Too Tired to Care? Regain Your Perspective with 5 Proven Practices

(Originally posted on ProjectConnections.com)

Somewhere around the spring of last year I started to forget to take care of myself. Maybe it was brought on by the shock of repeatedly watching the video of the March 11 tsunami sweeping away tens of thousands of lives on the east coast of Japan, a country I travel to on business nearly every month for the past five years. Or maybe it’s just an old habit resurfacing, like a recurring rash. Either way, I started ignoring my need for balance in my life, and focused single-mindedly on the enormous pile of tasks and projects I had accumulated.

By December, I was a mess! As I said my end-of-the-year goodbyes to my colleagues in Tokyo, I bellowed (only partially jokingly), “I know you’ve all been working just as hard as I am, but frankly I’m too tired to care!” And I truly was. In exhausting myself, I had lost my ability to care about my teammates. What a pity!

This is a place that a leader cannot afford to end up. And yet, in the demanding, deadline-driven business environment, it’s all too easy to exhaust ourselves to the point that we’re ineffective (and not much fun to be around).Continue reading

Are Businesswomen Contributing Enough? Nope!

(Originally posted on SVProjectManagement.com)

Not even close! Don’t take my word for it. I’m educated as a scientist, and I do everything I can to make fact-based decisions based on data, so here’s some data for ya . . .

According to the 2011 Catalyst Census:Fortune 500 Women Board DirectorsExecutive Officers and Top Earners and prior Catalyst Censuses, women have made no significant gains in the last year and are no further along the corporate ladder than they were six years ago:

  • Women held 16.1% of board seats in 2011, compared to 15.7% in 2010.
  • Less than one-fifth of companies had 25% or more women board directors.
  • About one in ten companies had no women serving on their boards.
  • Women of color still held only 3% of corporate board seats.
  • Women held 14.1% of Executive Officer positions in 2011, compared to 14.4% in 2010.
  • Women held only 7.5% of Executive Officer top-earner positions in 2011, while men accounted for 92.5% of top earners.
  • Less than one in five companies had 25% or more women Executive Officers and more than one-quarter had zero.

This is truly a pity, especially for business people who want to make a profit. Consider this from our friends at Catalyst. Companies with three or more women on their board of directors, on average, outperformed companies with zero women board directors:

  • by 84% return on sales,
  • 60% return on invested capital, and
  • 46% return on equity.

Continue reading

Weed Your Life

Originally posted on SVProjectManagement.com December 2011.

Here’s another personal musing promoted by what I’ve come to call the “alcoholidays”.

This time of year my mind wanders to gratitude. I’m grateful for the incredibly talented colleagues who have made this year’s relentless stream of work border on enjoyable. And I’m thankful for friends who have made life’s normal burdens lighter through their kindness and support. A garden of friends and colleagues has made this terrifically challenging year much more pleasant for me. But, like all gardens, it occasionally needs weeding.

Many years ago when I was exiting physics graduate school, and sad to be leaving friends behind, one of my professors advised me to let go of relationships that had passed their time, and not to grieve for their loss. While many relationships grow more satisfying over the years, he cautioned that clinging indiscriminately to all past relationships can burden a person – like accumulating too much baggage on an around-the-world tour. This was a man whose life’s ambition was to get all of his worldly belongings into no more than 2 suitcases. I must say, now I see his point.Continue reading


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