"You can't steal second base with your foot on first."
I was sitting yesterday in Starbucks with a close professional friend and we were discussing 'being hungry' at work. Now we are not talking about baked lasagna, 100-calorie snacks in the cupboard, or a sugary bear claw solution here. We were talking about sales, jobs and new client opportunities.
I thought of several great women I know, unhappy at work or waiting for the phone-of-opportunity to ring... for months!
In the old days, a woman would wait for a suitor to approach, court her, whisper sweet nothings, and then seek permission to marry from her parents. There was a clear dream of being swept away by tall, dark and handsome (who also had a bank account, a good family, had a good job, was kind, and loves children).
Are we still using that passive approach to work? To getting a job? To bringing on clients? Are we waiting for a seat at the table at a time when we really should be pulling up a chair?!
I would argue yes
This new economy encourages us ladies to be hunters and gatherers. Both.
In this courtship analogy- just think of how much dating has changed.
In today's dating scene, both women and men are often out there on match.com, eHarmony, OurTime, Christian Mingles, JDate, OkCupid and yes, even Tinder looking for Mr. or Ms. Right. Hopefully, finding long term love. We know this system is very effective now, as a study published by National Academy of Sciences found that 35% of couples married between 2005 and 2012 met online. That's 1:3. Match.com just went public! And according to the same study, couples who met online cited higher marital satisfaction.
Online dating is proactive. It opens you to chance meetings. You have to put yourself out there. You face rejection. Weather 5-50+ dates in your pursuit of loving happiness. You can't sit idle when he doesn't return your latest email or text. But, what can we learn from this all when it comes to grabbing ahold of our professional destinies?
I have a quote over my desk that says "A ship may look beautiful at port, but that's not what ships were made for."
What ladies, are we made for?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself and reflect on with a friend or mentor:
1] Are you online networking to make professional matches?
2] Do you have a goal pipeline forcing you out of your comfort zone?
3] Do you accept rejection and stand-up from perceived failures?
4] Did you pivot after your project went south?
5] Are you having fun with ambiguity? Celebrating your small wins?
6] Have you made something 'happen' this past month on Linkedin? Twitter?
7] Do you have not one job/client prospect, but eight NOW in active discussions?
(there is a great Chinese adage 'Shopping with three vendors never leads to disappointment.")
8] Are you getting 'out of the box' enough at work to ignite creative and innovative thinking?
9] Did you hit a few networking or industry events in 2015?
or are you still waiting for him to call?
Here friend, I will hand you the phone. Make the call. Make things happen.
Julie Silard Kantor is CEO of Twomentor, LLC a management consulting firm that works with corporations to build mentoring cultures & elevates women in STEM