Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How Women Score

Sitting at a friend's kitchen table the other day, I felt nothing but admiration for the choice Lisa had made.

An accomplished, award-winning marketing professional, Lisa decided about a year ago that certain races weren't worth entering. She knew where the the real cheese was to be discovered.

And that's what moved her to act.

These days, success for Lisa can be discovered while losing herself in the sheer joy of preparing an all-natural spaghetti sauce while enjoying the delights of a rambunctious 6-year old boy who makes her heart glow each time he wanders back into the kitchen. Her priorities are focused on Tae-Kwon-Do and minor hockey schedules as opposed to business correspondance that might be sitting in her Inbox. Despite the pressures of raising a child in a double-income, zero down-pay later, "he with the most toys wins" world, Lisa and her husband are doing it their way. A choice made that much tougher if you are a woman, accustomed to operating at the executive level in corporate environments.

I won't even come close to pretending that I could possibly understand the work/life balance issues that women like Lisa, struggle with each day, both on and off the job. As she puts it "You never feel as though you do one or the other any justice. It just wears you down after a while, knowing, no matter how many points you put up on each board, there is no way you can totally win at both games".

I may not be able to fully understand Lisa's (and millions of others) predicament, but I do empathize. For a change, I thought today is as good a day as any when those of us men, who regularly work with women, could pause and think about dilemmas we never face; guilt trips we never take. Maybe, just trying to imagine what it would be like to wear the shoes of another, can alter our perspective, if only for a moment.

Gals - this blog's for you.

Guys - it's for you too.


Special thanks to my friend Robin who is now based in Austria, for passing this offering from Liz Pabon along. Robin's choice for her ideal life was to work as a strength and conditioning coach for a men's professional sports team in Europe, another profession where it can't be easy to stickhandle through the maze of judgement and behind-the-back whispers that confront her on a daily basis. But, fitness is her passion; it's what she is all about and Robin's a top notch pro. She just lets her work speak for itself, compiling an impeccable track record; keeping her athletes healthy and helping them perform at peak levels.

Navigating to Liz Pabon's website, I was impressed with her ideas on separating our personal life from our professional life. The energy required some days to put on the "work face" can be draining for anyone, but its been my experience that women get tapped and zapped that much more. Some days there is only so much energy to go around which is why we all need to pause, reflect and give ourselves a chance to replenish this renewable resource. It also helps if we can make a connection with the essence inside us all that seamlessly links the brands we represent, our personal brand and the choices we make to live our brand of life.

My friends, Lisa and Robin - continents and worlds apart - have never met but, both share something in common as it relates to having courage to make certain choices when it comes to their life in business and their own business of life. Reading a John C. Maxwell (no relation) book the other day reminded me (again) that the opposite of courage is not cowardice, but instead conformity. The pressure to fit in, which began back in grade school, may be even more punishing now as we constantly measure ourselves against our own lofty expectations and by what we think others around us possess. The ultimate question is why?

And only you know your answer to that one.

Lisa and Robin are both capable, professional women who refuse to conform to any other definition of success but their own. Each playing their own game. Each keeping score their own way. Without caring in the least what other people think.

What game are you playing these days?

And how are you keeping score?

"Would that there were an award for people who come to understand the concept of enough. Good enough. Successful enough. Thin enough. Rich enough. Socially responsible enough. When you have self-respect, you have enough" GAIL SHEEHY

p.s... While a lot of men struggle with their gentler, feminine side, deep down , whether he cares to admit it or not, each guy can be a bit of a marshmallow.

Sometimes, on good story is all it takes for our softer side to rise to the surface.

This a true story, one I understand Sony is looking at turning into a major motion picture.


1 comment:

moesying on said...

Gair, this is a great post. Thanks for sharing the video of Christian, it's brilliant. And for acknowledging the work/life struggle women often have trying to find balance. It's not easy to "not conform" . Cheers!