Women Elevating Women

Women Elevating Women

We live in a society where a lot of women preach the gospel of women supporting women, and five seconds later they are criticizing what someone wore, or whether or not she is really a good wife, mother and/or business owner. Instead of celebrating each other’s success, some women take it personally, as though another woman’s win is a personal affront to her.

Women see other women being great and, sometimes, it makes us shrink.

I’ve felt myself shrink in the presence of strong confident women. I’ve been there on the comparison merry-go-round feeling like my work wasn’t as good as someone else’s. I’ve also compared someone else’s success five or ten years out, to my start and it doesn’t feel good.

I’ve also celebrated many women, inspired them, and spent time in quiet council helping them to expand and grow their business, and in some cases, change their lives. I’ve watched women rise up and do incredible things and felt challenged and inspired to step up and do more myself.

I am blessed to know some really incredible women who have made an impact on my life, a mark that I will never forget, and I’d like to share and celebrate them with you today, on International Women’s Day.

These women have all had a major impact in my life and business. I asked them each to answer 3 questions for this blog. The three questions are:

  1. If you could give away 20 copies of a book to 20 new entrepreneurs to help them on their journey,  what book would you choose and why?
  2. What’s one piece of advice you’d give anyone starting or who feels stuck or plateaued in their business?
  3. What’s one thing that you believe has most contributed to your success in business?

This is a long post, but the wisdom these women bring to the table is invaluable. I encourage you to read each answer carefully.

Christine Kane:1

Christine Kane is a mentor to women who are changing the world. She has been my colleague and friend for almost a decade now. She is the most present person I know and I love so much about her. I love that she shares her vulnerability with me, and she shines the light on what she sees in me as being great.

  1. If you could give away 20 copies of a book to 20 new entrepreneurs, what book would you choose and why?

I’m going to be weird here. Mine is The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Don Riso and Russ Hudson. Here’s why: Above and beyond all the great principles and strategies of business and success, I see self-awareness as a crucial piece of the puzzle. That’s because not everyone has the same strengths, desires or styles. So cookie cutter business strategies just do not work.

Your business is a training ground for your own personal and soul growth. So, if you want to know who you are and what is driving you (and your clients and all people in your life) then the Enneagram is a powerful tool for self-understanding.

  1. What’s one piece of advice you’d give anyone starting or who feels stuck or plateaued in their business?

Uh oh. I wrote three things.

I – Permission

I would first say to give yourself permission to just be there. We live in an Instagram world that pounds in these motivational messages that can leave you feeling like you have to “kick Monday’s ass” or “crush it this week!” While those messages are cool and fun, when you really feel stuck – it’s worthless to pound yourself out of it. Shouting at yourself can just create a state of shame. Permission (not resisting) to just be stuck can often be such a breath of fresh air. Business and the tedious stuff it requires is not always fun, and doesn’t always create results.

II- Dopamine

After that, I would create some kind of basic habit schedule that provides what I call “Dopamine Snacks.” And that is something that feeds your brain an experience of what it craves: dopamine. That’s the experience of completing something. As an entrepreneur, you probably almost never get the experience of feeling complete. Habits – be they a workout routine, or a writing practice (a la Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages) can add a huge level of self-trust and a sense of completion in a world where nothing ever seems to feel complete!

III- Support

Reach out to other business owners (but only someone who you feel safe with, not someone who is uncomfortable with emotions) and ask for support. Vulnerability is the new strong.

“Vulnerability is the new strong” - Christine Kane Click To Tweet
  1. What’s one thing that you believe has most contributed to your success in business?

Masterminding and coaching. The people who have truly seen me and helped me grow through each year. I was not naturally wired for any of this – and without that kind of support and guidance, I’d be lost.

5Jennifer McClanahan Flint

I met Jennifer at one of Christine’s events many years ago. She is an incredible woman who is passionate about diversity and equality and she has taught me more about racism and bias than anyone I know. I am eternally grateful for her guidance and the ability to have uncomfortable conversations with her in a safe setting, I really believe she has made me a better person.

  1. If you could give away 20 copies of a book to 20 new entrepreneurs, what book would you choose and why?

Is it cheating if I say Pilot to Profit?  I would give a new entrepreneur Pilot to Profit because we often confuse passion and excitement for a business. You have many people out there talking about ideal clients, marketing, and social media when what new entrepreneurs need to talk about are numbers, incorporation, metrics, measurements, tactics, etc. Pilot to Profit speaks to the practicality of running a business, not “living the dream.” I spent so much money on coaches and programs, it would have been helpful to read that book first and then decide what type of coaching or programs I needed.

