Posts tagged female in leadership
The Trap of Perfectionism and Doing it Right
Photo Credit, From the Hip Photo, March 2017

Photo Credit, From the Hip Photo, March 2017

Last month I shared my thoughts via audio about how much can you, or I can accomplish in a day, and the importance of asking for help and allowing others to support us. 

What is on my mind today has a similar flavor, and that is the notion of "doing it right".  As soon as I typed that phrase my internal dialog said "whatever that means", my rational mind wants to argue that there is no right way of doing anything, and yet the pressure that can ensue surrounding this myth can take over and paralyze my efforts.

A lot of the "do it right" thinking comes from the desire for perfection, an unattainable yet tempting place that women (at least myself) can tend to strive to be even while knowing it's not possible. 

"Pressure comes from all sides and settles uncomfortably in the laps of women trying to do everything the right way." -Karen Kleiman

A mind field of this type of thinking can pop up in areas where we are navigating something new, a path not walked down before. There is nothing like being 8.5 months pregnant that brings out the opinions of others the floodgates of advice comes rolling in causing lots of thoughts comparing to others and judging myself for what I do or don't know, "I have not thought of that, crap I should read more on that topic".  Because we live in a world where anything can be googled and Pinterest will be there to reliably show us all the possible "hacks" to get it right, it can be difficult to put the opinions aside and find a way that works for you. 

"Too many [women] are becoming anxious and depressed because they are overwhelmed and disappointed. Too many are letting their lives be poisoned by guilt because their expectations can't be met, and because there is an enormous cognitive dissonance between what they know to be right for themselves and what they're told is right for their children." .-Judith Warner

Regardless of the topic, there is an overwhelming amount of information available to us from others, our own research and imagined idea of how we are "supposed to" get something right. 

So how am I handling the feeling of "get it right" perfectionism as I round the corner into motherhood? Not overly gracefully but I am certainly putting effort into a few actions that have provided some reprieve that I will share with you. 

The first thing I have done is to do my best to have perspective and empathy about where the information is coming from.  I remember when my Father died three years ago, many people would say things to me like "when my grandma died", and at first I was offended that anyone would compare a grandparent to a parent, "do they have any clue what this is like".  When I chose to hear that person through the filter of empathy and love, I could see that more than likely they were just uncomfortable and wanted to relate to me in a way that they could, not really knowing what to say.  With unsolicited parenting advice, I am applying the same school of thought, this person is wanting to relate to me, be closer, and possibly share something that meant a lot to them, they might feel like they are handing me the keys to the parenting kingdom, maybe they are! The point is to rely on empathy and perspective to see people as my ally and with the filter of love. 

The other strategy I am employing to combat perfectionism and the "Do it right" mentality is to try to cut myself some slack.  This, is by far the hardest action for me to take and yet the simplest. The best way to actually do this are these two simple things; let myself off the hook for not knowing how to do something I have never done, duh, and, to not compare myself to others.  I was talking to a friend yesterday about how my workouts have not only changed but in the past week felt nearly impossible, I never thought I'd see the day that walking up hill was hard.  The best thing I can do for myself during this time is NOT get on Instagram and look for "moms to be that crossfit" to compare my efforts to others.  We all have our own experiences and for me sticking to my own without muddying the waters with what others do can be the best way to stay away from feeling like a failure. 

The beautiful underbelly of all of this is that if I peel off the layer of wanting to get it right and achieve perfection and see the innocence in my thoughts, my true intention is that I really want to be my best for those in my life I care about and the work I do in the world.  If I can remember to have empathy for myself and others I have a real chance at enjoying my experiences instead of making them right or wrong. 

How about you, does this resonate? Do you have a difficult time navigating new territory without comparing yourself to others or striving for out of reach perfectionism? 

Send me a note or comment here, I would love to hear from you! My intention is to blog as frequently as ideas come to me and I appreciate you reading along!  I look forward to posting about my experiences as I continue integrating motherhood into my work and relationships. 


