Career Tip for Women: Being Good Isn’t Good Enough. You Want More, Fight for More!

Women in glasses typing on laptop sitting at large table with whiteboard background

There is a school of thought that says as if you do your job and play nice, your value will be seen and rising in rank inevitable. “Sit still and look pretty.” You will get that promotion and raise. Until recently, I thought this too. I am so thankful for all I have learned in my new career these last 3 years, but also disappointed I didn’t know the basics earlier.

Sitting quietly will only take you so far. Quote about people and success in blue letters and gray background

Do you think the greats of this world sat in their cubicle never voicing their opinions?

Everyone wants to shine, and you are the only person responsible for shining your light. It is not bragging, it is showing what you are capable of. If you think others are singing your praises nonstop, you are leaving your fate in the hands of others.

Don’t worry about hearing “no.”

Think you have an idea that might be good for the business? Share it. Don’t be worried about hearing “no.” Studies have shown that presenting your ideas far outweighs staying quiet. It shows your creativity, initiative, and that you are proactive. If your idea is turned down, you can’t take it personally. Set your feelings aside. It’s just business. And do not stop presenting ideas! Keep bring them to the table.

Network. Network. Network.

Trying to decide whether to go home and lounge on the couch or that networking event? Little tip, you are missing a lot of insight and knowledge that can’t be learned from a book or webinar. You don’t have to go out every night after work, but you should attend at least 2 a month. And don’t forget your business cards.

Ask advice and seek feedback.

Once again, there are some things you can’t learn from books.

Ask advice from those who have more experienced than you. Their life lessons are invaluable. Their wisdom is priceless.

And always be open to feedback. Seek it. Sometimes you cannot see your blind spots. Being open to receiving constructive criticism is largely beneficial for your personal and professional growth. It might be hard to hear but take it as a compliment that someone only wants to help you improve.

Sit up straight. Stand tall.

There is much to be said in correct posture. Don’t slouch.

Ladies, don’t sit idly by hoping for the best. Make it happen, but also remember, you are a professional, act like one.


Do you have a success story? Share with me at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com

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Women, Master Your Confidence!

Woman smiling in sweater

Why do so many women lack confidence?

If you ask those around you, you might find similar answers to that question. They feel like frauds, like they aren’t good enough, they don’t possess the skills and abilities, they are they compare, they are perfectionists.

Everyone is different and all facing unique challenges, but as a whole, why do women let their confidence sink so drastically?

From authors Claire Shipman and Katty Kay of The Confidence Code:

For years, we women have kept our heads down and played by the rules. We’ve been certain that with enough hard work, our natural talents would be recognized and rewarded.

Would you say you can relate to that statement?

The problem is, keeping your head down and always playing by the rules leaves little room for standing up in the boardroom presenting your ideas. Meek does not command a room.

Women need to start taking action and changing what has been ingrained in them for so long.

First let’s address 3 vocabulary no nos.

Stop saying “sorry,” “can’t,” and “just.”

“I’m Sorry.” I wrote an article on this that you can find here. Basically, by always saying “sorry”, you portray you are not confident and unsure about your expertise. There is no need to start sentences with “I’m sorry” unless you are actually sorry for some sort of wrongdoing. Communicate with confidence.

Communicate with confidence.

“I can’t.” That is one quick way to diminish yourself and your abilities. Stop telling yourself it can’t be done, that you can’t accomplish x, y, and z. Replace “can’t” with the word “will” and notice a change in your mindset.

“Just.” This is another subtle word that undermines your confidence. It is also a filler word. It takes up space, has little value, and weakens your message.

The Comparison Trap.

Very dangerous territory here. Have you heard the quote, “comparison is the thief of joy”?

In the right context, comparison is helpful, but an unhealthy amount will only rob you of many joys, one being confidence.

Focus on your strengths. On your skills. On your successes. If there is an area you need to make improvements on, find ways to do so. Redirect the energy spent comparing yourself to others and use that time to develop yourself.

Recognize comparison triggers. Are you comparing your current professional status to a peer? Why? Do they receive recognition from others that you would like as well? Ask yourself why, then dissect your answer. Get to the root and once you have that answer, find a solution. Your coworker is constantly getting praised because of their successful business practices, so what best practices can you start incorporating?

Not Good Enough.

You might even feel it right now. That you aren’t good enough.

More than 80% of women believe they aren’t good enough. That is a high percentage.

There is usually an underlying reason. Digging to the root of that can be time-consuming, and as I have stated in previous articles, I am by no means trained in psychology, but what I can offer is expertise in handling this feeling.

