February 2008

You can’t imagine how much I’m learning from my interviews with women making millions. These conversations have been about far more than money.

These women are showing me a new, distinctly feminine paradigm of power.Good News about Women and Power…It’s Fun!

These women are creating wealth and wielding clout on their own terms, in a decidedly womanly way.

These women have figured out how to ‘play with the big boys’, make the big bucks, all without pursuing the top-down, male-model of control, domination, and self aggrandizement.

These feminine pioneers of power are achieving extraordinary success, based on qualities that come naturally to women—partnering, nurturing, collaborating, empowering, helping others—and working toward goals that genuinely inspire them. Instead of playing like a man, they realized that they could change the rules to correspond to their values.

The late NY Congresswoman Bella Abzug, once said, “In the twenty-first century, women will change the nature of power rather than power changing the nature of women.” That’s precisely what’s happening.

“Men see power as an end. Power exists to have power”, explained Kaye Fittes, in an article on internet site Nightengale.com. “For women, power is a means to an end. To embrace power, women must see what good can come out of it.”

In other words, while men covet the cachet of the corner office, women crave the chance to make a difference.

That distinction is critical. The women I interviewed recognized that making millions was not an end, but a means, a tool for creating the life they wanted to live, becoming all they were meant to be, and making a difference in areas they deeply cared about. For them, the goal wasn’t to rival Bill Gates, but to build their own creative muscles and, in turn, benefit others, in the most meaningful, authentic, and lucrative way they can.

During our interview, Cynthia Good, co- founder of Pink Magazine, herself a woman making millions, beautifully described this phenomenon. “I have a visual of business women as race horses lined up behind the gates, ready to take off, and not just take off, but do it on their own terms by being fully themselves. That is the big difference, and that is why they want to take off, because for the first time, it’s fun because we can be who we are.”

Are you having fun yet???

woman on stairs1. Smart women think beyond being a wage earner and dollar watcher to become a wealth builder. Wealth has nothing to do with what you make. Wealth comes from what you do with what you have. You create wealth by investing in assets that will grow faster than inflation and taxes take it away.

2. Smart women don’t wait until they have a lot of money to begin. Wealth begins with as little as $25 to $50 a month. (If you simply put $2.00 aside every day, you’d have saved more than $60 at the end of each month). Through the “magic” of compounding, small sums grow into a sizable portfolio.

3. Smart women don’t wait for a crisis to get started. A crisis is the worst time to start anything. You can’t think straight. You tend to make terrible decisions, sink into paralysis, and leave yourself wide open to financial losses. Instead, make a conscious choice to become smart with money.

4. Smart women know with total conviction they must do it themselves. Dispelling the myth that “someday my prince will come” is the most important financial decision you will ever make. Prince Charming need not be a man, or even a person. Our “prince” could be an insurance settlement or the lottery, anything we fantasize will save us financially.

5 Smart women talk to others about money. You can learn so much from another’s mistakes and draw inspiration from their successes. You can use others as sounding boards, role models, and sources of encouragement, advice, and information. Why not start a financial book club or discussion group?

6. Smart women deal with their unconscious attitudes to avoid sabotaging success. If you find yourself fogging up or spacing out, if you can’t seem to apply the information you learn, or resist learning it in the first place, then chances are, psychological factors are impeding your progress. Once you identify your internal blocks, success can occur spontaneously, almost effortlessly.

7. Smart women understand risk makes her wealthy. Risk in the market refers to volatility and volatility refers to price swings. The more a stock moves up and down, the riskier it is. But those fluctuations only matter when you sell your holdings. The longer your time horizon, the less important those ups and downs are. If you’ve got say 10 years, those daily fluctuations are irrelevant.

In honor of Valentines Day, I was inspired to come clean in my February newsletter…which also allowed me to climb onto my favorite soap box.

How did I come clean, you ask? I admitted that (gasp!) I love money. Yep, it’s true…I love money…what’s more, I wish everyone loved money.

