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THIS WEEK'S TOPIC:
Are you feeling stuck in your career path or yearning for something more fulfilling? Margaret Weniger, an empowerment advocate, offers a stimulating solution. Join us as we sit down with her in the Power Lounge to chat about her journey from a sales career to a passion-driven advocacy for personal empowerment. Hear her insights on how to tap into your unique capabilities for personal and professional growth, and how to navigate career paths with intention and courage. From overcoming obstacles to exploring the psychology behind the fear of taking risks, Margaret's wisdom is a breath of fresh air for anyone feeling stagnant or unfulfilled in their current situation.
The conversation takes an exciting twist as we explore the QXR tool, designed to remind us that our lives and careers have different seasons and chapters. Margaret spotlights the power of acknowledging and celebrating our accomplishments, even as we navigate the different paths that life takes us. We also challenge traditional norms around retirement, and instead, promote the idea of a ‘work optional’ retirement. It’s a riveting discussion that will change the way you view your career and personal growth.
In the final leg of our chat, we dive deeper into overcoming bias, taking calculated risks, and understanding the fear associated with career breaks. Margaret helps us understand our multi-dimensional selves and how this self-awareness can lead to success and fulfillment. At the end of this episode, you’ll have a fresh perspective on the importance of pauses, the power of intentional decisions, and the surprising research showing that women outperform men when given capital. Don't miss out on this empowering conversation with Margaret Weniger!
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Welcome to our weekly Power Lounge, your place to hear authentic conversations from those who have power to share. My name is Amy Vaughn and I am the owner and Chief Empowerment Officer of Together Digital, a diverse and collaborative community of women who work in digital and choose to share their knowledge, power and connections. Join the movement at wwwtogetherindigitalcom. Let's get started. Today we are going to learn how to pause, reflect and design your path with intention for fulfilling career and life. Margaret Winiger, who spent 10 years in sales leadership and during that time she learned what fueled her success. It wasn't the latest or greatest sales tactic. It wasn't because of her hard work or her team's hard work. It was the result of caring about and investing in people. She learned that her true passion in life was helping people see their unique superpowers and how to leverage those to unlock their full potential in their careers and lives. Margaret works with individuals and organizations to recognize what makes you great and how to leverage that focus by tackling the root cause. Keeping you stuck. Yeah, hands up for our live listeners. How many of us have felt stuck? It's not the feeling right. You might be in that muck right now. I encourage you to also check out Margaret's Rising Tides podcast, which I had the honor and privilege of being a guest on recently. It is a destination for career-driven women to share their incredible journey, to find inspiration, find courage and trust their voices through sharing stories, wisdom and advice that we can collectively rise Rising Tide. Be sure to check it out, margaret, thanks for being here. It's so good to have you in my house. Now that I've been over to your house, I know.Speaker 2:
This is so wonderful. I'm so excited. My cheeks already hurt and we are just getting started. That's how you're going to be good. I'm ready, yes.Speaker 1:
I love it, so let's just dig right in. We've got only so much time. I want to make sure we have time at the end for our live listening audience, but we've got a lot of interesting ground to cover, because you transitioned from sales to empowerment advocacy, which is a very interesting jump and transition. What inspired this change and how did it influence your approach to helping people reach their full potential?Speaker 2:
Yeah, oh my gosh, what inspired it is. At some point you have to recognize when a door is slamming in your face, and it took me a really long time to get the message. I very much was stuck. I very much was holding on to what I knew and not wanting to move forward. What's been really interesting is, in the last three years researching female careers, I found that usually when a shift like this would happen, it was either a chosen change, which was someone willingly moving in a direction that they were looking to go and they were initiating the change, or you could have been like me, which was a force change, where something outside of your control happens, something like getting fired, maybe the loss of a loved one, even a global pandemic. But that kind of fundamental change is your environment. For me, something that I have talked a lot about is I was fired three times. The first two times were within. One was within a week. The other one was within a couple months of having my babies. That absolutely is relevant in what led to determination. I started realizing then that there were several signs that this wasn't my path. That's the fact that I'd lost interest in it. I was in an environment that was very clearly not friendly to someone like me. The other thing that was interesting is that in general tax sales leaders the average tenure for VPS sales in the last five years has been 17 months. You become the scapegoat for revenue production. It's very easy to say it's not working, we'll find someone else. The role itself wasn't interesting. It was unpredictable. After the third time I got fired I decided that it was time to take a really hard look. What led to the empowerment advocacy was really my own obsessive search for answers, wanting to figure out what the heck. Through the podcast, believe it or not, it turned into this body of research where I got to learn from women like you and start to find the commonalities and the patterns and their behaviors. Then I started to be able to connect that to what I had done as a sales leader and seeing where they were similar. It's been a transition. It's been a journey of finding my way and being able to articulate to people what it is that I'm doing. That's the other fun piece. When you make a move, people who know you in your network don't quite understand what you're doing. That's been the journey.Speaker 1:
