Secrets of Six-Figure Women

Posted by on Aug 23, 2014 in Blog, Consultancy & Training, Effective Communication, Featured, Mentoring, Speaking Engagements | 0 comments

Secrets of Six-Figure Women

Book Review

 

“Success rarely comes to the passive or pessimistic”

I don’t usually write personally here but there is something that I am so passionate about I thought it was time I did. I am passionate about women being all they can be and especially about them being financially independent.

This is a real life book review.
In early 2010 I came across a recommendation for a book on a website that I cannot recall, but I took a punt and ordered it from Amazon and well the rest of the story is outlined here.  “Secrets of Six Figure Women” by Barbara Stanny is straight forward, inspiring and confronts the issues and mindsets that hold many women back. (I read many others too but this one impacted me like nothing else).

In 2010, after a divorce and massive interstate move with 4 teenage children I was set to start again. I didn’t know how but I knew I was going to and I was determined to do it well. I’d grown up with a single mother who had “done it tough” and that fear along with whole bunch of other mind viruses had kept me in a bad and dangerous marriage for way too long. I was going to be a single mother and I wasn’t going to be bound by the expectations that go with that. My grandfather (who I adored) had always told me since I was little that I could do whatever I wanted and that never left me. I absolutely believed him despite the evidence around me.

I came to Sydney, the most expensive city in Australia and one of the most expensive cities in the world with the intention of ‘backing myself”. I didn’t have a lot left after paying out the debt from the fiasco of an 18 year marriage but I knew I just needed to get out with my sanity intact and if I’d done it once I certainly could do it again. Many others were not so sure and so I had to battle the barrage of naysayers. In the end I found it best to tell them as little as possible! There’s a good proverb about not casting your pearls before swine. It’s a bit harsh but basically be careful who you share your dreams with, especially when they are still a bit fragile.

Applying the Six Figure Principles
It wasn’t long after I arrived in my new home, early 2010 that I came across this book. I was still sorting out what I was going to do for work and was paying around a $1000 a week for rent in a suburb of Sydney that I thought was best for my topsy turvy kids. I had to do something and fast. I’d budgeted that I could survive for 6 months. So what did I do, I took the first 3 months building myself up reading and journaling and getting myself in a good frame of mind and my kids as sorted out as possible. This is a hard thing to do when you’ve got financial pressures and no back up anywhere in sight. It takes quite a bit of discipline and is very hard to resist the urge to PANIC and just do anything. It wasn’t that I did nothing in this time but made sure what I did do was focused and grounded.

I set about applying the principles from Secrets of Six-Figure Women. By June 2010 I had met my budget that allowed me to live with my kids in Sydney and out of the money I’d set aside I had enough left over to take them to Fiji for a week. Which we did as evidenced below :)

 

Fiji 2010

Fiji 2010

(ooo Fiji hair!)

By April 2011, the following year I celebrated my own six figure achievement and had my “princess ring” made. It has a whole load of personal meaning for me. One of the big things I learnt was the importance of setting goals and appropriately rewarding yourself along the way for achieving those goals! For me tangible things work best so I can look back and know that they mean a whole lot more than meets the eye.

I unashamedly say that I am a feminist and I also like men! I married a really lovely one this year!  I know there is a gender – wage gap in Australia ( and other OECD countries) We’ve had equal pay for equal work laws  since 1975 but the gap still exists. Yet some women have managed to break through these boundaries and this book talks about how! I also gives 150 inspiring examples from the increasing number of women doing so.

Mentoring Young Women v Young Men
One of the things I do is I work with lots and lots of women and mentor many young women. One of the biggest issues I see over and over is women undervaluing their contribution, their worth and their skills. I teach effective communication and one of my favourite things to do with some of the teenage girls I teach is to ask them to stand up in front of a small group and tell me their strengths. It is sad that most of them flinch and balk and can’t do it and certainly no one wants to go first.

I do similar work with boys and when you give them the same task the response is so vastly different. They will more often than not gladly fight and even rumble each other to go first and tell you how good they are. I usually have to call time to get many of them to stop!

The girls reluctance on the other hand usually prompts the discussion as to what the issue is with getting up and telling me what you are good at.  This often takes up the first session and we don’t move onto the actual task till a week later while the girls go home and agonise over: whether people will think they are ‘too full of themselves if they claim to be good at this or that; or that they won’t come across as humble; people won’t like them if they self proclaim to be good at something. The psychological torture they go through is unbelievable while the boys have done it and are looking for the next chance to shine.

Now I’m not a psychologist and I don’t pretend to be, but I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and I don’t see it getting a great deal better. It’s so hard for the girls to get over this hurdle and this is only in front of other girls with not a lot at stake.

The importance of learning to negotiate
Is it no wonder that the women have a harder time negotiating pay rises and entry level pays when they leave the shelter of school and go to work. In a Harvard study it was found that people (not only women) who negotiate their first pay package are end up considerably better off over their working life than those who just accept what is initially offered . Women often find it harder to negotiate over their worth than men. If they negotiate like men they are often called hard nosed bleeps.  Many women are under the false belief that they will be acknowledged for their hard work and ultimately rewarded but sadly there is very little evidence of this. There are countless studies of professional women who work harder juggle more, produce better results and still are paid less than male counterparts.

Of course these are big issues but for my part I get a lot of satisfaction out of teaching negotiating skills and communication skills and working on how women can self promote in a confident professional manner to get the best results and to achieve their personal goals without discounting their self worth in the workplace.  I also love to work with women who are “starting again” I truly hate injustice and believe women have a great deal more to contribute.

My personal conviction is that the very tangible while invisible walls of workplace structure that limit some women from achieving their potential will ultimately come tumbling down as more and more women join the 6 and 7 oh heck why stop there lets go for 8 figure income club!

I am currently re reading this book and encouraging my 4 teenage daughters to read it too!

I thoroughly recommend it. If you’d like to purchase Stanny’s book the link is here http://barbarastanny.com/books/secrets-of-six-figure-women

I offer mentoring and one to one coaching sessions via Skype – find out more about my introductory coaching offer or if you’d like me to speak to your group or organisation please contact me kayte@kaytelewis.com

 

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