Caroline Dowd-Higgins Career Coach • Author • Speaker Mon, 15 Sep 2014 14:21:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Your Working Life with Jude Bijou Sun, 14 Sep 2014 00:08:43 +0000 Jude Bijou is a psychotherapist, professional educator, and consultant whose theory of Attitude Reconstruction® is the subject of her multi-award-winning book, Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life.

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Gail Sheehy’s 10 Dares to Take in Your 20s Part II Sat, 13 Sep 2014 23:50:07 +0000 Gail Sheehy’s new book Daring: My Passages is a memoir of  life experiences from a woman who knows how to embrace life – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Gail very generously agreed to allow me to feature her Huffington Post blog about 10 Dares to Take in Your 20’s – here is Part II.  Thank you, Gail for sharing your insights on my blog! Gail’s dares for people in their 20′s can ring true for all of us no matter what our age.

by Gail Sheehy Part II :

6) Dare to Attach Yourself to a Mentor and Kill Yourself to Show Your Stuff

I would never have made it to prominence in my profession if I hadn’t attached myself to a mentor in my twenties. As a graduate student, I appealed to renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead by letting her know I wrote for New York magazine. She literally let me ride with her to Columbia and made me her journalistic outlet, sending me to chase down stories about major cultural shifts. In turn, she gave me an insight that would became my m.o: “Whenever you hear about a national tragedy or a racial clash or a controversial inauguration, drop everything to get there, look down into the abyss, and you will see the culture turned inside out.”

Attaching yourself to a mentor is even more important for young people today. As my friend, the economist and acclaimed author Sylvia Hewlett has documented, “the route to success” for Millennials in the workplace is to identify a senior executive who will be your sponsor.   Demonstrate that you will make her or him look good, and your sponsor will invest in your future and help you quick-climb through the ranks.

7) Dare to Postpone Marriage Until You Can Support Yourself Independently

“Every other generation before them said ‘I’m waiting for Mr. Right.’ Milllenials say ‘I’m waiting until it’s right for me.’” — Celinda Lake, National President of Lake Research.

Being independent and self-actualized before marriage is crucially important to your career growth and personal happiness. Daring to delay marriage has elevated the socioeconomic status of women, especially college-educated women. They use their twenties to gain advanced education and build the competence and confidence that makes prospective employers salivate. By waiting to marry until they’re 30-plus, research shows that women will make more money—about $18,152 more per year—and are also likely to be happier in family life and take more pleasure in their work.

The intrinsic benefit of delayed marriage may be even more important. Waiting allows women to reach for other life goals, like promoting diversity by joining Teach for America, or training to be a champion athlete, or following a passion for making music, or writing a novel, or launching a social movement. The longer you wait to attach yourself to a life partner, the less likely your marriage is to come apart.

8) Dare to Pursue a Career in STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math

Women who work in STEM fields often face discrimination from their male peers, but perseverance can pay off big. As Lisa Lambert, a senior Vice President at Intel Capital, recently told me, daring to pursue a career in technology has allowed her to provide for her family in ways she couldn’t have imagined. She isn’t the only one. From mathematicians to dental hygienists to software engineers, women in STEM jobs earn significantly more—a whopping 33 percent more—than the average full-time working woman makes.

9) Don’t Dare Let a More Senior Person Intimidate You or Steal Your Ideas

You are so enthused about your new theory of non-relativity, you spill it to your a tenured professor and he wants to own it. How to say no? That was one of my biggest dares.

When I interviewed a senior psychiatrist at University of Southern California about his study of adult development, he literally backed me into a corner and proposed that I collaborate with him on MY book. But I was the writer, and I was developing a new concept about the stages of adult development and the times of transition between each stage, which would become my book Passages. He threatened: “No one will take you seriously, you’re just a journalist.” He knew exactly where to needle my self-doubt. But I declined his offer. “You can write your own book,” I said, “and I’ll write mine.” It paid off.

Passages remained on the New York Times bestseller list for three years. His book never made the list.

10) Dare to Change Your Career When You Turn 30

So many of us grow up being warned not to quit. During your 30’s, it is predictable to feel more or less restricted by the choices you made in your 20s—even though those choices might have been perfectly appropriate at the time. Karen Fan, for example, chose to drive ahead as a supercharged seeker of success during her 20’s, happily rising through the ranks of the banking world. But having a child completely transformed her priorities. In her early 30’s, faced with the choice of succeeding as a high-powered executive and failing as an absent mother, she dared to quit her job and raise the money to start a business of her own. Now able to spend quality time with her daughter, Karen knows she’s made the right choice for a different stage of life.



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Professional Development: How Can I Get Better? Sat, 13 Sep 2014 17:49:34 +0000 Marshall Goldsmith taught me how to ask my friends and colleagues: “How can I get better?” This exercise will help you improve in your life and career.

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Your Working Life with Gail Sheehy Mon, 08 Sep 2014 17:39:24 +0000 Gail Sheehy, iconic author of sixteen books, including the classic New York Times bestseller Passages, has a new book: Daring: My Passages A Memoir, which captures her defining moments and the influential characters with whom she interacted.

