Leadership

Why Are Women Entrepreneurs Happy?

Sharing a happy moment with my Sister

Sharing a happy moment with my Sister

In case you haven't heard, the United Nations has declared March 20 International Happiness Day. #HappyDay

In April 2012 the first ever UN conference on Happiness took place in New York and in July 2012 the UN General Assembly adopted a further resolution which decreed that the International Day of Happiness was to be observed every year on 20 March. It was celebrated for the first time in 2013. –  actionforhappiness.org

Many of the women entrepreneurs I know (including me) declared their happiness the day they left their “real jobs” to define life, and fulfillment, on their own terms. I discovered that six of the 10 keys to happiness listed on the Action for Happiness website are traits that women entrepreneurs embrace every day:

  • Connect with people
  • Keep learning new things
  • Have goals to look forward to
  • Find ways to bounce back
  • Be part of something bigger
  • Take a positive approach

Based on my unscientifc research, it would seem that women who take risks and accept change have figured out how to be happy. I dug deeper, reaching out to women entrepreneurs who are leading the way as CEOs, mentors and community advocates to ask them what being happy means to them. They all shared similar stories of connecting with people, making a difference and being true to themselves. Maybe the UN should have consulted with women entrepreneurs first!

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Lynda Hinkle, Visionista of the Year, talks about leaning in, becoming an author and Petey the law dog

hinkle_VOTY

Congrats to Lynda Hinkle, lawyer, visionary, women's advocate and Visionista of the Year! I describe the term Visionista in my best selling book, Success Secrets of a Million Dollar Party Girl, as a woman who knows who she is, where she's going, and guides her tribe of leading ladies to the top. In this Q & A, Lynda and I chat about everything from leaning in to her new book, which is based on her personal experience going through divorce (before she became an award-winning lawyer). 

What does being a Visionista mean to you?

"Being a Visionista means owning your power and stepping into the best person you can be.  Women can do anything, be anything, overcome anything…if they are willing to put forth the consistent effort, to be unafraid, and to be authentic in who they are." ~ Lynda Hinkle

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Celebrating Independent Women Entrepreneurs Throughout History

History books are thick with pages about the founding fathers who blazed new trails to the free world, leading to our independence on July 4, 1776. I remember learning about the early innovators and entrepreneurs including Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, John D Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, but where are the stories about women entrepreneurs in our history books? Young girls need to learn that an entrepreneur named Coco Chanel was creating a fashion empire in France in the late 1800's, and that Amelia Earhart was not only an aviator, but an author and entrepreneur. Earhart created her own line of casual clothing that was sold in department stores in the late 1920's.

Here are some of the women in history who inspired me, leading to my independence as a woman entrepreneur.  I’ll be thinking of them when I watch the bright glare of the fireworks light up the night sky.

Independent Women Throughout History

Rock your vision, and get your creative juices flowing, with these 5 inspired summer reads by women entrepreneurs. Together, we'll rewrite the history books.

Gutsy: How Women Leaders Make Change – Sylvia LaFair

Success Secrets of a Million Dollar Party Girl – Lynn Bardowski

Shark Tales: How I turned $1,000 into a billon dollar business – Barbara Corcoran

Spark & Hustle: Launch and grow your small business now - Tory Johnson

What if? and Why not? – Jen Groover

Lynn Bardowski is an award-winning entrepreneur, radio host and best selling author of Success Secrets of a Million Dollar Party Girl.  She speaks to global audiences about entrepreneurship, vision and branding and is a resource for press, media and bloggers Like her on Facebook  and follow her on Twitter.  You may republish this article in full, as long as you list this paragraph and provide a link.

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From Legally Blond to Million Dollar Party Girl, 5 Tips To Playing A Starring Role In Your Biz

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Have you ever wondered who would play you in your life movie?  I’ve always pictured Reese Witherspoon playing me, starring in the Million Dollar Party Girl Movie.  From Elle Woods to June Carter, Reese is an Oscar winner who’s played fun, strong, smart women, AND she knows how to look classy on the red carpet.  She’s my kind of girl!  While we all wait for our life movie to be made, here’s five tips to playing a starring role in your biz.

Show Up On Set.  Have you always been eager to show up, on time and ready to work, for your employers?  When was the last time you showed up for your business?  Most entrepreneurs I know have no problem building someone else’s dream, but hold back when it comes to their own.  I frequently hear, “If I can’t make this business work, I’ll have to get a full time job.”  Before you dedicate 40+ hours a week to someone else’s dream, do it for yourself, consistently, for a full year.  I have a feeling you won’t be needing that day job.

Hire a Winning Team.  Every star has a winning support team so they can focus on what they do best – Stardom!  From stylists, to PR, to agents, an Oscar winner can’t get there alone.  Neither can you.  Your time is valuable; if you’re spending it on “task” activities, you’re losing money and customers.  Focus your efforts on business building activities that will elevate you to “super stardom” and dump or delegate the rest.

Get an Entourage.  Who you roll with is a key ingredient to your success.  Your entourage is the people who influence you on a daily basis, and who create a perception about you and your business.  Reach out to like-minded entrepreneurs and customers who play big and are dream builders like you.  Social media and local networking groups are great places to start.

Be Ready for Your Close Up.  Whether you’re presenting yourself in person or via your social media profiles, be ready for your “close up.”  Smile, show up as your brand, and give an Oscar-winning performance.  As the saying goes, you have only seconds to make a first impression.  I never post, link or tweet about politics, religion or even illness.  Did you know I fractured my knee last year?  No.  The world has enough pain, they don’t need to hear about mine.  Choose to inspire, before you expire.

Practice Your Oscar Speech.  “I’d like to thank the Academy, my fellow actors, and especially my husband….” Don’t wait for your Oscar moment to thank the people in your business who helped get you there.  That includes your customers, family, sales team, networking friends, and even the person who cleans your house.  A thank you can be a kind word, handwritten note, FB shout-out or small gift.  It goes a long way in life.  Timely Manner Consulting, who publishes my blog, recently sent me a thank you note that included a pack of post-it notes with a fun saying on them.  Make people feel special, and your performance will always be memorable.

Lynn Bardowski is an award-winning entrepreneur, best selling author, national speaker, mentor and radio show host.  For insights on entrepreneurship, leadership and vision, read her book, listen to her radio showfollow her blog and "LIKE" her Facebook page. You may republish this article in full, as long as you list this paragraph and provide a link.

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VISION VS. GOAL: WHY DON’T WOMEN GET IT?

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As Women’s History Month comes to a close, I've enjoyed seeing women leaders become the hot topic in the media. It was a refreshing break from the typical media coverage women get which goes from which star gained, or lost, weight to who's in rehab. We could really use a whole year of this. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, got the discussion going with her new book, Lean In. From Oprah to GMA to Mommy Bloggers, we’re all talking about the role of women in business and as Sandberg calls it, the gender imbalance. We've come a long way, baby, but we still have a long way to go. As I was researching my book, Success Secrets of a Million Dollar Party Girl, I discovered one of the answers to the imbalance in a study titled, Women and the Vision Thing. According to the Harvard Business Review women make great strategic thinkers, but we lack the skill of envisioning.  

I didn’t need a Harvard study to tell me most women are not visionary thinkers. I know this because I’ve coached women entrepreneurs for 23 years and interview them weekly on my radio show. When I ask the question, “What is your vision?” women tend to stumble. The answer is typically a goal.  Is there really an imbalance in the workplace or is it that women just don’t get the difference between a vision and a goal?

Three Reasons Why Women Don’t Get It:

1.    Many Visionary Women Were Left Out Of Our History Books.  When I think of vision, great leaders like Carnegie, Rockefeller, Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. come to mind. I would have loved to learn the story of Coco Chanel, a visionary entrepreneur in the late 1800’s, when I was in school but she was never in my history books. Try Googling visionary leaders; only a few women are listed. When we change the history books and provide more examples of visionary women business leaders, we’ll start to change the imbalance. 
2.    Women Suffer From Vision Guilt. Women’s role in society has always been as the nurturer. We’re supposed to take care of everyone else. Creating a bigger vision in business means taking time away from our family, which makes us feel selfish and guilty. The irony is that when we create a bigger vision, we solve bigger problems and serve more people. Sounds like something a nurturer wouldn't feel too guilty about. 
3.    Women Are Taught Not To Toot Our Own Horn. Strong women who speak up are often seen as being that B word. We can be our own worst enemy, judging other aggressive women even more harshly. Sandberg says, "We’ve got to get women to sit at the table.”  Sitting at the table is only effective if we open our mouths. It starts with teaching our daughters to speak up and not be so “ladylike.” Instead, teach your daughters to be more “leader-like.” Women fear being perceived as “pushy” and, as a result, hold back on sharing their gifts. Keeping quiet about our strengths, expertise and talents reinforces the glass ceiling. Start “Biz Bragging” about yourself and own it. 

Join the discussion. Who are the women visionaries that influenced you?

Lynn Bardowski is an award-winning entrepreneur, best selling author, national speaker, mentor and radio show host.  For insights on entrepreneurship, leadership and vision, read her book, listen to her radio showfollow her blog and "LIKE" her Facebook page. You may republish this article in full, as long as you list this paragraph and provide a link.

Reference: Harvard Biz Review: Women and the Vision Thing

Photo credit: Pensiero via photopin cc

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