You can’t get your big on without it

Today’s guest author is Margie Analise, mentor, motivator and spark plug of success who helps women entrepreneurs ignite extraordinary in their life and business. Margie offers a free coaching course, or you can send her your question about life, style or business, and you could be featured in her Q&A video segment, Spotlight + Solution!

self-confidenceWhether your other role as a woman is entrepreneur, working mom, business leader, or something in between, there is a synergy of two elements that creates a key so crucial to your success in business and life, that you can’t get your big on without it.

Before I tell you what it is, I want to share a little story with you of how this key was revealed to me through a very powerful personal experience. Continue reading


Role models, confidence, self-esteem and other leadership stuff

leadership role modelOur leadership research and tastes were eclectic last week, ranging from giving praise to happiness to the impact of role models.


The Praise Paradox: Why Praise Doesn’t Always Lead to Confidence (Tara Sophia Mohr, The Glass Hammer) Continue reading


Wishing you the 7 C’s

To enjoy ”being” good in all your “doing” well over the next year, the team at BIG hopes your holiday stocking bulges at the seams with these 7 C gifts!

Character…You walk the talk for being good and doing well. Your ethics and integrity are above reproach because you’re authentic, honest, transparent and have a moral center. You radiate positive energy and determination. You’re self-disciplined. You treat those with and those without power the same. You invite the elephant in the room to dance. Continue reading


Share your gifts

Sometimes there are those days, may be even months and years, when you hold yourself back. You’re thinking small…afraid to take the leap.

You feel unsure,  not certain of what you have to offer and are fearful that it doesn’t bring value. You question your word, wondering if it’s worth sharing and if anyone would listen.

You question your contributions, doubting if they have they meaning or have made a difference. The path you’ve traveled so far seems pointless and the direction of the one going forward is unclear.

When you find yourself listening too much to — and obeying — that little voice in your head that’s fueling your negative and doubtful thoughts, read this poem.

Be renewed. Feel confident. Share yourself, your gifts.

Jump off the cliff and grow your wings on the way up.

Cargo by Greg Kimura

You enter life a ship laden with meaning, purpose and gifts

sent to be delivered to a hungry world.

And as much as the world needs your cargo,

you need to give it away.

Everything depends on this.

But the world forgets its needs,

and you forget your mission,

and the ancestral maps that used to guide you

have become faded scrawls on the parchment of dead pharaohs.

The cargo weighs you heavy the longer it is held

and spoilage becomes a risk.

The ship sputters from port to port and at each you ask:

“Is this the way?”

But the way cannot be found without knowing the cargo,

and the cargo cannot be known without recognizing there is a way,

and it is simply this:

You have gifts.

The world needs your gifts.

You must deliver them.

The world may not know it is starving,

but the hungry know,

and they will find you

when you discover your cargo

and start to give it away.

Art:  Set Yourself Free by Amanda Cass



A letter of love and hope to Zoe

One of the joys of my second act of life is watching my ten-year-old granddaughter, Zoe, grow into young womanhood and explore all the richness of life.  Another joy of my second act is helping leaders and women succeed in business. Amy and I call it helping people get their big on:  think big rather than small, be the big person and do what’s right whether or not it’s popular, trade in the tiny dreams for big ones, forego the personal glory and pay it forward for the greater good. All those things we want to see in our young leaders, whether male or female.

Today, International Women’s Day, both of my joys intersect. This year’s International Women’s Day theme is connecting girls, inspiring futures. Hence my letter to Zoe, a confident young girl on her journey to becoming a confident young woman, a powerful leader, and anything else she chooses to be and do.

Dear Zoe,

Today is International Women’s Day. While there won’t be pizza, okra and apple pie to celebrate (perhaps there should be…), it’s a big day for you and other young girls across the globe. Why? Because you’re our future.

You frequently ask us to tell you a story. Today, I’m doing something different. I’m asking you to start living out a story, your story.

Twenty years from now I want to sit down with you and listen to your stories. I want to know where you’ve taken your life and how you found success, fulfillment and love.

I want to hear how:

- You never lost your belief in yourself and how it propelled you into new adventures because you were never afraid to take the leap

- The courage you displayed in fiercely pursuing your brown belt at age 9 never left you, and that you shared it with others to help them find their way because girls can do and be whatever they want to do and be

- Your compassion for saving stray animals and befriending the underdog has made you a beacon of light for family, friends, co-workers and colleagues and maybe even a broader stage

- Your boundless creativity and gift for storytelling have served you well, allowing you to chase innovation, not letting misguided beliefs and stereotypes limit your opportunities and experiences

- Your belief in inclusion never wavered and kept you from falling victim to short-sighted ideologies that shut out people with different viewpoints, and

- You kept being the boss and the ringleader, never doubting for a moment that you would always be liked and be powerful, too.

I know some of these concepts probably don’t make much sense to you today, but they will as you experience more of life. Trust your Mum-mum on this one.

There are days when I wonder if the gender gap will ever be closed. Then an image of your purpose-filled little face appears, and I know your generation of women is in good hands.

