Monday, May 23, 2011

Schedule Time To Worry

Business women should schedule time to worry and not worry too long. Things always gets better.
Over the weekend, I had an opportunity to accompany my sister to visit a friend of hers in the hospital -- initially, I must admit that I thought this was so unfair of her to ask me to go with her when we both knew that it would be hours of me just sitting there, waiting.  I could just drive her there and pick her back up!

Obviously, she needed more than that so I geared up for the hours of waiting I knew was ahead of me. Unless I am giving birth or welcoming a new baby into the world, I DO NOT Like Visiting Hospitals!

We loaded up with hot pretzels and cheese, water and mango candy and a book tucked into my tote and headed off to  Westchester Medical's Trauma Unit to visit my sister's friend.  I went in briefly with my sister to support her  and then took my seat in the "family" waiting room. For the next 3
hours I sat with no computer, no kids, no phones ringing off the hook, no interruptions. Sure,  I had my smart phone but somehow tweeting did not seem appropriate at that moment.  I reached into my tote and pulled out my book "It's About Time, Time Management Tips From the Software Recitalist" by Ellen DePasquale-- this could be a good time to polish off this book.  It was a gift from Ellen who was  a breakout session presenter at our  Celebrate You! Women's Summit back in March.

As I read through the practical and useful tips, I came to a paragraph titled, schedule time to worry, but no more than 10 minutes a day.  This was news to me! I had never heard (read) such a time-management tip before, but was pleasantly surprised that I welcomed the idea. I placed my book on my lap and took my 10 minutes to worry.  I worried about being able to fulfill all these BIG dreams I have of affecting a positive change in the lives of women like me who have ventured into the world of entrepreneurship and whether I was doing enough! Well, 10 minutes is a long time when you are DELIBERATELY taking those minutes to worry! I wanted to get to finding solutions to my self-imposed worry and I began making notes -- in my book.

My Worry Solutions:
  1. I commit to writing a blog post once per week and sharing whatever I am feeling in that moment - this could be of help to women who are experiencing similar feelings or in need of some new information or whatever I am moved to blog about. 
  2. I will ask for help when needed and delegate more - this will broaden my reach and reduce stress
  3. I will list 5 things each week that I am proud of -- my personal pat on the back journal-- Just  for me (we can all find things we are proud of)

How are you worrying?  Share your comments with us. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Secret to Creativity

Written by Editor, Pick The Brain

The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. -Einstein
The biggest misconception about creativity is that it involves a moment of magical creation when the incredible appears out of thin air. The truth is less romantic. Everything comes from somewhere. All ideas have been thought before and all artists, especially the most brilliant, have their sources of inspiration. I’m going to break Einstein’s famous rule by revealing some of my sources and explaining how I use the genius of others to further my own ambitions.
Everyone starts somewhere so I might as well come clean from the beginning. Before I started this website my creative credentials were nonexistent. I had no tangible experience as a writer, designer, marketer, or entrepreneur. Aside from this site I still don’t. All I can say for myself is that I read voraciously and draw fairly well. You’d think a chump like me wouldn’t stand a chance in the hyper competitive online world.
So how did I end up with this fine looking site, a readership that’s growing every day, and over 100 original articles, several of which have been featured on the likes of and all the major social sites?
By observing how others became creatively successful and combining their genius with my own.
A seed was planted the day I read Steve Pavlina’s, 10 Reasons You Should Never Get a Job. Through that article I found How to Make Money From Your Blog and ever since I’ve been obsessed with creating a profitable website based on my own original writing. It wasn’t Steve’s monetary success that inspired me, it was his literary style. The wit, the humor, the brutal honesty, and the fact that people were eating it up and begging for more made me believe that I could do it too; that I could build a business around my passion.
From Steve I learned the value of lengthy original articles, serving the reader, writing from personal experience, and choosing topics that apply to everyone. More than through his words, I’ve learned from observation; from the locations of his ads, the frequency of his posts, and a thousand other details the casual reader would never notice.
Sure, I could have ignored everything that worked for Steve, but what would be the point of that? Too many people try to reinvent the wheel when a Ferrari’s roaring past.During the Renaissance apprentice artists learned by replicating the works of the masters. The secret to being creative is recognizing the genius of others and re-purposing it for your own ends.
If you want be more creative, you have to learn from people who are smarter than you are. Unless you can find a mentor this means learning from observation. When you see a piece of work you admire, dissect it scientifically and discover exactly what makes it great. Is it the tone of an article? the subject matter? the author’s personality? its usefulness? The same concept applies to design. What creates that feeling of visual pleasure? What made you click that ad? What made you subscribe? The clues to creativity are everywhere. You need to gather them and apply that understanding to your own creative work. Read More

Thursday, April 28, 2011

She Makes More Money Than He Does. So?

Women who outearn their men.

