Wednesday, May 25, 2011
This morning, I was reading Facebook feeds and I came across this post from Latashja Hanson who is in Wenatchee, Washington. And I thought it was the perfect premise for today's challenge:
Nice Girls Challenge Day 40: Welcome Jealousy
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Today's guest blogger is an amazing woman and friend that has some very sound advice for the 9-5 nice girl. A southern belle without the saccharine-sweetness (she'll never talk behind your back and "bless your heart" in public), Laura Bliss Morris is a strong minded, inspirational, and successful corporate queen who has an amazing design sensibility and a solid work ethic. Aside from her career clout, she also fosters dogs in her spare time with Agape Animal Rescue www.agaperescue.org and could have her own show on HGTV with some of her home renovation ideas.
This the girl you want to learn lessons from, have a glass of wine with, or simply read a few paragraphs from- so I encourage you to take Laura's challenge, its a GREAT one!
Nice Girls Challenge Day 40: Climb the Corporate Ladder Without Clawing Your Way to the Top
I must admit when Megan asked me if I’d do a guest post on rules for nice girls in the workplace, I was flattered.
Megan and I first met a few years ago when we worked together as literary publicists. Since then we’veboth moved on to other careers, major life changes and different states but we’ve remained strongfriends. I attribute the bond we formed as friends to the strong foundation we first built as co-workers.
For many women, the workplace can be like high school all over again. Cliques pop up, gossip runs rampant, and everything is laced with an air of competitiveness. But what makes the workplace so much more devious, is that the stakes are higher. You aren’t competing for vice president of the senior class, you’re competing for vice president, senior partner, manager, or any other upper level position that will not only make you the envy of all your “friends” but pay you more money, give you better perks, and so on.
This can be a slippery slope. Trust me I know. A few years ago, as a mid- twenty-something trying tomake it in a new city, I went from an entry level position to manager of the department in the matterof a few months. At the time, all I saw was the title and pay upgrade. I didn’t take a realistic look back to say, “HEY! This is a great thing but are you ready for this? Do you know the industry well enough? Do you have a big long list of contacts?” instead I just went with it.
I’m a quick learner and for what I lacked in experience, I made up for in dedication to learning the things I didn’t know. But as the first-time manager of a department of three, ambitious and competitive women—this added a whole new layer and I knew I had my work cut out for me. Playing nice wasn’t always the easy thing to do, but it was the right thing to do for the company (and my sanity). In the end, we all made it through—some of us with stronger bonds than others but at the end of the day I’d say we could all enjoy a nice long chat and a cold cocktail should our paths cross again.
Here are some tried and true rules to help Nice Girls climb their way to the top:
1. Gossip Girls:
There’s a reason that show’s for high schoolers: As the clock drags on and you’re stuck between lunch and punching the clock, it’s easy to get caught up dishing about the what-if’s and the hushed whispering of who did what but gossip is a very nasty thing. Just because you interpret something one way doesn’t mean that’s the correct context. Your incorrect interpretation could be damaging not only to your co-worker but your future as well. As my mother always says, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
2. Look the Part:
This isn’t a critique about your fashion sense—rather more about your fashion IQ. Animals survive and thrive in the wild because they camouflage themselves. If you want your nice girl persona to be taken seriously, now is not the time to go all ‘Sex & The City’ if you work at a conservative law firm. Expression is a big part of who we are so stifling our fashion creativity isn’t what I’m recommending. Simply become aware of your surroundings and learn to camouflage without sacrificing who you are. A crisp, clean black suite with a rockin’ pair of pink heels or other standout accessory is a great way to get the best of both worlds. You don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb but you also don’t want to blend in to the background. Using fashion to get noticed the right way takes some practice but trust me that micro mini is going to do about as much for your career as braces did for your first kiss.
3. Kitty’s Got Claws:
Competition can make us do crazy things. As a former collegiate athlete, the greatest thing I’ve learned about competition is to ALWAYS respect your opponent. You don’t have to like, approve or replicate everything your co-workers do but you should always respect them as co-workers. You’re not a teenager anymore and this isn’t your mom telling you that you can’t go to the prom. This is your peer—someone who doesn’t have to love you because you’re their kid. If you break out those cat claws and draw first blood, you can kiss your nice girl reputation goodbye. The gossip mills will be running at full steam and those cliques will be un-cliquing you post-haste.
