Corrections or additions?
This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the August 7, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Power Tools for Women — An Inventory
In this excerpt from her new book, "Power Tools for Women"
(Three Rivers Press/Random House), Joni Daniels sets out an inventory
of essential equipment for women.
The contents of your toolbox will include:
tool provides you with clear vision and allows you to see and sell
the big picture. You can’t make progress if you can’t envision where
you’re going and then communicate it in a persuasive way to others.
The goal is to keep from getting lost and from losing others.
and Your Internal, Intuitive Responses. Get a better sense of what’s
going on behind the "walls" — that is, behind the social
facades. You were trained from the time you were a child to ignore
your intuitive responses to the behavior of others and go with what
parents, teachers, and the culture told you. A lot of subtle messages
get sent your way every day. If you develop the ability to pick up
on the external signals people send you and your internal reactions
to situations, and to interpret them accurately, you can plan instead
of being taken by surprise.
the many unwritten rules of life can harden around you like concrete.
With your Demolition Hammer — awareness, strength, and tact —
you can smash through policies and protocol that are dated, dysfunctional,
detrimental, or downright foolish. As you learn how your deepest fears
of bucking the system — of being a rebellious little girl —
keep you from pursuing your goals, you can also learn how to gracefully
yet effectively tear down the unwritten rules that get in the way.
The goal is to be civilly disobedient.
always need to know where one room ends and the next begins. The ability
to judiciously use the word "no" allows you to set appropriate
boundaries. As a woman, you are encouraged to be nice, which means
always saying yes to requests. But it’s vital that you develop a comfort
with refusing requests so that you’re not sacrificing your needs to
others’. And it’s equally important that you accept their refusals,
too. The goal is to learn how to measure, respect, and enforce your
than making excuses, covering the mistakes of others, or trying to
keep things afloat, cutting your losses will allow your whole ship
to sail ahead more easily. With a Power Saw, you can eliminate whoever
or whatever is preventing you from achieving your objective. The goal
is to embrace change and the risk that accompanies it by severing
yourself from outdated, unproductive ways of doing things, including
relationships that don’t work.
to create openings, you need to find the exact bits — that is,
ask just the right questions — that allow you to progress. When
you know how to drill with precision, you understand when and what
to ask, what not to ask, and when to figure something out for yourself
at a later time. By becoming proactive about requests and diminishing
the guilt that may accompany them, you can be much more effective.
The goal is to communicate precisely and genuinely with others.
able to forge durable bonds in both your personal and professional
life with those most important to you will help keep you strong. This
will be especially apparent in times of stress, when you need the
support of others. The goal is to reinforce all relationships that
can provide you with support and strength.
and Buff Up Your Sense of Humor. The person who knows how to polish
relationships and smooth down the edges between herself and others
is the person most likely to succeed — and to help others succeed.
In fact, all the tools in your toolbox will work much better if you
develop the ability to reduce the rough spots. An understanding of
what brings joy into your life and inspires smiles from others makes
everything you do easier. The goal is to reduce the roughness in your
life and your relationships by replacing it with smooth rapport and
There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a task and not having
the stamina and resiliency to see it through. If you know where your
energy comes from, why it becomes depleted, and how to conserve what
you have, you can avoid ever running dry.
flow only if your voltage can flow — if your inner wires aren’t
loose, broken, or tangled. You can keep track of what’s going on internally
when you learn how to assess your strengths and weaknesses honestly,
monitor your well-being, and address any short circuit that might
develop along the way.
are times when the best tool, no matter how well honed, may not get
you the desired outcome. These are the "when all else fails"
strategies: the rolls of duct tape you can use to slap together a
quick — or permanent — fix when nothing else more obvious
has done the trick. The goal is to have an infinite roll of plan Bs.
for other Power Tools. I suggest, however, that just like any skilled
artisan, you start with the basics and add to your tool collection
Corrections or additions?
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