International Women’s Day 2018

Woke up to International Women’s Day today with loud messages about strong call-to-action to #PressforProgress and gender parity.

But know what? It pisses me off we are still discussing parity and equality, gender gap progress, quotas, etc.

I fight for my own rights and I need no defender, protector, husband or boss to help me get to my rightful place. No government, legal framework or covenant will alter my position unless I (with a capital and bold I) choose to speak up, move, mark my ground.

I know I am biased and a Westerner. I am lucky to have been born a European and my childhood was not plagued by famine, war, genocide, religious prosecution or violence. My opportunities were “kinda” equal in the environment I grew up in. I took lots of chances and risks and made my choices within the latitude of a society that is more paternalistic than what my liberal nature would like. But life’s a bitch always. We all strive to make the best out of what we are given – and we fight, and move along chasing our dreams, listening to the silent drum beat that we hear on our life journey.

Yet it’s complicated. Decades after the feminist rallies of Gloria Steinem and Simone de Beauvoir and women are still confused about their roles, parental obligations, ” wifely stuff” and their careers. And perhaps it does have something to do with what the feminist journalist Anne Taylor Fleming called “the two out of three rule”—where “a woman can have only two out of three big pieces of life: love, work, children” (from her book Motherhood Deferred, p. 84).

And the data is staggering. Some national studies show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.

The Global Gender Gap Report shows that the gap is widening, so there desperately needs to be new ways of thinking if the world is to close the gender gap. “Progress is regressing and moving backwards. Instead of taking 170 years to close the gap at the current rate of progress, it is estimated that gender parity across the world will take over two centuries, 217 years to be exact.”

Ernst & Young back in 2015 created EY Women to explore women in business. In their recent report they identified 5 “gap” areas where corporations and business leadership need to work on:

1. The reality disconnect: Business leaders assume the issue is nearly solved despite little progress within their own companies.
2. The data disconnect: Companies don’t effectively measure how well women
are progressing through the workforce and into senior leadership.
3. The pipeline disconnect: Organizations aren’t creating pipelines for future
female leaders.
4. The perception and perspective disconnect: Men and women don’t see
the issue the same way.
5. The progress disconnect: Different sectors agree on the value of diversity
but are making uneven progress toward gender parity.

I agree and… I disagree. I have (white) men clients who face similar challenges with their development and career advancement. The problem is not a woman’s but a people issue. People – men and women – get marginalized, stuck, labeled, stereotyped and anything in between you can imagine.

Our humanity and sense of justice and parity does not equally apply to blacks, Muslims, gays, transgenders, refugees and anyone who is different from us. It’s only human nature. Not an excuse; just an observation. 

So, we fight. We do not hesitate. We move on all of us, women, men… Earthlings…and we all account to our own personal deity for the kind of decent or indecent human we choose to be.

When To Divorce Your Client (or Your Boss)

I tried. And tried again. – And then, I finally divorced (yes, I fired) my client.

Like any other personal relationship, a good client relationship is built on mutual respect, and trust — and it has to work both ways. If your clients don’t respect you as an expert or as a person, they may undermine first your work but eventually they will hurt their own prospects.

Yes, it’s subjective. While everyone has his or her own definition for reasonable and unreasonable behavior, we all run across clients (or bosses) who simply think they know better even though they hired you for your expertise in the first place. Perhaps they question, second guess and revise your work beyond all recognition. Or, while they don’t listen to your input and advice in the first place, they then expect you to fix everything after things go wrong.

There’s no amount of money that makes a toxic relationship worth pursuing. Mutual respect is the cornerstone and foundation of any connection. So what if your client/boss has loose morality or treats people poorly? You coach, mentor, advise and yet you hit the wall of denial.

Men with Pens’ James Chartrand, in 11 Tips on How to End a Client Relationship, advises, “Be calm. Never be hostile, attack a client, or write a flaming goodbye. Be understanding. You’re splitting up for you, so be sympathetic that ending a relationship is no easier for the client.”

Ultimately, the decision to break a relationship with a client is not an easy one to make. It shouldn’t be a quick decision nor should it be based on isolated incidents. But, if the above problems are recurring and you can handle the temporary loss in revenue, you shouldn’t be afraid to let go of these toxic relationships to make room for clients that will help your company grow in the long run.

Like Anna Holmes said when she was asked about what made her successful: “Speak your mind. Be a pain in the ass when necessary. Believe that your voice has value. Indulge yours and others’ curiosity.”

So… Get up…Go away…Leave the stage… After all, to make room for more impactful, productive and satisfying engagements, you have to be willing to let go of the ones that are holding you back.

Space To Be


I haven’t felt like writing in a long time. Have not made space for writing – willingly, lazily (?) but definitely by choice.

It’s a newly found freedom: Going with the flow, taking in every moment of life – rich or poor, gorgeous or sad and ugly as it comes.
how-to-be-productiveI still get that rush of newness, the satisfaction of curiosity that makes you want to take in as much as you can – so I read, watch, listen and play. And therefore, I keep on learning.

I also don’t do a lot of things I used to do:-) It’s a choice.

But one thing I still do – and I always will:

I will not hesitate once I decide I want to do something.

Why Hesitate indeed?

Life never waits for you. You either make it or you don’t. Deal with it and rest later – maybe. But, as you are faced with a whole new reality and as you adjust to a life that’s always changing, just give it a try!

All we need is a little bit of space so we can make a clear decision: “Do I want to nurture this or do I want to let it go?

We don’t always need — or want — director’s commentary when we watch the movie of life. Sometimes we need to just be there in the moment. So, just give yourself space to be…


Comfort Zones And Lobsters

Lobsters? Who cares? Comfort zone? Maybe. But what does the one have to do with the other?

Yet.. wisdom can come from unexpected places in totally unsuspecting moments. And it’s not that we don’t know about our comfort zones and how we need to get out of them in order to create, move, innovate, experience excitement, and just learn to be even more resilient and strong.

“…If we use adversity properly, we can grow through adversity.” So, watch the Rabbi in his articulate and wise way, and do it like the lobsters do. 🙂

Stop Being Afraid

minionsI’ve been mentoring someone -let’s call him George – and he was simply scared. All I did was ask questions and listen.

I slowly helped him peel back the artificial wrappings of a box of rotten candy – and the metaphor has nothing to do with Forrest Gump. He had the courage to look straight into the mirror and clear the fog that obscured his own image. He took a stance and made a decision: to stop being (and feeling) afraid of what others might say or think about him; to be honest and honor his integrity and professional standards.

Yes, it is as simple as it sounds: Think through the consequences of how certain actions might impact a situation, see the options, potential and possible outcomes and decide. In the end it always comes down to only two questions:

  1. Can anything happen if you do nothing?
  2. What do you have to lose?

So, this guy said that as he was talking to his boss, he could hear my voice in his head, and he was imagining me guiding him. I smiled when I heard that. “Challenge for thought, support for action.” I had nothing to do with what he chose to say and do. He simply felt comforted by thinking I was there to guide him. He did it all alone – I was nowhere near him.

In the end, it’s only human to feel the need to have a friend, an advocate, a supporter. As long as this idea does not make you need permanent crutches and it only serves as the training wheels on the brand new bike when you are only three, it’s OK.

So, here’s to you, George and congratulations for being bold and brave to do what you really wanted to do.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...