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4 Ways For Millennial Women To Prepare For Leadership Roles

Millennial women are set to take on unprecedented leadership positions. Here's how to prep for them.

By Sava Berhané

Coming of age for working women in the "lean-in" era isn't easy. For millennial women (those born between 1980 and 1994), life and work are blended. The same technology that makes staying connected so easy makes staying "on" after working hours easy as well. Meanwhile, businesses expect more work for less pay, and parenting challenges are leading many women to take more time off work.

75% of millennial women say gender inequality in the workplace is an issue that needs addressing.

That helps explain why 34% of millennial women say they aren't interested in becoming a boss or top manager, according to a Pew Research Center study. Like their male counterparts, millennial women place a higher value on security and flexibility than on pay. But that doesn't mean they're satisfied with their working lives. In fact, 75% of millennial women say gender inequality in the workplace is an issue that needs addressing, compared with just 57% of millennial men. Here's a look at some of those obstacles and what millennial women can do to get past them.

No Shortage of Hurdles

Despite the presence of several high-profile women at the national level, women hold only 4.6% (or exactly 23) of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies. Median annual earnings for women for full-time work are still only 77% of what men earn.

In the meantime, occupational segregation persists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, three in four workers in the health and education sectors are women, while more than three in four workers in the software industry are men.

What's more, parenthood still impacts working women disproportionately, as career interruptions lead them to take on more unpaid work at home. According to Pew researchers, 51% of women with children under 18 say that being a parent has held back their careers, compared with 16% of men who say the same.

Changing Trendlines

But the data paints a different picture for millennial women. With hourly earnings at 93% of their male counterparts, they're the first cohort of women in history to enter the workforce at near parity with men. They're already earning degrees at higher rates, with 38% of U.S. women doing so in 2013, compared to 31% of men. And, according to a study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, millennial women are more likely than their male counterparts to work in managerial or professional roles—34% compared to 25%.

While there's no guarantee this momentum will be sustained, men have been participating less and less in the workforce with each generation, falling from 87% in 1948 to 78% in 1980 to 70% in 2015.

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Trying to Please Others | Living For Ourselves

We may not realize until we are adults that we are living our life to make our parents happy.

Most of us come to a point in our lives when we question why we are doing what we are doing, and many of us come to realize that we may be living our lives in an effort to make our parents or others happy. This realization can dawn when we are in our 20s, our 40s, or even later, depending upon how tight a hold our family of origin has on our psyche. We may feel shocked or depressed by this information, but we can trust that it is coming to us at this time because we are ready to find out what it would mean to live our lives for ourselves, following the call of our own soul, and refusing any longer to be beholden to someone else’s expectations.

One of the most common reasons we are so tied into making our parents, or others, happy, is that we were not properly mirrored when we were children. We were not honored as individuals in our own right, with a will and purpose of our own, to be determined by our own unfolding. As a result, we learned to look outside of ourselves for approval, support, and direction rather than look within. The good news is that the part of us that was not adequately nurtured is still there, inside us, like a seed that has not yet received the sunlight and moisture it needs to open and to allow its inner contents to unfurl. It is never too late to provide ourselves with what we need to awaken this inner being.

There are many ways to create a safe container for ourselves so that we can turn within and shine the light of awareness there. We may join a support group, go to therapy, or start a practice of journaling every day for half an hour. This experience of becoming is well worth the difficult work that may be required of us to get there. In whatever process we choose, we may feel worse before we feel better, but we will ultimately find out how to live our lives for ourselves and how to make ourselves happy.

Trying to Please Others

Living for Ourselves

by Madisyn Taylor

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18 Ways To Becoming Highly Productive
  1. Use Sunday evening for planning the week.
  2. Start your day with 15 minutes of prioritizing and organizing how you want your day to look.
  3. Use a simple to-do-list and only put THREE things on it to get done each day in each category of your tasks.
  4. Create blocks of time for specific tasks. Such as specific block for returning client calls or finishing a proposal.
  5. Know what you’re looking to achieve – what does finished look like?
  6. Plan your day according to the most important, biggest task, not the smallest and easiest.
  7. Stay focused and present to each task.
  8. Set a timer to go off at 30 minute intervals to focus on one activity and take a short 1 minute break to refocus. Do not let yourself be interrupted.
  9. Don’t say yes or no to anything or anyone before you take the time to “choose” whether or not it is something you actually want to do. Does it serve you?
  10. Literally only check your emails 3x a day. Put them into folders so you can prioritize them according to need.
  11. Turn off your emails on your phone.
  12. Use Leechblock (Firefox Extension) or Nanny (Google Chrome) to block out times when you can’t access social media and other distracting sites.
  13. Avoid meetings out of the office is possible. When you do schedule meetings schedule them to fit into your schedule, not necessarily your clients. Make sure with each meeting you have one specific outcome in mind.
  14. Keep an idea book to dump your distractions in, and come back to them a week later.
  15. Keep a journal of WHAT you have achieved – either in a notebook or an online journal Penzu.
  16. Don’t answer the phone. Literally. If it’s important they’ll leave a message
  17. Take 15 minutes at the end of your day to reprioritize what you accomplished, new items to add to your list and items what were not completed.
  18. Schedule down time. You need time to recharge your battery and the only person that can honor that is you.

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How to be SMART

98% FAIL. What am I talking about? Resolutions.

Forbes says that only 2% of people succeed in keeping their resolutions. Why? Society sets us up for failure. Trying to lose weight? There’s a fast food restaurant on every street corner. 9 to 5 corporate jobs may confine you to a cubicle for 8 hours, plus your commute. Willpower can only take you so far. Studies show that willpower is a muscle that gets fatigued. We have a limited supply.

So how can you become the 2% who succeeds? Successful people do not depend solely on willpower. Let’s start with being S.M.A.R.T. Author Dr. Paul Marciano offers seven keys to achieving your goals.

  • Be Specific – Clearly define the direction you are going to take. Your goals should be clear, not vague. If losing weight is a resolution, be specific. Do you want to lose 5 pounds or enough weight into fit those jeans you love? Maybe do 10 pushups? I highly recommend staying off the scale every day. Think about watching how your clothes fit instead of if the scale has moved a pound.

  • Measurable – If you can measure it, you can change it is a fundamental principal of psychology. They can help you keep track on where you started, where you are in the process and if you have hit a plateau so you can adjust your efforts.

  • Achievable – Write goals that are attainable and ground them in reality. An unrealistic resolution is not a goal but a wish.  If you’re a business owner our first goal probably shouldn’t be “Make a million this year.” Instead, how about “I’m going to make my first $1,000 in 3 months“.  That is attainable. Nothing wrong in shooting for the stars, but if you don’t have the resources required to reach a goal, you could be setting yourself up for failure.

  • Relevant – Make resolutions that are relevant to your lifestyle. Do you actually want to run a multi-million dollar company? While raising three kids and playing on the local community basketball team? Decide for yourself if a goal matches your skill set.

  • Time-Bound – Nobody finds time, we choose it. Make your goals a priority and schedule them in your calendar. Want to de-clutter? Schedule time to just clean out a closet. Honor these appointments. They are YOUR goals.
Lastly, something is better than nothing. Are you guilty of the “all or nothing” thinking? Do you ever think, “Well, I might as well have dessert since I already ate those French fries at lunch? The difference between doing something rather than doing nothing is huge. If you can’t do a full hour at the gym, watch a 20 minute video and exercise at home. And lastly, it’s a journey not a race. I always tell my clients, just take a second to take 5 deep breaths and choose what serves you at that moment. It takes time to reach a goal.

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