

I’ve added my commentary about the implications to working mothers.   After reading through the 7 Habits, and thinking about the Working Mother, I honestly believe that Working Mothers have it harder at first, but over time, the fact that we work and have kids sharpens these skills and actually puts us at an advantage.    Perhaps being a seasoned Working Mother by definition means that you are “highly effective”.

Please add to this and let us know your thoughts…

*****

RIP Stephen Covey: Here Are His Famous ‘7 Habits Of Highly Effective People’

Shlomo Sprung|Jul. 16, 2012

source:  http://www.businessinsider.com/stephen-coveys-7-habits-of-highly-effective-people-2012-7#ixzz20uFn88TJ

“In honor of renowned author Stephen Covey, who died this morning at age 79, we’ve decided to succinctly break down the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” from his all-time best-selling book, which sold 20 million copies.

Here’s the short version… “

“1) Be Proactive

As human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. We have the independent will to make our own choices and decisions, and the responsibility (“the ability to respond”) to make the right choices. You have the freedom to choose your own fate and path, so having the independent will, imagination and self-awareness to make the right move makes you a proactive, and not a reactive, person.”

Mama K’s thoughts on the Implications to Working Mothers:

  • Sometimes this is difficult to believe in when you feel that you need to provide the best for your family.  I’ve written a lot recently about the tradeoffs between Money and More Quality Time with Your Family.   You may FEEL like you do not have a choice, but in many cases you actually DO have that choice.  Take charge of your life.  You only get one of them.   Believe in the choices that you have in front of you.  See the choices.   Believe that they are within reach.  Do not fear change.  Go for it.  Whether it be the decision to scale back work to spend more time with your children, or go for that promotion at work, or decide to change jobs/careers… you get it.   Don’t get stuck.  Believe in yourself and KNOW that you DO have choices in front of you.   You need the courage to SEE them.

“2) Begin With The End In Mind

Mental visualization is extremely important. Covey says that all things are created twice: first, the mental conceptualization and visualization and a second physical, actual creation. Becoming your own creator means to plan and visualize what you’re going to do and what you’re setting out to accomplish and then go out and creating it. Identifying your personal statement and your principles will help.”

Mama K’s thoughts on the Implications to Working Mothers:

  • This is also difficult for working mothers to do at first.  Sometimes our time horizon is just getting through the week, or even getting through the day unscathed.   It is difficult to raise your head above the day-to-day craziness and  juggling of work and home to see that longer-term path.   But I’ve heard that it gets easier.   And as the kids grow your time becomes more of your own.  And your focus can be realigned more with your career.   But even if it is not, even if you want that long-term horizon to be you as a mom being the best mom you can be, you can still chart your course.  Imagine, visualize, and then make happen.  
  • For me, I’ve always envisioned being the one to drop off the kids at school and being there for them for pick up and to help with homework while food is cooking; that vision is still in my mind.  And I am still working hard to make that happen.

“3) Put First Things First

With your power of independent will, you can create the ending you want to have. Part of that comes with effective time management, which is divided into what is urgent and what is not urgent. If you deal with crises, pressing problems and deadline-driven projects first, your life will be a lot easier.”

Mama K’s thoughts on the Implications to Working Mothers:

  • We have a leg-up here ladies.  If ANYONE can multi-task, resolve problems, prioritize, and effectively use our time, WE can.  We can do this in our sleep.  Being a mom has trained us.  Applying these skills professionally becomes more natural to us.   Think of whack-a-mole.   Working mothers, I believe, are simply trained personally and professionally to excel here.

“4) Think Win/Win

If you believe in a better way to accomplish goals that’s mutually beneficial to all sides, that’s a win/win situation. “All parties feel good about the decision and feel committed to the action plan,” Covey wrote. “One person’s success is not achieved at the expense or exclusion of the success of others.” If you have integrity and maturity, there’s no reason win/win situations can’t happen all the time.”

Mama K’s thoughts on the Implications to Working Mothers:

  • Think about how you negotiate with your children.  Think about how you position things/plans/activities/responsibilities with your kids to get them motivated to do the things you want them to do.  For example, giving them a CHOICE between something (e.g., carrots, or string beans?) and packaging it in a way that makes it seem like they are in control.  They feel independent, and you get them to eat their veggies.  Win / Win.   We know how to do this and we do it daily with our kids.  All of the time.  This is a skill that we have perfected.

“5) Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood

If you’re a good listener and you take the time to understand a concept, it will help you convey your opinions, plans and goals to others. It starts with communication and strong listening skills, followed by diagnosing the situation and then communicating your solution to others.”

Mama K’s thoughts on the Implications to Working Mothers:

  • Again – being a mom has surely helped you to go beyond your own needs to think about the needs of someone else.  As your babies grow, they communicate to you.   We’ve learned that to stop the tantrums from happening, we proactively LISTEN to our children and we let them know that WE HEAR them and that we UNDERSTAND.   We REPEAT the issue to the child (my goodness that IS a big owie.  You must have been scared when you fell down.  That must have hurt you!).   Providing a solution afterwards is always easier after the person/child knows that you’ve heard them, see them, and understand.

“6) Synergize

Synergistic communication, according to Covey, is “opening your mind and heart to new possibilities, new alternatives, new options.” This applies to the classroom, the business world and wherever you could apply openness and communication. It’s all about building cooperation and trust.”

Mama K’s thoughts on the Implications to Working Mothers:

  • The wonder of our children help us here.  Their minds are unlimited.  They don’t have strict biases.   They are possibly the most creative that they will be – over time our creativity becomes stiffled for some reason.  I believe that working mothers can learn from our children here and apply how children think to the working world.  Keep an open mind – break down your barriers of thought.   Working moms are lucky to have their kids serve as role models for them.

“7) Sharpen The Saw

Sometimes you’re working so hard on the other six habits that you forget about re-energizing and renewing yourself to sharpen yourself for the tasks in front of you. Some sharpening techniques include exercise and nutrition, reading, planning and writing, service and empathy and commitment, study and meditation.”

Mama K’s thoughts on the Implications to Working Mothers:

  • This is commonly understood.  “A happy mommy is a happy family”.   You need to take care of yourself.   Working mothers become aware of this need almost immediately – almost the first day back from maternity leave.  The question of “how the hell am I going to be able to DO all of this???” and then short-changing yourself.  It is not sustainable.  Hopefully the working mother learns this early and makes choices early on so as not to lose herself.

What do you think????   What else resonates with you???  Please share your thoughts!

Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

%d bloggers like this: