The Elements Ironstone Blog

Current news and trending topics for sales and financial industry professionals


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Top 10 Lessons From Comeback Women

Women, as the more creative of the human species, can also be more resilient. Following are creative strategies for success culled from the lessons learned from women who have failed a few times along the way.

1. Do guy’s stuff: Kathryn Bigelow has taken a lot of criticism over the course of her career for doing action and violence. It works for her!

2. Work-family works: Today’s work culture is more sensitive to the needs of families. If you do not have flexible work options, show your boss the mounting research on flex options and increased productivity.

3. Seek empowering workplace cultures: Bigelow was in the director’s chair.  Workers who have more decision-making authority over their daily job functions are less susceptible to stress, burnout and absenteeism.

4. Age and experience matter: Women of a certain age are just moving into their own. Forget about ageism in Hollywood casting line-ups; direct the movie and do the casting.

5. Working smart: Long hours are not the way to the boardroom. Use your time wisely.

6. The engineer’s mindset: The strong demand for women in fields such as engineering is re-engineering out dated mindsets. Keep in mind that today you have more power in the equation.

7. Quantify everything: Women are at the top in sales for an important reason – performance is transparent and measured.

8. Balancing work and family: Family is a stress buffer, not another event to juggle on your schedule.

9. Take the Initiative: Women still need to do more to get to the same place. Work smarter not overtime. Be proactive. Look for opportunities to take anticipatory action.

10. Get up, brush yourself off, and start over again. Sandra Bullock said it best in her Oscar acceptance speech, “Did I really earn this or did I just wear you all down?”


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Ingredients for Success? – New Lessons for Women

At this year’s Oscars, a number of once fallen women sauntered across the red carpet as not only winners but at the top of one of the world’s most competitive fields. Of course, Kathryn Bigelow is the biggest winner. Having suffered through flops, she has now secured her place in the pantheon of the world’s greatest directors.  Sandra Bullock, after having received a Razzie the day before, demonstrated the grace of a good loser.

Am I the only one to notice that women who succeed are often carrying briefcases full of lessons learned through failure on their way to the top? These successful women have managed to psychologically overpower the negativity associated with failure. Few viewed Sandra Bullock as an Oscar contender after she picked up the Razzie for worst actress the night before, yet she rose above the crowd, and maybe even a few snickers, as she awaited her greater destiny at the Oscars.

These women were able to draw from a repository of inner strength. At the first sign of failure, it is important to keep things in perspective. You lost the major account but the sun is still shining, your well-adjusted children are at home waiting to go to the park and your sales are edging up year-over-year.  Look on the bright side. You are in sales, not acting. Nothing could be worse than winning the Razzie.

Build a repository of strength by making values-driven goals and decisions. Write down your values and line them up with your goals. Note the positive values-driven outcomes in your life. By sticking steadfast to your values, you will be able to develop a repository of strength to achieve your next set of goals.

Self-efficacy, or confidence in one’s own abilities, is a strong determinant of success.  Values-based actions encourage positivity. Thoughts typically precede and shape actions. Like a coach shouting positive encouragement, positive thoughts will resurface as positive re-enforcements when we are facing our toughest challenges.