On Being Perfect, Part 2

read Part 1 here

The conference room was full. The oval table that filled the long room was itself full with a few extra people sitting in chairs lined around the perimeter. The meeting’s casual appearance belied its importance: It was my first meeting with a lot of my higher ranking coworkers. It was my chance to prove my commitment and my knowledge.

I had just started to use Cozi.com, and its free Android app the week prior, and I felt pretty smugly satisfied with my success at juggling multiple calendars. My meeting was scheduled until 5:00 but realistically could last until 5:30. Nick was all set to pick Claire up from daycare.

But then I saw a missed call on my phone and a new voicemail. I surreptitiously checked my missed calls. It was daycare. I snuck out of the room during a slower, less critical part of the meeting to check my voicemail. And my scheduling smugness evaporated. Claire was supposed to be picked up at 4:00. It was 4:10. I quickly arranged with Claire’s provider to leave her with her responsible teenage daughters.

After my meeting, I called Nick who confirmed that he’d picked Claire up. It seemed to be fine. Except I couldn’t stop worrying about it. It almost completely consumed my thoughts on the drive home.

I revealed here that I’m no stranger to worrying about my shortcomings. I feel like I’ve made progress since then, but I also feel like the harder I try to remember everything the more mistakes I’ve made. This week alone I’ve made two grocery store trips: on trip one I forgot a bag of purchased items and on trip two I replaced those items but forgot to buy the chicken nuggets that are crucial to my toddler’s diet.

Sometimes it’s easy to laugh off my forgetfulness. Claire and I laughed at my silliness after I’d confirmed that I’d left the items on my first trip (most likely in the shopping cart) and received a refund. Or I remind myself that I remember the really important things. My phone and/or my purse might be lost, but I have Claire! But other times I mentally beat myself up about it. (And, let me tell you, I’m very brutal mentally.)

So, how am I dealing with this (besides not well)? Notebooks, lists, sticky notes, Cozi.com and the Cozi app. I write things down as I recall them; I make lists. And, most of all, I enter events into my Cozi calendar ASAP because it’s not Cozi’s fault if I don’t enter an appointment.

Do you struggle with trying to be perfect? Anxiety? How do you cope and/or overcome?

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Book Discussion: Secrets of Six-Figure Women

As women we often discount ourselves. Most of us know is bad for us mentally and physically, but it’s also bad for our careers. As modern women, careers are a large part of our lives if not ourselves. It’s time we start to refocus on ourselves. Reading this book is a step in the right direction.

Secrets of Six-Figure Women is a quick, engaging read chock full of excellent advice. Stanny, whose father was a successful and recognized businessman, was a chronic underearner who set out to learn the secrets of successful women. What she learned was both surprising and expected.

For example, I was surprised to learn that many of the six-figure women didn’t work unGodly hours. Many have taught themselves to focus and work as little as four hours a day, and they’re even more successful than when they’d worked four hours by 8:00 a.m.

While surprising, I’m fully in support of this. What’s the point of making six-figures if you can’t enjoy it? (This is a rhetorical question. Life is meant to be lived; not worked.)

It wasn’t surprising at all that Stanny found belief in oneself, hard work, education, and talent to be the most important factors to her interviewees success. These are four marked characteristics that I would list for successful women.

Stanny also found that six-figure women have a profit motive (they expect to be well compensated), audacity (they often step outside their comfort zones), resilience, and encouragement. She also learned that the women were self aware, were non-attached, and had financial know how.

Stanny is quite quotable in this book. Her writing is strong and her insight deep. Her quotes are the type I’d want to embroider on a pillow, if I had the patience to embroider. Some of her most quotable lines include the following:

“[T]he moment we stop waiting and start acting, we have the opportunity to walk through a doorway to a richer, fuller, more abundant life.” (page 73)

“Our state of mind shapes our way of life.” (page 74)

“To really change your financial situation, you have to let go of that part of yourself that stands in the way of greater abundance.” (page 117)

Of course you can’t write a book about women succeeding in the workplace without addressing sexism. According to the women interviewed, there are two ways to handle sexism: 1) shake it off or 2) leave the organization.

Shaking it off would be a good idea for minor instances of sexism, the cases in which proving oneself will help eradicate a sexist culture or superior. But sometimes the culture is so bad that you just need to leave. I know it’s sometimes hard to leave when we want to change the culture, but it’s not always possible, especially when the culprit is an older man. Some people need to age out of the workforce before we can change negative corporate cultures.

Success sometimes requires adequately handling sexism.

This only addresses the cases when women have a choice to stay or leave. When a woman is forced out due to sexism, she has to do something about it.

Stanny ends with a little last minute advice:

“Claim your power. Value yourself, honor yourself, take all your desires to heart.”

What do you think? Do you have any tips to help women achieve six-figure success? Do you agree with the two ways to handle sexism? I’d love to hear your thoughts.