Lindsey Rainwater, also known as Lindsey RainH2O, is a sought-after business advisor, Founder, writer & keynote speaker to the fitness and wellness industry. For more information about Rainwater, follow her on Twitter@LindseyRainH2O

The Three Reasons Why I Choose to Participate with the Industry Leadership Council

Last year at IHRSA (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association) annual event, I partnered with one of the most exciting groups in our industry! I want to share with you about the Industry Leadership Council. My friend Meredith Poppler can help you learn more if you would like to join us! The picture below is of Meredith and I last year right after I joined this exciting group of people in the fitness industry.

Here are my top three reasons for being a part of the ILC.

The ILC Experience offers up an opportunity to be involved on a very granular level and participate in events you might not otherwise be able to attend. A few highlights I am looking forward to is time with the keynote speakers and networking in a more intimate environment. The trade show floor can be so busy and bustling that it can be difficult to really connect with your industry peers. The ILC experience offers up a more intimate environment to connect and meet new people.

Secondly, but not more importantly is the causes that the ILC group has taken on, most specifically the PHIT act.

The PHIT Act, which stands for Introduction to Get PHIT Personal Health Investment Today, is federal legislation that would allow any American to use pre-tax accounts like Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Savings Accounts (FSA) to pay for qualified fitness expenses. Currently, the IRS code only allows these accounts to be utilized for medical expenses.

Why is PHIT Important? "64% of American adults and 34% of American children suffer from overweight, obesity, and physical inactivity. These rising rates of obesity and Americans’ proclivity for inactivity are resulting in double digit annual increases in healthcare costs to the government and business". -http://www.ihrsa.org/phit

Another reason that the ILC group is so wonderful to be a part of is it can help you to identify a path around being at the show and what could be valuable as a professional in attendance. Conference and trade show settings can be so daunting if you are not sure how to best use your time, you can end up not having a clear direction and wasting your time wandering about. The ILC group offers a "path" providing an experiences like none other. Intimate roundtables with the keynote speakers and meetings keeping you informed about pressing industry news. They can also point you to some of the best education sessions to attend like my friend and colleague Bryan O'Rourke 's session, he will be presenting Thursday at 3:30pm, Poised for Expansion: The Future of the Industry - 300% Globally in 10 Years?, Room 403-B LACC, I hope to see you there!

What an exciting time to be a part of our industry, see you next week at IHRSA!


Lindsey Rainwater, also known as Lindsey RainH2O, is a sought-after business consultant, leadership coach, writer and presenter to the fitness and wellness industry. For more information about Rainwater, follow her on Twitter@LindseyRainH2O

The Art of Knowing When To Stop instead of Start

One of my all time favorite leadership books is Good to Great by James Collins, I remember being in my early 20's and reading the book for the first time, it has remained a resource for me for over a decade.  During my last read through the book, a concept stuck out to me that I had not really noticed before.  Now I am sure it was because I was not ready to see the message, funny how life works that way, when the student is ready the teacher appears.  The book centers around many wonderful topics, and the principle I want to share with you today is the art of the "stop, doing list".  Isn't it intuitive for us to create a "to do list" that informs our actions throughout the day, of course! Collins suggest that we consider what to stop doing to really allow for true and dynamic discipline. 

I love his thoughts he noted down on the topic found on his blog, jimcollins.com.


Each time the New Year rolls around and I sit down to do my annual resolutions, I reflect back to a lesson taught me by a remarkable teacher. In my mid-20s, I took a course on creativity and innovation from Rochelle Myers and Michael Ray at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and I kept in touch with them after I graduated.
One day, Rochelle pointed to my ferocious work pace and said, "I notice, Jim, that you are a rather undisciplined person."

I was stunned and confused. After all, I was the type of person who carefully laid out my BHAGs (big hairy audacious goals), top three objectives and priority activities at the start of each New Year. I prided myself on the ability to work relentlessly toward those objectives, applying the energy I'd inherited from my prairie- stock grandmother.

"Your genetic energy level enables your lack of discipline," Rochelle continued. "Instead of leading a disciplined life, you lead a busy life."

