Authentic at Work

Ditch the Mask and Be Authentic at Work

Halloween is right around the corner, and it’s the one day a year when it’s perfectly acceptable to dress up like someone else and pretend to be a nurse, fireman, or political figure. However, no one expects you to administer medicine, put out a fire, or pass legislation. It’s all done in good fun; adults and children alike get in on the action.

But what happens when you feel like you’re wearing a costume every day at work?

What happens when you show up at the office and cross your fingers no one will know you’re hiding behind a mask and are not really who they think you are?

This fear is a reality for so many of our clients and the women who attend Women ON Point…and you are not alone!

They are terrified their secret will be revealed and everyone will know they’re a fraud or an imposter. They fear that a small slip will let everyone know they’re not as smart, successful, or talented as they pretend to be.

Some women feel that previous accomplishments and accolades somehow were a fluke, and any future recognitions or promotions are not fully deserved. They think, “If people really knew the truth, they’d know I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m an imposter.” This is not simple modesty; it’s an expression of self-doubt characterizing a scarcity of self-belief on a fast-track to self-sabotage.

Wearing a costume and pretending to be someone else at work is not only exhausting, it’s inauthentic. Authenticity and vulnerability are critical to effective leadership and to developing quality relationships. People can sense a fraud a mile away and will try to distance themselves, which is exactly the opposite of what’s required for a long and successful career.

According to author Brené Brown, “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” 

It’s these brave choices, and the choice to ditch the preverbal “mask”, that leads to true happiness, fulfillment, and success as a leader. Instead of putting energy into perpetuating an imposter or perfectionist persona, focus on personal and professional development and being the best, and most authentic and vulnerable, version of yourself. It’s time to be yourself and save the costumes for Halloween.

Why You Should Play “Follow the Leader” at Work

Today, more than ever, leaders are not only there to inspire and make tough decisions, they are highly visible role models 24/7/365. We all played “Follow the Leader” as kids, and it’s important to remember the rules and bring the game into your workplace and leadership style.

Gone are the days when a leader could impose the “do as I say, not as I do” approach. Leaders are now intentional role models with a “when you see it, you can be it” and a “when you see better, you can be better” mentality. Your actions and behaviors can be even more powerful, and send an even stronger message, than your words. All eyes are on you…your direct reports, indirect reports, colleagues, co-workers, and supervisors are all watching.

We all know how critical leadership presence is and that our communication is 93% non-verbal, but what does that really mean? That means that your team will follow your lead, will emulate your behavior, and will do what you do. You set the tone, the expectations, and the culture of your team everyday an in every situation through your actions.

Here are some real-life Women ON Point examples of how to play “Follow the Leader”:

Embrace Networking 

Sally is a devout introvert and tries to avoid networking like the plague. She usually arrives late and leaves early with minimal interaction with anyone she doesn’t know. Sally saw her team huddled together in the corner at a work event, and realized they were copying her behavior…she also realized how other co-workers were looking and judging her team. Sally committed to having a much more outgoing and friendly approach at work events, her team followed her lead, and they all learned to embrace networking.

Check the Tech 

Jane, as the board chair, was on the agenda to deliver a PowerPoint presentation to all of the board members. The technology would not work, and Jane started to panic. Her “little self” wanted to have a complete tantrum like a two-year-old and blame someone else, but thankfully her “leadership self” prevailed and she navigated the technological glitch like a pro. Jane knew it was an opportunity to demonstrate how to deal with adversity and set a positive example for her team.

Dress Up the Dress Code 

Mary is a busy executive and admitted that she was not very inspired by her professional wardrobe. Over time her clothes got more and more casual. She also noticed that her team was implementing “Business Casual Friday” everyday of the week, and the slippery slope was out of control. Mary upgraded her attire when she looked down at a sea of flip flops, and realized she’d be mortified if any of them met with a client and represented her team and organization looking like they’re on their way to the beach. She raised the bar, reset the image expectations, and inspired her team to dress up the dress code.

Take Time Off

Sue is a self-diagnosed workaholic and leads a large team across multiple states…she also rarely takes a day off and never, ever unplugs. Without verbally expressing the expectations, her team adopted her workaholic style and suffers from severe burnout and a high turnover rate. Even though Sue encouraged her team to enjoy their weekends and take vacations, no one did because they witnessed Sue’s style and felt compelled to follow the leader. Sue finally realized that she was hurting, not helping her team, and needed to modify her behavior in order to set a more realistic example to save her team.

Your leadership style is always ON full display…you need to always be ON Point!

And we’ve got you covered!

We are thrilled to invite you and your girlfriends, colleagues, and co-workers to attend our next Women ON Point leadership summit on September 19 -21 28 at the Grand Hyatt in Denver, Colorado. Please register at (link) or contact Pam Borton at

Looking for more ways to stay ON Point? For three years we have been asked the age-old question after every summit, “What’s next?” Well, we can finally answer that question! We are officially launching our new Women ON Point 2.0 that will take place in Chicago on August 9, 2018. This is a one-day summit where we take a deeper dive into the most relevant challenges in our lives and the workplace today. Mark your calendars and register quickly. Click on the link.

It’s Smart NOT Selfish to Ask for What You Want

Let’s be honest…we all know what we want, but we don’t always ask for it.

Sometimes we feel like we’re being selfish or self-serving by putting our goals at the top of the list. Sometimes we avoid asking, because we don’t like to hear the word “no.” And, sometimes we believe other people should just read our minds and magically make things happen for us.

All of the reasons are real and very common, but they are also some of the biggest roadblocks and obstacles to your success.

We have heard from so many women who are desperately trying to attend Women ON Point, who know how much they will grow personally and professionally from the experience, and who believe they are worth the investment, but for some reason are hesitant to ask the critical question…”Will you sponsor and send me to Women ON Point?”

Of course this applies to any and all other requests we want to make, know we need to make, but yet struggle to make. Until now…

Here are 3 tips to asking for what you want.

  1. Be Bold and Don’t Beat Around the Bush

All of the “I was thinking maybe…”, “Here’s just an idea I was batting around…”, “Perhaps at some point down the line…”, need to stop! This is the time when you need to be crystal clear about what you want, why you want it, and to be able to provide all of the logistical information in anticipation of the follow up questions. Know what it is (type of professional development), when it is (days you’ll be gone from the office), and how much it costs.

  1. Make it a Win-Win

Wanting to do something fun and interesting is one thing, but wanting to do something that has a significant ROI for yourself and the organization is another. Strategize about how to create, and present, that win-win outcome when asking. Talk specifically about what you will learn, how it will benefit your current role and your ability to bring more value to your organization, and how you will pay it forward to other teammates, colleagues and co-workers.

  1. Don’t Give Up

No one likes to hear the word “no”, but we all do on occasion. The difference is that most people throw in the towel when they hear it and simply give up. Not you! This is when you need to think creatively and come up with plans B, C, and D until you hear “yes.” Maybe you suggest looking at “other budgets”, putting it in the budget for next year, finding a sponsor, sharing the cost, delivering a presentation after the fact so others can benefit from the information, and so on. No one is ever going to want it more than you do, so you’re the one who needs to fight for it.

 To illustrate that we practice what we preach at Women ON Point, we followed these three steps when we secured our new partnership with the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota. Sara was crystal clear about what she was asking for when she reached out to them, detailed the endless win-win opportunities that would result from the partnership, and she never ever gave up.

As a result, we are thrilled to announce that our philanthropic partner for the Women ON Point leadership summit in Minneapolis is the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota. They invest in innovative community-based, community-led solutions to ensure equal opportunity and pathways to economic security for girls, women, and families across Minnesota. We encourage you to learn more about them by visiting their website (Include link).

Success Spotlight

Congratulations to our alumni, Emily Rodriguez, SHRM-SCP on her recent promotion! Emily is now the Regional Vice President of Human Resources at Hyatt Hotels Corporation, and was previously the Director of HR at Hyatt Hotels Corporation.

Please reach out to Emily and congratulate her on her recent accomplishment!

In the meantime, we still have a few spots left for the Minneapolis Women ON Point leadership summit on March 28 – 30, and we’d love to see you there, receive your referrals and recommendations for other rockstar women to attend, and greatly appreciate your continues support in sharing this information.

Thank you!

7 Strategies to Stop Paralyzing Procrastination

Throughout the years, we have all had more clients than we can count who struggle with paralyzing procrastination…avoiding an email, putting off a phone call, or delaying a decision. For some people, they need to feel that adrenaline rush of potentially disappointing a client in order to finally complete a project, or experience the severe consequences of a poor performance review before they finally take action. Yes, this type of fear-based motivation can be effective, but it’s incredibly stressful, and it doesn’t always bring out your best self or your best work.