With love and hope for the future,





Techniques for building your confidence

Today’s guest post is from Hillary Hutchinson, M.A., M.Ed. Hillary is a certified career coach who helps people manage major life and work transitions. She believes in being happy, helping people create strategic roadmaps to a fulfilling career, and has a specialty in academia. You can contact her via her website.

Why is it that so many of us doubt our own abilities? Until you own your excellence, you will continue to doubt yourself and perhaps stop yourself from taking on new challenges that you most certainly could accomplish. If you are always afraid of saying something stupid or doing something stupid, you might not even be willing to try new things.

Confidence is something that can be learned. Becoming more confident can make you more successful. Success breeds success, adding to your sense of confidence. This creates a powerful, inextricably linked cycle of success, confidence, success.

Confidence comes from real, solid achievements, which no one can take from you. This is not the same as self-esteem, which may be built on nothing more solid than nice words said to you. Solid achievements are built upon a “can do” mindset, then actually doing. Envision success. In other words, say to yourself each time a new opportunity arises, “I can do this,” let go of any negative thoughts about failing, and do it.

One way to get in a positive mindset is to look back on your life and identify past achievements. It doesn’t have to be job related:

  • Did you successfully raise children?
  • Volunteer to chair a committee at school or at church?
  • Buy a house on a shoestring?
  • Learn to play an instrument for fun?
  • Come up with a solution to a scheduling problem?
  • Join an adult soccer team?

Every one of these things is an accomplishment. Your achievements don’t have to be life-altering. Even small achievements are achievements.

Here are some tips on how you can work on building your confidence:

1. Get yourself a notebook and create an “Achievement Log.” You can do this today. Start your log by identifying at least 10 things you have accomplished in your life so far. Here are some more suggestions: Think about the tests you have passed, the times where you did something that made a difference in someone else’s life, or any tasks or projects you completed. Once you get started, you might find it hard to stop at 10!

Put your Achievement Log somewhere you can look at it often. Commit to looking at your list of achievements each week, reminding yourself of the success you have already experienced. Sit up straight while reading and your posture will send your brain success messages, too. The log can be a reminder of what you are capable of and what is yet to come. You can celebrate what you accomplished in the past week and grow your list of successes by adding new ones. Tip: If you are feeling down, re-reading the log can be a great way to lift your spirits.

2. Think about the personal strengths you have exhibited in your accomplishments. If it’s difficult for you to look at yourself objectively and recognize your strengths, try placing yourself in the shoes of a friend or family member. What strengths would these people see in you? What would they consider your talents to be? As you identify your strengths, make sure you take the time to really acknowledge them. Is it easy for you to be organized while people around you remain scattered? This is a natural strength. Enjoy a few minutes of being proud and reflecting on your talents.

3. Think about the things that are really important to you, and what you want to achieve in every area of your life: Work, personal, social, health and fitness, and anything else that is important to you. Make sure you add some deadlines to keep yourself on track. Setting and achieving goals is a key part of building and sustaining confidence.

When you have set your goals, fear, doubt and uncertainty may rear their ugly heads. At this stage, you need to manage your mind. Learn to recognize any negative self-talk and replace it with confidence-building talk, such as “I have already achieved much, and I can do more.” “I can use my knowledge to help myself, my colleagues and my family.” Make a clear and unequivocal promise in your mind that you are absolutely committed to achieving your goals, and that it is in your power to do so.

Building your confidence is a process. Applying these principles will help your sense of confidence to grow, and then your success will follow.







Divine Secrets of the Supportive Sisterhood

“It’s a dirty little secret among women that we don’t support one another,” says Susan Shapiro Barash, author of Tripping the Prom Queen: The Truth About Women and Rivalry and professor of gender studies at Marymount Manhattan College.

The sweeping generality of Ms. Barash’s comment perturbed me, yet the core of truth in her assertion unfortunately resonated.

The statistics coming from her research troubled me even more:

  • Over 90% of the women Ms. Barash interviewed admitted to envy and jealousy toward other women coloring their lives.
  • 90% had observed competition in the workplace occurring primarily between women rather than between women and men.
  • And, get this, 25% said that they had stolen a female friend’s husband, boyfriend or job!

Distressing for sure,  but more to come…

Gail McGuire, chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Indiana University South Bend, authored an article “Intimate Work: A Typology of the Social Support That Workers Provide to Their Network Members.” This report contains the nasty little nugget: that once women are promoted, they aren’t likely to hire women to join them in the upper management ranks. This research puts quantitative data behind Ms. Barash’s claim about the dirty little secret. Yikes!

And more…

A 2007 Workplace Institute study found that of those who mistreat co-workers, women were more likely to target other women (71%), compared to men who bully other men (54%).

63% of 2,000 British women surveyed in 2009 reported that they preferred having a male boss.

Cue *the big sigh*

Bullying. Not helping. Competing. Under-cutting. Back-stabbing.

Disagree with me if you will, but, to me, these are behaviors of the chronically low-powered.  Women who choose to make their mark, stake out their turf, and/or secure their standing by steam-rolling and/or belittling other women.

