Sara observes: I was walking around a local college campus during their recent elections. A young woman had signs from one end of campus to the other proclaiming her run for “Head of the Programming Council.” By the way, this is not a picture of Phyl, Muffy, Fluff-for-Brains or whatever her name is. However, it is eerily similar. I have to be honest, when I saw the signs I began to chuckle…several rude comments about the type of programming she might recommend just leapt into my head before I could shoo them away. Here are some questions that remain for me: what is she selling? No, seriously, when you put your picture on a sign and post it in public, you are selling something! What is the cost of using that type of picture? Once posted, it will never go away completely…so that question will follow her into the future. What message did she mean to convey? This young woman and the logic she and her political campaign committee used elude me.
I am left with a painful example of why women have difficulty changing their image. Gail Evans, points out in “Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman” that the problem is, when women act in a manner that confirms stereotypes, all women get categorized. This journey of equality needs to begin earlier than I had been thinking. It’s important that we teach our daughters the value of self respect, the importance of being aware of their impact and how long the future might be (case in point, hiring companies checking candidates out on MySpace and Facebook.)
Those who know me, know I am not one to publicly poke fun at someone as I am doing now. Please know that I wish the best for Muffy. To be fair to her, I’ve carefully left out the name of the university, concealed her real name and even used a fake picture…so, if this sounds like someone you know and you are offended, talk to them, not me.
It’s been years since I read the terrific book by Gail Evans, Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman: (What Men know About Success that Women Need to Learn). But this week, I presented my synopsis of this book at the first Take Your Brian To Lunch program. (Congratulations to our blogging team members, Cheryl Jensen and Sara Smith, for their success in the launch of this event, focused on issues of women in business).
As I took a fresh look at this book, something hit me in a new way. We all know the adage, “do what you love, and the money will follow.” (By the way, I’m not really sure I have ever entirely believed this. After all, I love eating Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla, but I have not figured out a way to get rich doing so…) But some quotes from Evans’ book really got me to thinking. Here are the quotes:
The ultimate winner in the game of business is not necessarily the person with the most power or the most money or the most fame. Rather, it’s the person who loves his or her work. Loving what you do is self-empowering.
If you can’t keep finding ways to maintain your enthusiasm for your job, you’re going to get flat.
Gail Evans is certainly concerned with financial rewards for women. But the book is about that, and so much more. It is about standing, her place in the (corporate) world, her influence. And it hit me. If you don’t love what you do, the people around you will know that, and then you have no credibilty (what Aristotle called ethos). You cannot be a thought leader, a pace setter, if you have no passion for your work. You have to love what you do to have such passion — to develop, and maintain, ethos. To actually have a position and reputation of influence, you have to matter (in a business sense, not just a personal sense) to those around you. And this means to matter to those around you, in the sense that your leadership, your ideas, your thoughts, your very presence, matters.
So — if you think that you do not have enough influence, maybe you are in the wrong arena. Because if you truly love what you do, there’s a pretty good chance that influence will follow.
• You can order the synopses of my original presentation of Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman, and also of the book Women Don’t Ask, which I also presented at the Take Your Brain to Lunch event, at our companion web site, 15 Minute Business Books.