She Leads Contributor Series
Written by: Amy Collett
Growing your career can feel stressful and overwhelming, but there are many ways to gain the recognition you deserve in the workplace. Below, find out how to navigate challenges and discover helpful resources for getting ahead and achieving the career you’ve always dreamed of.
Defining Your Career Goals
It’s tough deciding exactly where you want to take your career, but you don’t have to have every single stop planned out on your career path. Setting bite-sized goals can take you a long way in achieving the career you want. These resources can help you find direction.
She Leads Engagement Labs and Courses for Women Leaders and Women Entrepreneurs
How to Set Ambitious Career Goals You Can Realistically Accomplish
SMART Goal – Definition, Guide, and Importance of Goal Setting
8 Ways to Stay Accountable With Your Goals
7 Things You Should Do When You Fail to Achieve Your Goals
Handling Workplace Challenges
Thinking about the goals you want to achieve is great for looking to the future, but knowing how to navigate the day-to-day challenges of work is instrumental in reaching your goals.
6 Workplace Conflicts and How to Deal with Them
Resolving Conflict In The Workplace, According To Female CEOs
Signs You’re in a Toxic Work Environment — and How to Handle It
5 Strategies for Coping With People Who Talk Too Much at Work
How to Effectively Talk to Your Boss: 20 Do’s and Don’ts
Resources to Help Fuel Your Success
There’s a lot you can do yourself to advance your career and learn how to thrive in the workplace, but sometimes it helps to have additional guidance. These resources can help you achieve your goals.
How to Learn a New Job Skill in Just 15 Minutes a Day
Free Online Courses for Career Development
Tips for Women Thinking of Starting their Own Business
Small-Business Grants for Women: 10 Go-To Spots
The Small Business Resource Center for COVID-19
Finding success in your career takes time and dedication, as well as the ability to be flexible when things don’t work out as planned. Whether you’re looking for more recognition, hoping for a promotion or want to start your own business one day, hopefully, these resources can help you find success.
Blog post written by She Leads Contributor, Amy Collett
The future is unpredictable. But lately, unpredictable has taken on a whole new level of meaning. With the rise of Covid-19, people everywhere have been forced to rethink their futures and plan for the unknown. As a young woman who is preparing for her future and getting ready to start a career, Covid-19 has turned my whole world upside down. For example, I like to plan. Ideally, every minute of my day is written down in my planner and my phone is set with alerts to remind me to complete even the simplest of tasks. Routines are essential in every one of my endeavors, big or small. But, with everything happening in the world, that has changed. The pandemic has left college students and younger generations wondering what their futures will look like. Figuring out the future is already hard, add in a global pandemic and it seems nearly impossible. For us women who have entered and are preparing to enter the workforce, where does that leave us? The odds are already not always for us and creating a sustainable career can already be challenging to grab ahold of and keep. I interviewed several other interns from She Leads Media to get their take on how the pandemic is affecting their future, plans, careers, and how they are now planning for the future in the midst of a global pandemic. Here are some of their thoughts:
Olivia Koutsky: “For me it wasn’t the fear as much, it was more what do I do when I’m not obliged to do anything. So, I’m sitting at home and I’m thinking more about what do I want to do and what do I love. So, I was torn between sociology and English when I was choosing my major because I’m going to be a college Freshman this year…. I started doing more sociology related internships and I’m listening to the news more right now. Before, earlier this year, everything sounded like if I were doing sociology, everything would be more detached and theoretical. I’d be looking at large groups of numbers instead of people one on one but I’m realizing that’s not the case now that I’m listening to all the Coronavirus news. Another thing is I’m realizing that this is a lot deeper than what I thought it was going in, and it’s because I’m learning about all the suffering today.”
Abby Marmer: “As a recent college grad, I definitely have had to re-think the way I would be spending this transitional period of my life. As a go-go and motivated person, I had been hoping to move to a major city right away after graduation, find a corporate job, check off the boxes, do all the ‘adult’ things, and start my life. I sort of had this idealized image all throughout college, it was what I thought I wanted. But I’m extremely grateful for this extended period of time spent at home because it has shown me that there is much more to life than jumping right into the rush of the workforce. There is a lot we can learn about ourselves when we simply slow down and take time to go inward.”
Julia Cremin: “I’m interested in pursuing multiple industries as I begin my career, but the work that I’ve found to be fulfilling and a lot of fun has been events. It’s been my goal for a while to work somewhere that produces live events, and I’ve had to rethink that through this pandemic. Not only do I miss the event work that I was doing pre-pandemic, but I’ve had to consider how this industry will change as time progresses. A lot of my time in college has been focused on honing my interests and discovering what I’d like to do in my career and this year has left me having to reconsider my options.”
