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Tag Archives: ambition

Prepare for 2017: Goal Setting for Winners

Goal setting

Welcome to the unofficial start of autumn! This is my favorite time of year – the beautiful colors in nature, cool crisp weather, and pumpkin bread! Although I’d rather be switching out my wardrobe to comfy sweaters and boots this week (except it’s near 90F in Chicago), I decided it was time to look ahead to 2017 and start with some business goal setting.

Being the logical and structured person I am, I opened up an Excel spreadsheet and started to put together some numbers. I took a realistic swipe at my intentions and was quite pleased with the results. The numbers worked out to support my business and personal goals. But the numbers alone didn’t feel right.

The standard wisdom for achieving any goals that they should be SMART: Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Driven. This framework is helpful in curing the common pitfalls of goal setting – irrelevance and ambiguity. However, this structure does nothing to capture motivation and vision.

Quite frankly, it feels clunky and as if something critical is missing.

When I work with clients, and on my own business, I utilize a slightly different approach to goal setting and execution. Vision and desire are equally important in growth and business building....

Leverage Your Competitive Nature in Business

8-part Non-Woven Mural

This week wraps up the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. During my IndyCar days, I was fortunate to visit Rio multiple times and take in the beauty of the country. Although the racetrack was north of town (and no longer a racetrack but now facilities for the Olympics), we managed to stay near the ocean just south of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches.

Seeing Sugarloaf during coverage of the Olympics reminded me of the cable car ride I took to see the city from a new vantage point (and recall the scene from “Moonraker” with Roger Moore and Richard Kiel!). What a beautiful city!

The Olympics is all about competition. Sure there are amazing back-stories of the athletes, but at the end of the day, the competition is about winning medals. Athletes are competitive people. And at times, competitive people can get a bad reputation.

A competitive person is often seen as cutthroat, intimidating, arrogant, and selfish. Always focusing on winning tends to alienate people who shy away from competition. People believe that you can’t be competitive and relate well with people – especially in business.

But what if you looked at having a “competitive nature” from a new vantage point?

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Being Fearless: How to “Fear Less”

Fearless

Ever feel like the universe is conspiring against you? I don’t mean that only bad things are happening. Rather, that you can feel at your core that there is a lesson to be learned here but you can’t quite see what the heck it is.

I’ve been going through a lesson of sorts. Only recently have I started to figure out perhaps what this life-altering lesson is really all about.

When I was starting my business and working on my branding, I loved the FAST Woman in Business concept. It embraced my essence as a powerful professional woman with a nod to my experience in professional motorsport. But, I felt it needed a bit more of a descriptor. That’s when I arrived at the acronym for F.A.S.T. – Fearless, Ambitious, Strong, Trailblazing.

Being “Fearless” is one of those concepts that we inherently think we understand, but in reality we are conflicted by it. Can anyone be truly fearless? I’m not sure. But if we separate the word slightly, I believe the core energy behind the word comes through.

FEAR LESS

Yes. Simply fear less. Whether you are coming up on a breakthrough, or working through difficult times, it’s easy to get caught up in the fear of the unknown....

Do What You WANT

swa

It was October 27, 2007. As I boarded my Southwest flight from Chicago to Los Angeles, my mind was cluttered. I was looking forward to the next 3 ½ hours to decompress, sort out my thoughts, and rest. The trip had been planned for weeks. Off to celebrate my best friend’s milestone birthday. A weekend away with old friends was just what I needed to get out of my funk.

Instead of resting and relaxing on the flight, though, my mind was racing. Stress and anxiety filled my body. My job was stagnating. I had been at the firm almost 4 years and did not see any real path for advancement. Finances were ho-hum. I made enough to live comfortably and save some, but nothing extraordinary.

My romantic relationship made me feel like I was stuck in mud. After nearly 3 years together, we had reached that proverbial fork in the road – were we walking down the same path or headed in different directions? Oh, how I wish I knew! My body was giving me signals, but I was ignoring them. I wasn’t working out or eating as well as I knew I should be, and my energy levels were low....

