August: Where Do You Want to Go?

 

“The Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  – Lao Tzu

 

At Dress for Success, we often  talk about success as a journey, but this month I invite you to consider whether or not you are choosing your destination.

Self-defined success is a core principle of all of the programs of our organization. This means that we work to empower our women to choose what success looks like for them– and then do the work that is required in order to achieve that goal.

This month on the blog, we are focusing on travel, in both the literal and the figurative sense. As you read the articles and the interviews herein, reflect on where you’ve been and where you want to go. Ask yourself, “Are the things that I’m doing today going to get me to where I want to be tomorrow?” If the answer is no, then now seems like a great time to redirect and chart a new course for your future.

In 2010, Dress for Success changed its mantra to underscore the idea that success really is a journey. As you move forward in your life, remember that it’s not about where you’ve been, but where you’re going.  My team and I, through our programs and through the information we share on this blog, aim to help keep you  “Going Places. Going Strong.” 

This month, we dedicate our blog to all of the places that you will go. Travel as far and as high as you dare to dream. Whether that’s around the world or to a new level in your personal or professional life, remember that you are in the pilot seat of your success. Think of Dress for Success as your own personal flight attendant, standing by your side and offering you what you need to have a safe and successful trip in both smooth, and turbulent times.

Enjoy your trip, take lots of pictures, and if you have time, send us a post card once you reach your destination!

We can’t wait to see where you’ll wind up!

 

 Joi Gordon, CEO of Dress for Success Worldwide

Redefine Power with Moira Forbes

ForbesWoman is redefining power and Moira Forbes is wielding the pen, setting out to make her mark on the world of journalism and media.

You know ForbesWoman as the prestigious publication that creates the list of the The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, and you might have even seen our own Joi Gordon, CEO of Dress for Success Worldwide, featured as one of the Power Redefined Spotlights on the Forbes website in May. So what is Moira’s role? As President and Publisher of ForbesWoman, she’s the woman behind the company with the Forbes name and the creative vision to back it up, leading the publication towards a future that recognizes power in the board room and in the community. This month, Dress for Success spoke with Moira Forbes to find out what makes the everyday women of today the power women of tomorrow.

More often than not, the most successful people are the ones fueled by a passion for what they do. Moira is no different, having set her sights on a career in journalism from an early age. “I had always been fascinated with media ever since I was a child. Whether I was doing makeshift interviews with giant home video recorders or publishing a newspaper, it had always been a passion of mine.”

Soon, Moira went from pretend publisher to up-and-coming journalist, graduating from Princeton University and Harvard Business School in pursuit of her media ambitions. In 2001, she dived headfirst into her career at Forbes, joining the London office to work for ForbesGlobal. Representing four generations of publishers, Moira launched ForbesWoman in 2008, creating a multimedia platform to service women in business and leadership. “We like to think of ourselves as a 96-year-old start up at Forbes, and this women’s initiative was just that.”

And she didn’t stop there. Moira is also the founder of Forbes Executive Women’s Board and the host of Success with Moira Forbes, a dynamic video series that features exclusive interviews with women such as Sheryl Sandberg, Bethenny Frankel and Arianna Huffington. Speaking with power women about the ups and downs of their career, Moira uncovers the true essence of their success.

“Sometimes when you have a passion that you know has a higher purpose and value to the community or a vision that can change the world, you think that in itself is enough. But to create a community around it, you need to do a lot of communication. Other people may be supportive, but you still need to get them on board.”

So how do you turn doubters into believers? Moira knows it’s easier said than done. When she first pitched the idea for ForbesWoman, few people were eager to invest in a publication that gave women business advice instead of beauty tips. “Someone said, ‘Fifty percent of financial decision makers are women, but we don’t really market to women.’ It was a wake up call to me. When you’re doing something new, you constantly have to bring it to life.”

Determined to transform her innovative idea into a thriving reality, Moira quickly learned that the best way to win over the skeptics was to speak their language. “My greatest growth was coming to understand that I had to help people see the opportunity through the lens of their business and perspective.” Ironically, taking a step back to see the bigger picture is what often helps us narrow in on our success. An even better view, Moira says, is the one you gain from someone else’s angle.

Not only has ForbesWoman become a pivotal media force in identifying the world’s most powerful women, but it has also become a leader in redefining the very meaning of power. Whether she’s making a Forbes list or a grocery list, Moira believes that women leading initiatives of community outreach should be ranked right alongside those leading boardrooms of major corporations.

“The whole definition of power has changed dramatically over the past decade. Especially for women, there are now more opportunities to exert power in untraditional ways. Power today is defined by influence, not just the control of companies, currencies and countries. It’s about whether you can you shape opinion and champion a cause you believe in.”

And if the measure of power is the reach of our influence, then our impact upon the world is determined by what we choose to do with it. Economic independence may be the first milestone on the journey to success, but Moira wants you to know that changing course afterwards may lead to the most rewarding opportunities. “The power women on our list take their influence and experience in one arena to drive change in another. None of these women have charted their course in conventional ways.”