When my husband and I got married I was making more money than he was. We both had steady journalism jobs but I was also writing a column on the side, which put me ahead. At the time, I didn't gloat, and he didn't care. Mostly we spent the extra money on treats for both of us—fancy meals, weekend trips—and anyway, the gender-role reversal didn't last. Three children and several job switches later, he's edged me out for top family earner. But I wonder: What if our marriage had not gone the traditional route, and I had stayed on top? Would that have changed our dynamic in some way? Would small resentments have built up over time? Or would we have felt perfectly comfortable, even proud to be so progressive?

For many American couples, this is not just a thought experiment. Researchers have recently begun scrutinizing a new kind of family ruled by "breadwinner wives" or "top income wives," defined as women who make more money than their husbands. About 22 percent of American marriages of people over 30 fall into this category, up from 4 percent in 1970. (For men without a college degree, the rate is higher: One-quarter are married to wives who earn more than they do.) And demographers expect the number of such marriages to grow, as women continue to get more college degrees than young men and to outearn them, especially early in their careers.

Already, younger people's relationships look radically different. A recent breakdown of census data showed that in all but three of the 150 biggest cities in the United States, young women age 30 and under are making more money than young men. Even if that changes when the women have children, such a vast shift in earning power suggests that the next generation may make different decisions about whose salary counts more and who should be the family's primary breadwinner. This is all happening despite widespread ambivalence. In a recent Pew Research Center survey, 67 percent of Americans said that in order to be ready for marriage, a man should be able to support his family financially, while only 33 percent said the same for women. A 2007 Pew survey found that working mothers increasingly say they would rather not work full time. And another Pew study out today shows the nation divided over the sweeping changes to family structure that have unfolded over the past half-century, with about one-third of Americans generally accepting these changes, one-third skeptical about them, and one-third opposed to them.    Read More

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

7 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Failure

The fear of failure is perhaps the strongest force holding people below their potential. In a world full of uncertainty, a delicate economy, and countless misfortunes that could happen to anyone, it’s easy to see why most people are inclined to play it safe.
But playing it safe has risk as well. If you never dare to fail your success will have a low ceiling. Most people underestimate their merit and ability to recover from failure, leading them to pass up valuable opportunities. The ability to fail big and fail often has been a mark of the spectacularly successful throughout history.
The following strategies will help you put risk and reward in perspective so you can overcome the fear of failure.
1. Consider the cost of missed opportunities – The biggest risk that people fail to consider is the benefit they lose by avoiding high risk/high reward opportunities. In his guide to career planning, Netscape founder Marc Andreesen compares a well managed career to a diversified portfolio. The ideal career contains a wide range of job opportunities (some risky, some safe) that combine to form a relatively safe career with a high potential for growth. Taking high risk opportunities is essential because they offer the greatest reward:
The issue is that without taking risk, you can’t exploit any opportunities. You can live a quiet and reasonably happy life, but you are unlikely to create something new, and you are unlikely to make your mark on the world.
2. Research the alternatives – The unknown is a major source of fear. When you don’t know what you’re dealing with, potential consequences seem far worse than they actually are. Take the power out fear by understanding it. Research all the potential outcomes (both good and bad) so you genuinely understand the risk of failure and benefits of success. Analyzing these outcomes will help you see through the fear of failure and make a logical decision.
3. Put the worst-case scenario in perspective – One of the most powerful questions posed by Tim Ferriss in the 4-Hour Workweek is: If you chase your dreams and fall flat on your face, worst-case scenario, how long will it take you to recover? The answer is probably less than you expect. How hard would it really be to find another job? Chances are you could recover completely in a few months. Is the fear of a few rough months strong enough to keep you in a mediocre situation indefinitely?
4. Understand the benefits of failure – As Emerson said, life is a series of experiments, the more you make the better. Each failure is a trial in an experiment and an opportunity for growth. Even if a failure costs you financially, the educational benefits can far outweigh the loss. Working for a startup instead of a big company is considered risky, but according Paul Graham, “Managers at big companies prefer to hire someone who’d tried to start a startup and failed over someone who’d spent the same time working at a big company.” Maybe that experience at a big company isn’t as safe or as valuable as you think?
5. Make a contingency plan – Another way to overcome the fear of failure is to reduce the downside. Hedge your risk by creating a contingency plan. Even if your first option fails, you can maintain the status quo with a solid backup plan. Daring to fail doesn’t mean you have to risk losing it all. If you manage risk intelligently, you can capture the benefits of high risk opportunities while leaving yourself a safety net.
6. Take action – The best way to reduce fear and build confidence is taking action. As soon as you do, you’ll begin accumulating experience and knowledge. Everything is hardest the first time. It’s like jumping off a cliff into a lake — after you do it once, you see that the water is safe and each time afterwards is easy. Start off with small steps and build up your confidence until the fear of failure is manageable.
7. Burn the boats - When ancient Greek armies traveled across the sea to do battle, the first thing they would do after landing was to burn the boats, leaving them stranded. With no way to make it home besides victory, the resolve of the soldiers was strengthened. When success and failure are the only options, you have no choice but to follow through.
If you have a goal, but are afraid to commit, force yourself into action by burning the boats. Register for an exam in advance if you want to go back to school. Set a deadline to move to a new city without signing a lease. Fear of failure disappears when you realize it can’t save you.
Image by tomgrau

