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!

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.

HandsI want to share with you one of the best kept secrets in the world of women and power. It’s called Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts. I had no idea what Mama Gena’s was all about until Regena Thomashauer (aka Mama Gena) asked me to speak earlier this year.  When I walked into the room, the energy was so high and the women I met so extraordinary, I knew I had to check it out. So I signed up for Mastery.

The course explores power in ways that will deeply transform your relationship with yourself as a woman along with your ability to create your dreams and desires. What it did for me was help me identify and overcome barriers that have kept me from living my life to the fullest.

Regena’s work is truly cutting edge. I’d love you to check it out at  http://www.mamagenas.com, or contact me with any questions.  A new Mastery is starting soon…I’d love to see you there!

I just got an enthusiastic email from a client: “I feel as if I have discovered from you a magic secret of life that nobody else on the planet knows about.”

OK, she may be exaggerating…a bit. But in truth, what she learned IS one of the most powerful, and best kept secret among Successful High Earners (SHEs). It’s also the biggest show-stopper for underearners.

The secret– so utterly simple, yet so profoundly difficult—goes like this: “When you commit to a goal, you don’t have to know how you’ll achieve it. You just need to do what comes next.”

I learned this from my interviews with SHEs. To paraphrase a famous quote, they’d set a goal, jump off the cliff, and build wings on the way down. Conversely, Underearners think they must have a full-blown plan all figured out before they’ll even allow themselves to consider taking a leap.

Here’s a typical conversation (from an actual email):The Secret of SHE

Woman: “When you say we ‘don’t have to figure it all out,’ does that mean I don’t have to figure out exactly how I am going to make the money I want to make?”

Me: “Yep. “

Woman: “Hmmm, that goes against my business school training that taught you have to make a business plan, a marketing plan to achieve your revenue goals.”

She’s right. The secret runs counter to society’s teachings. But the most successful high earners taught me otherwise.

The lesson I learned from them: The HOW is NOT important. I repeat, the HOW is NOT important. What matters most is your degree of commitment.

Here’s how the secret works. Commitments are like magnets. They draw opportunities to you, often disguised as coincidences. You turn on the news, step on the bus, bump into a friend, hear the phone ring, and from absolutely nowhere, someone or something shows up that’s just what you need.

(Warning: If synchronicities aren’t forthcoming, revisit you commitment. There’s a direct correlation between fierceness of commitment and frequency of coincidences.)

That’s how the secret works. Once you commit to a goal and get out of your own way, it’s mind boggling what can happen. Try it, and tell me your results.

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???

I’ve been writing books about women and money for over a decade. But it’s only in the past few years that I’ve witnessed a growing trend. Women are coming together for the sole purpose of financial education. And not just in formal investment clubs. Women are forming money book clubs or simply study groups on the subject. They are gathering in person, or through the internet. ( Wife.org offers fantastic money groups).

HandsThis phenomenon sends me right back to the early 70”s when, sparked by Betty Friedan’s book “The Feminine Mystique,” consciousness raising groups began sprouting up. For the first time, women were sharing more than tips on how to catch a man or raise a child. We began searching for meaning and purpose outside the proscribed roles of mother and wife. Those tiny gatherings around kitchen tables sparked perhaps the most dramatic social change in history: the feminist revolution.

But you know what the feminists forgot? Money. Today women make up half the workplace, but financially many of us are still in the dark ages.

I am thrilled with this new dimension of consciousness raising. Women finally understand they need to be financially savvy. And we’re figuring out fast that learning in groups is especially powerful. Women by nature are relationship oriented. We learn best from each other. Combining girl-talk with financial-speak greatly decreases intimidation levels and ups the fun factor exponentially. The result: a growing cadre of economically independent women are reclaiming their power, taking charge of their lives, and having a great time in the process.

In case you missed it, a study group guide is included in the paperback edition of Secrets of Six-Figure Women. I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from women who have followed it.

Have you joined (or started) a money group? I’d love to hear about your experience.