I Am Not One of the Good Girls ...
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Rules for the Worldly Woman Warrior in All of UsWant to become one of the most powerful and influential global businesswomen on the planet? I do! Then dismount your Harley and start working on it. But first, you have to learn how to become a bad girl, because bad girls always finish first.
Break a Rule, Bad GirlHow do bad girls finish first? They act free, take on challenges, break rules. If you don't, it's over. Constantly learn and change, be persuasive, dare to be different, have extraordinary stamina and never stop imagining possibilities. The bad girl mantra is "if you can imagine it, you can do it."
Bad girls also know how to create teams of diverse people who are very loyal, yet also challenge and push their leader to achieve. And, they make sure that everyone remembers them as a bad girl because they don't care about being a good girl. Bad girls finish first.
Tying the Knot, but not Around Your NeckDo good girls think marriage moves them along in their career? Will having an ordinary, less than supportive spouse take away from their drive and initiative? Do they think that having children will bring out their softer, more sensitive side to being a businesswoman? Or will that be cause for tossing their desire to the wind?
From my own personal and professional lifestyle choices to those of top businesswoman Carly Fiorina, CEO of H-P, there will always be some good girl lurking in the background criticizing us. Yet, the name of the game is to just live your life. Since Carly is a better bad girl than I am and more well known, let's zero in on her talents for a moment.
Grit, Guts and LuckShe has accomplished great things in the business world; but when women size her up, they say she had this uncanny good fortune of working for one of the few in America who made promoting women a top priority. Coincidentally, Carly also married a man who took early retirement and happened to have two children from a previous marriage. Many viewed this as a happy 'instant' family for Carly when, in fact, she most likely fell in love with a man and took on the responsibility of nurturing a healthy relationship with his kids as well. Fortunately, with her smarts and ambition, she chose the right man and the right job for herself. Luck, guts, persistence and good timing made her life choices work for her in all respects. She chose to be a bad girl. Bad girls finish first.
It is Not a Glass Ceiling -- It is a Guyblock in DisguiseRemember the saying, "Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards." Well, that's us, bad girls! Now we just rev up our Harleys. The good girls let the guys lead. The bad girls don't. They size up guys from head to just below the waist. They're an aggressive group that knows how to bust through a guyblock in disguise.
What's to fear? You can see through a glass ceiling, but not a guyblock. It is rock solid and it holds you back, but not for long. Take your well-deserved seat in the executive suite. Let's show them what we're made of. Aim for results, nothing less. Fear lies in the eyes of the beholder, and that beholder becomes the guyblock. Let's tackle and break their force. Go ahead, make their day. Good girls glaze at glass ceilings and forever wonder while bad girls tackle guyblocks. Be a bad girl.
Ambition -- Push Hard to Get to the TopI consider ambition to be something you can't live without. Like oxygen, it's something you need. To adjust your ambition to someone else's lower level is to prepare yourself for death. Bad girls refuse to decrease their ambition, for it is a part of who they are.
Many times after completing an "ambitious" project, I have been asked, "Who told you that you could do that?" My response is "me." It is considered extremely ambitious, by good girls' standards, to take your life into your own hands and just do what you feel like doing without worrying about what people will say or think. I find it liberating to do this, and I hope you will too. Compelling ambition is when you decide to do what you want to do, regardless of support or knowing in advance the outcome. Push hard. Don't take "no" for an answer. Be aggressive. Drive hard. Forget about what people think. It is what YOU think that matters. Don't let other people's mediocre expectations of you become the truth about your life.
You good girls out there who have self-doubts and poor self-esteem, listen up! The bad girls are going to help you. Bad girls know that ambition is about unlocking, unbottling and unleashing your energy to reach your full potential. Bad girls know how to make their mark. They maintain clarity and initiative and don't care about appearing combative -- they just do their jobs. You want to be a good girl? Fine, then you're not going to get ahead, because bad girls always finish first.
Unabashed Immodesty -- Taking Center StageWhile doing a good job, good girls are scaredy-cats -- they are afraid to toot their own horns. What will people think? They never want to be improper or appear unladylike. God help them. Bad girls are energetic tigers -- they network like crazy, get jobs done and let the whole world know about it. Get over your immodesty and shyness and proclaim your strengths with a sense of fury and fire. Call attention to your accomplishments, intelligence and emotions! Work hard at gaining recognition for your abilities! If you don't, who will? Be a bad girl.
