Friday, June 27, 2008

Be selective with your time

You're a busy professional with limited time to devote outside of work and family, so that’s why it’s best to only join organizations that have meaning to you. Start by visiting several groups so you can determine which ones are right for you. Then be selective, because attending too many meetings, or joining a long list of organizations, is the opposite of real.

Once you find that perfect fit—an organization that turns out to be exactly what you’re looking for—volunteer your time as a leader. Why? Because you’ll get the most out of it that way—and so will the organization. Leaders who give their time this way quickly learn that the benefits far outweigh the input.

Learn more in Real Fact No. 7 of Real You Incorporated.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Develop an excellent support system of mentors and employees.

They will become your team.

To accomplish this, you’ll need to determine the qualities you want in an employee. Begin by thinking about your heroes. Write down the names of two or three people, past or present, that you admire. Then, list the characteristics that you admire in those people. Are there some commonalities between them? If so, these may be the qualities you want your employees to exhibit. And they will likely be the same qualities that you admire in your mentors.

Lisa Cini, president/owner of Mosaic Design Studio, is a great example of how this works. She’s done a fabulous job of developing a strong support system of mentors and employees. “Not only did the mentors allow me to learn from them, but they also provided a safe place to express excitement, fears and concerns,” she says. At the same time, Lisa makes it her mission to hire happy, honest, passionate, hardworking problem-solvers who want to be challenged. Together, mentors and employees create a winning combo for Lisa—and her business.

What are the qualities you look for in new employees? Learn more about hiring in Real Fact No. 5 of Real You Incorporated.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

If someone’s not supporting you and your passions, they’re using you and draining your energy.

Watch out for snarks! Instead, surround yourself with the real people in your life. Make an appointment with one of them today. Then, make it your business to foster those relationships on an ongoing basis.

Known as the “queen of modern physics”, Chien-Shiung Wu came to the U.S. to study science when she was still a teenager. While working at Columbia University, she contributed to the Manhattan Project, and she personally assisted Tsung-Dao Lee in the development of his parity laws by providing him with a possible test method for beta decay that worked successfully. In spite of her contribution, which was considered by many to be instrumental in the creation of the laws, she did not share in the Nobel Prize that was awarded to her male counterparts. Many view this as an act of sexism on the part of the selection committee.

If, like Wu, you find yourself dodging sexist snarks, you’ll need to fine-tune your radar. Start with Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs. Have a snark in your life? Tell us about them.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The New Dad

Perhaps you’ve seen this man playing with his kids in the park. Maybe you noticed as he struggled with three kids and a grocery cart full of groceries. Or, you may have seen him at the last PTO meeting, in the waiting room at the pediatrician’s office—even volunteering at the school. At first you didn’t recognize who he was, having taken on this new role. But recently, he has become more easily recognizable, and now you know—he’s the new dad.

Take a few minutes to applaud the fathers who are committed to doing their equal share of the family responsibilities. Give your own husband a pat on the back, a smile and a thank you. Strike up a friendly conversation with the dad at the playground. Make him feel welcome at the next PTO meeting. And lend him a helping hand as he juggles three kids and a grocery cart of food. Together, these dads are helping us change the world.

So, this Father’s Day, take a minute to thank the new dads in your life, whether it’s your own dad, your husband or simply an acquaintance. And remember, fathers teach best by example. These hands-on dads are training tomorrow’s fathers.

Happy Father’s Day!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Jump-start your personal brand today

Whether you like gardening, ballroom dancing, pushing the envelope or flying under the radar, your innermost traits should be exhibited in your own personal brand. This being said, I challenge those of you who haven’t used a glue stick in awhile to create a brand board that displays your personality and passions.

What’s a brand board? It’s a poster board that you transform into a montage of pictures and images that accurately represent your personality. Are you calm and green; fresh and blue; or vibrant and red? My board is predominantly red and full of things that make me happy, like daisies (hence the cover of my book). I also took parts of my personal brand to my business brand. At Real Living, we’re red, round and real. You can read more about that on page 84 of Real You Incorporated.

Grab some magazines and start clipping images that exemplify your personal brand. Put it on paper and display it for the world to see. At my company, we make an effort to post our brand boards in our workspaces.

So put your apprehensions aside and give yourself permission to enjoy some arts and crafts. You may be surprised what you discover about yourself.

Need an example? Visit for brand boards that some of our readers have sent in.

If you’ve completed your brand board, share it with others! Send a picture of your board to, and we’ll post it on the RYI flickr page.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Get your life priorities straight first.

Deciding on the balance that you want to have between business success, family success and leisure time is the difference between judging your own success and failure.

In Real You Incorporated, I suggest spending some time alone—a night, a weekend or even a few hours. Then, with pen and paper in hand, establish your goals and write down your top priorities. Your number-one priority should be where you spend most of your conscious time, and so on. Remember, it’s never really been about work-life balance. It’s more about integrating work and family with your personal goals.

Meet Tanya Baker, an independent contractor with HelmsBriscoe. In her continuing effort to meet the needs of busy meeting planners, she keeps this tip top of mind. With a husband, two small children—and a challenging career—she constantly strives for work-life balance. But it’s not easy, and frankly, she admits that many women she knows have been unsuccessful in this area of their lives. “I live near a cemetery and walk through it occasionally as a shortcut going to local businesses. I have yet to see a gravestone that declares that the person six feet down was a vice president of sales or a great manager, but you see plenty engraved with ‘Mother,’ ‘Father,’ or ‘Wife/Husband,’” she says. “In the end, how you lived your life for the benefit of your family will be how you are remembered.”

What about you? What’s important in your life? Have you established your priorities before jumping head-first into an entrepreneurial lifestyle? Hear what other women have to say at

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

When the unexpected happens, don’t panic.

Every setback is an opportunity to open another door, discover another path.

Think about a major setback in your life, either personally or professionally. Now, what did you learn from this experience? Did it push you in another direction? Did it make you stronger? Reflect. What can you take away from the past?

Perhaps no one better typifies this tip than Rachel Carson. Although she loved both writing and nature, she made the decision to major in biology upon entering college. After graduation, she pursued a job with the government but was told that they didn’t hire women biologists. So, she fell back on her love of writing, and in 1962 her book, Silent Spring, exposed the dangers of pesticides. Although there were doubters, President Kennedy established a commission to investigate her claims—which eventually led to the banning of DDT. Today, she is considered the mother of the modern environmental movement. Rachel Carson did not let initial setbacks close the door to her dreams. Instead, she discovered another path, and it made an incredible difference in her life—as well as the lives of others.

If you’ve ever felt like an unexpected setback has gotten in the way of pursuing your ambitions, take heart. You’re not alone. Read the stories of other women entrepreneurs in Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs.