Posts Tagged ‘core values’

Challenging women’s lib and success defined by wealth

December 1, 2010

Once again, a morning sales training session has triggered a revelation about how I perceive success and why I am struggling to share and embrace my journey in pregnancy and starting a family.
The training was on goal setting. We all named five “top performers” and discussed what their life goal may have been; how they may stay focused on goals; how they deal with adversity and failure; and how they view risk.
The list of people included Obama, Lance Armstrong (and many other pro athletes), Oprah, Warren Buffet, Donald Trump, Jack Welch and even Will Smith. In less than an hour, it struck me as odd that none of us, myself included, listed a person like Mother Theresa, the Dalai Llama, Greg Mortenson or any great healers, teachers, spiritual leaders or authors. We all listed people who’s “top achievements” are defined by wealth or winning.
That perception of success is why I am struggling with my biggest personal change.
Growing up, I have had two major goals pushing me. First, since probably age 7, I have had a burning desire to be a famous author and speaker. Second, since my pre-teen years, I wanted to prove that I can do any job as well as, or better, than any man. I always said I wanted to support myself and I believed that a big salary would solve all problems.
Now, I realize only one of these goals match my core values. I’ve had a skewed definition of success in my life.
I still want to be a famous author and speaker, because I believe I can help people through both avenues. I’ve discovered my highest core value is to help others in business and personally. I believe I can earn a good living doing this, but the money is not my first priority. (My roles as a starving reporter and a thriving money lender were both defined by this core value.)
On the women’s liberation front, however, my former goal is preventing me from embracing the joys of being a woman. I’ve proved the equality point well enough by excelling in academics, working hard labor jobs, carving a niche (and big income) in the male-dominated finance field and competing athletically alongside men. It’s time to put that goal on a shelf like a tacky trophy that collects dust. I need to embrace the fact that I need my husband’s support and protection. Not that I can’t stand on my own – but that I don’t have to anymore.
At five-and-a-half months pregnant, I need to stop hiding the truth and joy from my professional circle. I must stop thinking I will either fail at being successful professionally or at parenting.
The only way I can begin to reconcile my desire to nurture and my passion to excel professionally is to face the truth. I can’t blame this conflict on hormones. I’ve had less respect and admiration for terrific moms, housewives who sacrificed careers for the family and spiritual people who live by faith than those “top performers” with millions and athletic triumphs. I’ve forgotten the poorly-paid teachers who noticed in that I excelled at writing and encouraged me.
Since I can visualize being a great mother and wife AND being successful professionally, I shouldn’t be ashamed of being on both paths simultaneously.
If goal setting begins with figuring out “what you want,” then I need to accept that deep down, I have always wanted it all – to excel in every role. Only “how” I will get what I want and “when” I will get it is uncertain … and out of my control anyway.

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