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Gail Sheehy’s 10 Dares to Take in Your 20′s Part I Sun, 07 Sep 2014 17:59:47 +0000 I had the great pleasure of interviewing the iconic author, speaker and journalist, Gail Sheehy for my podcast series Your Working Life recently and I am honored to call her a friend. Gail’s new book Daring: My Passages is a memoir of delicious and difficult experiences from a woman who knows how to live life. Gail very generously agreed to allow me to feature her Huffington Post blog about 10 Dares to Take in Your 20’s – which I will share in two parts here on my blog. Even though her daring wisdom in this piece is targeted towards Millennials, we can all learn a lot about playing it safe, or taking a chance. Thank you, Gail for sharing your insights on my blog!

by Gail Sheehy:

When you look at my CV—founding writer of New York Magazine, bestselling New York Times author, political writer for Vanity Fair —you might think to yourself: Oh, she’s glided right through. But my career almost ended before it began.

Married at 23, a mother at 24, and blindsided by divorce at 28, I found myself struggling, like many young women I meet today, to strike a balance between my personal life and my career.

I had to scramble to pay the rent by working full-time. But to be present for my toddler, I had to give up my dream job. Could I really afford, as a woman in the Sixties, to pursue a career as a freelance writer? Would anyone take me seriously? I could easily have given up—gotten a job selling Tupperware. But I didn’t.

We really only have two choices. Play it safe, or take a chance. For me, pulling back because of fear has always made me feel worse. When I tried overcoming my fears by taking a leap –even if I didn’t land on my feet the first time – it made me stronger. I developed an impulse to turn anxiety into action.

When I fear, I dare.

And I want to inspire other women to dare, too. As an extension of my memoir, DARING, I’ve started The Daring Project—a digital initiative showcasing the stories of women accomplished and aspiring, from feminist icon Gloria Steinem to professional protestor Shannon Service, and more.

To encourage you—the female pacesetters of today and tomorrow—to take risks, conquer fears, and act with confidence, I’ve compiled the dares that have defined my life, and the lives of women I’ve met throughout my career.

1) Dare to Dream Dangerously

In my early twenties, I dreamed of joining that distinguished cadre of male writers like Tom Wolfe and Gay Talese who were creating New Journalism in the Sixties. I wasn’t going to allow being a “girl” stop me—and you shouldn’t either. Just because women aren’t allowed to become Navy SEALs doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dare to train as a fighter pilot. Just because the Catholic Church forbids women from becoming priests doesn’t mean you can’t aspire to become a spiritual leader—like Pema Chodron. Dreaming dangerously changed my life, and it can change yours too.

2) Dare to Act Confidently

You don’t have to feel confident to act confident. In fact, it’s the most important acting job you can learn. When my editor (and future-husband) Clay Felker asked me to follow Senator Robert Kennedy on his Presidential campaign in California, I’d never written about politics before. I was a nervous mess. But I did it anyway—and I got to interview Bobby Kennedy the day before he was assassinated. Recent studies of the brain and gender differences in the workplace agree that acting confidently is the surest key to success. If you fake it, you will make it.

3) Dare to Discard What You Don’t Want to Do

You come out of school with everybody’s expectations riding on your back. A summer’s internship on Wall Street may cure you of any Wolf fantasies, or you find out after a year at Pratt, you really hate to draw! This is good. Discarding what you don’t want to do makes room to discover what you DO want to do. Just ask my friend Caroline Dowd-Higgins, author of the popular book , This Is Not the Career I Ordered and a blog of the same name.

One of the ways we women often handicap ourselves is thinking that once we’ve made a decision or a commitment, we can’t change. Dowd-Higgins devoted years to training as an opera singer, believing that to be her own true course in life. Once married, but constantly on the road and away from her husband for weeks at a time, she dared to re-imagine another life. Once she found her calling as an executive coach, she trained herself to become a best-selling author. She has been deliriously happy ever since – and still sings.

4) Dare to Fail Your Way to Success

Walter Isaacson, author of two mega-bestselling books about solitary visionaries—Steve Jobs and Einstein: His Life and Universe—comes back this fall with a book that shows the breakthroughs of the computer age were made by dogged inventors who dared to try again and again. The Innovators, coming in October, highlights a daring digital prophet from the 19th century, Ada Lovelace (whose name sounds more like a porn star). He finds daring female computer programmers from WWII. His riveting biographical sketches reveal that success as a techie comes from having a stomach to fail early and often.

5) Dare to Pursue the Career You Love – Meaning Over Money

Coming of age in a tanking economy with college debt weighing down their dreams, Millennials are naturally more worried about money than previous generations. But the meaning of life is not fully satisfied by fame and wealth. Personal happiness is crucial. According to a recent report from the Brookings Institute, more than 60 percent of Millennials would rather earn less than 50k at a job they love than six figures at a job they find boring. Rejecting the false security of a corporate job and taking the risk to pursue your own venture offers a better chance for the big payoff.