4. Passing Notes:
Listen, if you don’t want the teacher to read to the class about your new obsession with Tommy or how you can’t stand the captain of the cheerleading squad, don’t write it in the note that you just passed to your bestie! Same thing goes for work e-mail. Come on ladies, how many times have we written something only to then accidentally forward it on to someone who wasn’t supposed to see it—a client who is driving you particularly crazy, a co-worker who is wearing an outfit that’s well—interesting, or a boss you caught picking his nose. E-mail has made modern day business communication a breeze but when used incorrectly it can also be a dangerous tool. So keep it classy. If you aren’t comfortable saying it out loud to a co-worker, maybe you shouldn’t be saying it at all.
5. The Corner Office:
Regardless of who sits in the corner office, we all want to be there at some point in our lives. If you’re new to a company take some time to get settled in and absorb the corporate environment before you start speaking up. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong, outspoken woman myself—just ask Megan, my husband or even my boss—but I’ve learned to bury my feet in the sand before the tide comes rushing in. The best way to get to the corner office one day is to become invested in the company. How does this make you a nice girl? Well it means that you’re learning your role, your place in the company and then you can recognize your niche—the place where your talents fit in—without stepping on your co-workers on the way to the top.
All in all, climbing the corporate ladder without clawing your way to the top and remaining a nice girl in the corporate world isn’t easy. Whether you’re just starting your first big job or are a veteran employee,I hope these simple tips help you continue the good fight. Cheers to the nice girls, who make going to work every day a pleasure!
Laura Bliss Morris is a senior, public relations practitioner for a Nashville-based non-profit. After years of competing at cut-throat for-profit corporations, she recently retracted her claws and returned to her first love—the non-profit sector. An avid DIY’er, she can often be found up to her elbows in a home renovation project with her husband and two dogs. To read more from Laura visit her blog: Bungalow Bliss
Monday, May 16, 2011
A quick departure from my normal Nice Girls Challenge I wanted to post a little celebratory shimmy- as my mother-in-law and I are featured on the home page of The Today Show!
A bricks-and-mortar pitch that I formulated myself was able to land me an interview with a Today Show correspondent. This just goes to show that no matter what it is you want, if you believe in yourself enough and treat others with mutual respect and love- great things can happen. They plugged my author website and also shed some much needed light on healthy female relationships- especially when it comes to our mother-in-laws.
Contention isn't cute, so let your blood mother or mother-in-law know how much you appreciate them everyday.
To read the complete story: The Today Show Story Featuring "Bitch? Please!"
Friday, May 13, 2011
GUEST BLOG Nice Girls Challenge Day 39: Hand Out "Happy-Hearted Fits of Smiling" with Reckless Abandon
Today's guest blogger is an amazing woman or tryst and trade. Having lived in New York City for several years, Corinne Kalasky worked as an associate publicist for Harper Collins and also worked as an international rights associate for Thomas Nelson. Working with some of the most renowned authors like Star Jones, Nina Garcia, and Marilu Henner she has had her fair share of having to work with high-powered women.
Aside from her stellar resume, she is also the funniest, most laid back lady I know. With an amazing literary sense, she just may be the next big thing so keep your eye out for her soon-to-be blog. She can make even the biggest of B's laugh her pants off. Without further ado, try your hand at her challenge of the day!
Corinne's Thought of the day: Someone once told me about an idea for a children’s book called “Nice is Nice,” which I recall thinking at the time was one of the best titles – not to mention concepts -- I’d ever heard. I also recall thinking that an adult companion volume was at least as necessary, given that simple expressions of thoughtfulness seem to have gone the way of the dodo bird these days. I think we have the increasingly frenetic pace of modern life to blame. Now that everything’s become digitized, we can be everywhere and standing in one place at the same time, but sometimes I think that that convenience has come with a pretty steep price tag; we’ve forgotten how much the little things mean.
I’m one of those people who live by the maxim that little things mean a lot. And by a lot, I mean everything. It’s borderline ridiculous how thrilled I get when I receive a card from a faraway friend letting me know that they’re thinking of me, or a phone call right out of the blue from someone I haven’t talked to in months.