Inner Strength and The Power of OptimismA dear friend of mine dated a man she was crazy about for five years. She confessed to me that she shared her secrets and her soul with him. She had trusted beyond belief. When it came time for the big one -- commitment -- he looked the other way. Why? Because that day, he didn't like the weather. My reaction? I thought it was a wonderful stroke of luck for her. Had he made the commitment she thought she was ready for, she would have gone off into the sunset with him and settled for someone who was nowhere near her equal. This strength and ability to pull on optimism in what seemed like a very dark moment carried her through to the point of looking at new possibilities in a whole new light. A light that shined a bright new future on her.
The whole incident became a meaningful signal to redirect her life. And she did. Sometimes, not getting what you want can make you fearless in getting what you need. Furthermore, a disaster that blindsides us typically provides a moment to rid ourselves of all our mistakes and begin anew. Don't let emotions cloud your judgment. It is clear this friend of mine is not one of the good girls. With optimism like this, she will pull ahead. She's a bad girl.
To Compromise or Not to Compromise?Make a shameful or disreputable concession? Awe, come now, do you want to remain a good girl? Go ahead. Us bad girls will ride our Harleys full-throttle and leave you in the dust, because a concession is the same as a compromise. And with too many compromises, you lose focus.
In the line of fire, never compromise. Good girls compromise. Bad girls don't. So you wanna be a 'sexy' brain surgeon? Get started. Stick to your guns. Know what you want. Have a clear mental picture of your target. Then fire. Eliminate the getting ready and aiming part. That is tedious. Besides, who has the time? If you miss your target, fire again. The point is to just keep firing until you get what you want. Stay on course with your conviction and vision. It is so very simple, you boring good girls. Why can't you listen to us bad girls?
And, for all you bad girls, if you absolutely must compromise -- go ahead -- but remember who's in charge: YOU. Don't sacrifice your soul, for your soul carries you through to your destiny. Did you get that? Soul. Pure. Simple. Lock it up. Throw away the key. It is yours, and only yours, for keeps.
Don't Sit on the Sidelines -- Feel Good About Yourself and Get Out ThereHow can you possibly conquer the world if you don't feel good about yourself? Overcome the urge to sit back on the sidelines and be a good-girl, just observing because you're afraid to say what's on your mind. Don't worry about saying the wrong thing. What's a wrong thing? And, who said so? Do you care?
Also, be willing to fail. Know it's a possibility. Look it in the eye. Conquer it. And then, move on. In the process, figure yourself out because that is your single greatest gift and most powerful lifeforce. Grow or get lost. And if you should decide to drop out or disappear, even for a moment, there's no chance you will ever become a true leader. Fight with all your might to be and promote your real self. Exude confidence and dare to be different. Always. Constantly. No variance. Be a bad girl.
Relishing RiskOne good girl's timidity is another bad girl's big win, but that victory will not come unless a calculated risk is involved. True risk -- that sudden leap into the unknown -- can carry you into a state of nirvana. Do what's unconventional, disconcerting or unexpected. Take a chance. Take a risk. And keep taking them -- that's how you learn, grow, rediscover and develop. Bad girls who are creative, innovative, transformative, experimental and visionary absolutely take risks in order to earn their much-deserved rewards. Strive everyday to do OOT -- one outrageous thing. If you feel perspiration beading high on your forehead, then you know you're onto OOT. Be eager to test what works. The whole point is to take yourself in a new direction and succeed.
Thrive [or Die], You Bad Girl!Create your own opportunities. Explore and make your deepest BIG dreams become a reality. Even if you lack support, embrace who you are. Own, honor, utilize and validate your innate gifts. Pay attention to your integrity and go out there and unfold your destiny that flows from character and live a life filled with surprises. Move fast. Have the fury of the wind behind you. Create a sense of urgency. Use your gifts to achieve success. Soar to greatness. Set yourself up to survive at an optimum level in your life and enjoy your exciting and rewarding journey to mastering your own life. Be a bad girl.
You can reach this bad girl, Laurel Delaney, at ldelaney@globetrade. She runs a Chicago-based global marketing, consulting and web content providing company aimed toward entrepreneurs and small businesses. She is the author of "Start & Run a Profitable Exporting Business" and teaches an MBA International Marketing course at Loyola University Chicago. In addition, she serves as Director of International Development for Seekingcapital.com, a global funding community that facilitates education and interaction between entrepreneurs and investors. Visit her temporary web site at: Laurel Delaney
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