Women in Biz

Reflecting on how women define success

This was written last year after being captivated at a luncheon talk given by the Arianna Huffingtonmessage of Arianna Huffington, founder and editor of Huffington Post.

In Toronto , some 800 women, who probably shared ambition and the desire to move ahead in their careers, attended a Women of Influence lunch sponsored by Deloitte and were lucky enough to hear some extremely inspiring (and honest) words from keynote speaker Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post.

At the meeting, she introduced her concept of The Third Metric. Money and power are considered the first two metrics—the essentials in the traditional work environment.

What women may bring to the mix, elements that she referred to as the Third Metric and seemed to be deliberately loosely defined—are wisdom, wonder, and the concepts of giving and well-being, (says a summary report in The Huffington Post).

Do you need to keep working 24/7?

A piece on AH’s blog from a conference on The Third Metric held in London explained. Instead of following the existing (male) ethic of working 24/7 and congratulating each other for competing and succeeding and devoting our lives to getting ahead, we (women) should be looking at redefining success. We should have a rethink on how women measure success that means something to us and to achieve it on our terms.

A key take home concept was that leaving a project can be a way forward. We don’t have to knock ourselves out trying to finish or do something we no longer have time or need for —simply stop doing it. Simply because it’s on your To Do list–doesn’t mean it has to stay there.

Edit your “To Do” list

We don’t want to think of ourselves as quitters. So we go on and on, long after we’ve lost interest. Or we may be working so much overtime that life has lost its pleasure. Many of us forget that “life is not a dress rehearsal.” A weekend spent staring at a computer screen instead of with your friends or family—is a weekend that’s gone forever. Such intriguing takeaways resonated with many of the women in the audience. Continuously adding more items to our To Do lists isn’t the route to well being. You don’t have to follow through on every idle plan or half-baked project—you don’t have to learn German or how to ski, said Arianna. Drop them. This frees time and leaves more energy for what is most important to you.

Say no

Another comment that probably stuck in many memories, judging by the audience reaction, was the comment that NO is a sentence. Women tend to say, “No, because…” Men rarely do. This strong take home message was that women may need to change their ways and stop making excuses or thinking up reasons when we don’t want to do something. No is sufficient. However high we may have advanced career-wise, most of us still say, “No, because…, as in, No, I can’t finish that project at home tonight because the computer is on the fritz and my husband is in Dubai and the kids all have flu…”

The Considered Entrepreneur

Must an entrepreneur be an extrovert?

Theories abound. A common misconception is that entrepreneur equals extrovert. Maybe it’s the sales hat we usually wear as startups that’s to blame for the Business womanassumption… and the finance, purchasing,  marketing, and human resource tasks we juggle before we can afford to hire staff or professionals to do it for us… plus make the coffee and file the bills and etcetera roles we slip in and out of so seamlessly. High profile seems part of the job.

Successful entrepreneur

The ability  to do all this and still focus on our goals is at the heart and soul of being a successful solopreneur, especially when the startup has a strict budget. If yours doesn’t, and you have very friendly relatives w large pockets… lucky lucky!

There’s an assumption that outgoing Type A’s are nature’s entrepreneurs. But there are so many approaches that work—which are you?

This great post from by Alison Why in examiner.com looks at the transformational, charismatic, participative, and laissez-faire entrepreneurial styles. It explores transactional, autocratic, leadership, situational—even service-oriented. Finally, it gets to the quiet entrepreneur–or what I call The Considered Entrepreneur.

The ability to reflect and self-reliance are basic descriptive tags not only for introverts—but for entrepreneurs of all stripes—essential ingredients to launch you and your dream out into the world. There is no exclusivity on success. Given the right combo of multi-tasking capability, a viable skill set or product that others want to pay for, hard work, persistence, and a bit of elusive good luck—anyone can apply.

Stereotypes and entrepreneurs

Extroverts tend to pigeonhole introverts as reserved or quiet and I’s often stereotype E’s as yakkers  with an “all about me” focus…  The main differences may be that introverts like to draw on inner resources for strength and ideas and function as their own support network for the necessary boost and determination—while extroverts seem to thrive more from crowd/peer support and group interactions to accelerate energy and drive. Regardless of whether we prefer to share or ponder, every solopreneur needs an extra strong foundation to grow. Sometimes we’re a delightful combo… with elements of transformational and autocratic thrown into the uniqueness… Relying on the stereotypes may mean we are creating our own hurdles and roadblocks, and never take the risk that’s needed to be our own boss.

I was at a women’s event recently where a guest speaker talked about external vs internal communicators.  It was interesting that most listeners equated entrepreneurial success with being an external communicator and extrovert. Some misconstrued the 10-pies-in-the-sky multitasking capability we all must master of doing umpteen unrelated jobs at once, while still coming up with an idea a minute plus putting it into action, AND making sure the kids and pooch are fed  on time (whew!)—with being an extrovert. Yet these essentials of  entrepreneurship  are generally shared by everyone who takes that leap into uncertainty. So next time someone suggests you don’t have a big stage personality or that this impacts your risk-taking ability to follow your solopreneur dream… correct them, quietly, and just carry on juggling.

This piece in Inc further illuminates the situation and gives excellent insights.

Online publishing directories

Gabbymag.com picOnline magazines and publishing directories are great places to list your business and showcase your skills and expertise—the more places you can be found on line, the better it will be for your online profile and SEO. Check out www.GabbyMag.com—which is offering free listings during launch and a great way to connect with other women in biz, or women who might need or support your biz product.