October 2010


I wonder if we women aren’t lacking a gene that makes this form of discipline especially difficult.  The final technique,  Strategic thinking, means keeping one eye on your higher purpose without taking the other off the bottom line.

Men seem much savvier at strategic thinking. Women, in their eagerness to give back to  their community or give birth to their dreams, often neglect this critical step.

To  think strategically, you must constantly link your Big Vision to the costs of doing business, connect your mission statement to the profit/loss statement.

One  woman explained it this way: “Connect everything with the numbers. To be a successful business woman, you have to strategize all the time on how to make the numbers work.”

And another,  a business owner  “The secret to a million dollars is continuously reevaluating the expenses to run a lean, mean business.”

And still another: “Once you know where the profit is, it’s just a matter of multiplying how many widgets you need to sell.”

Basically, strategic thinking involves:

  • figuring out the costs to do business
  • cutting losses when something wasn’t working
  • designing effective structures and systems
  • daily strategizing and yearly long term planning

Strategic thinking did not come easily to many of these women.

“This is not my nature,” said a former journalist, “I’m a writer. It was something I had to learn. No matter how passionate you are, you have to have business savvy.”

You can learn to think strategically by reading books, taking classes, talking to others, and/or consulting with professionals in or outside your industry.

I find strategic thinking is best done with others. My advice for tackling this technique– form a Strategic Task Force. Invite people (anywhere from 1 to 10) you trust, respect, and admire. Meet with them regularly to help you stay on track  strategically or  contact them when you need strategic solutions to problematic situations.

Please comment on your experience with strategic thinking.  This is definitely something I want to learn more about!

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Listen up, ladies. We need to talk.  We’re still on the ‘D’ word. But now we’re getting to the nitty gritty.  This form of Discipline is what separates the women from the girls. This is where the rubber meets the road.  This is, in short, the BIG SECRET to SACRED SUCCESS™.

And I got it straight from the mouths of women who make millions.  If you wanna play  a bigger game, you gotta  toughen up! That means disconnecting from your Inner Pleaser and growing thicker skin.

By  nature, we women want everyone to be happy with us. Successful women are no different. Almost all I interviewed confessed to a “little girl inside me who wants to be liked.”

However, success requires us to make difficult, even painful, decisions that often have negative consequences for other people.

“You have to do the hard stuff,” said one mega high earner. That ‘hard stuff’ included firing employees, ending partnerships, holding tight during demanding negotiations, enforcing an unpopular policy, firing high paying clients, even enduring multiple rejections and disappointments.

In fact, virtually all the women I interviewed told me that their biggest regret was not making tough decisions sooner.

‘Toughening up’ didn’t mean these women had to harden their hearts, numb their senses, or go all macho.  It did mean a dramatic shift in their mindset.

The shift sounds like this:   ‘I’d rather be respected than liked.’

As one woman told me: “I tried to be nice rather than stand by my convictions. But I learned,  you can’t always be liked, but you can definitely be respected.”

The recognition that earning respect is more important than gaining approval was what one woman described as a “watershed moment.” It definitely was life-changing for me…and liberating.

This one shift in thinking– ‘I’d rather be respected than liked’ –means developing a “rhinoceroses hide” while keeping an open heart. This is precisely how we’ll become strong, effective leaders without compromising our feminine nature. This is what will allow us to be powerful without being punitive, forthright without being unfeeling, responsible without being ruthless.

Where do you need to toughen up?  If you’re like me, I bet it’s not just at work, but on the home front too.  Leave a comment below about what “toughening up” looks like in your life.

“Forgetting what you are not enables you to remember what you are”

-A Course in Miracle

I sometimes wonder if we’re hardwired to hate discipline. I think exercising discipline is to adults what eating veggies are to kids… we do it because it’s good for us. But that doesn’t mean we have to like it!! And we’ll try anything to get out of it!

It wasn’t until my interviews with women who make millions that I had a stunning realization. The key to disciplined action is disciplined thinking.

When I shifted my focus from making myself do something to monitoring my thoughts, my behavior changed (almost) automatically.

I started using a technique I call Constructive Denial. That meant I began consciously and deliberately denying any limiting beliefs, irrational fears or feelings of inferiority about how small, inadequate or inconsequential I was.  As a Course in Miracles explains: “Denial is as capable of being used positively as well as negatively.”

For instance, when that voice in my head says (as it often does) “you don’t have what it takes to do that!” instead of caving in, I come back with, “Thanks for sharing, but I absolutely DO have what it takes.” That one retort dramatically reduces my resistance to taking action.

That’s what these successful women told me they did. They carefully observed their conversations (internal and external), making sure they didn’t lapse into—or catching themselves when they did—automatic self depreciatory or negative patterns.

As a long time mega earner explained to me, “You have to remind yourself: I’m OK. I have strengths. It’s hard. But you have to!”

They made themselves focus on their strengths and successes, talk about their achievements, and reaffirm their value to themselves.  They were constantly giving themselves pep talks, and repeating positive affirmations.

I found a terrific affirmation in a fabulous book called The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel: “I am that which I will to be.”  When I feel stuck, scared or small, I repeat that phrase, followed by “I have everything it takes to be a stellar success,” or “I am bursting with creative ideas for my next blog”.  Then I act as if it’s true.  It may seem contrived. But it actually works.

I suspect a lot of you do the same thing. Share your affirmations by adding a comment below.

Oh, the irony of it all.

I haven’t blogged in awhile.   And I’ve got a good reason—I’ve been really busy. I mean, I was preparing for my first Sacred Success Retreat.  I had house guests visiting. I flew to California for my grandson’s 6th birthday.  Yada, yada, yada…..

But you wanna know the real truth? I went oblivious to what I’d been blogging about—DISCIPLINE. I wasn’t making myself do what I needed to do, when I needed to do it….because I bought into my excuses. I actually believed them!!

Excuses are to discipline what cheating is to diets…a sure fire way to undermine your success by letting yourself off the hook.

And we all do it. We make a commitment. Stuff comes up. We get side tracked. It comes with the territory. Discipline isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being persistent.

As of today, I’m making it official. I’m getting back on the Discipline Train. And I’m inviting any of you who’ve fallen off (you know who you are!) to join me.

What that means to me is that I’m back to writing regular blogs. I’d love to hear what it means for you.