Abby Cho: “There have been positives and negatives to the new workflow that the pandemic has produced. Before COVID, I definitely didn’t think I could pursue a digital career. I was looking forward to working in a corporate office and starting a ‘9-to-5′ schedule. In my head, I was imagining taking BART into San Francisco to go to an office where I would sit at a desk and work until it was time to go home, and every day would follow that same schedule. Thanks to the pandemic, I have been able to work multiple jobs remotely. I spend my time sitting at my desk in my apartment, doing work for people that I’ve never met in person. I have been able to pursue so many different paths, from podcast editing to writing and social media content creation.”
Internships, jobs, and even education look extremely different for the future. No one truly knows what the new normal will look like. Plans are subject to change, futures are unknown, and careers are beginning to look different. The one thing I have learned from this pandemic is that nothing is guaranteed. This simple phrase is one that I think should encourage young women everywhere to chase after their dreams and not look back, no matter what anyone says.
Have you ever paid close attention to your thoughts, like a third-party observer? Have you ever noticed the stories you tell yourself throughout the day? And most importantly, have you ever noticed how many of these thoughts and stories are actually negative?
Every thought we think, every word we say to ourselves is a blueprint from which our mind takes action. The mind truly doesn’t care whether what you’re telling it is true or false, bad or good. The mind simply absorbs whatever you feed into it. If you tell yourself you’re not a good leader, your mind believes that to be true. If you tell yourself you can’t get the promotion, your mind follows suit. Our bodies don’t know the difference between our real lived experiences and our fake thoughts and the emotions we’ve created as a result of our thoughts.
When you think about the things you think you can’t do, or goals you think you’ll never achieve, who is the person telling you that you can’t? Most of the time, it’s your own mind, convincing you that you aren’t good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough. It’s your mind fabricating these stories, to the point that you believe it like it’s fact.
“I’m not creative”
“I have no idea what I’m doing”
“I can’t pull that off”
“I’m not smart enough to work here”
“I don’t have enough money”
Do these kinds of phrases ring a bell? Take a moment to think about some things you believe to be true about yourself. Now think about who has been telling you these things. I can almost guarantee it wasn’t your best friend telling you you’re not creative, or your significant other telling you you’re not smart.
The mind is our most powerful tool, and it can be used to our benefit or, conversely, to our detriment. If we wake up every morning, dwelling on the same problem or thinking in the same way, we remain trapped in these negative thought patterns and single stories. This then informs our lifestyle and behavior, and our brain continues to reinforce these negative thought patterns. What we fear controls us, but we can flip the switch to transform these behaviors.
We can train ourselves to wake up every morning and immediately think of the good. We can practice thinking positive things about ourselves, we can practice telling ourselves we are enough, we are strong, we are confident, we are smart. We can truly change our thoughts if we practice paying attention.
How? Our brains are more flexible than we once thought. Over the past 20 years, discoveries in neuroscience have revealed that we can easily change our brain’s makeup; this is called neuroplasticity. We are capable of re-structuring neutral pathways in our brains to produce new, positive behaviors. You know how the more you practice something, the better you get at it? The more you work and flex your bicep muscle, the stronger it gets? Well, it works the same way for your mindset. The more you practice being positive, the better you will become at producing positive thoughts. It’s that simple, and it WILL change your life.
So, our first step here is to strengthen this positivity “muscle.” For example, repeatedly engaging in a gratitude practice can strengthen neural pathways that produce happier thoughts, and you will have an easier time switching from negative to positive self-talk. We can convince our bodies to be grateful, to be positive, and to catch negative thoughts from prevailing.
Your thoughts dictate your feelings, your feelings dictate your actions, and your actions dictate your event. It all begins with the thought, and changing that initial thought will actively reframe the events of your own life.
We must tell our minds what we want, who we are, what we are capable of, instead of letting our minds control us.
If you’re looking for ways to start, I recommend beginning each day by writing down three things you are grateful for. This helps set the tone for the day and forces you to think about the good in your life before you immediately jump to your to-do lists and everyday stressors. The more you do it, the easier it will come. Be patient and hold yourself accountable!
If you want to up your game even more, incorporate positive affirmations into your day as much as possible. In addition to expressing gratitude, tell your mind what you want with affirmations.
Like I said, your thoughts become your reality, so practice making your thoughts productive. Get creative, and tell yourself exactly what you need to hear.
Positive Affirmation examples:
- I am headed in the right direction
- I am ready to face the challenges of the day
- I am exactly where I need to be
- I am strong
- I am capable
- I am smart
- I am at peace with myself
- I am content with what is
- I give myself permission to do what is right for me
- I am worthy of feeling good
- I am worthy of success
- Everything I need is already within me
As a CEO, I am frequently asked for advice, tips, or guidance, “how should I launch a podcast?” Or, “can you take a moment to look at my website?” The worst offender, “Do you have time to chat today? I’d love to pick your brain.”
