Self-Discipline… Finding a Way to Rest

Finding A Way to Rest

Thank you Liz, owner of Chicago Boudoir, for allowing me a way to rest during such a busy week!  For someone who must do something outside of the norm to rest, I appreciate you helping me find a new way to see the gorgeous, brave, and fearless woman within me so I could have energy to empower others!

My struggle…

A couple years ago, I started having real health issues. My blood pressure was too high and my mind was foggy.  Instead of taking time to care of myself and my stress level, I started taking a blood pressure pill. This was problematic to say the least…

Early on in my career, I had a vision of standing on the stage motivating others.  I would constantly push myself to get up and speak in front of people during conferences and meetings.  My body would react with a “fight” response that would cause me to sweat, my heart would beat fast, and my throat to seemingly close up. Because fear of public speaking is common and these symptoms normally present themselves, I didn’t realized the stress of my career choices were affecting my health. 

It literally took a Jeep slamming into the driver side of my car to make me slow down!  I had just dropped my kids off at school. “Shame on me!  Driving my children while exhausted!”  Mommas, you know this negative self-talk all too well. When something terrible happens because we haven’t had rest and couldn’t react in time, we blame ourselves. The reality is… I should’ve asked for help.

After the wreck, my health got increasingly worse. I had this numbness and tingling in my arms and legs which cause me serious anxiety.  Fear was surfacing, and I did not like it! After I had a headache for three days in a row, I went to the doctor.  We started taking a holistic approach to my wellness.  The testing found I was extremely low on B12 and D vitamins. I started taking weekly B12 shots which really seemed to help.  I also began a regular routine of Chiropractic care and supplements to ensure I was at my best…  I thought this solved the problem.  However in a short time, it was back. I spent thousands of dollars in testing but nothing concrete was found.  I was almost wishing for something to be wrong with me… I just wanted to know what I was dealing with so I could get back to work!

I was searching for answers everywhere on what could be causing these problems. It wasn’t until I attended the John Maxwell conference that everything became clear to me.  There were several speakers on how the brain and body work together.  Also, a speaker mentioned prescription drugs were one of the top causes of death. After much thought, I quit my blood pressure pill. I know those pills had destroyed my gut health and it was negatively affecting my body and mind substantially! I decided I would find other ways to control my blood pressure.  I would start by allowing myself time to rest!

 I urge you to listen to your body as it warns you when you are neglecting it.

When you are in pain, SOMETHING IS WRONG.

When you are tired, REST.

When you are hungry, Stop & EAT.

When you are sad, allow yourself time to HEAL. 

When you are overwhelmed, allow someone to HELP.

At the same time all this was happening, I had started a new women’s group at my church.  We all picked words for the year.  My word was Wisdom. I believe I found wisdom through the women who God put in my life to show me how women can truly support women in their time of need.

Last March while planning the Empowering Women in Industry Conference & Awards Gala, I was watching the news coverage of the women’s march. I saw a sign that said, “Women belong in the kitchen” with the verse 2 Timothy 1-7 under it.  I decided to look it up and educate myself on why this person would think this. I believe he was mistaken because this is what I found: 

“God didn’t give us a spirit of fear or to be timid but of power, love, and self-discipline”.  

As I studied more about the verse, it inspired me. I knew I understood the Power & Love part. I feel pretty courageous, and I love everyone! But Self-Discipline, I questioned my capacity!

Since I was going through a lot of health issues, this study started with Self-Care.  I set out to learn how-to take care of myself.  I took up kayaking, and I cut out a lot of the bad things I was putting into my body. I also looked for ways I could put good things into my body including positive self talk.  I constantly told myself, “ I am strong, I am a leader, I CAN with God’s help!” This made all the difference in pulling me out of the darkness. 

I learned Self-Discipline doesn’t come easy.  It takes work.  IT ALSO TAKES REST! It takes being kind to ourselves.  Celebrating small steps forward and rewarding a job well done.  It takes setting clear goals and being honest about whether you are able to accomplish them.   Self-Care is just one area of Self-discipline and it is truly fascinating to see the power the mind has over the body. 

This is what self-care looks to me… NO stress on my face!Charli Smiles

I encourage you to study what it looks like for your life.

I would like to thank Rebekah Mechtensimer for being a wonderful example for me.  Seeing her use self discipline to overcome obstacles while becoming this “best version of self” has made me believe so much more is possible.

I’m wondering… How do you use self-discipline to improve your life? 

A moment to reflect on #WEFTEC and #EmpoweringWomen2019

Empowering Women 2019

Last week was one of those weeks you want to replay over and over! Every year, we prepare for WEFTEC like we are preparing for a marathon.  We know it will be tough both mentally and physically.  There are so many people to see and technologies to learn about. There are service projects and networking events that leave you feeling energized and exhausted all at once.  I was so incredibly proud of my team.  Each person knew their role and executed it with excellence.  As we focus on improvement and innovation in our company daily, we know we could do better with more resources and better planning.  Having said that, we will continue for a few more days admiring a job well done before we move on to all the tasks that must be done… Y’all believe that right LOL… My team is already executing the follow ups!