For many, the greatest satisfaction of all is found in making meaningful connections with others. And that kind of meaning is mostly offered in low-paying fields, such as the fine arts, social work and teaching.

Young people who go into teaching in New York City only stick it out for an average of 1.5 or two years. Jes Kruse has survived for ten years and ultimately thrived. She took her first teaching job in a Brooklyn high school with so much gun violence there was a police officer on every floor. Her starting salary was $39,000, a decent wage for many Americans, but to rent in Manhattan in 2014 would devour all of that at an average monthly cost of $3,470, according to Bloomberg News. With no financial support from her family, Jes lived in a cheap rental in a sketchy neighborhood. She skipped the big social events and Broadway musicals and took four-day vacations.

But what gives her the most pleasure in life is what she continues give away every day. “I love seeing my immigrant kids come to class,” she told me. “They don’t have a lot of family support. I’m helping them develop a vision for their life, and a life that matters.” She has sent all of her students to college. Her smile radiates a sense of well-being, a constant background tone of the life she has chosen.

Last year, Jes told her principal, “I’m going to work part-time (less than 80 hours a week) and date full-time.” This summer, Jes became engaged.

Stay tuned for Part II of Gail’s daring wisdom!

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Your Working Life Podcast with Marci Shimoff Sun, 07 Sep 2014 15:37:16 +0000 Marci Shimoff, New York Times best selling author of, Happy for No Reason teaches individuals how to take responsibility for their own happiness and develop happiness behaviors.

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2014 Indiana Governor’s Conference for Women Sun, 07 Sep 2014 13:21:31 +0000 I’m speaking at The Indiana Governor’s Conference for Women which will be held on October 21st at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis. Register today!

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Confidence Part II – Change Your Body, Change Your Mind Sat, 30 Aug 2014 17:33:54 +0000 You may recall the scenes in The Sound of Music where Julie Andrews, as Maria, is trying to summon her confidence as she prepares to interview for the governess post with the Von Trapp Family.

I love Maria’s feisty, go-get-em attitude. She’s terrified, but she holds her fear at bay by dancing down the road taking big steps and making big, bold gestures – waving her guitar and satchel in the air as she sings “I have confidence in me!”

It turns out Maria had the right idea.

In addition to taking deliberate action (see previous post, Confidence On Tap – Part 1), Harvard Social Psychologist, Amy Cuddy, says that making those big, bold movements can go a long way in actually building our confidence levels.

In her TED talk, Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are, Cuddy explains that simple power poses can strongly influence how you’re perceived personally and professionally.

In her research, Cuddy found that when study participants practiced expansive, alpha-type movements (think queen of the hill) before meetings where evaluations were involved (eg: an interview or a date), they felt more confident in themselves, and were perceived to be more confident by others.

Cuddy says power poses such as reaching arms in the air in a victory dance ‘V’, or spreading feet with hands on hips ‘wonder woman’-style – any position that makes full use of the body’s wingspan– can increase good hormones (testosterone), lower bad hormones (cortisol), and increase overall confidence levels.

Acting ‘As If’

When my coaching clients first hear of Cuddy’s “outside/ in” approach, they’re often hesitant  – thinking that, in order to be confident on the outside, they have to, first, change the way they feel about themselves on the inside.

Cuddy addresses this chicken/ egg conundrum in her TED presentation (with over eighteen million views and counting), sharing her findings that ‘faking it to make it’, or ‘acting as if’ you have confidence through expansive movements and stances can carry you through until you are truly feeling confident in yourself.

According to Cuddy, it’s common for women, especially, to get caught up in what she calls the imposter syndrome – fearing that someone will discover they’re not really as confident as they seem. “It’s really about faking it to become it,” Cuddy counsels the audience. Cuddy says that, by continually practicing confidence poses, the outer feeling begins to internalize and becomes second nature.

Take Two Minutes

While Cuddy is not suggesting striking power poses in an actual interview or date situation, she does recommend taking just two minutes to expand your body into powerful ‘alpha’ positions in your office, an elevator, or restroom stall – wherever you can take a private moment before heading into a situation where you want to be at your best.

My coaching clients have put Amy Cuddy’s ‘outside/ in’ confidence building techniques to work before interviews, presentations and meetings, and I have used it as well to get those good hormones flowing – and with great success. I encourage you to discover this ‘low-tech life hack’, as Cuddy calls it, for yourself. All you need is privacy, some powerful poses and two minutes!

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Your Working Life Podcast with Bernd Schoner Sat, 30 Aug 2014 17:31:57 +0000 Bernd Schoner, author of The Tech Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide will help entrepreneurs navigate the life cycle of a tech start-up from inception through finding investors, hiring employees, and earning a profit as a sustainable business

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What’s Your Career Super Power? Sat, 30 Aug 2014 15:38:21 +0000 Everyone has a super power, a special skill or strength that makes you unique and gives you energy and self-confidence in the career world. Identify your super power and thrive!

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