  1. What’s one piece of advice you’d give anyone starting or who feels stuck or plateaued in their business?

After eight years in business, I have learned to ask myself, am I stuck on my own idea or what “they” say I should be doing? If it is my own idea, then I allow myself to be there and examine the alternatives, reach out for help, and focus on the next step, not 20 steps from now. When I feel stuck because I am not doing what “they” say I should do, I determine if it is a “best practice” in my industry and decide what I want my practice to be. Best practices lead to mediocrity. When you do what everyone else does, you limit your ability to stand out. Realizing that was a turning point for my business.

On plateauing…I used to freak out. Literally, worry about my business, income, and my sanity. I had a few plateaus that felt like I was in a deep depression. After going through a few plateaus, I realized they are part of the business and, dare I say, life cycle. The other side of a plateau is new ideas, new clients, and increased revenue. My business in 2018 looks nothing like my business in 2010. I grew as a business owner and a person. For me, those plateaus were integration periods that helped me contemplate and move toward the person I was becoming. They allowed my business to evolve.

Whether you’re stuck or on a plateau, get some help. We can’t do this all by ourselves.

  1. What’s one thing that you believe has most contributed to your success in business?

I don’t give up on my business because I believe so strongly in what I am doing. To me, not giving up means that you show up for yourself, even if no one thinks you are there. Keep showing up for yourself and others will eventually see you.

4Jackie Foo

Jackie is a telecommunications executive who was my boss in 2001. When she got promoted (and I didn’t) she was one of those women I was silently envious of. It turned out she was the best thing that ever happened to my career. I’ve never worked with a leader as visionary and inspiring as Jackie Foo. She single-handedly built my self-confidence and enabled me to do what I do today. I am proud that, although we only worked together for a few short years, our friendship is spanning almost two decades.

  1. If you could give away 20 copies of a book to 20 new entrepreneurs, what book would you choose and why?

Start with Why by Simon Sinek. I picked the book because my goal as a leader (business owner, entrepreneur) is to inspire action. Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. You need to give people a reason – a WHY to your product or service. Customers may understand benefits or features, but they won’t buy your product unless they believe or trust you/your company. Belief drives behaviours and drives action.

  1. What’s one piece of advice you’d give anyone starting or who feels stuck or plateaued in their business?

Ask, “What problem am I trying to solve for customers/clients?” Too often we fall in love with our own products and services without aligning needs to the marketplace or customers.

  1. What’s one thing that you believe has most contributed to your success in business?

I spent my career looking for opportunities to develop “systems of success.” All good businesses are based on foundations of repeatable systems…hiring systems, systems for selling, systems of production, etc. The genius bar at the Apple Store, the way the line flows at Starbucks, the greeters at the Disney store…are deliberate systems designed to guide the customer journey.

6Melissa Hughes

Have you ever had someone see you when you were unable to see the greatness in yourself? That’s what Melissa Hughes does. She has a way of penetrating her gaze from your eyes to your soul and making you feel completely accepted as you are. This woman is as kind as she is fierce.

  1. If you could give away 20 copies of a book to 20 new entrepreneurs, what book would you choose and why?

Sole to Soul: How to Identify Your Soul Purpose and Monetize It – I would choose this book because regardless of what you do in your business, the best business to have is one that is in alignment with your soul and your purpose. You have to work hard and smart anyway, so make sure that you focus your efforts on making a difference in people’s lives and businesses in a way that you lay down the foundation for accomplishing your divine assignment and leave an amazing legacy.

  1. What’s one piece of advice you’d give anyone starting or who feels stuck or plateaued in their business?

Don’t eat bonbons with the monsters in the closet. I call fears and insecurities monsters, lol! Everyone has them and no one is exempt. The difference is what you do with them when they present themselves.

When you are stuck and confused in your life and your business (because they are related – the common denominator is you) the monsters escaped from the closet and, instead of putting them back in and getting back to your purpose and divine assignment, you entertain them. You are having bonbons with the monsters, watching movies and eating popcorn with the monsters, and having tea with the monsters. In essence, the fears take over and keep playing in your head, the stories of the past override the possibilities of the future, and you stay in a place of stuck.

Don’t eat bonbons with the monsters in the closet means accepting that moving forward can be scary, come to terms that it is more painful to stay where you are than to move forward, and write down all the things that you are fearful about and what beliefs you have around them. Then return and write down what is possible if you stay on tasks in spite of those things and if you persevered past all of the fears what could be possible for you. Write down what you need to feel supported to move through today and this week, to get on the other side of fear and get support if you need it to see this for yourself. Then crawl, walk and run into your future without judging yourself and criticizing every move you make. Movement in imperfection beats being perfectly stuck every single time…. I promise. You either soar or you learn a valuable lesson. Stay committed to being in movement. Rinse and repeat.

  1. What’s one thing that you believe has most contributed to your success in business?

The one thing that has contributed the most to my success in business was a deep understanding that my journey is not about me, it is about the texture of life and the ups and downs that uniquely position me to be of service to humanity. That my divine assignment provides me direction on how to serve in the best and utmost way possible. And I get out of my way to receive the abundance that giving and serving in this way provides.