We do have more to celebrate!!!  Not only did my team master #WEFTEC week, we also executed the Empowering Women in Industry Conference & Awards Gala, successfully!  I have been to a lot of events over my 16 years in the industry, and I will say this one is my favorite!  Not because I got to see the vision I had come to fruition, though that was unbelievable, it was because I watch women’s lives change!

I watched a timid engineer transform into a speaker and even a dancer (before any champagne, I might add).  I watch women connecting with women they had never met; sharing some of their most intimate and challenging stories. The best thing about this was the energy!  It was not an energy of male-bashing or judgment.  It was a group of women actively working to find solutions and help their fellow women in industry succeed!

I am so incredibly grateful that God allowed me to be the one to put a team of empowered women together to #BeTheChange we want to see in the world! The verse that drove me all year was this…

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear or to be timid, but of Power, Love, and Self-discipline”.  

I hope it will also help motivate others to action! We must do the work… we are courageous, we are loving, and we can become our BEST SELF through self-care and education!

I am so thankful for all the women who shared their stories and expertise with our industry… I can’t wait to see everyone again in New Orleans on Oct 8, 2020!

Of course, after an event that touched so many, we have a lot of interest.  If you want to be involved in Empowering Women in Industry, please contact me sooner rather than later at charli@empoweringwomeninindustry.com

Marrying Your Networks

Carter & Charli smiling

Carter & Charli smiling

While I was listening to the Empowering Women Podcast, I heard the phrase “Marrying Your Networks.”  I thought, this is another way of describing my passion for connecting.   I enjoy the challenge of taking two seemingly different groups of people and finding a common bond. I also think we can learn so much if we take the time to listen to other point of views.  So many times, people see “different” and avoid the situation completely.  I see difference as an asset.

Sometimes I do find myself with an uncomfortable feeling around a stranger.  Now, I am not talking about the “RUN, you are in Danger!” uncomfortable. (This should be given immediate attention!)  I’m talking about the person looks different or views the world differently than me, and I don’t know what to say to them uncomfortable.

I think about this a lot in my own business and family.  Each of my children are on a completely different wave length…

To tie this into our daily work, I’ll use Carter and I as an example.  When it comes to Sales & Marketing, we are like oil & water. We usually agree with the final result or goal, but we go about the work completely differently.

Me: Focused on customer at all times and how they feel about working with us.

Carter: Focused on the details of customer expectations and measurable results.

Now, both of these are very important to ensuring success in the overall customer experience. However, these differences can cause some confusion at times.  If we take into account the other person’s goals and how they process information needed to make a decision, we can learn how to communicate in a language the other person can understand better.

Thinking of the other person’s communication style and goals:

Carter could say to me, “I think the customer would feel better about their program if they received________.”

I could say, “Based on this stat, we should be doing more ________.”

This is a simple example of how we can communicate differently with people just by taking in their point of view.  As we look to grow our networks to grow industry, I challenge you to connect with a person outside of your normal “looks like me, thinks like me” circle.  You will be surprised what you learn about yourself while listening to another person’s story.  Also, if you go into these networking opportunities with a mindset of helping the other person accomplish their goals, this is where the magic happens!  Marrying networks with a common goal make us better, faster, and stronger!

I’d love to hear your tips for better communication with people outside your comfort zone.

Reflections on Episode 8 with Ingrid Lindberg, Chief Customer Experience Officer

You_got_this photo with podcast

I just finished listening to the interview with Ingrid for the third time!  There are so many key points in here that I find it hard to leave anything out!  To start, Ingrid Lindberg is the founding owner of Chief Customer Consulting. She is the first person to hold the title of CXO, or Chief Customer Experience Officer. From the early age of 14, Ingrid began working full-time at a salon; she soon worked her way into retail, and then retail management at the age of 17. Leveraging her customer service experience, she took advantage of opportunities to catapult into the world of customer experience, which was really just becoming a thing when she got into it.

I hope all humans listen to this episode. There is so much to learn. Starting with how we raise our children… *if we decide to have them.  Ingrid’s parents allowed her access to many people and places at a young age.  They allowed her to be present and have a voice no matter her age or level of understanding.  This gave way to confidence and the belief that

“Your voice matters. Raise it. Own it. Use it.”

I believe that this courage and curiosity is decided at such a young age, which means we must be intentional in our parenting to make room for nurturing this confidence! I think this gives Ingrid the ability to stand firm in who she is and not conform.

“I was 20 years younger than any of my peers, at best. I didn’t fit the mold at all. I have not been very good at packaging myself into one of those female execs who disappears. I don’t do that… I’ve not played a lot of those roles that female executives have, where they either try to conform to that boys club or frankly just try to disappear as a human…. ”

She also faced adversity being raised in a single parent home and had to help provide for her family.  I have a similar story where my mother was a teacher and had to go back to school to get a nursing degree to be able to care for her 4 children. This also fueled me to get a degree where I could take care of myself no matter what… I think this goes into many career choices, and the silver lining is that we can change, grow, or start a new challenge at any time of our lives.