Motivate Yourself In 7 Simple Steps

1. Put clear and measurable goals
No quantity of motivation will be sufficient when you have indistinct targets. An example of an indistinct goal is, “I require a boyfriend. Instead, try something real like, I wish to go on two dates every week, and outline the little tips required to help it become a reality.

2. Get yourself a buddy/mentor/friend
The old saying”strength in numbers” holds right. There’s nothing superior to having like-minded individuals to offer you a little encouragement. Visit
a premiere professional Westchester, NY based organization for women in business.
3. Be optimistic As well as realistic
Having an ambitious target is great, but if it is unachievable, you’re set yourself up for steady failure.
4. No negativity
Negativity just breeds extra negativity all of which will hinder your development in the long run. Encompass yourself with optimistic people.

5. Motivational phrases
Yes, they really work! Saying it is half the battle, believing it, so the next time you end up wanting a pick- me- up, have a deep breath and mean it whenever you say, I can do that! I am successful!  I have ALL the tools I need to accomplish my dreams! I am valuable! 

6. Concentrate on what you have and never on what you’re lacking
When we’re pressured, it is easy to forget all the optimistic things we’ve already achieved. When you have a big weight loss aim, for instance, remind yourself frequently of the small weight loss achievements along the way. Stay looking forward to and not back.

7. Picture your long-term goal - Visualize
Take a couple of minutes daily to image yourself once you’ve reached your goal. Use the outcome for an advantage and pay attention to the way you look and feel. By imagining yourself successful in the future, you’ll find a way to concentrate on the large picture instead of little hurdles along the way.

For more inspiration and business building resources, visit Motivators and Creators Women's Group's Blog here:

Monday, April 25, 2011

TIME 100: The women of 2011

TIME magazine released their 100 issue today, a list of the 100 most influential people in the world. This year the list features 33 women, up from 31 in 2010. Progress!

The honorees make for an interesting mix: list-constants Oprah and Hillary Clinton, NASA biologist Felisa Wolfe-Simon, author of "What to Expect When You're Expecting" Heidi Murkoff, actresses Mia Wasikowska and Blake Lively, tennis champion Kim Clijsters, Congresswoman and shooting survivor Gabrielle Giffords, Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards, Brazil's first female president Dilma Rousseff, future princess Kate Middleton, tiger mom Amy Chua, and Afghanistan's only female prosecutor Maria Bashir, just to name a few.

To honor these awesome women, we've compiled a set of videos of some of them doing what they do best: Watch Videos 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lead From Within

When you Lead From Within, you step inward to seek the life you yearned for–a life of commitment and fulfillment of your heart’s desires. By listening to your inner self and following your compass within,  you will find a life that is aligned with your talents, truth and values.
You probably do not know at this moment what that means or what your life will look like once you have decided to Lead From Within. You may be uncertain of it all means or how to attain it. It does not matter: Leading From Within, will bring you closer to the life you yearn for!
Leading From Within will form the basis and context for all the decisions, big and small, that you will make in all the days to follow. As you take this step inward, you will see the abundance of the universe, the inexhaustible gifts of spirit, flow in to support you.
Leading From Within, will be your map, your compass, your North Star, and your support system as you chart your life course.
Lead From Within, will be the light of your heart that guides you to a life of MORE — more of everything you truly desire.
You can have it.
You don’t need to feel trapped, limited or “stuck in a rut”. You can lead a more passionate, fulfilling life.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How to Lure Potential Customers to Your Site

As a white-label daily-deals sales site, I have found it very difficult to get myself placed in search engines and to get the right keywords because I'm so specialized and my business is such a niche. I have tried Google AdWords, posting on Craigslist, Yahoo advertising, and Facebook ads with little response. Any advice would be appreciated. —A.C., Phoenix

It's not uncommon for a disruptive business model or new business service to have a tough time finding the right marketing category off the bat. If you persist—refining both your model and your marketing strategy as you go—it's likely that you'll find the sweet spot for reaching your target market.
Your goal is to define that market. As a provider of "white-label daily deals," it sounds as if you want to set up couponing programs and sell them to online publishers that can rebrand them to offer them as their own.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Blame is the oldest game in town. It was invented by Adam who, after eating of the forbidden fruit, told God, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12). In other words, it’s Eve’s fault.  Dorothy Leeds in “Good Lessons from Bad Women”  performed her one- woman show at the inaugural MACs Celebrate You! Women’s Entrepreneur Summit which wrestles with the concept of goodness and dives deep into a world where good is bad and bad is good. 