We are thrilled to highlight a Women ON Point alumni who did not procrastinate. She took what she learned, she took action, and she took her career to the Next Level!

Nancy Oliker Nancy Oliker – attended the Women ON Point leadership summit in Chicago, 2017

Congratulations to Nancy on her new position! Nancy was previously the Vice President of Marketing at United Health Care, and is now the Head of Enterprise Marketing at Happify.

Here’s what Nancy has to say…”Attending Women ON Point and the subsequent coaching sessions with Aimee could not have come at better time in my professional development.  Women ON Point helped me clarify and validate the decisions I needed to make in order to move my career forward.  But it was the coaching sessions with Aimee that brought it all together.  Interestingly, my first coaching session happened to fall just days before my first interview with Happify.  I have struggled to succinctly answer the question, “so tell me about yourself”.  After listening for just a few minutes, Aimee said, “Why, you’re a developer!” And that’s when the lights went off and the bells rung.  Those few words were the words I’d been missing to pull my story together.  It gave me a great way to frame my story and make my story distinctive.  My second coaching session came just minutes after I had announced my departure to my team.  Once again, Aimee was there to help me think through the upcoming transition and providing some additional insights.  Our next coaching session will be when I’m at Happify and I can’t wait!”  

Here are 7 Strategies to Stop Paralyzing Procrastination that are a lot more positive, easy to implement, and can de-stress your life both personally and professionally.

Focus on One Thing

As women, we are genetically hard-wired to multi-task. But this is a fatal flaw when it comes to procrastination, because there are always a million other tasks on the to-do list that demand our attention. The truth is that multi-tasking doesn’t really work. Focus all your attention on getting one thing done at a time, and crossing that one thing off the list before you tackle a new task.

Break it Down

The old adage about the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time is absolutely true! Instead of getting overwhelmed by a large project, break it down into manageable sized action steps. Set mini-deadlines before the final deadline.

Decide to Delegate

If there is a task that routinely stresses you out and causes you to procrastinate, like doing spreadsheets or cold calling prospects, it could be time to delegate those responsibilities to an accountant or business development person. Most people procrastinate when they’re called to perform a task that’s considered one of their weaknesses. Remember, your weakness is someone else’s strength.

Find a Buddy

A good buddy or BFF has a million proven benefits, but one of the best is in creating accountability. Find that person who can hold your feet to the fire, keep you motivated and on track, and remind you of why your goals are important. This person can be a friend, a mentor, or a coach…accountability is a powerful tool in beating procrastination.

Know Your “Why”

For some people, procrastination is the result of not understanding the bigger picture or the larger context and potential consequences. Simple tasks are easier to dismiss and put off until the last minute if you don’t know the “why”.

Forget Perfection

For millions of women, procrastination is the result of a more serious affliction…perfectionism. It’s the endless overthinking, the constant tweaking, and the never-ending second-guessing that occurs when perfection is the goal. Do you re-read and agonize over every word in an email before you hit send? Perfection is a myth…it doesn’t exist. Let it go!

Reward Yourself

Whether it’s a major weight loss, getting a big promotion, or sending a difficult email, you need to celebrate and reward yourself. Regardless of the size of the goal or magnitude of the milestone, there needs to a happy ending or reward on the horizon to help prevent, or minimize, procrastination.

It’s unrealistic to think that you can completely eradicate procrastination from your life, but you can greatly reduce those moments when you struggle with paralyzing procrastination. Those moments should be few and far between, not a daily occurrence. It is always in your best interest to operate from a position of power, and not one of panic and procrastination.

For example, don’t procrastinate on registering for either of the Women ON Point leadership summits in 2018. As always, space is extremely limited and both summits are already filling up fast. If you’re ready to invest in yourself and take your leadership skills to the Next Level, or know another woman who is, then don’t delay! Register today!


Leadership Skills

Spring Your Leadership Skills Forward

It’s official…springtime is here! Flowers are blooming, holidays are happening, and this season is all about rebirth and renewal. It’s the time when people not only clean out their homes, but should also clean out their careers and dust off their leadership skills.

Here are 3 ways to Spring Your Leadership Skills Forward…

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