I love how Ingrid combines her work and her degree in sociology to follow her passion of learning more about people.  Like me, she finds humans so interesting and set out to study them. I know this passion is why she was so successful in customer service. Jumping into leadership at an early age, she was faced with many uncomfortable moments where she is lucky to have been given an early understanding of how much her voice mattered.

I am so thankful for Ingrid and how she speaks her truth.  She worked very hard to build a successful career, and this gives her the freedom to overcome many fears we face as leaders in male-dominated fields…”There’s so much fear that drives silence.”

I think freedom gives her the strength to stand up in situations like this one:

“I don’t know how to do things like say, ‘Oh Joe, that’s a brilliant idea. Thank you so much for coming up with it.’ I say things like, ‘Joe, I’m sorry you felt like you had to restate something I said 20 minutes ago. Would you like me to be clearer next time?’ ”

May we all strive for this level of bravery. Especially when it comes to the ownership of our ideas.  If we don’t standup for ourselves, we will lose out.

For this next part, I am thankful for Ingrid giving us the opportunity to discuss this.  I can remember having dinner with colleagues and it being assumed that I would be dismissed after dinner as the men would move venues and continue to network… It was like something out of the Titanic movie where “she talks of the men retiring to brandy and cigars”.  I, like Ingrid, will not be “dismissed.” The next few quotes may shock some, but I can assure you this is the world we live in.  If you are around top leaders, you will be put in these uncomfortable settings and you will have to decide how to manage it.

Like Lynn told us, you will need to be prepared to know your boundaries… This will be different for all of us, but know you have the right to sit at the table if you choose to. You also have the right not to…

“Corporate America has been built around the support of the fraternity, from the places where “deals are done” to the business that is done over brown liquor and cigars. The fraternity was built to help men get from one stage to another is one that seems impenetrable for women… Fraternities have built a certain kind of toxic business environment of insiders and exclusion. I questioned the assumption that I should try to join.”

“When I was managing a team of all men who would invite me to lunches, but would never take me to Friday night happy hour… so I followed them once. And walked straight into the strip club that was three and a half blocks from work. And sat down with them and said, “hey, I’m a part of this team and if I have to sit here to remind you I’m a part of this team, then I’ll sit here to remind you that I’m a part of this team.”

This reminds me of a conversation I had recently that started with the question, ‘How do you decide who to hang out with at business events?’  The response was “ I am very particular about who I go out with.  I have to trust them completely”.   I believe this is where women need to invest their time growing their network.  We need to have the same “I’ve got your back or I’ll protect you” peer group that the men in our network have… It’s worth studying.  I am not saying we all need to start meeting in the red light district, but we should continue to meet and grow in trusting each other.

We can continue this conversation around building trust in a peer group – let me know if you’ll be at any upcoming events and we’ll see if we can Connect with Purpose!

On to the next episode

Reflecting on episode 7 of the Empowering Women Podcast

You_got_this photo with podcast
I really enjoyed the last two episodes because they opened my eyes to additional career paths that are meaningful and have an element of responsibility to our communities.
Drena’s story makes me feel like I am getting something right in terms of leadership. Fascinated that STEM careers can include things like makeup counters which I do spend time at from time to time.  So many areas to talk about, but I’ll focus on these areas: Mentoring, Leadership, Belief.
One reason Drena was successful in her career was because she actively seeks mentors and sponsors strategically along her path. As she looked to grow in an area or skill, she would look to a leader in that space to sponsor or educate her in the skills she needed.
I loved how she discussed how her career was mostly influencing others’ behaviors. She discussed how influencing is basically done through storytelling and listening for pain points or problems that can be solved.  Communication is key to the success of a business.  The better we can communicate with others, the better our workforce becomes.
I believe her leadership style aligns with mine. I am also very focused on continuous learning.  I call it continuous improvement, but I see the only way to improve is to learn from our failures and successes.  She also asks people to stretch.  I am always pushing my team outside their comfort zone while focusing on building strengths.
“Tackling today’s challenges” – I make sure my team is involved in the strategy of our company and consistently check in with them to make sure they are working on something they are passionate about.  I believe we are all more driven when we feel we are making an impact on something we care about in our core being.
This was probably my favorite quote Drena stated:  “As a leader, we must trust our own voice and opinion and stop undervaluing it or playing small.”  I still struggle with this, but I am improving.  I am thankful to Drena for sharing her challenges so I feel less alone in those feelings.  Thank you, Drena!
I also wanted to highlight the importance of being bold and having the courage to (like Drena says) “Make the Ask.”  Whether you are trying to climb the ladder, obtain hands-on experience, just get an Ally! Go ahead and ask for it.