By the time you’re in your 40s or 50s, most of you have realized that the happiness and success you’ve achieved thus far are due to certain actions you took (or didn’t take) in your 20s and 30s. You’ve learned that there are consequences to how you act, fail to act or react “according to plan.” Once you’re over 40, you recognize more than ever the sense of urgency to plan, visualize outcomes and then Whip It, Zip It, and Ship It!
Early in my marketing career, I acted quickly and decisively about almost everything. Most of the bosses I reported to some 20 years ago were men, so I was the living embodiment of having to be twice as good and twice as fast to be thought half as competent. One of my bosses in particular was partial to using baseball terminology to make a business point. He loved baseball terms that involve pitching the ball – fastballs, curveballs, softballs – and often he would take me aside and admonish me for always throwing fastballs. His point was that my management style was too quick or too aggressive.
The irony is that in baseball, the fastball pitch, also known as “throwing heat,” is the most common pitch, and some of the most powerful players in the game are those that throw fastballs. They rely on pure speed to prevent the ball from being hit by the other team. When I was in my 30s, I used to think that former boss of mine was too slow. Now that I’m in my late 50s, I’m certain he was not only too slow but also a quintessential male chauvinist threatened by a young woman with bigger and better balls.
If you’re an over-40 woman who is over-scheduled and overwhelmed, sometimes you too feel you have to throw fastballs to get something done on your timetable and on your terms, especially if you need to stay in the game and you want to avoid being hit hard by the other team. Whether the “other team” dynamics involve your workplace vs. your family, or your family vs. your workplace, or your personal time vs. any other pursuits in your life, it might seem to you that all you’re ever doing these days is throwing or catching fastballs.
When it’s critical for you to act with a sense of urgency, or to get a move on and finalize something that has been lingering in your life for longer than is beneficial for you, then pitching a fastball may be the best way to Whip It, Zip It and Ship It so you stay ahead of the game.
Hopefully, you’re not always pitching or catching fastballs, but if you are, maybe you need to sit out a couple of innings or come up with a better game plan. Any driven woman over 40 who has ever tackled a big project or faced a difficult decision or dilemma, ultimately learns to break it down into smaller components from the start and assign a certain time “budget” and deadlines to each component. This makes it that much easier to get the overall project done or see the big-picture consequences of a difficult decision.
If you’re struggling with, postponing or otherwise procrastinating regarding a major decision, maybe you need a different kind of tool other than a linear to-do list. Many women rely on and benefit from their own innate and logical reasoning and decision-making that, if plotted as a graph or map or funnel, would delight even the most analytical quantitative engineer.
In fact, an organization called Visual Literacy put the most common decision frameworks and project management systems into one, multi-faceted table, which will fascinate left-brain analytical numbers types as well as more gut-sensible, artistic, intuitive right-brain types. More important, maybe one or several of these frameworks at www.visual-literacy.org will help you to DARE Whip it, Zip it and Ship it:
- For the more analytical types, there are histograms, scatter plots and bar charts –the kind of data analysis models that gave me migraines in business school.
- For the more creative and right-brained among us, frameworks such as: “concept map”, “executive knowledge map,” “cause-effect map,” and even a “dilemma diagram” might be more suitable.
- For the truly paranoid, there is a chart called an “iceberg map” which shows all the underlying factors that could affect a certain project, task or decision.
- For the hopelessly pessimistic, a “heaven and hell” chart might be just the thing to help you organize your thoughts about a certain action, project, person, place or whatever is making you channel-surf sleepless into the night, into one of two diametrically opposed concepts.
- For the passionately argumentative, there is, of course, an “argument slide” complete with spaces to state your premise, claims, facts and consequences. (The argument slide is my personal favorite.)
The point is this: whatever positive, productive, valuable project you’re procrastinating; whatever positive, productive, valuable activity you’ve been postponing; whatever positive, productive, valuable decision you’ve been struggling with; there’s a systematic way to get DARE and Whip It, Zip It and Ship It. Figure out the best way that works for you and diagram it, brainstorm it, mind-map it, draw it, plot it, chart it, but whatever you do, don’t engage in analysis paralysis! At some point, you must Whip it, Zip it and Ship it. Remember, not to decide is also a decision. Sometimes it is better to throw the fastball if it gets you DARE from here, than to be stuck in mid-DARE forever.
© The DARE-Force Corporation, 2011.
Check out Liz Weinmann’s book, Get DARE from Here™! – 12 Principles and Practices for Women Over 40 to Take Stock, Take Action and Take Charge of the Rest of Their Lives, by Liz DiMarco Weinmann, MBA. All rights reserved.
All of the content on this website and in the other content-driven products and services of The DARE-Force Corporation are based on sound business principles and practices of strategy, operations, leadership and marketing, and on current and emerging trends in those referenced business principles and practices. None of the content on this website, nor in the other content-driven products and services of The DARE-Force Corporation, are intended to be, nor should they be, perceived as, practiced as, or applied as, counsel, diagnosis, or treatment for any implicit or explicit mental, emotional or physical health conditions.