Women In Business (September 2018)

As today is Business Women’s Day, you may be flooded with articles and quotes on the importance of women in business and statistics on the gaps that need filling. These gaps are real.

Instead of looking at the mountains that need moving, let’s use today to focus on small ways we can pull each other forward to make progress.

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As girls, we’re conditioned to follow the rules, which leads to perfectionism. (Something I’ve struggled with myself.) Following rules too literally can have real consequences in the work world. 

McKinsey found that when women are looking at job applications, oftentimes they only apply to ones where they meet all of the qualifications or ‘rules’. 

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To keep my own perfectionist tendencies in check, I have created a personal ‘board of advisors’; people I can call on when I’m evaluating an opportunity or next step… or when rules are making me feel stuck.

My ‘board’ helps me figure out how to reframe perfectionism into a quest for growth, and help reframe my assumptions about the rules in order to position myself for success. My board helps pull me forward into the next thing.

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Here are some small ways other women have pulled each other forward:

  • In her work as director-counsel and president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Elaine Jones stands up for her tribe by creating a personal community of strength. She describes it as having “a few core friends that you will go the distance for.” 
  • Jess Hunt, a serial entrepreneur and advocate for women’s advancement,models healthy work/life practices. She says, “If you employ others, be a leader that truly cares about ‘whole person wellness’. Check in with your staff and don’t send an email after 8 pm — it can wait until tomorrow.” 
  • Dress for Success, originally founded by my friend Nancy Lublin, gives women transitioning back into the workforce business clothes donated by other professionals. 

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You can pull another woman forward right now. Here’s how:
 

Take a minute to think about where you are today. What small actions did others take to help you personally and professionally grow? Maybe it was wise words from a mentor. Or perhaps you identified a woman with potential and supported her professional growth. 
 

Once you’ve chosen that small thing, write it down on a piece of paper and take a picture of it.

Share your story: ping the person who created a big change in your life through that small action. They probably have no idea how their action affected you. Seeing that photo will make them smile.

Share it big: tell the world your #OneSmallThing story by sharing it on social media. Don’t forget to tag that person!

Share it small: if you want more of an intimate connection, send your story directly via email/text/phone.

Share it with me: I’m taking these “OneSmallThing stories” and creating a collection. Simply reply to this email to be added.