“Understand that it is unlikely that you will change the size of the playing field to suit your needs. Playing your game at the edge can help to stretch the boundaries, but if it’s too narrowly defined for you, start looking for a bigger field.”

Book Summary

If you work nonstop without a break…worry about offending others and back down too easily…explain too much when asked for information….or “poll” your friends and colleagues before making a decision, chances are you have been bypassed for promotions and ignored when you expressed your ideas. Although you may not be aware of it, girlish behaviors such as these are sabotaging your career!

Dr. Lois Frankel reveals why some women roar ahead in their careers while others stagnate. She’s spotted a unique set of behaviors–101 in all–that women learn in girlhood that sabotage them as adults. Now, in this groudbreaking guide, she helps you eliminate these unconscious mistakes that could be holding you back–and offers invaluable coaching tips you can easily incorporate into your social and business skills. If you recognize and change the behaviors that say “girl” not “woman”, the results will pay off in carrer opportunites you never thought possible–and in an image that identifies you as someone with the power and know-how to occupy the corner office.

Book review

This is a book that’s been on my TBR list for so long but as I started working in a corporate environment I needed books to guide in my career and this came first. It’s a book I wish I had read earlier. It’s a book I’ll gift all my sisters on their graduation.

This is a much more skills-based and practical book. The author’s main theme is, “Stop being a girl,” by which she means to stand up for yourself because high quality work alone won’t get you noticed and promoted. The corporate world is prejudiced against girls and can’t envision them beyond the secretarial pool. Women, in contrast, get ahead with the right efforts.

The author challenges the usual thought – in a perfect world, we should be able to be ourselves at work and get ahead – but we don’t live in that world, and a more subtle idea in this book is that perhaps many of the nice-girl characteristics women have aren’t inherent, so much as conditioned, and in the process of unconditioning ourselves, we find out how human we really are. Frankel doesn’t waste time pining for an idealistic world – this book isn’t for idealistic women, it’s for ambitious women who want to succeed and thrive in the world that exists. Success in the corporate world, like it or not, entails conformity. Frankel points out the mistakes women are making in regards to that expectation of conformity in terms of how we prioritize performing gender over performing our jobs.

There are many lessons to learn from this book but it’s better you read for yourself. However, here are some of them I picked:

  • Never apologize for your success. Ever.
  • Being nice isn’t enough.
  • Not everyone has to like you. Figure out what it is in your psyche that makes you want to be liked and get over it.
  • Even though not everyone has to like you, you do have to be likable. Figure out your LQ, or likability quotient.
  • Be proactive, not reactive.
  • Never volunteer for “womanly” duties. This means don’t offer to clean up, do dishes, or make coffee for other people.
  • Don’t ramble. Get to the point with everything you have to say and don’t qualify it.
  • Dressing well and looking nice is important, even if you don’t want it to be. Recognize reality and work within it.
  • Don’t groom yourself in public. This means mascara, hair-fixing, and nail-filing.
  • Don’t sit on your foot! It’s unprofessional and gives off an air of indifference.
  • Figure out your brand. Who are you? What’s your statement about yourself that you want to project?
  • Don’t take on meaningless projects just to show that you can do the work.
  • Don’t multitask. It’s actually bad for your brain.
  • As you move from being a girl to a woman, recognize those who resist your empowerment and overcome it.
  • Always be prepared. “Chance favors the prepared mind.” (The Girl Scout in me loves this)
  • Do the ‘silhouette test’ – This means when you’re presenting, be aware of your shadow and make sure your gestures break out of it
  • Don’t hold your tongue in meetings. Chances are, if you’re thinking it, someone else is. If you don’t say it, someone else will.

Girls are not traditionally raised to be tough players in the competitive workplace environment. They learn from a very young age to self-sabotage their success by undermining their value in the eyes of others, and by shying away from behaviors traditionally perceived as exclusively male, such as competitiveness. The way to overcome these self-defeating behaviors is to become aware of them and take active steps to correct their negative effects.

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