That's amazing. I appreciate you being so open and vulnerable about it. I think a lot of times when we come into these more public forums, it's so easy for us to just default to the whole story of success without strife. What I love about your podcast and the way that you drive that conversation is you just make it very easy and comfortable for people to not even intentionally not even overshare, but just share more than they typically would or feel comfortable with. What that does is it lets other people know that this happens and you can succeed and move beyond that, Because, as Anna who's listening in our live audience just mentioned in the chat, being let go can really mess with your mind. I know it did for me. That's a topic actually we're tackling here in a couple of weeks I'm not going to remember the exact date, I think it's November 17th we're recording a talk about job search PTSD, because it's a real thing and it's not something we give ourselves time to work through, as you said, Margaret. I think this is why you and I probably click so well too is when you go through that kind of trauma, especially repeatedly, and you kind of don't see it until you see it, taking what you've learned through healing and then turning around and taking what you learned and that healing to help others it's a part of the process of continuing to stay healed. I love, love, love that you've done that. You've kind of gone from a very competitive you know one for every person looking out for themselves to this more not just altruistic but empowering for all. So I definitely love your mission and the direction you've taken things and to me it makes all the sense in the world, but I do understand how others might be.Speaker 2:
Well, I appreciate that and real quick on the firing piece. I think what was one of the biggest learnings was separating myself from what had occurred. Right, because it's like this is and we'll get into this right, this is like one of the strategies of this whole idea of like grounding ourselves in facts, and so you know it wasn't well. It was personal right, because I was still being hired. You know there was a misalignment and so this wasn't about was I good, was a? Did I have value? This was my value, was not appreciated, and so that was a huge shift for me and, honestly, that was a big thing. That took a long time in working with coaches, but I think, with terminations, right, it's kind of being able to grieve. You know you have to go through the grieving process and then, once you are in a place where you can take a step back, kind of doing a postmortem for lack of a better term to understand you know what kind of look and diagnose what happened. What can I learn from this experience? How can it inform how I want to move forward?Speaker 1:
I think that's a great idea. I, postmortem always felt like it is on people. We would call them sun setting. Yeah, and in our life do we come against, you know, traumatic experiences and we don't spend time reflecting and learn from that so we can move forward? I'm kind of curious too, because you work with both individuals and organizations. So I mean, I feel like there's probably some like overlap and commonalities, but what differences do you see and when you're trying to help individuals versus groups get unstuck and unlock their potential, and are there some strategies that kind of apply to both?Speaker 2:
Yeah, yeah. So it's really fun because in many ways it's very similar, because at the end of the day, it's all humans, right, you're dealing with people, and so the same things trip up people, whether you're talking to a person who's stuck in their career or you're talking to somebody at an organization that can't figure out why they're not winning revenue. And so oftentimes what I've found is that the most important thing is starting with what's at the root of, like you could say, what it's at the root of the problem, or kind of what's at the root of the emotion. So, whether you're feeling called for more, but you're not sure what that means, you're feeling yeah, yeah, like something's missing. Or, in the case of working with an organization, it might be we aren't seeing the results we expected to see, but we don't know what's wrong. And so oftentimes, once you can kind of pinpoint a name that there's something off, then it's. The acknowledgement is the first piece, and that's one of the hardest parts is, like so often, right, we don't even do the first step of acknowledging it, we just keep going. So, whether it's a company or an individual, right, it's like playing with that voice and giving life to it and just exploring it a little bit is one of the most important steps you can take is just trying to understand what it's all about, and what's nice is like it's pretty low commitment, especially as an individual, to give that voice a little life, because all you're trying to understand is just being mindful of, maybe, when you're hearing it. The second thing is that then it's when working with companies. It's gonna be more of a diagnosis. So you're gonna be looking at what actually is the problem, what is the root cause. So you're going to similar to individuals. You're gonna ground yourself in information and facts. You're gonna look at the numbers. You're gonna understand who the people and the players are. You're gonna look at what exists today and, as a person, right, it looks really similar. You're gonna look at what is my historical data. So what are the trends? What am I kind of when I've done X, y happens, what are my energy givers and takers, what is most important to me? And then how does that kind of illuminate where there's conflict or where there's an issue? And then, right, then you can start to strategize a path forward and start to experiment with taking next steps. To see, if I talk to these three professionals in these other careers, like. What is interesting to me, is that something that I would want to consider? So like very vague, but if I was gonna summarize it, it's giving life to the voice that there is an issue and acknowledging it. There's the element of starting to establish a foundation by understanding what exists today and kind of documenting that right, like actually, if you don't already have it, like putting it into writing and then using that to inform areas that you want to start exploring and digging in deeper. That may be, you know, using the past to inform where you're going or who you're becoming.Speaker 1:
Yeah, I love that. That's such great direction. I think both awareness and curiosity are such an essential point to whether you're dealing with groups or individuals, because, like you said, if you don't have a name for it, you can't pinpoint it, then you can't have the discussion or the conversation, whether that's with yourself or with others. I'm kind of curious to build on that question, though, like how often do you find, when you're dealing with these groups, that it comes down to, like these individual, deep-seated issues that, if they don't get saw after or are made aware of, they all of a sudden kind of trickles out into the greater culture and the community itself?Speaker 2:
