Last week during my very first Pink Power Call, the topic was about the importance of saying “NO”. How by learning how to say “NO” we learn to set boundaries in our lives which make women more effective and productive in both their business and personal life. We talked about one of the natural strengths of women, a desire to make the world right that sometimes means pleasing everyone, while this can be an asset it can also be a tremendous liability. But what really struck me during that call was a question from a young female advisor; she was a mother of one with another on the way. Her income was required to help support the family and her husband’s career caused him to travel a great deal. She was a new advisor and was feeling the pressure to follow all the “rules” and “Protocol” within her branch. She was already posting 10 hour days but her manager was asking her to do more. She felt torn, torn between what she felt was right for her children, what she needed to do to build her practice and what she needed to do to appease her manager. Her manager didn’t seem to appreciate the dual roles she was managing, that of a mother as well as an advisor and he was actually adding a third, that of an employee. Hearing this woman’s frustration lit a fire under me, I had to respond.
To the Manager, don’t be stupid and wake up. If you want women to succeed start recognizing all the challenges they are facing in their lives. Recognize what is important to a woman, help to her to maintain her highest priorities and you will have a more loyal, productive employee. Sometimes all it takes is being a good listener, understanding and keeping an open mind. When you show that you care about what is important to her you will only fuel her desire to succeed, for herself, for her family and for you. By ignoring her and the unique challenges she faces she feels threatened, anxious, she becomes less efficient and focused more on appeasing you rather than doing what she needs to do to succeed. This is a recipe for failure.
To the Female Advisor: Know what is important to you and watch your bottom line. The reality is as a financial advisor if you are making your numbers you will succeed. As a financial advisor you are not an “employee” you are a business owner, you are responsible for building your own business. If you are achieving the numbers and goals set by the company they will leave you alone to produce. Oh sure you may get a slap on the wrist or hear comments that cause you concern but you must turn it all off and focus on what is most important to you; building a business and living your life. Make a list of what is important to you and then prioritize that list based on what you must maintain; odds are appeasing your manager is not high up on the list.
Ladies, for those that are mothers, you can never go back and recoup that time you lost with your kids. There is nothing wrong with being a working mother, with the right balance of your time and energy your children grow up happy, healthy with a great role model for a mother. But don’t ever let anyone put you in a position where you feel you are sacrificing your children, not today, not now, not EVER. Don’t hide the fact that you are a mother; share it with the world, with your peers with your clients. Let your manager know the responsibilities you face, don’t wait for him to ask. The beauty of being a financial advisor is that you can make your own schedule, create more flexibility, and develop your business to work around your life. Remember it’s all about your bottom line.