I am not an apple tree, or a strawberry field. You cannot freely “pick my brain” at your leisure.
Why, you ask?
I have worked hard for years at educating myself, challenging my thoughts & beliefs, building my resolve and growing my confidence. I have opened myself up to new ways of thinking and I continue to enrich my own breadth of knowledge by engaging in conversations with all kinds of people. I work my ass off, and all along the way, I’ve learned incredibly deep and important lessons.
While it’s a seemingly innocent request, or to you, just a “quick favor,” to me, when you ask to pick my brain you are signaling that you don’t get it at all. You are signaling that you deserve access to my energy and my expertise, with little to no value in return.
I know my worth, I know that my value is immense, and it’s certainly not available free of charge. Access to my merit is a privilege. Yet, I see so many women willingly give away value due to cultural and societal conditioning. As a woman, it’s harder to say no– we are socialized from a very young age to be agreeable, to be nice, to say yes, to give more energy out than we receive.
Reminder: You don’t owe it to anyone to say yes, and more importantly, never apologize for upholding your boundaries.
Your time and knowledge is incredibly valuable. You are valuable. Most importantly, knowing your worth is not narcissistic or self-absorbed, it’s quite the opposite. Knowing your worth simply means you take pride in your work, you have self-respect, and you have healthy levels of self-esteem. You practice positive self-talk, you tell yourself how strong and smart you are. It means being confident, and confidence is a superpower.
As women, we must begin taking action and we must stop allowing others to take advantage of what we have to offer. Value is an equal exchange. If you don’t value my opinion, thoughts, and advice, and are not willing to offer me equal value in return, please move along.
Make your worth known and carry it with you in everything that you do.
This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t help others out, I’m all for paying it forward and giving my best advice to people – especially young women – that need guidance. Why? Because I have been on the other side of this, looking up to inspirational people, wishing so badly to learn from them and their wisdom.
So, if you are seeking expert advice, how can you ask this question in the best way possible?
Simply change the language you use, and have the awareness that if someone agrees to share her valuable time and hard-earned expertise with you, that there should be some type of value exchange. First, STOP asking “can I pick your brain?”. Rather, do your research and reach out with a compliment or something you’ve learned about them that has inspired you, or let them know what you specifically admire about their accomplishments. It’s a much more human and genuine approach to open a two-way dialogue and conversation. Humans crave making connections, sharing their wisdom and stories, and this approach is a much more mature and open-ended way to start a genuine conversation.
Don’t expect too much – a 15 minutes phone conversation or a few email exchanges may be all that you get. The more value you can provide, the more time and attention you may be given, but this is not always the case. Be grateful and express your gratitude.
In addition, you must accommodate their schedule. Don’t assume they’ll be able to meet you for a coffee. Or, in the context of today’s climate, meet with you 1 on 1 on zoom. Recognize this is a massive ask, and you may have to get creative with your communication.
If and when you do land a meeting, treat it like an interview. Come prepared with questions, come prepared to talk. Yes, hopefully you will be doing a lot of listening too, but prove to them the reciprocal nature of this conversation. Provide THEM with some value too.
Lastly, express endless gratitude and be humble. Be kind, complimentary, and immediately write a thank you note.
Part of being a successful entrepreneur is expanding your network and meeting key players in your space, putting yourself out there, and being brave. It’s important, especially as women, to learn to ask for exactly what we want. This is something that men seem to have an easier time doing.
Reaching out to industry experts is an excellent way to learn more about your passions and, further, hearing people’s stories, failures and successes, is empowering and inspirational. However, this can be tricky territory to navigate – as evidenced by the “Can I pick your brain?” mistake that I see so many people making. By simply adjusting your perspective and thinking about the value that YOU can offer, you’ll have a better chance at growing an all-important network and earning the trust and respect from those you truly admire.
Each year since 2013, we have produced an incredible conference for global women leaders and entrepreneurs. Like all great companies, we are in the midst of evolution and transformation.That’s why our 2020 conference may feel a bit different. It will be more highly curated, with fewer speakers and fewer attendees who are very serious about moving their businesses to the next level. This is not a conference for those who seek to passively sit in the audience. This is for women who want to dive deep and do the work that it takes to successfully grow, expand, scale and create massive visibility for themselves and their businesses.
Get your tickets now and save!
Do you want to be known for inspiring people with your innovative ideas, fresh perspective and unique voice? Do you want to benefit your business or your personal brand in a really impactful way?
Many of my clients and women who attend my She Leads conferences and events often ask me how to become a thought leader and get their message out into the world. They’ve found it challenging to make a name for themselves in this screaming match of politics, sea of social media and digital marketing environment where companies with big budgets can spend heavily to gain customers’ attention.
