The relationships you cultivate can certainly boost your career. Many women in the workplace have specific expectations from a mentor relationship—and sometimes, they're not met. The root of the problem, I've found, is that these women are actually looking for a sponsor. Here's the gist: Mentors give advice, sponsors give capital. Watch to better understand the difference.
When I was away on book tour, my husband was in charge of getting our kids out the door in the morning. I worried the craziness of the morning routine was going to be too much, but to my surprise, he was totally fine. In fact, it seemed to go even better than when I am there! It made me realize this: our well-intentioned sacrifices can sometimes stunt other people's growth. We all have a lot on our plates. Delegating can actually give someone the opportunity to grow and learn! Find out how.
This week was the one-year anniversary of Trump's election, Clinton's defeat, and women's collective inhale. As Tuesday's election results rolled in, I was heartened by the number of women who won their races after running for the first time, particularly those who did so in direct response to the wave of bigotry that has reared an ugly new head in the Trump era. Ashley Bennett, offended by a male politicians question about whether the Women's March would be over in enough time for them to cook dinner, unseated him in New Jersey. And Danica Roem, the first openly transgender woman to run for state representative in Virginia beat a male incumbent who proudly identified as being the "chief homophobe." These wins don't erase the fact that we have a long fight ahead of us. But they did allow me to to the one thing I hadn't done in twelve months: exhale.
Picture this: I'm on a flight and the guy across the aisle from me is snoring....really loudly. I became annoyed and angry. When I enlist the flight attendant for help waking this guy up, he had a different idea: ear plugs. It made me realize this: If you stop focusing on how you're feeling and instead think about the best solution, you can get to a much more effective outcome.
When I want to raise my game I read self help non-fiction. If you need that this month, check out Joanna Barsh's Grow Wherever You Work: Straight Talk to Help With Your Toughest Challenges. Joanna has mentored me and I can personally tell you that she is a research-backed straight talker that delivers.
When I need to escape, I read novels. And this month Ayobami Adebayo's debut, Stay With Me, did not disappoint. With every page I was transported away from the 24-hour barrage of Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein to the home of a Nigerian couple struggling with how far to bend truth for love.
Yejide and Akin marry after meeting at their University and embark on their life together with enormous optimism. So Yejide is blindsided when, after she does not become pregnant, their family shows up with a young woman who they introduce as Akin's second wife. This book was such a powerful demonstration of how relentless culture is in shaping our expectations about who we are and how obsessed we subsequently become with carrying out the roles society assigns to each of us. Stay With Me is also a breathtaking tribute to the female spirit and our fortitude in manifesting our worst fears...and hopes. I can't wait to read more from this emerging artist. I will go wherever Ayobami Adebayo takes me.
Claudia Chan is persistent—and she's got the network to prove it. As founder of the global leadership conference, S.H.E. Summit, she's got everyone from Deepak Chopra to Kelly Clarkson on speed dial. What I respect most about Claudia is that she incessantly pursues gender equality and empowerment for every woman. Her new book, This Is How We Rise, is her latest effort to support women in reaching their highest potential.
When I asked Claudia what she's dropped the ball on in order to reach her own potential, she mentioned the first thing that usually goes out the window for new moms: exercise. "I've had 2 babies in 2+ years and I think I have done real sweat-producing exercise less than 24 times in that whole period."
Whether a parent or not, most women are in this same boat. The most important strategy to get out of it is to stop beating ourselves up over this common experience and to start moving our bodies, one little step at a time. Take a work call while walking around the block. Dance to Beyonce while the pasta is boiling. Challenge your 11 year old to see who can do more push ups. As I've learned from Claudia, tiny acts of relentlessness pay off big.
There is no such thing as a new idea, only new writers, Mark Twain famously said. My dear friend and fellow author Veronica Chambers reminded me of this when I was particularly panicked about the "originality" of my book. You see, people have been talking about women, work, relationships, and the ability to "do it all" for decades. The Second Shift first broke the ground. But Veronica reminded me that you can't compare yourself to other works or other people -- what you bring to the concept is what makes it fresh and unique.
I listen to music and dance with reckless abandon pretty much every night. It makes me happy--the truth is, it has since I was a little girl. Stress is everywhere. Find what makes you happy and remember to do it, even for a moment, every single day.
The highlight of my week was attending the 2017 Feminist Power Awards, hosted by the Feminist Press. Since 1970, the Feminist Press has published works that advance women's rights and has given a platform to the voices that many others have tried to silence. This year's honorees included Riane Ensler, Jenny Lumet, and Sheri Salata, who reminded us that, "The most important story I can tell is the one about myself to myself."
What was most exciting to me about the event was the opportunity to support their new Executive Director and Publisher, Jamia Wilson. She is the first woman of color and the youngest person to serve in this role, and her ascension represents a refreshing new era in the movement. All of us are the cumulative investment of others and I was beaming with pride to know that the world is receiving an extraordinary return on the investment so many have made in her talent. Congratulations, Jamia.
As a working mom, I cannot attend my daughter's piano lessons, much to the chagrin of her teacher. When he stressed the importance of being there, I had to gently remind him that he wouldn't get paid if I wasn't working. Yet, even though I stood my ground, the guilt crept in. What if I could be there, would it make a difference? Managing guilt is one of the hardest things we have to do. Here's how to help.