+ Why is it so important for women of all ages to be daring/fearless at work?
First, let’s define what “daring” and “fearless” mean when we’re talking about work. In today’s economy, being daring and fearless at work means knowing what your deal is, and how to deal. In my book and in my work, the word “Deal” refers to your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – in fact, chapter 2 of the book is actually titled, “Deal.” Being daring and fearless means you lead with your strengths and opportunities, while keeping your weaknesses and threats in check as much as possible. If you’ve built your life (and/or career) around a certain routine or skill set, and you’ve been successful at it, it’s easy to see why you might want to stay in your current parking spot rather than deal with change, or seek out and negotiate a new deal. Being daring and fearless means you resist that inertia, because what you don’t do to bring about positive change in your deal, actually can hurt you. At some point, we all need to dare re-vamp our deal.
+ What are some ways women can enact their fearlessness at work? What should they not do?
The most important way that women can enact their daring and fearlessness at work is to cultivate influential and powerful people who can champion you – not just assist, mentor or advise you. You need to cultivate, secure and exchange your talents with those of sponsors – persons of power and influence who actively champion your mission and vision. If working under the tutelage of a sponsor seems counter-intuitive to being daring or fearless, please know that a sponsor with access to decision makers, financial resources, and proprietary information that you can’t access on your own can make you very daring and fearless indeed. Finding a sponsor involves seeking out someone who can motivate you to dare even further, which also means you have to learn about your sponsor’s priorities, motivations and needs, and where there are common ground and mutual benefit for both of you. Working with a sponsor is an exchange. It works best when there are complementary skills and talents at work.
As for what women should not do to enact their fearlessness at work:don’t confuse being daring and fearless with being reckless or ruthless. Our current economic state is grave evidence that morally or ethically suspect activity is not only reckless but can have dire consequences for your life, not just your career. Also, review the definition of the word “ruthless,” which has become a synonym for “driven” or “tenacious” – not an apt one. In that regard, know the values of the firm and industry in which you operate; then decide how you and they define “ruthless” and how that jibes with your own ethics, values, morals and ideals. Chapter 7 of my book, titled “Reason,” discusses this issue in great detail, especially how to protect yourself in situations where your definition of daring and fearless may conflict with that of your company or industry.
+ What are the benefits for working women to be more daring or fearless?
Demonstrating that you can 1) create, secure and manage new revenue streams, or 2) devise effective ways to reduce costs, will make you feel very daring and fearless. The benefits are that you increase your conviction, competence and confidence, becoming more daring and fearless. Being skilled at driving revenue or reducing costs makes you one of the most valuable persons at any organization, in your own business or in another organization, whether in the public, corporate or nonprofit sector. Increasing revenue and/or containing costs both involve extreme focus, research, empathy, and drive. Here’s why:
Focus,because to be daring and fearless you really have to become an expert in your industry, which also means you are constantly looking for new or better products, services or clients to explore.
Research, because you have to demonstrate and substantiate that your recommendations are based on real-world facts and quantitative metrics.
Empathy, because focus and research often start with listening, observing, or staying quiet, before peppering someone with questions and volunteering suggestions.
Drive, because sometimes you need to muster up, shore up and deploy different kinds and levels of energy and intellectual firepower than those within your usual comfort level or way of operating. It takes a lot of drive to adapt to the point where you are in fact daring and fearless – as opposed to reckless or compromised.
+ Where can women go for more info and resources on being daring/fearless at work (other than your site/book, which we will link to)?
Here are just a few of my favorite books about being daring and fearless, including how to negotiate a better deal and how to sell anyone almost anything.
1. Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful (Hyperion, 2007)
2. Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, Now, Discover Your Strengths (Free Press, 2001)
3. David Allen, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (Penguin, 2002)
4. G. Richard Shell, Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People, (Viking, 2000)
5. Jeffrey J. Fox, How to Become a Rainmaker: The Rules For Getting and Keeping Customers and Clients (Hyperion, 2000)
6. Susan Jeffers, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway (1987)