Thoughtful text messages, even, are enough to send me into fits of happy-hearted smiling for entire afternoons, not to mention emails or ecards or any number of YouTube videos featuring animals playing instruments. All these actions, most of which take no longer than a few minutes, make me happy because they let me know that I am loved. That somewhere out there, some friend of mine took a few minutes out of her day to do something that she knew would make me smile.
Today, steal a few minutes from your day for the express purpose of making someone else smile. Send a card, send an email, send a text. Just let someone know that you’re thinking of them. Sometimes clichés exist for a reason. The smallest things make the biggest difference.
Photo Courtesy of Simply GEO
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Thought of the day: OK, so you may be wondering what "taking your time" has to do with empowering nice girls everywhere- well it has a lot to do with it. From exercising patience in the drive-thru, to letting someone cut in on you in bad traffic, time seems to be one major reason that so many of us treat others poorly. Thoughts like these run through our minds:
"I don't have the time to listen to your problems."
"I don't have the time to donate my time to your cause."
"I don't have the time to help you fix your broken sink." (Ok, no amount of time could ever help me fix someone's sink- but you get the idea)
I challenge you to take the time you have and give it away. Believe me, I know this is a tough one. With a young son, a part-time job, dinners to make and errands to run, I understand that getting time to yourself is a luxury. But even if you just commit one Saturday a month to doing something for someone else, I think you may find that your nice girl muscles are only as big as your heart is.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Nice Girls Challenge Day 37: Start a Fan Club (For Yourself!)
Thought of the Day: Blame it on my perfectionism, my sad taste in music (Tori Amos and Jeff Buckley), or my failed attempts at managing expectations to thwart disappointment, but I constantly find myself second guessing my efforts. Whether the issue is my parenting, writing, exercising, or even dinner choices, there are negative voices in my head telling me that my black bean soup is lousy or that I shouldn't be feeding my son spinach that isn't picked from my own backyard.
These voices are not the ones that I enroll in my fan club. Yes, that's right I have a fan club for myself- that only elite members can be a part of. My members so far? Positivity, Pat-on-the-back, and Forgiveness for Failing.
Creating a mental fan club for yourself and only allowing the voices of encouragement and inspiration to feed your passion for life is a wonderful way to keep your "nice girl" niceness protected and fueled. There is a lot to get down about, so dedicate yourself to starting up your own fan club and enrolling members of your personality that won't kick you when your down.
No need to print t-shirts. That's a little much.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Nice Girls Challenge Day 35: Walk Between Raindrops
Thought of the day: Years ago, a young man told me that I walked between raindrops. It may have been the most flattering thing I had ever heard. He basically told me that I had such an honest outlook on life that even the rainiest of days couldn't get me wet. Since, I live in the Northwest I've had to withstand a lot of rain- however this is a saying that can apply to anyone, anywhere. Walking between raindrops is a mentality. It is a commitment to being optimistic even on the darkest of days. Don't get me wrong, there are times, weeks, days and even months to grieve, work through your emotions and deal with the fire fall that life sometimes gives, but for those day to day moments, nice girls commit themselves to looking for the good. Not letting the voice of insecurity and anger rule them, and instead focus on harnessing the optimistic side of themselves whenever the weather may call for a little rain.
Monday, May 2, 2011
Thought of the day: One of my favorite quotes is from an obscure Keanu Reeves movie back in 2001. If you blinked you may have missed, Hard Ball, a film about a coach teaching inner city kids how to play baseball and of course, teaching the odd life lesson- but there is one scene in that move that I think of often.
He has gathered the kids together and gives this speech, "I want you guys to take a good look at yourselves and feel proud. We made it here. We're here. What I've learned from you is that really one of the most important things in life is showing up. I'm blown away by your ability to show up..."
It is one of the those things that you don't ever read in a 10-step program, but nice girls everywhere understand the importance of "showing up". Showing up can seem so small. A girlfriend is having a hard time at work, so you show up with her favorite shake. Your grandmother is grieving the loss of her husband and your grandpa and so you show up everyday for a month to bring her flowers, or just to have tea.
Showing up unexpectedly, showing up as promised, or showing up when you didn't think you had the time or energy to do so- those 3 scenarios are true tests of your character. So the next time you are vegging out in front of the TV but know you should be out there "showing up" for someone, made the extra effort to go out of your way.
If you keep missing opportunities to help, love or support others, pretty soon there won't be much of a life or friends to show up for.