I know exactly what you’re thinking. How tacky, right? Money is, after all, the root of all evil.021908post.jpg

Here’s where I got on my soap box and shouted to the world: Get a grip, folks. That very belief—money is bad—is exactly what keeps so many of you in a financial bind.

“The truth is,“ I wrote, “money, itself, is not bad. Nor is it good. It’s just a bunch of paper and metal. Money can’t shoot a gun or bandage a wound. Money can’t do squat. Only people can.

“I have come to believe that it’s not the love of money that’s the problem. It’s the lack of self-love that leads to trouble.

“Evil stems from fear, insecurity, and self hatred. Prosperity is a by-product of self love, self worth, self respect…loving yourself enough to give yourself what you desire, knowing money is an integral part of that equation.”

I saw it firsthand in my interviews with successful women. Their financial success stemmed directly from their love of self…and the value they placed on what they brought to the table. Furthermore, they created wealth by taking care of their money so their money would take care of them. Now, that’s (self) love!!

The very day my newsletter came out, I was flooded with responses. I’ve never gotten such a strong reaction before. What surprised me most–everyone agreed.

For example, one woman wrote:

“I LOVE MONEY TOO! I agree with what you say about money because it really is just a means to an end. I believe that I read in one of the lectures by the late Emmett Fox that it was not money in and of itself that was the root of evil but more that the root of the evil was that people put their love of money above all else; therein lies the dilemma “

Another responded:

“I loved myself this month by participating in an online seminar to find out how the changes to my 401K would affect me and how to navigate around the Fidelity Investments website. [And] I am taking care of me by taking responsibility for my future which involves being able to retire some day. “

I want to hear from you too. Do you think I’m totally tacky? Or am I touting truth? To read the whole newsletter: http://www.barbarastanny.com/current-newsletter.html

Have you ever felt stuck? Who hasn’t! I see it with everyone I coach. That’s usually what brought them to me in the first place. They’re sailing through life when suddenly, inexplicably, they get stopped in their tracks, as if they collided with an invisible barrier. They’re never quite sure exactly what happened, or if it would ever end.

These stuck points vary in intensity and duration. Sometimes they only last a few days. Other times you’re down for the count, convinced your life has come to a screeching halt, your career is finished, all chance at happiness gone forever. No matter how long they last, these can be very dark, dreaded periods.

Like everyone else, I used to hate being stuck. Not any more. I can’t say stuck points are fun. But at least now I realize they have a purpose.

I want to share with you an epiphany I had that changed my whole relationship to the stuck point.

I was in the gym, working out with a trainer, about to do a chest press with no added weight. I lay flat on my back, grabbed the bar, pushed it high above my body, lowered it to just above my chest, then lifted it back up, repeating the exercise 12 times. No problem. It was easy. Then my trainer added 5 pound weights to each end of the bar. I felt the difference immediately. By the 2nd repetition, my arms were quivering. The third time I lowered the bar to my chest, it wouldn’t budge. I strained. I struggled. I was clearly stuck. My ego felt deflated. My trainer saw it differently.

“That’s how you build muscles,” he explained, “by getting past the stuck point.”

Sure enough, in the next couple of weeks, I eventually could do 12 consecutive reps without flinching. But my trainer didn’t let me rest in my glory. Instead, he added more weight. And sure enough, I was instantly at a new stuck point.

That’s the moment I had my epiphany. The weights became an obvious metaphor for life. Getting past my previous Stuck Points was precisely how I have grown physically, mentally and emotionally stronger. It is how I have built my confidence muscles, experienced higher levels of achievement, and discovered new possibilities I would never have predicted.

The problem is, no one ever talks about their stuck points, nor is much written about them. So last year I asked 61 women how they got through their stuck points, and put their responses into a book: Breaking Through: Getting Past the Stuck Points in Your Life. I learned so much from them.

I’d love to hear from you too. What have you done that has helped you get through those dreaded stuck points?