Reliability: A New Manifesto

In a couple of weeks, I’ll have the pleasure of presenting a workshop at my favorite conference of the year. As I was preparing for my presentation, entitled Reliability: The Human Dimension of Productivity, I penned an all new Manifesto as a handout for the occasion. And here it is! If you’d like your own copy as a pdf, click here. Enjoy!

reliability manifesto

 

What the Sexy + Soul-full Woman Knows: It’s better to risk displeasing someone than attempting to please everyone

This is the third in a series of posts exploring what it means to be a Sexy + Soul-full woman. You can read the first post here. Enjoy!

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After listening to my client bemoan her bulging schedule and her ever-shrinking bandwidth, I spotted a pattern. She was always saying ‘yes.’ To every request, no matter how irrelevant to her goals or how far outside her interests, she acquiesced to them all. When we explored what lurked behind her agreements, it became clear that she wanted not just to be pleasing and accommodating, but she also feared hurting someone’s feelings or making them angry by refusing their request. Her unwillingness to say ‘no’ was driving her to exhaustion; she was over-committed and unable to keep her promises–a situation that was decidedly displeasing to those whose requests fell through the cracks.

The Sexy + Soul-full woman knows that it’s worth risking someone’s displeasure when they hear her ‘no,’ over attempting to please everyone by constantly saying ‘yes.’ Acquiring the ability to risk and, occasionally weather, being displeasing is a key skill that marks the passage into a stage of wisdom for Sexy + Soul-full women. This wisdom comes from discernment and the willingness to say ‘no’ with love and courage.

Discernment is the process of weighing options, not just according to possible risk or potential payoff, but also against spiritual criteria. This sort of spiritual discernment relies on feelings and intuition rather than solely consulting the intellect. The Sexy + Soul-full woman uses her gut (as well as the rest of her body) as a reliable compass to point to her inclinations and possible courses of action. Looking for subtle, persistent, and consistent leanings toward a particular direction, she distrusts flashy fantasies about fantastical outcomes.

“We are all conduits for a great and creative energy,” writes Julia Cameron, “that seeks expression in us and through us. When we yearn to be different, it’s not just our restless ego. It is our accurate response to the creative energy within us that is seeking a venue for expression.” Knowing this, the Sexy + Soul-full woman focuses her attention on callings, yearnings, and insights. She follows her heart’s leanings and trusts her soul’s whispers.

It is her ability ability to recognize when a ‘yes’ isn’t appropriate that gives her the courage to speak an unambiguous ‘no.’ A ‘yes’ spoken out from an out-of-control desire to please or a misplaced fear of being displeasing reeks of lack of conviction. When a woman is fearfully or tearfully accommodating, her commitments waver like the mirages they are. The unwitting people-pleaser is led farther and farther into a desert of littered with her broken promises. There is nothing for her there in that parched, empty landscape but dust.

When speaking her clear, unambiguous ‘no,’ the Sexy + Soul-full woman uses her core strengths. She doesn’t squirm or quail, she needs no excuses nor apologies. She says ‘no’ firmly and with compassion. Her compassion springs from the understanding that ‘no’ can be hard to hear and unpleasant to bear–she has heard her own share of ‘no’s’ so she delivers a ‘no’ with kindness. She is firm to communicate that her ‘no’ is real and has strength behind it. She may receive arguments from the recipient of her ‘no’ but the Sexy + Soul-full woman can stand on her ‘no’ and make it stick. She shall not be moved when she doesn’t wish to be.

Ultimately, what this willingness to risk displeasing others by saying ‘no’ with love and courage does is communicate the commitment to being reliable. The Sexy + Soul-full woman knows that trust is the basis of all relationships. Broken promises damage, and eventually destroy, trust and relationships along with it. To be worthy of trust, her ‘yes’ must mean, truly ‘yes.’ By reserving her ‘yes’ for what she knows she can and will do, she both gains her own confidence in her ability to follow through as well as earns the trust and respect of those around her. That trust and respect yields much greater credibility and standing that people pleasing can ever do.

