Keep Baking Baker


 

FOR MY BIRTHDAY THIS YEAR, I AM ASKING MY FRIENDS & FAMILY TO CONSIDER DONATING TO MY FRIEND ANDREA’S AMAZING LITTLE BOY, BAKER.

 
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#TeamBaker

Baker Weatherford is a sweet little seven-year-old boy who loves pizza, Elmo, playing with friends and music. 

On March 16th of this year, his family received the devastating news that Baker was diagnosed with Metachromatic Leukodystrophy, otherwise known as MLD. This extremely rare and serious progressive genetic disease causes white matter in the brain to deteriorate, causing the patient to eventually lose the ability to walk, stand, sit and swallow. Baker and his family have a tough journey ahead and your donation will go to help Baker and his family as he fights this terrible disease.

I hope you’ll consider donating. Every penny counts and I cannot think of a more deserving family.

For more information on Baker and his journey, check out his Facebook page: Keep Baking Baker.

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Women in business 2018: the march goes on

It’s 2018. You would think we’d have overcome gender inequality by now. Yet we are still fighting hard to make a more gender equal world for all of us, and although steps forward are being made there’s still a long road ahead. In fact, the World Economic Forum has recently reported that the gender gap is widening.

On International Women’s Day, March 8, we feel it’s important to shine a light on the reality of the challenges that female entrepreneurs are facing. To that end, we surveyed our community of entrepreneurs to find out more.

We also want to celebrate the progress that continues to be made, so we collected the success stories of some of the amazing female entrepreneurs that we have here in our network and community. Join us as we celebrate the successful women of today and #PressforProgress for a new generation of entrepreneurs!

We surveyed both male and female entrepreneurs and here’s what we found...

This year, in our second annual poll to our entrepreneur community, we found that men and women are approaching their business in many of the same ways. But despite this, the gender gap still exists for women when it comes to raising capital for their business. From our survey of over 3,000 entrepreneurs from around the world, our data showed that men are almost twice as likely to raise at least $100K or more in funding than women.

Enjoy the full article here → 99 designs

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If You're Not Betting on Yourself to Win, No One Else Will

 
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IF YOU'RE NOT BETTING ON YOURSELF TO WIN, NO ONE ELSE WILL

Simone Sloan  |  Founder at MBY Professional Coach, LLC  |  @aiminspiregrow

I love competitions, especially as part of a team. You really want your team to finish first. When the stakes are high and you are not sure who’s got your back, you have to bet on yourself to win.

I could not believe my ears as I sat next to a team member who questioned whether or not she should vote “yes” for our team’s idea that was up for discussion. That question would never have crossed my mind. It was not a matter of whether the idea was not good enough, but rather that this professional did not feel comfortable promoting herself, and as a result, our team. I bet on myself. If not me, then who?

I became curious and asked this professional, “if you do not vote for your idea, who will?” She sat there like a deer in headlights. Her natural default was to let the masses decide our fate. People can sense your level of commitment to your business, career, and the actions that you take. Your passion and energy speak volumes. As a result of that level of commitment, people are more likely to invest their time and energy to support you.

How many of us pretend to buy into a company’s vision, goals, or ideas and really never feel truly invested? Some would rather sit on the sidelines—it is a safe place— without taking any risks. If you are not invested in yourself, are you willing to speak out, share ideas, insights, opinions, and opposition? Are you willing to take the risks necessary to move your team or business to the next level?

When our team’s idea was ranked that day, it came in first out of all the other teams’ ideas posted. Not only did I bet on myself, but other teams did as well. As my doubtful teammate viewed the results on the large screen, she was in disbelief. I never asked her whether she voted for our team. However, at the end of the session, she leaned over to me and whispered in my ear, “I will never doubt my ideas and will bet on them from now on, regardless.”

Here are three tips to keep you focused on your greatness and enable you to learn to bet on yourself:

1. Change your mindset. If you constantly focus on the negative aspects of yourself, you are actively training your brain to reject the beautiful qualities that you bring to the table. Accept them and praise them. Accentuate the positive.

2. Reward yourself for the little things. Little actions and tasks accomplished add up to your larger goals. However, if you do not acknowledge yourself for the small things, even when you do not accomplish the larger ones, you may not appreciate your time, effort, and energy invested to get to the end goal. Give yourself small rewards to maintain your motivation.

3. Create a list of all your accomplishments and continually update it.This is an active reminder of your worth. Share your accomplishments with the world.

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Simone Sloan is a Business and Leadership Coach who brings insights to create actions that deliver real business results. As a pharmacist and MBA, she has honed her business skills as a marketer in business and medical communication, global business strategy, and business cross-functional team management.

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What “Having It All” Means to Me

A LETTER FROM CEO SARAH WELLS TO HER DAUGHTERS.

