Embrace Your Power: Statistics and Surveys, as Well as Some of the Best Strategies from Top-Level Professional Women, for Not Just Thriving in Business but for Becoming a Woman of Power

By Alleyne, Sonia | Black Enterprise, February 2014 | Go to article overview

Embrace Your Power: Statistics and Surveys, as Well as Some of the Best Strategies from Top-Level Professional Women, for Not Just Thriving in Business but for Becoming a Woman of Power


Alleyne, Sonia, Black Enterprise


BEAT THE CLOCK!: Mastering the art of time management

STOP RUNNING ON EMPTY: Make yourself a health priority

BALANCE IS NOT A CHOICE, IT'S A NECESSITY

Marleece Barber

Chief Medical Officer, Lockheed Martin

Not too long ago, I was walking a tightrope, juggling a demanding executive leadership role, a husband and children who needed more of me, an aging and ailing parent, and a move. As chief medical officer for a major corporation, my responsibility is to maintain and improve the health and well-being of our workforce. When exhaustion, crankiness, and pessimism began to make routine tasks seem monumental, I knew I needed to do a self-assessment. I visited my physician. I purchased a fitness device to track my blood pressure, my sleep, my activity, and my diet. I was stunned to see that I was getting only 4 1/2 hours of sleep each night, that sugary and salty foods were in regular rotation, and I had slacked off on my workouts. I felt ashamed at my stats because not only did I know better, I usually did better. I soon realized that my almost 50-year-old self had finally reached my max, and I was expending energy faster than I could replenish it.

For women with significant responsibilities in the workplace and at home, it is important to recognize the demands we place on ourselves. We take pride in proving to our families and colleagues that we can be relied on to deliver great results on time. Because of our desire to show commitment, to be supportive, and, in some cases, to earn appreciation, we put the well-being of others before ourselves--and that can lead us to an unhealthy place.

I began to turn things around by committing to getting seven hours of sleep each night, which would have been unthinkable before. In addition to a sound night's sleep, I rated myself on my "Fundamental Five": fitness, food, family, faith, and fun, and focused on quality in these areas if time constrained the quantity. I also committed to being less harsh on myself and to accept that I may miss an appointment, a workout, a healthy meal, or a church service. As imperfect as I may sometimes feel, in the eyes of God and those who mean the most to me, I am enough.

OBESITY &
HYPERTENSION

Black women
20 years and
over who are
overweight     71.8%

Black women
20 years and
over with
hypertension   41.4%

SOURCE: CDC HEALTH,
UNITED STATES REPORT,
2010

Note: Table made from bar graph.

EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP SESSIONS AT THE 2014 WOMEN OF POWER SUMMIT

THE EMPRESS HAS NO CLOTHES: How to conquer self-doubt so you can achieve your potential

YOU ARE ALWAYS ENOUGH

Joyce Roche

Former CEO & President, Girls Inc.; Author, The Empress Has No Clothes: Conquering Self-Doubt to Embrace Success

The greatest lesson I have learned is to be able to internally validate myself--to objectively and honestly look at my accomplishments, experience, and contributions, and to allow that to reinforce the idea that "I am OK ... actually, I am great." It took me a long time to be able to quiet that voice of self-doubt and fear--even in the face of success--that I was not going to measure up and to learn to embrace my talents and value. Even today, as African American women in business, we are often different from [many of those] we are competing against or working with. This fact can lead us to compare ourselves to the majority and to fear that we might not be smart enough or have enough experience or have the right experience and to discount our own worth. I learned over time that I did have the talent and experience I needed and that I deserved the success I was achieving. One situation sticks out in my mind. I had been at Avon for almost 19 years and hit a real glass ceiling. I knew that if I wanted to move to the next level of senior management I would probably have to leave the company. At that point I had to acknowledge that I really believed the press and recognition I had received over the years, and truly believe in my abilities and management skill enough to step out to find the opportunity that I felt I was ready to take on. …

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