Moving forward, Moira is taking her own advice to heart and leading ForbesWoman down the road less traveled. Focusing on the ForbesWoman website, she wants women like you to become an active part of the discussion that inspires her work. “ForbesWoman is a content continuum and we want to create powerful opportunities for women to connect with each other around that content, as well as network with one another.”

Redefine what power means to you! These three tips from Moira will help you influence your career and make your mark on the world:

1. Communicate your ambitions.  Never assume that people know your career aspirations. Far too often, we think if we put our head down and work hard that people will recognize our ambitions. People aren’t mind readers. Always communicate your aspirations and accomplishments.

2. Redefine failure, and then fail more. It’s a scary word for many us, but if you redefine failure as taking a calculated risk you’ll take on new challenges and grow. The toughest experiences in our lives are the ones that provide the greatest insight. Push yourself.

3. Give yourself a break. Power women always say that they wish they were less hard on themselves. We’re all our own toughest critics, but take a step back and ask yourself, “In five or ten years, is this going to matter?” You have to take a step back to gain perspective.

Can a Dream Vacation Lead to a Dream Job?

By Reesa Staten, Robert Half International

Every once in a while, a summer vacation takes me to a city I could imagine myself living in. Maybe it’s the draw of a warmer climate or the appeal of being within walking distance to great museums and restaurants.

You also may long for a change of scenery, either because you love a particular town you have visited, have a desire to live closer to friends or family, or are contemplating a major life change. Whatever the reason, the decision to make a move is a big one and you should weigh your options carefully, especially when it comes to your career.

Career websites make it easier than ever to identify jobs in other parts of the world, but working out the other logistics involves considerably more effort.

Here are six questions to ask yourself before taking the leap.

1. What’s the job market like? Is your vacation destination someplace you can actually make a living? Visiting an island resort is a dream come true, but unless you mix a mean mai tai, you will have limited career options if the island is too remote. If a beach lifestyle is appealing, choosing big cities like Miami, San Diego or Honolulu will give you more employment options than a destination that is too far off the beaten path.

2. How “livable” is the city? Many places are fantastic to visit, but are not easy cities to live in because of a high cost of living, impossible commute or severe weather for much of the year. Visit the region and talk to people who live there to get a reality check before deciding on a permanent relocation. Try visiting at different times of the year, so that you are familiar with seasonal weather patterns. You may fall in love with summer in Anchorage, Alaska, but be prepared to trade sandals for snow boots once winter rolls around. Also research food and housing costs to get an idea of what your monthly spending might be. Will you be able to earn enough to cover living expenses?

3. Will you have a support system? Moving to a new city often means leaving behind friends and loved ones. It will be easier to meet new people once you find a job in the new city, but be prepared to feel a little homesick from time to time. It may take time to rebuild your support network, but for the right job in the right city, it could be well worth the effort.

4. Will you love your new job? If you’re contemplating a move because you’ve already been offered a job in a new city, consider all aspects of the offer. Is the work environment appealing? Are the daily responsibilities interesting? Will taking the job allow you to improve the quality of life for you and your family? Research salary trends so that you can ensure you will be earning enough to maintain or improve your living standard. Money isn’t everything, but it can make a big difference when you plan a major move.

5. Can your future employer make the transition easier for you? Starting salary is not the only aspect of a job offer that can be negotiable. Moving costs, temporary housing assistance, and travel and lodging expenses for house-hunting trips are just a few common elements of relocation packages. Gather documentation, such as estimates from moving companies and airfare quotes, for use during the negotiation if you are offered a job in another city. If you decide to accept a relocation package, ask for the terms in writing. 

6. Be prepared to make a strong case. Many employers will try to avoid the time and expense of relocating someone if they believe there are qualified candidates locally. You will need to explain to the hiring manager why you’re seeking a job outside your area. If you are able to relocate without assistance and can move quickly if offered a position, make this clear to the hiring manager. Are there any assets you’d bring to the role that a local candidate might not? This is the time to make your case.

You would not be the first person to fall in love with a city while on vacation and decide to pull up stakes and relocate there. Many people have made exciting life changes and never looked back.

I recall visiting San Francisco as a college student and telling myself I would live there one day. Within five years, I found myself crossing the Golden Gate Bridge every day on my way to work in downtown San Francisco. It wasn’t easy leaving friends and family, but I developed new personal and professional networks and started building a career I love.

Reesa Staten is senior vice president of Corporate Communications and director of workplace research for Robert Half International, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm. Staten has been writing job search advice for more than 15 years and oversees Robert Half’s extensive workplace research program. Write to her at reesa@roberthalf.com.

Yoga: Transform Your Workout with the Exercise That Swept the World!

In the spirit of our focus on travel this month, Dress for Success is exploring a fitness routine that’s not only a vacation from the typical workout, but also a vacation for the mind: yoga!

Long before The Beatles took America by storm in The British Invasion and hippies painted the world a psychedelic rainbow, yoga became the universal symbol of harmony and peace. Originating in ancient India, the practice of yoga has since traveled across the globe. Now, in almost every city, you can find a welcoming yoga studio encouraging you to get your “zen” on and bring out your inner yogi.