Figure out why you feel you are not good enough and write out the details. For example, let’s say you feel you are not good enough to deserve a promotion because you don’t think you have mastered all the areas of your current position to move up to the next level. Write out what the requirements are for that position you want. Next, write down what skills you currently possess. Then, evaluate the two. Chances are, your fears of not being good enough will be squashed once you see you are good enough, or better.

Change feelings of inadequacy into facts. Get real with your thoughts of doubt. Take back the control.

Stop living in not good enough. Be confident.

Quick Confidence Boosters.

Need a quick boost? Try these, because they work!

  1. Celebrate small wins
  2. Revisit past successes
  3. Power pose
  4. Dress nicely
  5. Think positive
  6. Focus on solutions
  7. Smile
  8. Exercise

For more on this, read 7 Steps to Take When you Feel Like You are Lacking Confidence.

Confidence is allowed.

There are ways to take back your confidence. There are ways to have personal breakthroughs. I have seen it. I coach it.

You do not have to apologize for being a confident woman.

You are good enough.

You can.


I would love to work with you. Contact me at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com.
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Define Success on Your Own Terms

Society Has Ideas

Society says you are successful if you have A, B, C and D – basically, defining what success is for you and everyone else. How about defining success on your own terms?

How about defining success on your own terms?

What does it look like for you to be successful? What do you want to achieve for yourself and your personal satisfaction? To answer this, you will need to erase what has been ingrained in you for so long.

It Takes Thought

Everyone has a different idea of success, and that is great. That means there is an unlimited number of favorable outcomes. What’s important to figure out is: what does your idea of success look like and why? Do you have a clear idea or are you comparing it to someone else?

Make things happen in three black stacked boxes with white background

Constantly looking at other’s success and gauging yours off that will lead to disappointment. Do you really want someone else to define it for you? To define your journey? You will never know how to achieve real success if it’s not yours. Admire others, but don’t use their ambition as your own.

What does it look like for you? How do you figure it out?

Realistic. You must be realistic. You can dream, and please do, just acknowledge what’s realistic and what is a once in a million chance. Side note, it is ok to want both.

Yours. Follow your passions and not anyone else’s. Don’t allow someone to define what your path is.

Time. Give yourself time to weave through the clutter but also make sure you set a timeline. Giving yourself time frames will ensure you stay the course and, it is proven that you will be much more likely to achieve your goal.

In Your Face. Make sure you know what your success looks like and then make sure that is in your sight every day, literally. Cut out photos, create a Pinterest board, have a background on your laptop. Do what it takes so that you see your goals daily. Side note number 2; vision boards are widely effective. Ask any successful person, I guarantee you they have one.

Expect Failure, More than Once. You are going to fail. Guess what, you aren’t the only one. Don’t believe me? Take a couple of minutes to read about others you know who weren’t an instant success.

Don’t Compare Someone Else’s Phase. This is big. Just because Joe Bob has 3 homes and a private jet while you’re warming up your Lean Cuisine for dinner in your one-bedroom apartment doesn’t mean you aren’t successful.

Don't compare poster in black frame and white background

Start now. Begin anywhere. Do what you can.


Let me know what you think and share your stories! TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com

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6 Tips for Your Professional Development

Lamp on top of table with plant in jar and a laptop

Let’s talk about advancing your professional development, and how to do so continuously. Steps you can take to make noticeable changes in your professional life, which ultimately flows into all other areas of your life as well.

Best Practices: 

1) Self-Assessment

Look in the mirror and assess your internal intelligence. There are plenty of tests and quizzes you can take that will give you insight into who you are, your mindset, what makes you tick, etc. Even some of the Buzzfeed quizzes can shed some light, though I wouldn’t put much stock into their credibility.

Self-assessments can benefit you because sometimes you are not aware of blinders that are in your way.

2) Genuine Feedback

Find a mentor or ask a trusted friend you know will give it to you straight. You don’t need sugar-coating.  

3) Tangible Goals (hard skills)

What skills can you enhance that will make you an expert in your field? Excel spreadsheets, grammar, speech, and even attire; all of these are things you can physically make improvements on and see progression.

4) Intangible Goals (soft skills)

Goals that might not be so apparent are also important. These are called “soft skills” and they are just as important as hard skills. Below are some of the soft skills I have found to be major game changers:

  • Confidence
  • Empathy
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Attitude
  • Teamwork
  • Listening
  • Discipline and focus
  • Professionalism
  • Networking
  • Public speaking
  • Stress management/Emotional Intelligence

5) Reading & Podcasts

Knowledge is power.

Read anything you can get your hands on that will grow your mind and read for fun. You need both. Commit to this daily practice. Yes, daily. Even if it is only for 10 minutes. (Twitter does not count.)

Podcasts. This is free information sent to your ears, no hands required. Do this while driving, working out, cooking. You literally have nothing to lose.

6) Courses/Webinars/Seminars

Another great thing about the Internet, there are thousands of free courses to take. Ask others what they would recommend. Be in a continual state of learning and development.

Seminars are extraordinary to attend. Not only are you learning, but you are surrounded by individuals who are there for the same reason. The networking that can happen is invaluable.  

Bottom line – grow, learn, develop.

Continually evolving. Continually at your best.


 

Trust Your Creativity

Trust Your Creativity written in orange text on peach background

TOO MUCH – YOU MUST CONFORM

I have been told more than once to tone it down. To be myself but not too much. To be calm. That I am too loud. To limit myself. To fit into some sort of societal mold. I am sure I am not the only one who has been told to conform. “Be creative but do it this way.” Hmmm. That’s stifling. Where does one draw the line? And who gets to decide what you do and do not get to expose? Ultimately you are the one who gets to make that decision, however it can come at a cost.

AT WORK

A quick side note, there are situations that require you to be methodical and these are usually in the workplace. There is a fine line between creative and improper. I have found that if I wonder “is this appropriate?” I might want to rethink a couple of things. In a work environment use your creativity professionally. Find your method but remember your position and audience.

CREATIVITY

Art can take on many forms and creativity can be seen everywhere. Have you ever made something uninhibited that you wanted to show to the world not for attention but merely to stimulate – and the reaction was well received? Didn’t that feel great? You weren’t seeking glory, you were merely wanting to inspire. No limits were set. You were free to be creative. I believe that is where you need to tap in.

I saw a post the other day on Instagram. It read “trust your creativity.” That struck a chord. Hard core. I felt like I needed to high-five someone. Those three words hit hard and deep and I felt as if a weight had been lifted. That is exactly what I have felt for so long. That was it!

Do not limit your creativity. Find your method. Develop it. Edit. You are not stuck. You can continually evolve. Trust your creativity.


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3 Basics of Personal Image

Women with long hair looking side way into camera

Personal image is a wide topic but can be narrowed down to key areas. I am going to touch on 3 key areas that cover the basics of personal image: appearance, voice, behavior.

Physical Appearance

Your physical appearance matters. First impressions matter.

Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen someone who has clearly not concerned with how they look, or smell. Listen to me – you need to be clean! Your hair combed, teeth brushed, nails trimmed, clothes stain free, and shoes in good condition. You will be scanned head to toe. I have been in this industry long enough, so when I say the scuffs on your shoes will be seen, trust me.

Now, let’s talk about that posture because this is part of your physical appearance. Your posture contributes to your image. Did you know that good posture can improve your confidence? In an article by Sharon Naylor on posture, it states that “researchers have found when you sit up taller and pull your shoulders back and outward, your brain gets a signal it’s time to be confident.” Feeling confident positively affects your image because you project self-assurance and self-assurance can go a long way. Stand tall, don’t slouch, head up, believe in yourself.

Body movement is not often discussed as part of personal image but it is an important topic and part of your appearance. Take a moment and think of individuals you respect and admire. How are their movements? I am willing to bet they are not a frantic ball of chaos. They are composed. Your body movements should be smooth, controlled and with purpose.

Voice

As with body movement, your tone and speech should reflect that of someone who is unflappable. Even if you are late for your next meeting because you got a flat tire on your way into work and spilled your coffee on your suit, you and your tone should remain steady. You set the tone.

Behavior

Attitude check time. How is your behavior these days? Your actions aren’t a reflection of you, they are you. People will not want to be around someone is poor in character. It’s that simple.

Takeaway

If you really want to have a positive image, it is not about designer labels. Recognize areas that you want to improve upon and make your image radiate.


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Feeling Flat? How to Wear Flats and Still Rock the Look!

Nude and black flats and high heels

Have you Googled “executive women” lately?

Are you seeing the same thing I am? There are a lot of high heels out there. Now, Google “women’s shoes”. Your options are high heels or slippers.

Thanks.

Flats are flat out more comfortable.

If that statement above weren’t true, everyone would be in heels. Sport players would be donning stilettos. Jeff Bezos would be strutting around in sky-high Louboutins.

But do flats look better than high heels in the C-suite? Want to be real for a moment? Yes, high heels do look better. There, I said it.

Now that the obvious is out-of-the-way, let’s get on with it.

Women often ask, “can I wear flats and still be seen as professional?”

Yes, you can. You just need to know how to pick the right kind. You also need to be aware of your image. I am referring to your posture, your confidence, your professional presence. All of this is part of your personal and professional image.

That is why I am here. I want to help you feel and act continuously at your best. When you feel confident, you act confident.

So, let’s get to it then shall we?

Here is how to add a bit of flair to your flats and a few to stay away from.

Black patent leather loafer with tassels

Loafers

Loafers can be a hit or miss. Select carefully. I suggest one with a bit of a heel. Extra details such as a tassel or buckle over the tip adds more design to a somewhat slipper looking shoe.

But loafers are great for a few reasons. One, they are very much in style right now, so they are available pretty much anywhere you go. Two, since they are so in style at the moment, they are more accepted at work, which is great, because they are so comfortable! Make sure when selecting the right loafer, you do not compromise comfort for professionalism.

Black brogue

Brogues

The brogue is a nice, clean look. It is a step above the loafer. You cannot go wrong with a brogue. The details are what makes this shoe even more put together than the loafer or mules.

Cut out black brogues

Cut Outs

I love the cut out. It takes an everyday shoe and adds a bit of edge. One thing to keep in mind with cut out shoes, they can be borderline unprofessional if there is too much left out. Keep it sharp.

Hit or Miss

Peach mule with studs

Mules

I do not suggest flat mules for work. No matter how fancy the front, no matter how much they cost, flat mules are slide on shoes and slide on shoes have no place in the boardroom.

3 shoes with bows

Bows

I also suggest staying away from bows. There are a few that look decent but bows give off a oh so cutesy look. Do you want to be seen as cute or do you want to be seen as a woman who knows her business and is capable of crushing it when necessary?

Snake skin ballet flats with black toe

Ballet flats

Ballet flats have a similar effect as bows. They are dainty. Do not wear them in your next business proposal presentation. They are a good backup for driving in though.

And a few side notes:

  • Choose the material wisely as well. Certain materials on shoes can look too casual.
  • Embellishments, when done right add to the shoe. When done wrong, are an eyesore.
  • A pop of color is great. Obnoxious is not. Know the difference.
  • Just because they are expensive doesn’t make them appropriate.
  • Just because they are popular doesn’t make them appropriate.

To see more ideas, over to our Tip Sheets or click here and let me know how I can help!


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The Dos and Don’ts of Making Mistakes

Woman in gray turtleneck shaking man's hand

Another mistake…Whoops.

A mistake has been made. What’s your immediate reaction?

Common reactions:

  1. Don’ts (negative): make excuses, blame someone else, become defensive
  2. Dos (positive): accept responsibility, change your behavior, keep going

Everyone makes mistakes, what sets the skillful apart is how they choose to respond.

Don’ts: Excuses. Blame. Defense.

Someone who is constantly making excuses and blaming others creates an atmosphere of negativity. People cannot trust someone who is not reliable.

If you are constantly defensive, others will not want to confront you for fear of conflict. You make yourself unapproachable if you are unable to take responsibility for mistakes made.

Those who seek professional and personal growth must learn how to handle mistakes because no matter who you are, you are going to make them.

I am not going to spend too much time on the don’ts of making excuses, so for further insight on that topic, here is a great article by S.J. Scott titled 13 Steps to Stop Making Excuses and Get Results in Your Life.

Dos: Accept. Change. Keep Going.

What I am going to spend time on is the positive way to respond to mistakes. Learning effective responses to mistakes will help you be proactive in future decisions.

Accept responsibility.

Own up to your mistake. Why? First, others expect it, and need it. Taking responsibility acts like a reset button. You are acknowledging an error and once that is out in the open, everyone can begin to move on.

Note I did not say full responsibility. I will discuss that next.

If an error needs explanation, there is a time and a place for that, but in the midst of addressing your mistake, the reasoning (if any) should not be in the same sentence. Do not try to explain “your side of the story”.

Also, do not take full responsibility if you do not need to. It is wise to take responsibility, but being the person who always takes blame, that is not good either. Clarify.

Should you need to make any sort of clarification, stick to the actual events that happened and leave all feelings out of it. Discuss what happened, be open to feedback and work out the kinks so you can handle yourself better next time.