Cue *Kathryn and the Divine Secrets of the Supportive Sisterhood*

Kathryn, a woman who honors me with her friendship, has nailed the divine secrets of the supportive sisterhood.  She gets what it takes to support her fellow women.

Secret #1 – Tell it straight-up: the good, the bad and the ugly.

Kathryn was a participant in a workshop I conducted late last year.  Her post-session feedback was invaluable, both what I did well and where I could improve. Women supporting women want to see all women do well, so there’s no skipping over the constructive criticism to maintain “I-want-you-to-like-me” status or covering up an “I-secretly-want-to-see-you-fail” mindset.

Secret #2 – Open doors and make introductions.

Kathryn must have the longest speed dial and email lists around.  She’s quick to facilitate connections or share a recommendation for where to go, what to see, who to meet. Relationships, alliances and coalitions are the new currency of the workplace. Building those bonds between and with other women can only help advance our general standing in business.

Secret #3 – Replace the cat suit with collaboration and recognition.

Having a little milk with your snarky cat chow comments serves no one well. Kathryn is known for her supportive remarks, notes and get-together suggestions. Cease with the catty comments which only fuel the image of Ms. Barash’s dirty little secret claim. Instead, learn the background stories of your female colleagues; be a safe harbor or a sounding board for them. We’re only as strong as our weakest link.

Secret #4 – Share freely what you know.

Kathryn is quick to share articles, access and/or information. Protecting your turf by hoarding knowledge or aggregating power doesn’t expand your sphere of influence…it limits it – with both the guys and the gals.  Power with is the new starting point.

Secret #5 – Like yourself so you can like others.

For most of us, the inner critic is alive and well and oh-so-quick with the negative “you aren’t good enough, smart enough, thin enough, whatever enough” script.  Embrace your own goodness…you’ve got lots of it.  Be confident…look at all you’ve accomplished. Revel in your own uniqueness instead of wishing you were more like someone else.

Please do step into your positive power — and bring another woman along with you!

What other divine secrets will you add to the list?



Lost Your Leadership Wings?

The clerk in the beach souvenir shop had sad eyes and a timeworn look yet was quite willing to talk.

 She described her “former life” as having been a “rock star” within her industry, a “force to be reckoned with” for 25 years.  Then her company changed hands.

The new management team measured success in ways that Jocelyn could not nor would not accept. She openly confronted her superiors, determined to convince them she was right. She declined all offers to discuss compromises or even to better understand the new measures, saying that the newcomers should be willing to listen to her counsel that was rooted in years of experience.

Jocelyn said she was shocked the day they let her go, said she never saw it coming.

Given a generous severance package and the services of an executive coach, she had the luxury of time. Jocelyn and the coach met weekly for three months. During those 90 days, Jocelyn said the coach did not have one acceptable idea for her to try. The coach reluctantly agreed to a second 90-day period.

After six months, Jocelyn said there still wasn’t any job offers or any other employment options that were acceptable given her former status. So she stopped seeing the coach and moved to the beach town where she had enjoyed vacations as a child. Ten years later, she is still in that little town, spending her days as a clerk in the souvenir shop.

The shopper asks Jocelyn if she had thought about volunteering, being a mentor, even teaching. Jocelyn’s whispered answer: “no, it’s just easier this way.”

Do you know any leaders who have lost their wings? What advice would you offer them?


Riding the merry-go-round of dreams

I met Lisa for the first time nearly two years ago at a networking event.  She said she ran a small graphic design business but was looking into becoming a personal trainer. I offered to introduce her to a friend who was a personal trainer.  She said she would let me know.

Six months ago, our paths crossed again at a community event.  When we were asked to share what we did for a living, Lisa told the group she ran a small graphic design business and was checking into becoming a personal trainer.

A week ago we were seated together at a luncheon.  A table mate asked Lisa what she did, and Lisa replied that she ran a small graphic design business that kept getting smaller and is thinking about working as a personal trainer.

Is your story similar to Lisa’s — thinking yet not doing?

Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with vision is making a positive difference.” ~Joel Barker

Without dreams our lives lose luster. Yet without action, dreams always remain dreams.

If you see a little bit of Lisa in your situation:

  • Have a chat with yourself:  is this something I still want to do, or has talking about it become a habit?
  • If you’re still passionate about your dream, do something proactive today.  Schedule an informational interview.  Request a brochure.  Make a phone call or send an email. Sign up for a class.   Buy a book on the topic.  The super important thing is to do something now. Take that intangible dream and start making it real with action and outcomes you can see, touch, hear.
  • Get an accountability buddy. Share your dreams and what you’ll do to make the dream come alive.  Make a pact to talk about concrete action you’ve both taken.  Give each other the “danger zone signal” if/when you slip back into talking about what you plan to do instead of doing.

What one thing did you do today to move your dream closer to reality?




Quit Chasing Perfection

I once had an employee spend an entire work day drawing a single line.

The line, an illustration in a training manual, depicted a cable TV wire hanging between two poles. The curve of the drop in the line is perfect in every possible scientific calculation, he delightedly informed me.  I’m pleased and exhausted, ready to call it a day. Continue reading