By Sarah Wells on July 27, 2016

Dear Daughters,

Most parents tell their children, “you can be anything you want when you grow up.” I feel the same and I say this often.

But I also want you to understand that this wide open world of possibilities is an opportunity—the dream itself comes only by hard work, some good luck and good timing, and a healthy dose of reality.

Girls, here are some words of wisdom for you as you forge your way in the world, from my perspective as entrepreneur of a fast-growing business and as your mama.

1. Be open-minded to changing your path (even several times) along the way

Children cycle through professions they want to be when they grow up as frequently as the seasons change. Veterinarian, police officer, teacher, astronaut (or dinosaur in your case, oldest daughter). I’m baffled why adults feel pressured to pick one path when they are 18 years old and stick with it until retirement. I see more and more friends breaking out of this mold and reinventing themselves.

In high school, I wanted to be a politician. I left my hometown and went off to college in Washington, DC. There I discovered I loved advocacy for vulnerable populations of women which taught me that I’m creative, a strong leader, and great at marketing and fundraising. As a result, I moved on to serve as the head of a national healthcare nonprofit. Becoming a mother while in that job opened my mind to new creative outlets (product ideas! Multitasking! New network of friends!) and I left the nonprofit sector to launch a business selling stylish, functional breast pump bags. Now I run a highly successful and rapidly growing company that I started up on my own. I’m not a politician!

Figure out what you are good at and what you are passionate about. Keep an open mind; the initial path you choose may lead you into other areas.

Don’t be indecisive or waste your money and time, but constantly refine what you are doing professionally based on what you are learning about yourself.

2. Failure is critical to your success

I won’t tell you to feel good about failure. Failure can be heart-wrenching and I have almost given up on jobs and myself at times. But I will tell you that every failure I’ve had along the way absolutely made me a better person and businesswoman.

Failing the big math exam in high school (as an otherwise strong student) and going to summer school over it was embarrassing. I eventually passed, but I’ve never failed an exam again, even in subjects where I struggled. I learned to ask for help in that experience. Now, I ask for help in business (especially in math!) all the time.

Being passed over for a significant job opportunity that I was more than qualified for because of unfair assumptions (being too young for the role) absolutely leveled me. I cried for a while. I had a full on three-month pity party. And then I went out and got a highly coveted job at a national organization at age 27. Harness failure as energy to find a better option. It’s okay to get angry! Take that and turn it into positive action.

3. You can have it all, but you cannot give everything 100% of you 100% of the time

Though I hate to even acknowledge this, it’s real: because you are females, daughters, there will come a day when you’ll be asked a certain question, “can you have it all?” Most of the time this is referring to kids and a professional career. The first thing you should know is that this is an impossible question to answer for everyone, because “all” is relative to each person. I can tell you that I have it all. And I think you can too.

Start by making a list of what “all” is for you. Here’s my list: my husband, my kids, my family and their families, a small circle of friends, my own company and some personal time/activities. I have all of that. But here’s the catch: I cannot give everyone/everything on this list 100% of Sarah Wells 100% of the time. But the great news is that you can still have it “all” even when you aren’t the best at every bullet point on the list 24/7.

Some days, my business work just does not get done. I’m sure I’ve left sales on the table. But it was a tradeoff on that day or moment that I made in exchange for something else, like taking you to a swim lesson, or getting a nap for myself when I had the stomach flu.

The hardest is when I cannot be there fully in your presence, but that’s okay too. When you get to spend time with friends, your caregiver, other family, in school, etc. you are growing into independent, confident, smart cookies (it really does take a village!) I cannot possibly answer every email the moment they come in while also being fully attentive as a mother. So every day, sometimes hourly, I decide which trade off to make. But I’m still very satisfied as a professional and a mother. And I believe I’m very good at both.

No one is ever fully focused on everything on their plate at all times, whether you have kids or not. So yes, you can have it all, daughters. But be realistic and be kind to yourself.

I’m proud to be a role model to you as a mom and an entrepreneur. I hope I inspire you to believe that you can be anything you want and you can have everything on your list. It will be my pleasure to watch your whole life unfold before my eyes. Add that to my own list of “all”.

Love,

Your Mom

I Don’t Deserve to be Here: Presence and the Impostor Syndrome

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Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy on overcoming self-doubt to reveal your boldest self.

By Amy Cuddy on March 3, 2016

The general feeling that we don’t belong—that we’ve fooled people into thinking we’re more competent and talented than we actually are—is not so unusual. Most of us have experienced it, at least to some degree. It’s not simple stage fright or performance anxiety; rather, it’s the deep and sometimes paralyzing belief that we have been given something we didn’t earn and don’t deserve and that at some point we’ll be exposed. Psychologists refer to it as impostor syndrome, the impostor phenomenon, impostor fears, and impostorism.

