A Small Gesture with a Big Impact
It seems acceptable and almost more congenial to be in a bad mood these days. In fact, there is an entire line of stationary items that proudly states, “I Am Very Busy.” Why would anyone want to be in a bad mood purposefully? An entire blog post could probably be written on why people see being busy versus productive as a positive thing. But for now, let’s focus on why a positive, agreeable attitude is probably a better way to get ahead in your career than a negative one.
In my previous blog post, I describe a time when I was complimented for having a positive attitude, which helped me stand out in a sea of a thousand faces. As happy as I was to receive that compliment, it seems almost wrong. Why should I be noticed for not being a negative person?
There is a lot of talk about personal branding. What you wear, how you present yourself and what you post on social media are all mentioned as top things to consider in building your personal brand. But it is rarely mentioned that your attitude is the key thing people will remember about you.
Here are some questions to consider in your self-reflection of the attitude you present to others:
• Do you go out of your way to get to know your colleagues, ask about their professional work personal lives (where appropriate)?
• Do you generally smile when you talk or find an opportunity to laugh with colleagues?
• Do you start meetings as “all business” or try to bring a little levity and personality to your job?
• When someone asks how your day is going, do you generally answer positively or just tell them about the grievance you have that day?
• Do you have a positive response for “how was your weekend” or “what plans do you have for the holidays” or do you share your personal issues with your colleagues?
• If someone doesn’t agree with you in a business meeting, how is your response to them in the meeting? How do you handle it following the meeting, do you try to get others “on your side”?
• Are you able to receive feedback without getting defensive or angry?
• Do you volunteer for side projects or to help a colleague out who looks stressed?
• Do you have a consistency to how you speak to others, even and especially when, there are leaders in the room?
Every industry gets smaller the longer you are in it. People are going to remember your kindness and your smile or your negativity and your scowl. Your reputation can have either. But in the end, the former is going to benefit your career in the long-run and—in the short-run—make each day a little bit easier.
This year’s International Women’s Day theme of #BalanceforBetter couldn’t be more aligned with my hope for a more gender-balanced world in the workplace, government and society at large.
As a woman and healthcare communicator with a passion for yoga, the word balance brings to mind a medical term that’s often used in yoga called proprioception – the perception or awareness of the body’s position, motion and equilibrium.
In a continuous feedback loop, proprioceptive senses provide the brain and muscles with information that allows us to move freely or react rapidly without having to consciously think about our environment. In other words, it’s the sensory system that aids the body with maintaining stability and balance – for instance, while running on an uneven surface – due to an awareness of our orientation to gravity and the external forces acting upon the body.
I’d like to imagine a gender-balanced world where we could all tap into our collective proprioceptive awareness to allow for a more fluid freedom of movement and balance of power between men and women within all areas of society, industries and economies. It’s the intention that I’m setting for myself and others this March 8th. Because, like in yoga, being asymmetrical and unbalanced only can lead to stress, strain and ultimately, injury.
– Carol Ready is a Senior Director of Strategic Communications with Cheer Partners. She’s also a certified Vinyasa Flow and Restorative yoga instructor and is in the midst of earning her 500-hour certification.
Throughout my career, work-life balance has always been a focus of mine. Over the years, working full time at an executive level and raising three children who were less than four years apart in age has demanded balance which is extremely difficult to achieve. I have often looked back and wondered to myself, “How did I ever do that?”
When I learned that this year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “Balance for Better”, I smiled. How fitting for me?
I have always looked forward to March 8th, IWD, because I get to reminisce about all of the women I have met along my career path who have mentored me, sponsored me and been there for me when I needed advice and support—or helped me pick myself up by the bootstraps! These people in my life have been; colleagues, bosses, friends, sisters and even daughters!
However, to be fair and inclusive, I would be remiss if I didn’t also acknowledge my husband’s strong role in my supportive mix. He and I were married at a time when I was already well into my career, and he was just starting his. So, when the time came to take on a married last name, it was completely his idea that HE change HIS last name to MINE! How is that for non-traditional? In fact, it was so non-traditional that my husband had to convince the DMV that taking my last name was not actually illegal. Of course, I left it up to him to tell his immigrant father that I was not going to become a “Csizmadia”, but that he was to become a “Peck”.
This act is just one shining example of his sincere devotion and support for me–and for us. Through the years, his job allowed him to stay home most of the weekdays, which meant I would then take the weekend shift with the kids. Needless to say, we didn’t see each other much, but his involvement made a positive and lasting impression on our children.
Things never remain the same in our lives, thus promoting a true need for a balancing act that must continuously evolve. Our kids are grown now, and I have become an entrepreneur with a most amazing and talented woman partner. Building a women-owned company is full of incredible highs and terrible lows, and all the women– and men– who have helped in the past have become new resources to drive strength in new ways I never thought possible.
I encourage you to celebrate your own ways to “Balance for Better” on International Women’s Day this year. And don’t forget to include in your celebration everyone who has shared in your balancing act.