Owning Your Worth

Money falling on a business woman

When someone asks you what are you worth, how do you answer?

If you are like most, the first thought that comes to mind is around your current salary, revenue projection, or perhaps the amount of money you hold in savings and investments. The financial aspect of “worth” is important and fundamental in how we perceive the value of our work. However, there is another aspect of worth that is actually more important than the financial data – your own BELIEF of what you are worth. 

We tend to underestimate the value of our worth, and, in the process, overcompensate to make up the difference.

How many times have you found yourself taking on more responsibility, putting forth more effort than your counterparts, or over preparing for a meeting or presentation? I’ve done it myself. You overcompensate to avoid the judgment of others that expect you to perform or live up to a certain ideal.

How can you combat this tempting ploy?

By knowing and living your deepest values, developing clarity on your purpose, and maintaining a strong, powerful belief in yourself.

Identifying your values allows you to turn the focus internally to gain clarity of purpose. When your values are compromised, your performance will be affected....

The Importance of Leadership Culture for Success

Leader of Teamwork Background # Vector

Finding the right organization and culture to thrive in is a personal endeavor. What works for some, may not work for others. You have to be able to fit within the structure and character of a company to perform at your best. For women in male-dominated industries, this can be an uphill battle. But remember, you always have choices.

First, you have to figure out what you want. Get clear and focused on your own strengths, values, priorities, and goals. Understand your career aspirations and goals. Only you can determine what is best for you. Then, evaluate your organization and culture.

Ultimately, to be successful you need to find a corporate culture with men that have a strong desire to support and advance women. Culture is driven from the top down. Leadership defines the values, and more importantly, the behaviors of a culture and organization. These values show up significantly in overall decision-making and how to promote within.

Aileron, a national non-profit organization dedicated to unleashing the potential of private businesses through professional management, defines culture as the “values and beliefs as demonstrated through the real behavior of the organization.” This definition captures the heart of the issue.

An organization can have stated values and beliefs that define their culture....

Building Rapport for Successful Leadership

Business woman at the office ready to work

Know any personalities at your workplace that rub you the wrong way? Chances are you do. Friction, by definition, is the resistance of motion when object rubs against another. There are plenty of high friction personalities in the business world. Some are successful, but their leadership methods are often shortsighted and fear inducing to their teams.

Successful leaders understand that building rapport is the grease that reduces friction in the machine of business. Whether you are in sales, marketing, engineering, finance, or human resources, reducing friction allows people to collaborate in a way that is forward moving and productive.

Rapport is an emotional bond or friendly relationship between people based on a mutual liking, trust, and an understanding that they share each other’s concerns. The best leaders create rapport with everyone – their team members, colleagues, managers, shareholders, stakeholders, customers, and clients. These leaders often generate win-win solutions that build upon that trust that was developed over time.

Fortunately, building rapport and the level of trust and understanding that great leaders embody is a skill that has been studied for years. Here are five proven ways to build rapport with everyone you meet.

1.  Pay attention to how you show up – physically, emotionally, and mentally.

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Mentors vs Sponsors: Who is on your team?

Renowned businessman Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.” Bottom line: the people around you matter. You need people—sponsors, mentors, coaches, colleagues, family, friends—who will challenge you and push you to become your best. When you engage with people who are exponentially better than you, the only result is that you will up-level yourself in the process.

Sylvia Ann Hewlett, President and CEO of the think tank Center for Talent Innovation, studied 12,000 men and women across the U.S. and the U.K. to better understand the difference and impact of mentors versus sponsors. The research showed that sponsorship beat mentorship when it comes to career progression – especially for women struggling to climb higher than middle management.

Recently, many women have been asking me how to get mentors and sponsors. We all need help to blaze a successful trail in business. You can’t expect to win going it alone. But “getting” a mentor or sponsor isn’t the challenge. You must understand the fundamental differences.

Mentors are members of your inner circle that you reach out to for advice. They provide you with guidance on what worked for them on their career path to show you a path to your goals....