How to succeed at [insert anything here]
by Super Kristi
Recently, our CEO Debbie Rich was honored with a 2013 Women of Influence Award from Inside Tucson business. Since 2004, they’ve honored women who have a significant effect on the Tucson community. They’re a special group of women who are looked up to by thousands of women and girls in the Tucson area and beyond. During their acceptance speeches, each woman was asked what advice they’d give to a young woman just beginning her career. They all had terrific answers of course, and I’ve compiled the highlights for you here in hopes that it will be useful as you launch your 2014 Cookie Program. As you can imagine, there were some overlapping themes leading me to conclude that these are things all successful women should do.
Play well with others
You know that team assignment you just had but you all ended up basically working on your own? Not cool. According to Tucson’s Women of Influence, relationships matter. I can say from personal experience, that it’s awesome to work by yourself, but sometimes you’re going to need help. If you’ve been ignoring everyone else around you for months, they’re probably not going to be too excited to jump on team [insert your name here]. So, what can you do about it? You don’t have to be best friends forever with everyone, but you do need to be friendly. Say hi every once and while. See what other people are working on. Share your ideas. In the business world, we call this networking. Basically, it’s building a posse of people that share common interests and ideas that you can call on when you need to. It’s reciprocal though. They can call on you too. So how does this apply to your cookie business? Maybe you need a buddy to sell with. Maybe you’re in a slump and need help coming up with fresh ideas. Whatever it is, it’s always better with friends.
This was a big one for most of the women who received awards. What does it even mean to be self-aware? It means being aware of yourself as an individual and actions and thoughts. It’s the confidence factor. It’s the always trying to improve yourself factor. It’s you! Six out of ten of the women spoke about how important it is to exhibit confidence and not be shy. This works hand in hand with our ‘play well with others’ rule up top. You have to be brave, feel comfortable in your own skin, and take care of yourself first, before you can help others. It also means knowing what expression is on your face when you’re receiving criticism. Sometimes I can’t control my expressions, it happens, but at least I know I’m staring at you like you’re crazy. So, how does this apply to your cookie sale? Well, for starters, you’ve got to be pretty brave to just go up and knock on someone’s door. What if they say no when you ask them to buy cookies? How are you going to handle that situation? Are you going to pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, and keep going? Of course you are.
It’s only a failure if you don’t find the success in it
a.k.a., there’s something positive in every situation. Maybe you have a booth sale that doesn’t go so swell. Are you going to sit in a slump on the couch for the rest of the season or are you going to try to figure out what went wrong and what you can do better next time? Maybe you only sold 5 boxes of cookies, but those customers were super nice and will remember you and tell all their friends about it. Sometimes things don’t go quite right, but there’s always something – you were super friendly, it was a shady spot, there was good people watching, you found a new pair of shoes you want… whatever it is, find it and focus on staying positive.
Professionalism, leadership, and fun can live hand in hand
I think that sometimes y’all think that if you have to put on a jacket and stand a bit taller that you aren’t going to have any fun. It made me so happy when one of the Women of Influence brought this up because it’s so true. Think about Ellen, or Oprah, and probably some other one name women – they are totally fun, right? They also exhibit strong character and are great leaders in the world. They maintain professional relationships. They can joke around and be funny, but in an appropriate and meaningful way. Last year, I made my way around to lots of cookie booths and the one thing that stood out the most to customers, is that girls were having fun. Maybe they were chanting or singing about cookies, but they were also saying please and thank you. They might have been dressed in a cookie costume but they shared in lovely conversations with people. What are some other ways that you can have fun and still look professional?
Positive energy can get anything done
This was a big one with all of the award recipients and a theme that I use in my own life. Before you can have tons of positivity radiating from your brains, you need to surround yourself with positivity. Find all the people in your life that really support you and that believe in what you’re doing. Let them lift you up until you’re swimming in so much positive energy that you explode out into the world. Show passion in such a way that motivates people around you. Why are you selling cookies anyway? Or, why do you want to start that new job? For a lot of you, it’s raising money for your Gold Award project, or for your Gift of Caring projects. How will people know what your goals are? Do they explode from your mind every time you talk to someone? Or maybe that’s just me. If you know that you can do something, (and you can), then you’ll get it done. Just keep dreaming, moving forward, and believing in yourself. You’ll get there.