She then gave me what I came to call the 20-10 assignment. It goes like this: Suppose you woke up tomorrow and received two phone calls. The first phone call tells you that you have inherited $20 million, no strings attached. The second tells you that you have an incurable and terminal disease, and you have no more than 10 years to live. What would you do differently, and, in particular, what would you stop doing?

That assignment became a turning point in my life, and the "stop doing" list became an enduring cornerstone of my annual New Year resolutions — a mechanism for disciplined thought about how to allocate the most precious of all resources: time.

Rochelle's challenge forced me to see that I'd been plenty energetic, but on the wrong things. Indeed, I was on entirely the wrong path. After graduate school, I'd taken a job at Hewlett- Packard. I loved the company, but hated the job. Rochelle's assignment helped me to see I was cut out to be a professor, a researcher, a teacher — not a businessman — and I needed to make a right-angle turn. I had to stop doing my career, so that I could find my real work. I quit HP, migrated to the Stanford Business School faculty and eventually became — with some remarkable good luck along the way — a self-employed professor, happily toiling away on my research and writing. -Jim Collins

Article can be found on Jim's Blog, Click here to see full article


Often when we create a new plan to ignite change, that plan is often coupled with initiates and tasks to set us on the new path  and direction.  In pausing to reflect about other possibilities, one suggestion that Mr Collins makes is that of evaluating what can potentially be stopped instead of started.  Making the choice and having the discipline to stop is a high level demonstration of self awareness and discipline.  Like he talks about in the article,  busy can be a state we find ourselves in and without the proper discipline, can end up not accomplishing a whole lot even if we feel like we are and instead we are delusional to the reality we have created.

As you create plans for next year, business and your own new year goals, consider what you could stop doing instead of adding in more new initiatives.  Ask yourself the 20-10 rule that collins mentions, what would you do differently?  

The hardest part of change is having the motivation and discipline to sustain the change, and a large force can be a person to support that process.  Reach out to me, I love to support people amidst change and would enjoy hearing about your plan and how it is going. Send me a note below, and let's talk about what you are going to STOP doing. 

 

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Lindsey Rainwater, also known as Lindsey RainH2O, is a sought-after business consultant, leadership coach, writer and presenter to the fitness and wellness industry. For more information about Rainwater, follow her on Twitter @LindseyRainH2O

The Fastest Way to Become a CEO
"Be the CEO of your own life. Raise hell. Let the chips fall where they may.  It'll never be easier to change jobs than it is today." -Keith Ferrazzi, Never Eat Alone

I am reading a book right now, correction, I am listening to a book on Audible that I am IN LOVE with!  I sent out a tweet two weeks ago asking a few of my friends  (Bryan O'Rourke, Tamara McCleary and Amy Schmittauer) if they had any books they love, I had just gotten through my last round of recommended reading and wanted a fresh idea.  The reply came back, Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferazzi, and Tamara chimed in that he is in fact the real deal, good guy.  I promptly downloaded and got to listening.  I have a habit of listening to books and podcasts audibly each morning while I workout, I totally recommend this method of intaking information.  So, the book, I can not believe I didn't know about it sooner! I am a long time fan of "How to win friends and influence people" by Dale Carnegie and my experience of Farazzi's book is it reads like a current day catch up, expanded version of Carnegie's classic! Hats off to you Keith, love the message.

I want to share what I was listening to yesterday during my morning workout because this concept is one that radically shook up my life up a few years ago and I appreciated that Keith wrote about this idea.  I wish I could remember who told me this, or if i woke up thinking it, but here is what happened.  I connected the dots between how my life was going and the passive or active way I was approaching my circumstances.  Practically: I needed to "promote myself" or begin behaving to the level I was wanting to achieve, I needed to be the CEO of my own life.  

If my life is going anything other than how I would like it to be, the only person to blame is me! If I don't LIKE the way something is going, I need to handle that circumstance as if I was the CEO of my company, as Keith puts it "me inc."

