Tag Archives: Success

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

Regardless of your profession, planning is mandatory for success. From surgeons to PR professionals, failing to plan will promise to give you a wealth of headaches.

I experienced one of these such headaches last week when it was 4 p.m. on a Friday and we didn’t have space for an event that was less than two weeks away. Backup plans and analyzing risk should be part of your routine when planning out schedules, events and pretty much anything else. Here are my tips when preparing for a presentation, meeting or whatever your need might be.

  • Write down any and all things that could go wrong. When I was an account executive at PRowl Public Relations, anytime we had an event, we listed out everything that could go wrong and what we would do if it did. This ensured that each member of the team was prepared to handle any unexpected challenges.
  • Have communications ready in case all of things that could go wrong actually do. Sometimes things happen in an instance and you need to fire off communications to target audiences immediately. Having these already drafted and patiently waiting in a Word document will save you the time.
  • Do your homework. If you’re presenting at a meeting, know the target audience and what questions they might ask. Also, do not read off a piece of paper, it’s not professional.  If you’re planning an event, know all the venue and hotel options in case your preferred venue cancels.
  • Hold a debrief after the meeting or event concludes. If you presented at a meeting, ask the audience for feedback and evaluate yourself too. Post event debriefs are pretty much essential so the team can evaluate its success and see what they could improve upon in the future.

Regardless of your profession, planning needs to be ingrained into your brain to guarantee success. As part of this, you should be organized, keep a calendar and communicate clearly. My friend and mentor, Jason Mollica, provides more planning tips here on his video blog.

What tips do you have when it comes to planning? How has it impacted your profession? Please share your ideas!

 

How Do You Define Success?

Lean In” and Sheryl Sandberg have permeated every news channel, major corporation and magazine cover during the last couple of months. The book has been wildly successful and Sandberg has led an army of mainly women in the charge for equality in the workplace. While her book is very helpful and it’s great companies want to aid women in the work/life balance struggle, “Lean In” is not a gospel for every woman out there.

The work/life balance is such a personal issue for men and women alike that no one prescribed way can be applied to everyone’s situation. In reality, it comes down to how you define success. Is is a c-suite office, a certain pay grade, or having happy, responsible children? I can’t answer that question for you and neither can Sheryl Sandberg. What we can do, as women fighting for a better tomorrow, is lift each other up rather than bring one another down.

acsuccessSuccess is one of those obscure topics like happiness. There’s the dictionary definition but that can’t possibly capture everyone’s feelings on these sometimes lofty out-of-reach ideas. A co-worker recently shared a Harvard Business Review (HRB) article that eloquently addressed the topic of success saying “You have to define what success means to you—understanding, of course, that your definition will evolve over time.” I experienced this epitome earlier in the week when I made the conscious decision to attend my fitness class instead of staying later at work. As a young professional, my career is top of mind, but since the start of 2014, my health has become a top priority too. Right now, being successful means taking time for myself, whether that is a yoga class or a manicure.

It is easy to define success right now as a single, young professional with no responsibility to anyone but myself. However, I know it will gradually become harder, when I add a significant other and children to the mix. That is why I enjoyed the HBR article so much; it is okay for your definition of success to change as your grow and figure out what you want from this life. I look at others my age and occasionally question their lack of ambition. But who am I to define success for them? I can’t want for others what they don’t want for themselves. We can’t define success for anyone else but ourselves.

I think that having a clear definition of success and sharing it with your board of directors is important. Of course,definesuccess you can change this definition whenever you need to, but keeping it top of mind will help you make tough decisions. If you define success as being home with your children by 6 p.m. three nights a week, write it on a post-it, share it with your team and make it happen! I doubt it will always be easy and sometimes you’ll have to sacrifice, but keeping your definition of success top of mind should help.

How do you define success? Please share your thoughts with me in the comments section!

 

Owning 2014

It’s the beginning of January, which means two things: people are dieting and people are blogging about their New Year’s resolutions. It’s the time of year when everyone joins the gym and lists out everything they want to do (or stop doing) for the upcoming year. The new year is also a time to reflect and set goals for the next 365 days.

confidenceI’ve already told you some of my goals for 2014 in my previous blog post. This post is not about New Year’s resolutions but rather about the main quality I want to embody this year: confidence. For me, confidence is something I’ve always struggled with, often second guessing myself and not owning my ideas. Well, that is going to change starting right now.

Within the last couple of months, I’ve read plenty of blog posts and articles about confidence. Five steps to build more confidence and why confidence is important headlines have flooded my inbox. This makes me suspect that many people struggle with confidence. The million dollar question is why? Here are some of the ideas I’ve come up with:

1). In general, our society relies on what people think far too much. We ask for second and third opinions for every decision we make. We need to trust ourselves more and go with our gut.

2) Fear of failure absolutely plays a role in lack of confidence. People assume failure is negative and should be avoided. While failure may have negative consequences, it is the best teacher. If you don’ try, you’ll never know what a success you could be.

3) The balance between cocky and confidence is hard so people are afraid to own it. If you act over-confident, people see you as arrogant, inflexible and unwilling to learn. But if you don’t own it, people own itcould see you as weak. The challenge is striking the balance between the two.

Confidence is one of the most important soft-skills that could make or break you in any life situation. At work, it’s tricky to strike just the right balance. For women, if you’re too sensitive, you are seen as weak. If you are too confident, you are seen as a bitch. A man who acts the same way is seen as a leader. It is another challenge all working women face and have to focus on. Seeking advice from more seasoned professionals and being self-aware of your level of confidence could help.

My plan for 2014 is to own it! I want to continue to learn and grow while not being afraid to highlight my areas of expertise. Join me in the journey to becoming more confident. How will you own 2014? Is confidence something you struggle with? Share your thoughts with me!

I Want It All

As promised, this 30 Days of Truth Challenge will absolutely end up taking more than 30 days. But, I made a deal with myself and with my friend Amber that I would write about all 30 prompts. That being said, let me introduce you to prompts 5 and 6.

Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.

There is a lot I’d like to do during my lifetime. As usual, it is hard for me to narrow it down to one goal. When I say I want it all,  I am not lying. For me, that is defined by having a successful career and having a family. Being a working mom, in my opinion, is the hardest combination of jobs out there and feels like a lofty goal. Since I was tiny, my mom has balanced this combination. She has excelled in her career and still managed to coach my softball team and have dinner on the table almost every night. I think she did a fantastic job and am glad I had an example of a woman who was career oriented and family oriented at the same time. I know she struggled with it, as many women do. I see it everywhere: women who are passionate about their careers and adore their families. It becomes quite the balancing act.

careermomsSuccess has a different definition for each individual. When I think about what I hope to accomplish in my lifetime, about what success means to me, I think about striking that balance between professional and mom. I want to be able to want to go to work everyday, feeling passionate about what I do and making an impact in some way. At some point, I absolutely want my own PR firm and maybe even a charity organization. I want a family, to raise my kids and help mold them into happy, responsible adults. I already know the balance will have to shift and I won’t get it right everyday. But when I see my future, this is the vision I have for myself.

I’ve always thought about what I want to do in life, but never about something I don’t want to do. Sure, there are jobs I won’t ever want or foods I’ll never eat. But those are small things when you think about your life. After thinking long and hard, I realized I don’t want to ever see someone die. I know this is probably going to happen regardless of my opinion. I don’t want to see someone take their last breath and I especially don’t want to make the life or death decision for someone else. I’m sure one day I will have to make that painful decision for a loved one, to choose their destiny for them. But, if I could escape life without witnessing death, I would.

What do you hope to do during your life? Anything you absolutely wish you won’t have to do? Please share with me!

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