3Melonie Dodaro

Everyone needs a colleague and friend who will say yes before you’ve even asked the question. Someone who will reach out and ask you why you haven’t done something when you should have and then gently offer to help and do it for you. And someone who will open up their massive knowledge tank and share every single bit of brilliance they have without expecting anything back. That is who Melonie Dodaro is. Don’t let her LinkedIn expertise fool you, she’s the whole package! She is a brilliant businesswoman.

  1. If you could give away 20 copies of a book to 20 new entrepreneurs, what book would you choose and why?

The first book I would give a new entrepreneur to read is “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek. His subtitle is “how great leaders inspire everyone to take action” and that really speaks to what is most important in starting or growing a business, attracting the right clients, team and support system.

  1. What’s one piece of advice you’d give anyone starting or who feels stuck or plateaued in their business?

Many entrepreneurs feel stuck at times, so it’s very important that you invest in yourself and your business. You can’t do everything in your business, you must hire out the things that are not your strengths. You also need to surround yourself with a supportive network and with people that are already successful in achieving what you want to achieve. Most importantly, hire a coach or a mentor to guide you through the entrepreneurial terrain; it can get very bumpy at times.

  1. What’s one thing that you believe has most contributed to your success in business?

The one thing that has most contributed to my success is being a specialist, not a generalist. Quite honestly, I am both a generalist and a specialist. As a long-time entrepreneur, I’ve handled all aspects of my businesses from: human resources, accounting, sales, marketing, etc. But I always had one thing I was best known for. This was helpful because I wasn’t competing with millions of others; often it was just a dozen or so. Your clients must trust that you have the knowledge and skills to solve their specific problem.

The entrepreneurial journey is a complex and yet very rewarding experience. Think big, whatever you set your mind to you can achieve!

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2Tiffany Peterson

Last year, during a quiet moment in California, she said, “It’s up to you, but I wouldn’t do that” and over the next five minutes, this woman shifted a limiting belief I had been hanging onto for years around selling from the stage. Tiffany is a powerhouse, who oozes confidence and kindness, and calls everyone she meets “love”. You can’t help but love being in her presence, she is a rare gem who is in high demand and I’m grateful for her friendship and wise counsel.

  1. If you could give away 20 copies of a book to 20 new entrepreneurs, what book would you choose and why?

I am tempted to insert my entire recommended reading list here as there are several favourites that I believe could help a new entrepreneur! In picking just one, The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson comes top of mind. Definitely, my favourite book for all of 2017 as it combines a great mindset with practical action steps to create positive change and momentum.

  1. What’s one piece of advice you’d give anyone starting or who feels stuck or plateaued in their business?

Three things: 1. How’s your own self-care? Energy? Health and wellbeing? Sometimes feeling stuck or even burnout has everything to do with a lack of self-care and well being. If your tank is empty, take time to prioritize your self-care back to the top. When you feel better, you perform better. When you’re exhausted, worn out, or simply just getting by, you will lack creative energy. I believe investing in you and your well being is the best investment one can make. 2. Rekindle the passion by focusing on service. When we show up to serve, not only do we sell more, we have more joy in the process. Running your own business is a creative outlet and can bring so much joy and fulfilment. When we’ve lost that focus or plateaued, we’ve often gotten out of the service mindset. 3. Hang out with other thriving people. One of the biggest success hacks is to get around inspiring, successful people. I intentionally attend two to four live events or masterminds myself every year to inspire my mind and to network with other amazing people. Lisa and I met up last Fall at a Women In Business retreat for a few days and it was inspiring for us both. This can energize you in a powerful way!

  1. What’s one thing that you believe has most contributed to your success in business?

For me, I have a solid connection with God. We meet often in prayer and meditation as well as walks in nature or creative brainstorming sessions. I like to say that God is my CEO and we make a great team. As cute as that may sound, in all sincerity, I believe that when you are connected to your Higher Power, God, Universe – whatever you call that special force in your life – you are connected to the ultimate source of Creation – and what stems from that in terms of creativity, guidance, doors being opened, paths being crossed, and focusing on being a vessel to be a blessing to others, has blessed my business in incredible ways. What helps you connect to your Higher Power, your centre, or intuition? Do that regularly, for the clarity and calm that brings to you will help you in your decision making, creativity, and connections.

These women have all had a significant impact in my life, as have many other women, such as my Mom, my sisters Nathaly and Natasha, and the strong women who work on my team.

Once a year we celebrate women on International Women’s day, and today I’d like to challenge you to shine the light back on one woman who has made an impact on your life. It feels good to be seen and acknowledged, and all it takes is a little bit of effort to make it happen.

If you’re curious as to how I’d answer those questions, check out my Facebook page, I’ll be sharing my own responses there.

What woman are you celebrating and how has she made a difference in your life? Leave a comment and share with me below.

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