While there’s no doubt it’s challenging to get your message heard, there are strategies and tactics that can effectively set you apart. One of my favorite recommendations specifically for women is to start a podcast! While this may sound intimidating, let me explain all the reasons why this is a key differentiator.
First and foremost, a podcast is a powerful platform that allows you to share your opinions, thoughts, perspectives and expertise on topics that are most important to you and to your target audience. In general, people are intrigued by listening to others share their well-thought out opinions, learning from other’s successes and failures and simply listening in to an interesting conversation or interview. As a podcast host, you can use your distinctive voice to demonstrate your authority. And, as an entrepreneur, your brand is more than just the products you sell or the services you offer. Your brand is you.
People need to relate to the brands from which they purchase products and services. They are seeking connection and meaning. Podcasts allow you to share yourself with a wide audience and make that personal connection! Plus, new content will help your brand from an SEO perspective, as search algorithms reward websites with new and relevant content. This, in turn will help you to attract new audience to your website where you can start a conversation.
When people follow their favorite brands on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, they want more than simply just product information. They’re typically interested in content published by the brand that’s relevant to their needs. A podcast is a compelling form of content that can be consumed on the move. People can listen in their cars, while doing work on the computer or while exercising or doing other activities or household chores. It doesn’t require the same type of attention as watching a video, but is a great way to maintain a high level of engagement.
Everyone knows that you need to have a strong and engaging presence on social media, but not everyone is willing to start and maintain her own podcast. By hosting your own podcast, you can gain a competitive edge and demonstrate your expertise in inspiring and insightful ways that helps you improve your brand image, expand your reach and stand out as a thought leader. And as you build your fan base, you’re also building a list of potential customers.
According to Convince and Convert, 67 million Americans listen to podcasts monthly with the average podcast fan listening to 5 shows per week. The podcast audience is an incredibly diverse and curious group of listeners who actively search for the most innovative voices and insightful perspectives.
For this reason, many extraordinary women have already tapped into the power of podcasting to produce some of the most successful podcasts to date. Here are some examples of influential podcasts from the female entrepreneur’s perspective:
Farnoosh Torabi: So Money
Farnoosh’s So Money was awarded #1 Female-Hosted Podcast of 2017 by Entrepreneur Magazine. Her daily show features candid conversations about money with top business minds who talk about their successes, philosophies, habits, and even their failures. And the best part? Every Friday, Farnoosh answers her listener’s biggest questions on just about anything on work, money, and career.
Sophia Amoruso: Girlboss Radio
The founder of NastyGal, Sophia Amoruso, also hosts a successful weekly podcast that is fun, quirky, and most of all, honest. Girlboss Radio features female entrepreneurs who share their stories and the valuable lessons they’ve learned from the absurdities of life while also running their businesses.
Jess Lively: The Lively Show
Guided by her intuition, Jess Lively went from growing the accessory company she started when she was 15 to a thriving full-time career to blogging to hosting The Lively Show. Her podcast allows her to help and inspire her listeners to navigate through everything in life with topics that range from food, money, motherhood, wellness, style, and business and career. She digs deeper into entrepreneurship and how to use your “gut feelings” to help you when you’re stuck at those defining crossroads in your life.
Emma Gannon: Ctrl Alt Delete
Former social media editor of British Glamour, Emma Gannon, has had some pretty awesome guests on her show Ctrl Alt Delete like Elizabeth Gilbert, Gillian Anderson, and Lena Dunham. Her wildly successful podcast discusses everything related to work, social media, careers, and the unique relationships her guests have with the Internet.
Anne Bogel: What Should I Read Next?
On What Should I Read Next?, the “Modern Mrs. Darcy,” Anne Bogel, interviews readers about the books they love, hate, and the books they’re currently reading. Anne uses her insights, intuition, deep knowledge of the literary world, and her uncanny psychological gifts to prescribe her guests with what they should read next.
Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams: 2 Dope Queens
2 Dope Queens is a live comedy show featuring two best friends doing what they do best – making people laugh while talking candidly about everything from romance to sex to race and even their hair journeys. They’ve featured hilarious guests like Fred Armisen, Kevin Bacon, Eric Andre, and Pat Brown.
Beyond the incredible podcasts hosted by influential, interesting and hilarious women that we’ve mentioned above who’ve already made a name for themselves, there are so many other amazing women whose podcasts you can check out before you decide that podcasting is right for you.
You can search for articles that provide lists like this one on Buzzfeed: 13 Podcasts By Women You Should Be Listening To Right Now to see what style resonates with you.
My advice to everyone is don’t be afraid to get started. If you do homework on equipment you may need and plan out your first several shows, there’s no reason to fear putting voice out there. Remember – the secret to a successful thought-provoking podcast is knowing your voice, your audience, and being authentic.
So go ahead and start a podcast, ladies! Your audience is waiting to hear from you!
What do you want to talk about? What is your dream podcast? Let me know in the comments below.