Oh yeah, that's such a great thing to hone in on. So usually what'll happen is it's like people that are misaligned in their roles. So, like, one of the things that I do is I sit down for, you know, 45 minutes through an hour with every single person on the team to understand who they are as a person and you know, kind of starting to suss out their strengths and what they love to do, and a lot of times what you'll find is that, you know, inevitably there's misalignments there of you know they didn't quite understand what they wanted and they thought this job is what they wanted and so it's not actually, and so it's. You know, some of it is understanding where might we, where might you be a much more impactful fit because you're a great fit for the company or for the team, but this isn't the right role that we've got you in, or other times it's. You know, they didn't quite have the self-awareness to understand that this is just completely a misalignment. I had one situation I had a manager and he was this wonderful human being and he cared so deeply about his people and he was really passionate about sales and he had was really excited to come to the startup because he wanted to build and scale out the sales team. But the problem was he had only ever worked in a much larger, established organization that had a proven playbook, and so he was very good and he liked to operate in running a playbook and developing people to execute against the playbook. But where he was at this company they needed him to build the playbook and he wasn't equipped to do that, nor was he really interested in doing that. And so that you know, that's an example where it's like you are amazing and your stress is a result of there's a, there's a misalignment, but he, you know. So that was an interesting process if he ultimately decided to transition out right and then go back into an environment now knowing where he was really great and why he had been so successful before.Speaker 1:
That's great, and you gave a couple of like instances there of things that are certain obstacles that might keep us stuck Team was one of them, but common obstacles that we face when we're trying to get unstuck and discover our fullest potential. And how do we overcome those? Because I think, well again, women, we're a very community team-minded, we feel very so. Our employers, what are some other things that kind of get us stuck or keep us stuck?Speaker 2:
Yes, yes, yes, oh, I love this question so much. So there's a lot of psychology behind this, which is like we are wired as human beings with biases that like to keep us where we are and make us averse to change. And so one of the big ones that kind of keeps us stuck is there's it's called omission, comission bias, and so it's this idea that when we are looking at, when we're looking at or considering making a change, we perceive the risk of a change far greater than the risk of staying. And so a really great thing to do to kind of counter this is to actually ask yourself, right, like what is the cost of staying versus what is the cost of leaving? What's the benefit of staying and what's the benefit of leaving? And so it kind of forces you to objectively look at your situation and kind of map it out to say where is it bigger? Right, because sometimes you could be in a crappy situation, but you're getting enough out of it that it makes it worth staying. And that's an empowered choice, right, because you recognize it for what it is and you're choosing to stay because it's giving you something you need, versus the fear of the unknown is what is keeping you stuck. So that's a big one. The second one is that a lot of times we we're very binary in how we think. Right, we're very all or nothing and I know this is something that I've had the opportunity to work on over the last several years where it's so often when we are somewhere and we're not happy or we're not fulfilled or we're not enjoying what we're doing, and our minds we think it's we either have to stay or the other extreme is like we leave. But that's so scary because we don't. It feels like this huge risk. And so one thing that I saw that women do very, very well because of calculated risk takers is that they would get started exploring and dabbling right, like, I think, on our podcast, when you were sharing, like you started going to these conferences and have building these relationships and you know. So it's different ways you can read a book, you can listen to a podcast, you could grab some coffee dates, you could attend an event different ways to start exploring while you're in your current situation, to gather information so that making a transition doesn't seem so quite as intimidating. And at the end of the day, it's still going to be a risk. But then you know. The beauty is, hopefully you know, most of the women I work with are usually 10 to 20 years into their career. There's data that shows that there's always a move you can make, yeah like most people. If you go back and you look at historically when your back has been against the wall or when a change has happened, you have been able to make successfully make a move, and so it's kind of reminding yourself too that, like you don't have all the answers, that's okay, because you are somebody who you make the best decision with the information you have and, at the end of the day, you can make a move because you've shown that you can do that in the past. So those are, those are a couple of big things. I think the last thing sorry, this is a long one this is like such a juicy topic, especially for women is so perfectionism is a really interesting thing, and I was just listening to Adam Grant he's got a new hidden potential and he was talking about one of his chapters. Perfectionism has been on the rise in the US, uk and in Canada and they're not entirely sure why it is, but it has happened long before social media and so that's not it. But there's a kind of a belief that there's a perception of scarcity and I think, especially as women like, there is a gender bias for women, where we are evaluated differently than men. Men are evaluated on potential, and women are evaluated on performance, and so it is logical that we strive for perfection. But the downside of that is we don't experiment, we don't Right so, and then we can find ourselves stuck in a safe zone, because we we want to know that we can do something, and so you know you have to make a change. There's always going to be an element of risk.Speaker 1:
I love it. Yeah, no risk, no reward. There's a reason why it's a cliche, and the other thing I thought of while you were speaking of, for those of you who feel stuck at not making a choice, is a choice. Yes, yes, yes, you know like how many of you just sit there and say I'm stuck, I don't like this, but you won't take the time because you don't have the time to sit down and think through these things or work on these things or explore these things, either with a coach or a mentor or just yourself, and, honestly, it doesn't take much, it's it's a choice. It is a choice. You have 10 minutes in your day where you can take some time to either journal, reflect or just even throughout your day, little nuances, times of becoming more aware of what makes you thrive and what makes you depleted. That's huge. The other thing I wanted to bring up For those of you that your your point on readiness is so relevant I was on a panel at Cincinnati started week this week talking about the tipping point for female founders, and that was one of the big takeaways was that you know, the panelists just were trying to drive home so hard that women are already. Then they realized, but because of us being, you know, judged on performance versus potential is so difficult. But if this helps you, ladies, one of the women who is a mentor of mine that was up there as well who's an angel investor, did some research and found that women are outperform men by 65% with the capital that they receive. So, even though we only receive like 1.9% of venture capital funds, we actually use that exceedingly well. Women are again we're smart, we're capable, we're responsible, we're flexible. You need to believe that you are ready even before you are ready, because the fact of the matter is you are. But that's some great advice, margaret.Speaker 2:
Yeah well, and especially because we've got, like I would imagine you know, either people who are entrepreneurs or entrepreneurial in spirit or thinking about it. The average age of a founder is 43. Yeah so you know like I think this is this illusion of like the window has passed and, in reality, like there is such value, like starting later is extremely valuable and yes, I love that data point on women because it's it's true and and the having experience before going into founding a company. It like, statistically, there you have a higher chance of success than somebody who you know is a wonder kind and doesn't have any work experience and doesn't have any industry experience in the area that you're starting your business.Speaker 1:
Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. So yeah, whether it's a starting a business or career pivot, you are more ready, you have more collective experience than you're probably giving yourself and transferable skills. Yes, exactly, exactly. All right now, in kind of our summary for today's event. We referenced the QXR framework, so I'm excited to get into this, because love frameworks, love anything that's tangible, that we can take away and start to put into practice. Can you tell us more about it? Yeah is us to unleash our potential and our careers and, of course, our personal lives. Because newsflash for all whole people.Speaker 2:
Yes, another juicy topic I love talking about and this is this kind of gets back to your earlier question about like resources or tools that both companies and individuals can use. What I love about this is this is something that is largely built off of a business practice that I had, which is the quarterly business review or a monthly business review, whatever the cadence is that you want to set, and the idea is that you can take the same framework and apply it to your role and your team. So, but the QXR? So a couple of things. It's very intentionally the X is considered to be the X factor because our lives and our careers have seasons and chapters, and so what is important to us and what dimension of our life is most important is going to change over the course of time, and so the X is very intentionally a reminder and a signal that your career is not always going to be number one, and it may not even be number two, and so this is really centered around the priority dimensions that you are focused on and also leaving room to include what's going on in your life. And it's really funny because whenever I do a QXR, one on one for the very first time. Almost almost every time, my number one feedback is it's all work, there's nothing like I have to tell them to go back and enrich it with other aspects of their life, and so it's just a reminder all of us have, like we were ambitious and we're driven, and so we kind of fall to our career oftentimes when we're doing something that explicitly says include all dimensions. So that's, first and foremost, is like it proves to be a very powerful reminder that you are more than your job, yes, and then there's a lot of benefit. And so what's really interesting, especially for women, is there's the confidence gap between men and women, and you know, what they've found is that men are typically overconfident at 25, and it takes until about the mid 40s for men and women's confidence to intersect, and that actually women, they increase significantly between 25 and 40, and largely it's due to accumulating experience. And so what the QXR is important for is that capturing what you've done, describing how you were able to do the kind of the headline and then claiming what you did that exercise my hope. My theory is that we could potentially accelerate and close the confidence gap a little bit more, and capturing it, cause so often this is another interesting pattern I've seen on the podcast is the amount of times women refer to success as they were lucky, and then, when I push them harder, right Like they give a lot more detail as to either preparation that they did or positions they put them in to be ready for the opportunity. And so it's just little things like that of making sure that we are taking full credit for what you've done and capturing it, because the other thing that's really important is oftentimes, when I'll sit down with somebody, they can feel like their quarter or even their year was very flat. And again, I think this kind of comes back to ambition and success are denied heavily to our careers when we're really driven, and so, because it's a QXR, what we can do is we're looking at your life as a whole, and so it allows for us to see that, while maybe career was flat, oftentimes right, there is growth happening in significant areas. Maybe it's a relationship that you've been developing, maybe it's your fitness that you want to work on. It could be maybe you're going back to school right and so you're exploring and building for a new career, but you're not actually doing anything in your current role. So it's things like that where it makes sure that we ground ourselves in facts. We claim what we've done and we can see our growth right, because it's so easy for us to, because we're so close to it. It doesn't feel significant until we're able to see the compound of it over the course of three months, six months, 12 months and so, and then it's a really powerful reference point that you can come back to. And then, once you have kind of this analysis, then it helps you inform how you want to move forward. So one of the boxes is your annual dream, and the idea of a dream is it's meant to be aspirational, it's meant to be more directional, and so it's meant to be kind of a North Star that you're aiming towards. And so then you can set goals to say are these in alignment with the direction I'm ultimately trying to go? And that's a great area too, where I'll see, sometimes, goals and all. It's a great opportunity to say help me understand why this goal, how this goal is tying back to where you're trying to go. And sometimes it's a realization of like, oh wow, like I just kind of autopilot that I should right. I should do that. Versus like this is serving kind of my higher purpose where I'm trying to go. So that's the QXR and kind of the reasons for it and especially for women, helping really foster confidence, claiming how amazing we are and being able to use that information to move forward intentionally.Speaker 1:
That's great and it's such a good reminder for this time of year as well. I love to do like an end of year audit. We do this for clients, we do this for projects and people at work with like annual reviews, but how often can we slow down and sit down and celebrate Some other things I've heard members share within our together digital community things like a kudos folder where anytime they get any kind of accolades from clients or coworkers or even family and friends, whatever, they put it into a folder so they can come back to it To be reminded. I think again, we are in such a kind of work work hustle hustle culture that we move from one success in project to the next without stopping to celebrate what we've actually achieved and then when people ask you, you almost forget. It's like we have this weird amnesia about how we actually pulled off some pretty amazing things within the year. Right it sounds so silly, but like one of like I was just sharing too, before we started the recording today, that we had received our annual conference photo. So that is like one of the highlights of my year, outside of the conference itself getting to see the photos that come back from that day. It's just such a beautiful reminder of what we're building and the community we're fostering and the people that we're impacting, and it's such a rewarding reminder of what we've accomplished, because we work our butts off to make that day happen and it's so much stress. It was really great to just take that moment and sit and enjoy it. So, again, take those times as often as you can and then, if not, at least make it an annual practice to reflect and understand.Speaker 2:
Yeah, and there's in the and you can do this. You don't need to use the template Like I would highly encourage you to have, like I saw Anna in here. She's got her Asana board that she uses, which I love. You can have a Google doc, but I really encourage you if you're gonna do like a you know, sit down reflection once a year throughout the year, as you get those comments, as you have. Highlights, as you have aha moments and learnings have two documents one that is highlights, so drop it in there and just you have it waiting for you, and learnings. That's the second document. That way, at the end of the year you don't have to try to remember everything. It's sitting there waiting for you to now go through and remind yourself. So I would definitely encourage that if you're planning on doing it once a year.Speaker 1:
Yeah, and find a way that works for you, whether it's, like you say, an email folder. I love, I love the idea of the Asana file. You're in there all the time anyways, especially in places that you are in. Often it's good to keep it there, even if it's a physical reminder or a journal, you know. Put it someplace visible so you don't forget about it. It's easy to get caught up in the yeah, the tidal wave of the life. Co-hatch is a new kind of shared work, social and family space built on community. Members get access to workspace amenities like rock walls and sports simulators and more to live a fully integrated life that balances work, family, well-being, community and giving back. Co-hatch has 31 locations open or under construction nationwide, throughout Ohio, indiana, florida, pennsylvania, north Carolina, georgia and Tennessee. Visit wwwco-hatchcom for more information. All right, let's talk about this idea of multi-dimensional selves. I wanna talk about that concept and how we can practically tap into our unique superpowers and use them as a catalyst for success. And then, you know, hopefully that comes along with maybe helping and supporting others as well.Speaker 2:
Yeah, yeah, I mean. So a couple of things. One is that I just did a podcast on this because it really it's just been a thing that has really bothered me, because I've met some really incredible people and I will see them be so down on themselves and they will call themselves lazy or like, oh, I just don't know if I'm ambitious anymore, like I just don't. I don't know. And it's heartbreaking because we I mentioned this earlier we have tied our ambition to our career and nowhere, nowhere in the definitions I mean, like there are variations of the definition where you know it is to achieve power, wealth and rank, but largely it is to achieve success, mm-hmm. And so there's been some really interesting research that was done. There was a study down called the Dark Horse or, yeah, dark Horse Project, and in this study what they wanted to do is they wanted to look at individuals that had winding career paths, that where they were wildly successful, and so they had people apply, and one thing that was really interesting is they thought it was going to take them 20 per like. They thought for every five people that applied, they'd find one person that qualified, and what they actually found is, in the first 50 applicants, 45 met the criteria, but it tells you how many people have winding career paths that are successful Far more common than you think, far more common than you think. And then what was really interesting is, as they were studying them, what they found is that these individuals prioritized fulfillment and through fulfillment it drove excellence, as opposed to driving excellence in the hopes that you would find fulfillment. And so when we think about again, really it's like that tuning in and checking in, even with our body, it's that understanding of like what is bringing me fulfillment, and that answer will look different at different stages of your life. And so, leading with that as the question, that fulfillment might be giving back to a nonprofit, because that is bringing you tremendous joy and it's enriching your life and it's allowing you to show up better in other dimensions of your life. It could be at work, it could be. I've had one woman that was on the podcast. She stepped away from corporate all together for eight years to be home with her daughters as they were becoming teenagers, and she got heavily involved in the student board. She spent years working to get their school from the bottom quartile up into the number one in their district. So it looks different, but the prioritization on fulfillment and remembering that your ambition is not limited to your career. You can channel it into any one of those dimensions.Speaker 1:
I love it. I have this weird love-hate relationship with ambition only because I realized that I let it drive me and my decisions in my life for so long to the point that I got to where I thought I wanted to be and I was like I'm not happy and I've kind of fallen in love with the idea of being unambitious don't steal it, but might be a book someday and really talking about. Before this we were sharing too about this whole approach of mindfulness and slowing down in our culture and society. I really think we need to not just as a service for ourselves but future generations Just really talk about what it could mean to unravel ambition in a way that is a little bit more healthy and that can not just serve the individual but the greater good, because we only have so much time on this earth. It's like if you want to make an impact, it doesn't have to be in your job, that doesn't have to be your purpose. It's in so many other ways and so, yeah, I love that you talked about ambition and then I'm definitely going to check out that dark horse project. That sounds very interesting. I think we so many of us think that our paths have to be linear in order to be successful. But you're right, so many people. Multi-potentialized is another fun topic. I think it kind of comes closer to this multi-dimensional self. Multi-potentialized is another fun kind of concept that's out there If you want to look it up. There's plenty of YouTube talks about it in the TED Talk, I believe as well, but leaning into that can just help you feel like your whole self. So many employers say I want our people to show up at work and be their whole selves. It's like you know what? I don't need to be my whole self everywhere. I really don't need to be, and I don't know that I want to be Because there's a time and a place for us to be who we are in our best self, at our best self, and whatever that self is in that right place.Speaker 2:
Right, yeah, and how we're defining success is changing, which is why the definition of ambition needs to kind of evolve with it, because success used to be when we were looking at our careers, where it was like three stages we had get the education, you have this long, successful career and then you have the golden years of retirement. It's like that just doesn't hold true anymore. More people are taking pauses in their careers and they're seeking fulfillment and enjoying and also, just because of the nature of work right, we're seeing more and more people where to have longevity in your career. It's going to change. You're going to evolve what you're doing, because even just the rate of which technology is evolving is changing positions.Speaker 1:
So I feel that in digital, completely, oh yeah, all the things didn't exist. So I was talking to somebody this morning at a talk I did that was a UX designer and I'm like that year will not exist 15 years ago when I started out. But it's here and it's here to stay and it's a pretty pivotal role within a lot of companies and agencies. But let's come back to that pause for a moment that you mentioned. You shared one example of the executive who kind of left corporate and to be with her kids. Are there any other examples that you have of people who have applied the power of the pause and saw all transformation in their life or career, because the pausing sounds scary to a lot of folks.Speaker 2:
Oh yeah, Well, because who wants to be alone with your thoughts? God forbid, God forbid. You know it's been.Speaker 1:
You thought about that.Speaker 2:
I feel like I was just telling someone this of like, I think one of the benefits of working for someone is that you can easily wrap yourself up in that world, or you can wrap yourself up in other people's lives so you can distract yourself from what's what you're feeling inside. And when you are self-employed, when you're, you know, you can't hide, there's nowhere to run, and so it's been. You know, I think the pause is there's several ways to do this, and this is going to be at the end of my book where there's, like different ways. I call it maintenance mode. It's this idea of kind of starting to instill the habit of taking little micro pauses, because the first time, the first couple of times you're going to do it like it can be really scary and the reality is sometimes that voice in your head that you're supposed to be listening to. It is really inconvenient, because what it's trying to tell you is very disruptive and very e-ra-like. So we don't really want to listen to it, we don't really want to give it life, and so, you know, I think it is gradual, but the pauses could look like. The QXR is a great example of taking a pause. Right, that is structured time. Maybe it's an hour or two once a month, once a quarter, where you're sitting down and giving your time space to just take inventory of what has happened and think about how you want to move forward. It is probably twice a year, even putting something on your calendar where you're just checking in to say how are things going at work, how am I doing? Am I? You know, right Again, what are the benefits of staying in? You know the way things are, you know what are the costs of staying, so you know having time like that, like just to ask yourself a couple of small questions. A much bigger pause and I'm a big fan of this are, if you can, are career breaks or sabbaticals, and these are things that you know again, more and more are becoming prevalent. There are there's a financial advising group that that is like their number one focus is helping individuals take these extended periods and kind of financially planning for that and so. But it's this idea of allowing yourself space, and so I think why career breaks are so scary is kind of going back to that whole thing. Our ideas in our careers get enmeshed, yeah, and so when we think about taking a break, it feels untethering because we don't like. It feels like an identity crisis, and normally the first thing that trips people up is inevitably, within days of taking your break, somebody asks you what you do.Speaker 1:
Yeah, god, I don't have any.Speaker 2:
Who am I? And sheer right, sheer panic sets in, and so this has been. You know, I think there's a lot of value and benefit to taking breaks if you're able to. Especially, I found. Personally, I've been very fortunate that when I was fired I was given severance and so it allowed me room to not have to immediately go back, and I think, especially if you've been in a really toxic environment, you're severely burned out. So much of that is not running away from something, but just giving yourself time to breathe so you can run to something and so anyway. So that's another thing that I wonder. If we assume, maybe every seven years, you wanna take a break in our career, so just have space to breathe, and we financially started to plan for that, like, what could that look like for us If it was just something that we assumed was part of our career path?Speaker 1:
And I feel like too many times somebody tells me that they're like on something of a sabbatical or, as Isdoro mentioned in the chat you know I'm fun, employed I get kinda envious, like honestly, I would be maybe even more envious than that than if they were like I am the blah, blah, blah and press insert impressive title here. And I also would wanna acknowledge too, though for those I just I hear I talk to a lot of job seekers, so I hear it. What gap is it? Historically speaking, gap, career gap has been in a bad term, especially for women, because it usually means, you know, we've just paused for a moment to take what's called this lovely vacation, which is giving life, having a child and being responsible for a living, breathing human being, Literally got asked after maternity leave did I enjoy my vacation? I'm like I haven't slept for five hours and 12 weeks, you tell me.Speaker 2:
Well, that's so much of the story that you tell around it too, right. It's like I think so much of our careers are about understanding, especially as women, right Understanding what we face in a work environment so we can develop strategies around it. And that's one of those things, right, when, if there is a gap in your resume, it's not something to be ashamed of, because what's really powerful is if you're saying you know, I took that time to be really intentional about what I wanted. I took inventory of what I was really good at and what skills I had, and I picked you Exactly, Employer, because I see us being in great alignment. How much more powerful is that, right, Versus you know, what somebody else might say? So I think so much of that is like. I think again, right, Taking some of that power back and owning, driving the narrative and if somebody doesn't get it, then being okay that they're not for you. And I know that that could be tough, because you know it doesn't feel good to not be a fit somewhere, but you know you're seeking mutual fit when you're-.Speaker 1:
Exactly, you're interviewing them just as much. I just wanted to note that because I kind of get the sense that some that are listening are gonna be like well, you know, sabbatical financially that's great, you can get support. Maybe you can find a way to do that, maybe you have severance. But that gap, from like a resume standpoint, I think that's becoming a thing of the past, personally from what I've seen and heard. So for those of you who are concerned, I just wanted to bring it up. Yeah, strategy I like to employ too is a quarterly meat treat. At the beginning of the year I plan a quarterly like day where I will shirk my work and adulting duties as best as I can and just spend some time reflecting and thinking through what I want, what I need, because that space and that noise of the needs of everyone else as a caretaker, as a manager, it's so constant. It's how you really have to be deliberate about turning that noise off. And then one other thing you mentioned made me remember, you know one the fact that I would work to numb was like a really big problem of mine. So those of you who are kind of just thinking, if you just put your head down and work harder and don't get easier. No, those problems are not going away, and that's when a force change comes. Yeah, exactly. And then you're like, well, shit, I didn't even want to be here, now I'm fired, now I got to figure it all out Totally. The other thing was like that you mentioned that I really resonated with and maybe some of you will hearing this too, which is why I wanted to share it is being alone with your thoughts. As someone who is a community leader, a manager, a mom, I realized, especially when I was still working in agencies, I spent zero time alone, zero time In my day. The only time I was maybe alone was in my car. And what did I do? I turned on the radio, I called my sister and vent. I did not know how to be alone with my own thoughts. So I'm just gonna warn you all, if you decide to take this quarterly retreat or do QXR or any other strategy to spend some time with yourself, for some of you it's going to be painful, because you're so used to drowning out your own voice once in needs with every other bit of noise you can that when that silence opens up, it's a little anxiety inducing, I'm not gonna lie, but it gets easier the more you do it.Speaker 2:
Yes, it's a new muscle, it is.Speaker 1:
Absolutely new muscle. Well, I've got a couple more questions for you and then we will open it up for questions from the audience, if they have any. They've been super engaged during this whole time chatting out, if you've seen, so that's great. Hopefully we're striking some good notes and giving them some good insights to take away and use. Let's talk about decision-making, because I'm chronic analysis paralysis type of gal. How can we learn to base decisions on facts rather than just feelings when making decisions, because sometimes we're feeling people? That's hard to do, yeah.Speaker 2:
Oh my gosh, this is okay. So when I can be really direct with somebody and I used to do this a lot as a sales eater, because sales is it was a great. It was a great preparer for this. Because you think about the role of sales, like, if you get a yes, somewhere between 20 to 30% of the time, you are crushing it in your job, which means you are getting rejected 70 to 80% of the time. And so what would oftentimes happen is a rep would have a deal that they really cared about and they would lose it and they would come in and when we would be kind of doing an analysis of what had happened, inevitably it would be well, it was too expensive. And it's like okay, well, do you think or do you know? And inevitably they would think, and so to me, that's one of a great. It's a great. Thing you can ask yourself is just, do you think that or do you know that? And if you try to argue with yourself that you know, then I implore you to give yourself like three data points, like, what are you using to substantiate that knowing? And that's a thing of just really you know, challenging yourself. The other thing you can ask yourself is like is that really true? Right, because I think so often, I love it. Dr Susan David talks about strong negative emotions, and these are such powerful data points if we leverage them, and so we can. Usually they are signaling our values, and so when we feel strong, intense emotions, these are really great opportunities for us to deepen our understanding of self. But we have to pause and kind of assess what's going on there and go deep enough to understand, kind of what's at the root of it. So, getting back to your question, though, the big thing is do you think or do you know, and is that really true? That's like the biggest thing. And then again, right analysis, paralysis. This is that one where, as much as you can, kind of getting comfortable with the fact that, like, your goal is the best next step, right you, oftentimes we want to plan the path, we want to know where all the pieces are gonna go, and that's just not realistic, and that's been one of the things that I've learned from the women and the research and the podcast has been you have to get started in order to gather information that will help inform, moving forward and keeping our you know, our careers and our relationships are their open source, which means that there are multiple pathways to a destination and there are multiple in destinations where we can find happiness and fulfillment, and so I think so much of that is really internalizing that belief that there's more than one way to get where you want to go. You know, I have a coach who she talks about how is this happening for me and something is not right. You feel the white knuckles kicking in and things are not going the way you want. You know how is this working for me, and so I think those are some different ways of when we're thinking about analysis process. But also, you know facts versus feelings. You know the QXR. If you're doing some form of that, go back and ground yourself and data. What are the actual? You know what are the facts versus like I can never, you know I'm never going to find a job, or you know I can't do this. It's amazing to me how we just need to pause. Do you think or do you know? Ground yourself in the facts?Speaker 1:
I love it. That's great, yeah, and it's such an important thing because, again, we make such emotional decisions. That's how we are as humans. What are a couple other practical tips or exercises our listeners could use to start building a stronger foundation for achieving their vision of success? And can you kind of like we had a question in the chat too, about the QXR so if we could kind of I know that'll be a part of it, but maybe if you could give a little bit more context back to that, that might be helpful too.Speaker 2:
Yeah, yeah. So the QXR is really great, so I'll start with that one. So what's really fun is, like, a lot of times, what you'll start to find is like there's words that come up again and again and again in the QXR that you don't realize when you're putting it down on paper, but then when you start to go back through it, you start to see certain phrases or information that keep coming up. So I think that's one that can be really helpful. So you know, I got pulled off on the QXR. Can you ask me the question again?Speaker 1:
It's fine, it's okay. Some practical tips and X or exercises that our listeners could use to start foundation foundation.Speaker 2:
Thank you. Okay, so I mentioned values. This is something that's really, really good to have, and a great starting point, like I said, is your negative emotions, when you are triggered by something and what. I would really encourage you to do is, if you're wanting to work on your values, take a couple weeks and anytime something kind of just sets you off, experience anger or you're you know, right, like something you know you're, you're sad, like you have a strong, what we would consider negative emotion. Write it down, give yourself a little bit of detail and at the end of a couple of weeks, come back to it and right again start to look at like okay, what was going on there, what about that made me so upset? And then you know how, like I would recommend doing, like Googling, just like a values list, and start assigning potential values to that, to those experiences, and then, once you've gone through all of them, then starting to look at what again, what are the common values that you assigned? And that's started that it'll start giving you a potential list of values that you can then start to try on and start building personal definition. So values is a really big thing to just know what is really important to you, so that you you know when you're feeling tension you can recognize that perhaps that's that's because there's a misalignment with your values. I think you talked about this earlier, which is really great is like energy givers and takers. So you know, when you have a day where you just feel like you're tired but you feel so alive, just take a moment and take inventory of what happened. Were you interacting with people? Were people asking for your guidance? Were you, you know, sharing something that helped someone? Like what was happening that day. And same vice versa. Right, what? Where do you just feel so depleted, but taking time to just make note of that so you can start getting insights into what gives you energy and what takes your energy. So those are, those are big things. And then again, I think the last thing and this is this ties into the QXR, because you can kind of track against it is just tuning into what dimension is most important. So I have a quick like you can do this really simply, as you have your, you know six dimensions, which are you've got relationships, which is inclusive of family, romantic and friendships. You've got personal, which is going to be your fitness. There's community, so that's going to be kind of the organizations outside of, outside of work, that you know you're a part of. There's your career. And then there's financial. I think I got all five or six of them, but anyways, have that list. Have your satisfaction with them, right? So you know how like is it an area where you're you're spending a lot of time, and then you're not spending a lot of time, and then how important is it to you, and then look for where there's a misalignment. So is there something that's really important to you that is getting none of your time? Is there something that is not important to you but it's getting a lot of time?Speaker 1:
Oh my gosh, if you all do that inventory, you will be surprised. Maybe a poll direction, I think, because as women we've been conditioned to sugar and spice and everything nice. We don't express and or show anger, but we absolutely feel it and I always said that like, look for what pisses you off. Those are the things that you care about, those are your values, those are the things you need to sit down and give more time and attention to, because there's a reason that it makes you miss, oh goodness. All right, we have kind of like two minutes, three minutes left and we get one question, maybe two questions in the chat.Speaker 2:
Oh, I love Cheryl's comment too. I should just put in there. I've such a great kind of like ah yes, cheryl.Speaker 1:
I love that. Yeah, she said. I think it's for our listeners that are online with us right now. I think it's fair to say over time, my career vision has changed, not from an aspirational aspect, but making, taking the opportunities I did have and following their journey. I've had the experiences I never imagined that it's. If that's not a call for courage, I don't know what is. So thank you for sharing that, cheryl. I'm kind of had an interesting question, so I'm going to go ahead and ask you. I don't know, I don't really have the answer to this, but what do you think is an ideal retirement age for a woman, especially for our woman and digital?Speaker 2:
Yeah, I, this is such a personal thing, Right. I love this question, candace. So a couple things. One is like I've heard people using the term work optional and I really love this because I think that could be really powerful where kind of working on your terms and being in a place where you don't have to work full time with each other. So and then you know, really, again, I think it depends on what is your vision for your life? Right, because if your vision for your life is you you want to go travel the world, or you want to, you know get back. Or you you want to write a book or whatever, it is right you may that age may be much younger, and so, right, that would inform what do you do and how do you go about doing it. So I think it really depends on what is important to you, you know, understand what brings you fulfillment, and then you know kind of striving for maybe work optional as opposed to to retirement, but yeah, it's going to. It's just going to depend on the person.Speaker 1:
And I would say that you have to be the person to determine that. Don't let society determine that you no longer add value or that you are, you know, need to be marginalized, because I think having women 60 and beyond still within this space is super important and much needed. So definitely don't let society determine when it's your time to retire.Speaker 2:
Make it on your own terms as best you can, geez, I think that can potentially open a whole can of worms about society and women above the age of 50 and how much value they have to give and how you know, have historically become invisible.Speaker 1:
Yes, it is. I actually have a wishlist guest to talks about that. She wrote the book. I think it's called a what is it? I something about invisible. I'll get back to it and I'll start pinging her for our 2024 season, but we are at time. So, margaret, thank you so much for being here. This has been a fantastic conversation. As always, the hour flew by whenever we spend time together. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge and your experience and mostly your power with all of us today. I hope you all join us next week. We'll be back to just bring in some more amazing, powerful women to share with you so you can learn and grow. I hope this helps make your Friday a little bit better. See you all next week. Thank you again, margaret.