Change.

What will you do differently going forward? What did you learn so you do not repeat the same mistakes?

Mistakes are great lessons, as long as you learn from them.

Keep Going.

Mistakes are going to happen.

Don’t spend too much time focusing on the error. When you stay stuck in a negative mindset, there is little room for transformation. Reflect on it long enough to learn and mature.

It’s not how we make mistakes, but how we correct them that defines us. -Rachel Wolchin


Contact me at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com for more tips and suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Destructive Behavior is Destructive – It’s Time for a Change

3 women at table listening to 1 woman talking

Image consulting is a professional field that aims to improve the image of the client personally or professionally through appearance, behavior, and communication. It is the process of evaluating the effect of a person’s appearance on their professional image.

Let’s talk about behavior.

Part of image consulting deals with behavior and how that can affect a person’s image, both personally and professionally.

Behavior is so important, there are studies on it, training on it, institutes, books, lectures, seminars, you name it.

Behavior in the workplace.

Behavior in the workplace is especially important for your image. This is not to say that outside of the workplace you have a free reign to act inappropriately, but for this article, I am going to focus on workplace behavior and how it relates to your image.

Your behavior affects your image. Your behavior affects your personal brand. Your behavior affects others, and in turn, your behavior will affect you. 

Being someone who others can approach is a desirable quality. It is a skill. It makes the environment in which you work more effective. Opposite of effective behavior is destructive behavior.

You might not be aware of destructive behavior patterns in your day-to-day life. Recognizing them is a step in the right direction.

Common destructive behaviors:

  1. Negative mindset
  2. Defensive
  3. Argumentative
  4. Drama

When someone is curt with you, how does that influence your reaction? How does that affect the way you think about that individual? What is your perception of their image?

We all have some form of one or more than one of these behaviors. And keep in mind, in moderation, it is good to be a little defensive right? In moderation.

People see how you behave and relate that to who you are. 

Making proper changes.

How can you correct these behaviors? Start making changes now.

  • Identify what you need to change
  • Commit to improve
  • Be consistent
  • Seek advice, a mentor, or a career coach
  • Speak with a supervisor or someone who can give you constructive criticism

Break your plan into small, achievable, manageable steps. Set goals and timelines and don’t forget to look back on your progress.

Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does. -Sukhraj S. Dhillon


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What Really is a Career Coach?

What does a career coach actually do?

Well, pretty much the same thing all other coaches do – coach!

What do coaches do? They help their players improve. They work with each individual to get better in an area or areas of deficiency and then equip them to continue the process with skill and competence.

Career coaches have a wide range of areas they are proficient in. Overall, career coaches should be able to give insight and “coaching” to those who have hired them. A trained eye to see where there is a gap in performance.

Who can benefit from services?

Anyone.

We all want to be the best we can be right? A career coach is great to be able to support someone who is in the workforce either at the beginning of their career, in the middle, or rising to the top.

What to expect from a career coach.

Sessions

If you do decide to hire a coach, don’t expect it to be a one session and done sort of deal. It will take a minimum of 8 hours, or 4 sessions total to get some groundwork. Do not lured in by quick fixes and unrealistic promises.

You should expect to be confronted with a series questions and interviews. Your coach will need to get to know you.

  • What are your frustrations?
  • What is your current situation and why are you dissatisfied?
  • What are your goals?
  • What do you hope to gain from a career coach?

Questions

Expect to answer some tough questions and give honest answers. Don’t tell your coach what sounds good or what you think they want to hear, give them information that will be helpful to you and your future. And have some questions ready yourself. Ask questions that can’t be answered by Google; questions that will help guide your coach and you in the right direction.

Homework

Just as athletic coaches require their students to exercise and run drills, so does a career coach, maybe just not as physically demanding. Simply put, if your actions were producing positive results, you wouldn’t need a coach. You hired them to help you work through challenges, so expect them to push you. Expect to get uncomfortable but also, expect great things to come.

What will the results be?

Motivation. Confidence. Skills.

Your coach isn’t going to get you the job you want, only you can do that. What your coach will do is equip you with the motivation, confidence, and direction to go out there and achieve your goals.

The time spent with your coach will help you understand your strengths and how to use them for your career and your future aspirations. You will be equipped with the correct tools to follow a path that leads to fulfillment.

Remember, this isn’t a one-time event. Along the way you might need to revisit what you learned with your coach or reach back out for further guidance. Never feel like you can’t make a change.


I am here to help. Contact me at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com.

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