Impostorism causes us to overthink and second-guess. It makes us fixate on how we think others are judging us (in these fixations, we’re usually wrong), then fixate some more on how those judgments might poison our interactions. We’re scattered—worrying that we underprepared, obsessing about what we should be doing, mentally reviewing what we said five seconds earlier, fretting about what people think of us and what that will mean for us tomorrow.

Impostorism steals our power and suffocates our presence. If even you don’t believe you should be here, how will you convince anybody else?

Presence and impostorism are opposing sides of the same coin—and we are the coin.

I don’t just study impostorism, I experienced it. And I didn’t just experience it, I inhabited it. It was like a little house I lived in. Of course, no one else knew I was there. It was my secret. It nearly always is. That’s how impostorism gets such a good grip—it pays you hush money. If you don’t tell anyone about those feelings, then people are less likely to think, “Hmm… maybe she really doesn’t deserve to be here.” No need to give them any ideas, right?

In my 2012 TED talk, I shared a story about my experiences as an impostor. After my brain injury I kept trying to return to school, only to drop out because I couldn’t process information. I was in a fog. Nothing feels worse than losing part of your core identity. Anything else can go and still you feel some of your old power. But I had lost my ability to think—a pretty important part of me—and I felt utterly powerless.

I fought my way back—very slowly—and eventually finished college and persuaded someone to take me on as a grad student at Princeton. But for years afterward I was haunted by impostor fears. Every achievement led me to feel more afraid, while even the smallest failure confirmed my belief that I didn’t belong. “I’m not supposed to be here” ran through my head over and over.

During our first year in grad school each doctoral student in the psychology department was required to deliver a twenty-minute talk to a group of twenty or so people. The night before my talk, I was so overwhelmed by fear that I told my adviser I was going to quit—just so I didn’t have to give that talk.

“No, you’re not,” she said. “You’re going to do the talk. And keep doing it—even if you have to fake it—until you have a moment when you realize that you can do it.”

I didn’t exactly nail the talk the next day. I don’t think I moved any part of my body other than my mouth. I felt as if I could go blank at any moment. And there was nothing I wanted more than for it to be over. At the end, when someone raised his hand to ask a question, I thought I might pass out. But I survived it, and my audience didn’t seem to think it was quite as bad as I thought it was. And I kept giving talks—virtually every talk I was invited to give. I even invited myself to give talks. Anything to get more practice.

It took a while, but after grad school at Princeton, a year teaching psychology at Rutgers, two years teaching at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, and a year at Harvard—a place where someone like me was definitely not supposed to be—my adviser was proved right: I did come to realize that I could do it.

Here’s how that moment arrived: a student of mine at Harvard, a woman who had spoken barely a word all semester, came to my office before the final class. I had sent her a note saying that she hadn’t yet participated, and it was do-or-die time. She stood there in front of me looking totally defeated, and after a long silence finally spoke: “I’m not supposed to be here,” she said. She teared up as she said it.

She told me about her background—coming from a small town, not having a fancy pedigree, feeling acutely like an outsider and an admissions mistake.

She sounded just like I once had.

And at that moment, it hit me: I no longer feel that way. I’m not a fake. I’m not going to be found out. But I didn’t realize those bad old feelings were gone until I heard the words coming out of her mouth.

My next thought was this: She’s not an impostor, either. She deserves to be here.

When I delivered my TED talk, I never would have guessed that the story about my impostor syndrome would resonate with so many listeners. In fact, I nearly dropped it from the talk entirely, thinking it was too far a reach from my main subject—and way too personal.

In the moments after I walked off the TED stage, several strangers came up and hugged me—most with tears in their eyes. In one way or another, they all said the same thing: “I felt like you were telling my story.” I couldn’t have imagined then that I would hear the same words from thousands more people, in e-mails I receive to this day, each one telling a new story about feeling like a fake.

Most of us will probably never completely shed our fears of being fraudulent. We’ll just work them out as they come, one by one. Just as I can’t promise that learning about presence will give you a Zen master existence in the “eternal now,” I can’t say that you will soon shed all your impostor anxieties forever. New situations may stoke old fears; future sensations of inadequacy might reawaken long-forgotten insecurities. But the more we are aware of our anxieties, the more we communicate about them, and the smarter we are about how they operate, the easier they’ll be to shrug off the next time they pop up. It’s a game of whack-a-mole we can win.

 

Excerpted from the book PRESENCE by Amy Cuddy. Copyright © 2015 by Amy Cuddy. Reprinted with permission of Little, Brown and Company.

Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist and professor at Harvard Business School who studies how nonverbal behavior and snap judgments influence people. Her research has been published in top academic journals and covered by NPR, theNew York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Wired, Fast Company, and more. Her 2012 TED Talk “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” is the second-most-viewed TED Talk of all time. 

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