Not much has changed since Adam’s day. Ask almost anyone why something bad happened and they will point to someone or something else. In my experience, it is exceedingly rare for people to stand up and take responsibility. Let’s say for example a company misses their budget for the prior month. The CEO is disappointed as well as the entire Executive Leadership Team. They had worked so hard to hit their numbers. But, they missed. It happens, right?
A few days later, the CEO, Cheryl,  was meeting with Karen, one of  the company's  consultants. She asked, “So, how did February end up?” Cheryl admitted that they had missed their budget. Karen innocently asked, “So why did you miss?”
Like  most CEOs do in this situation. Cheryl blamed the current economic environment. “Well, the market is tough right now,” she explained. “Gas prices are up. So are interest rates. This has taken a bite out of discretionary spending. Consumers are just not frequenting bookstores like we had hoped.” Cheryl then went on to cite the U.S. Census Bureau, Publishers Weekly, and other industry publications.
she  finished with what she thought was a note of optimism. “We didn’t do what we had hoped, but we’re still ahead of last year.”
Karen then said, “Okay, I get that the environment is tough. But, let’s be honest, it’s always tough, right?”
“Yes,” Cheryl acknowledged, not quite knowing where she was going. Then she dropped a bombshell on her psyche.
“Cheryl, what is it about your leadership that led to this outcome?”
“Excuse me,” Cheryl replied, knowing full well what she had just asked. Nevertheless, she gently repeated the question.
The CEO  was speechless for a full two minutes. “Well, I’m not exactly sure,” she stammered. “That’s a great question, but I don’t know quite what to say.”
Thankfully, she gave her  a little help. “As long as the problem is ‘out there,’ Cheryl, you can’t fix it. You’re just a victim. I’m not trying to shame you. I am trying to empower you. You can’t change your results until you accept full responsibility for them.” Cheryl nodded in agreement, still not sure if she  liked what she was hearing.
She patiently waited for the weight of her observation to sink in. They  then spent the next couple of hours examining Cheryl's behavior. As it turns out, she was not only making excuses for herself, she was making excuses for her team. She was too easily letting them off the hook. She slowly began to see a direct link between her leadership and their operating results as a Company.

The bad news about taking responsibility is that you can’t blame someone else. It always comes down to your leadership. There is always something else you could have said or done to produce a different result.
But the good news is that once you accept responsibility, you can change the result. Why? Because your behavior as a leader is 100 percent under your control. Changing the result is as simple—or as hard—as changing your behavior.
Imagine how different your family, church, company, or even country could be if everyone took personal responsibility for their outcomes. Perhaps Gandhi was thinking the same thing when he said, “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”
I ask myself this question: What is it about my leadership that is producing these results? It’s a powerful—and empowering—question. And, it applies to just about every situation.
So let me ask you, are you happy with the outcomes you are experiencing in your life and work? Where would you like to see change? What have you been blaming on other people or your circumstances? What is it about your leadership that is producing these outcomes?
Until you are willing to ask this question—and face the answers—you will continue to get the same old results.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

3 Real-Life Lessons from the Social Media Trenches

3 Real-Life Lessons from the Social Media Trenches

by LENA A. WEST on Mar 16, 2011
Every so often, I look back on how social media has changed my life and my business. Some lessons I’ve learned the hard way, by experiencing them first-hand. And, I also consider the painful lessons I’ve been spared by witnessing them take place in other people's lives and careers. Below are three of those stories. They are all true and some minor details and names have been changed to protect the innocent – and the not-so-innocent.

Some years ago, I found out that a multi-national management consulting company, that’s led by a very well-known author and businessman, was launching an online community. I sent an e-mail expressing interest in being notified when the community launched. When the community launched, I made sure to comment regularly and communicate my feedback – good and constructive – to the community organizer. After about two months, I noticed that the community rarely covered Internet marketing in its content. I saw this as an opportunity and offered to write a series of articles about Internet marketing for the community. After a few back-and-forth details, I became the community's first external contributor and secured a place as THE Internet marketing expert within the community.

Lesson: People who show up, express an interest, are prepared, and deliver win every time. Successful people do what other people don’t.

About the Author

Lena WestLena L. West is an award-winning social media consultant, blogger, speaker, journalist, technologist and the Founder of the Authentic Influencer Braintrust, a high-level, social media marketing membership program for business owners and Real Women Do Social Media, the only social media training initiative created exclusively for women business owners.

Lena will be a Keynote Speaker at the MACs Celebrate You! Women's Entrepreneur Summit on Saturday, March 26th at Lake Isle Country Club, Eastchester, NY