 All around the world, yoga is known as an exercise that gets the mind and body in tip top shape. The endurance required to maintain any classic yoga pose is a great way to work on strength-training, while yoga’s repetitive motions offer aerobic exercise without putting too much strain on the body. That back pain you feel getting tighter every day? Just a few yoga classes can work out all those spinal kinks, thanks to yoga’s focus on alignment and posture. Yoga is also a proven stress reliever and women who practice yoga tend to leave their workout feeling calm, refreshed, and confident.

And the sense of community built around yoga is just as strong as the sound mind and body it promises to provide. Most women have found not only that yoga has helped them make new friends, but that the people they practice with serve as a source of encouragement when they push themselves to reach new goals in the yoga studio and in life. The perks of being a yogi don’t stop there. Besides new friends, a relaxed mind and a toned body, one of the best benefits of yoga is something every woman on the path to success needs more of in her life—a good night’s sleep.

Still not sold on why you should start incorporating yoga into your workout regimen? Here is one more reason why yoga has stood the test of time: it is very cost-effective. Yoga only requires one piece of equipment: a mat! Budget-friendly yoga mats can be found at discount stores like TJ Maxx or Walmart for less than $10. Not ready to commit to a yoga mat purchase before your first class? No problem! Many studios provide their yogis with free mats when they sign up for a session, or many have rental mats for just a few dollars.

 When it comes to finding a place to practice, there are many affordable options. If you prefer group workouts, studios across the country like Yoga to the People offer donation-based classes with a typical contribution of around just five bucks.  You can even try giving your community center a call, and find free outdoor classes in the summer at your local public park! Yoga DVDs and even good ole YouTube are other inexpensive options that will allow you to reach your yogi goals right in your living room.

With all of these benefits and affordable ways to practice, there’s no reason not to give yoga a try. But if you need a little extra motivation to get started, here are a few tips:

 1. Get back to basics. Start by taking deep, patterned breaths for 15 minutes each morning. Focused breathing is a key component of yoga and by making this step a part of your morning routine you will already be on your way to becoming a regular yogi.

 2. Don’t give up! Remember that yoga is a continuous practice and a growth process. It’s okay to be challenged at first. You will get there.

3. Bring a friend! Yoga is all about community and what better way to try something new than with your best bud!

The Success Diaries: Nancy Martin-Belitz

Dear Young Nancy,

Oh My….How exciting, to have your life and career dreams ahead of you!  Please never underestimate yourself.  Chase every dream, knowing that dream is never out of the question and always attainable.  With unwavering tenacity and perseverance, you can achieve any career goal that you set your mind to.

Imagine yourself in the position which you would like to achieve.  Don’t just envision yourself in that position, but envision yourself being exceptional in that position.  You must not only strive to be there, but you must strive to be the best.  Achieving your dream career and doing it well, not only takes imagination, but also intense effort and sacrifice.  You may have to turn down a higher paying job in order to work towards your long term goal.  You may need to sacrifice some recreational time in order to prepare yourself at the highest level. In the long run, it will be well worth it.

As an example, working in a fine dining restaurant through college—earning terrific tips and wages as a bartender and manager (substantially more than one could earn as a flight instructor or flying night freight to build experience and hours as a pilot)—is tempting to many, however not the best choice.  Keep your long term goal in mind, and avoid being tempted by short term gains. The overused term “work hard and play hard” is so darn true.

Once you achieve your long term goals, then you have your entire future to enjoy.

One stumbling block you might have is fear.  Whether it’s fear of moving on from a comfortable job or fear of failure, you must be fearless in your quest for your aspirations. When training for your career, never train or study just to pass or succeed. You must sacrifice time and make the effort to know your subject exceedingly well.  If you are extremely well prepared, you will have the confidence to excel, lead and succeed.

Throughout your mission, be sure to grab life and live it to the fullest. But always remember, the most imperative priority is to always to be kind, truthful and grateful.  People are precious. Enjoy them, be respectful and follow the Golden Rule. You will never be truly successful without knowing in your heart that you have committed to these life values.

My final incentive to you is: please take the time to volunteer. Wherever your heart yearns, take the time to help.  From children to abandoned animals, you can make a difference. Life is truly meaningful when you give back.

Wherever your path may land you, motivate yourself to do your best at your job each and every day.

Cherish your family and friends.

Sincerely yours,

Nancy Martin-Belitz

Nancy Martin-Belitz has been enamored by aircraft since she was a toddler, starting flying lessons at just  16 years old. Today, Nancy is proud to work for Southwest Airlines as a Check Airman and Co-Founder of the Southwest Airlines Adopt-A-Pilot Program, a mentoring program for youths across the nation. Nancy is as passionate about her family as she is her career, and her husband and 11-year-old daughter are the light of her life. For almost 25 years, Nancy has enjoyed working for a company that leads by example and stands behind every promise.