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What have you learned about people-pleasing? When have you said ‘no’ with love and courage? Share your stories in the comments below.

What the Sexy + Soul-full Woman Knows: How (and Why) to Celebrate Success

This is the second in a series of posts exploring what it means to be a Sexy + Soul-full woman. You can read the first post here. Enjoy!

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white-badgeAmbition is a wonderful trait. It invites industriousness and initiative. Ambition calls you forward, to reach a little farther, farther perhaps than you think you can. This kind of stretching to grow past your personal best is good and healthy. But occasionally, ambitious women get so focused on meeting goals and then surpassing them, they forget to pause and savor their achievements. What the Sexy + Soul-full woman knows is that celebrating success is an essential part of accomplishment, as important as setting goals, planning, and doing the work it took to achieve success.

Celebrating success isn’t just a pat on the back or gaining recognition. If fact, those are the least of the benefits that celebration bestows on the Sexy + Soul-full woman. Celebration is the act of taking possession of, and owning, her abilities. It is by naming, experiencing, being present to her successes, that endows the Sexy + Soul-full woman with her knowledge of what she is good at and the value of her work. Only by understanding and recognizing the worth of her work can she be in full ownership of it and be ready to stand up for it or upon it.

What does celebration consist of? A pause, a moment, a smile, a flower in the vase on her desk. Celebration is a massage, a good book, a glass of wine raised in a toast the significance of which only she knows. It’s a line in her gratitude journal. It’s a class she’s been wanting to take, an afternoon spent on her art, a walk alone so she can hear her own voice and sing her own praises, to herself and her muses and to whomever else she wishes to share her joy.

By celebrating her accomplishments, she positions herself to bring her achievements with her, a treasure trove that she can draw from wherever she goes, for her own benefit, as well as of those around her. It’s said that women are poor negotiators for their own benefit, gaining (on average) fewer raises and bonuses than men who do the same work. The Sexy + Soul-full woman is in a better position to argue on her own behalf and bolder in doing so because she understands the value of her abilities, the worth of her accomplishments, and the advantage she brings to her employers or collaborators.

Even though the Sexy + Soul-full woman celebrates, she does so with humility. She knows that her accomplishments are earned by her effort, not owed to her by entitlement. She gives credit to herself, yes, but also shares credit generously with others. This sharing is a natural extension of her gratitude, which she practices consistently, as she offers her work and accomplishments to a greater power than her own.

By attuning herself to something greater than herself, something transcendent and divine, the Sexy + Soul-full woman is able to accept her success as a gift, not just to herself but to her world. Each and every time she achieves some measure of success, she contributes to the success of all. A rising tide, after all, lifts all boats. When she succeeds, the Sexy + Soul-full woman makes it possible for others to succeed, to surpass their own limitations, to gain greater freedom and seek new possibilities. And indeed, this is true for her as well–as her celebration of success nurtures an inner strength and confidence.

Celebration of success, in joy and with humility, supplies the Sexy + Soul-full woman with the understanding she needs to be comfortable in her own skin. She is able to approve of herself, seeing herself and what she does with love. This ability to supply herself with approval makes external validation irrelevant and unnecessary. And thus, when recognition from the outside comes to her, it’s a gift and a grace that only adds to her already bountiful sense of abundance and wealth.

Last, but certainly not least, celebration allows the Sexy + Soul-full woman a chance to savor the sweetness of success, the be fully present for it, reaping joy and fulfillment from her work. Without this kind of pause, however brief, her work may feel endless and, at times, pointless. But with even modest celebration, energy and light are restored and purpose and meaning are recalled. Those reminders of the deeper reasons for her efforts are what keep the Sexy + Soul-full woman loyal to her journey, even when the going is tough and successes are far between, when failure looms or storm clouds gather.

What about you? How do you celebrate your accomplishments? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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