Once this message began to click for me, I realized if I was not happy with a doctor, practitioner or even fair weather friend, in my life, I need to fire them! And find someone that did align with what I was wanting.  The idea of being the CEO of my own life is that of taking charge of what I want in my personal life and seeing all of my encounters as opportunities to make decisions that align with my greater purpose.

Yesterday, when I was listening to what Keith had to say on the topic and reflecting about my own experiences, it is most relevant to share a few of Keith's tips that were also my experiences.  

Here are two places to start when you do decide to promote yourself to CEO! 

Do not ask for permission, you do not need anyone to say it's OK to take charge of your life, it is actually entirely up to you and if  you do not take charge, do not be mad when nothing happens.  It is my observation that it can be very easy to sit back and wait for things to happen for you without taking action.  Good things don't come easy, lots of people say, I like to think that my willingness to put in the effort is what matters most, and if I want something, my energy towards that goal is what usually determines what happens.  My willingness to grab the steering will, put my foot on the gas pedal and GO without waiting for someone to say "the light is green" is what allows for my success. We all have something to share that is valuable, so, green means go! Go start telling people how you can help them. 

To become a brand, you’ve got to become relentlessly focused on what you do that adds value. I promise you can add value to whatever job you’re doing now.”
— Keith Ferazzi

The truth is, perception is reality ,what you project is how people will perceive you.  Knowing that, how do you want to represent yourself? I think what Keith says really sums it up.  

Lets be real, image counts, so whatever your look, take time to think it through. What is your appearance telegraphing to others? There is one general, overarching caveat in this step: stand out! Style matters. Whether you like it or not, clothing, letterheads, hairstyles, business cards, office space and conversational style are noticed- big time. The design of your brand is critical.
— Keith Ferrazzi

In order to promote yourself to the CEO of your own life, the requirement is a genuine desire to be responsible for what happens in your life. Passive measures do not yield great results in my life and when i am actively engaged and putting effort into my dreams, they in-fact do come true.  

Have you read the book? Never eat alone? Please send me a note, I would love to have a conversation (virtual book club call) with you about your findings and compare notes! click here to connect


Lindsey Rainwater, also known as Lindsey RainH2O, is a sought-after business consultant, leadership coach, writer and presenter to the fitness and wellness industry. For more information about Rainwater, follow her on Twitter@LindseyRainH2O

Learn to Tango with Fear and Cultivate Self-Confidence #WakeUpWednesday

We all have that voice inside our head that says “you can do it, you've got this” and, in contrast we all also have the voice that says “no you can’t, you're screwed.” The journey of which one wins at any given moment is an on going discovery process.

When I was in my early 20’s I was a store manger for Starbucks Coffee and one day in particular I remember dancing this very tango between “yes I can and no, I can not.” It was early one weekday morning and the regional manager had plans of touring my store that day. I had been whirling around all morning making sure my store was in impeccable shape for the visit. He walked in and I remember like it was yesterday, my entire body flooded with heat, I could feel my heart beat in my temples. I have no idea what he asked me about, what we spoke about or how long he was there, but I do remember that feeling and what was going on in my mind as we were talking. I remember having the experience internally of doubt and belief at this same time, and which ever voice I gave more attention, grew. The more I believed in myself and told myself I had a reason to be there, I was part of the conversation, the calmer I felt. In contrast, the more I doubted, the louder the heart beat in my head become and the hotter the back of my neck felt.

I did not know it that day but looking back, it was that time period that I started to realize I had the ability to experience situations differently based on how I decided to feel about them. Don’t ask me why this particular instance sticks in my head, all of us have “those moments” that leave a lasting impressions, and that day was the one where I noticed my own experience of other people and me. It was that time period and many years to follow (and still)  that I began to cultivate true confidence in who I am as a person and awareness of my value. It truly does not matter what your title is, how much money you make, if your picture is in a magazine, at the end of the day we are all human.

I love the way my friend Robert Dyer puts it, “you know Lindsey, we all put our pants on the same way, one leg at a time.” He had said that to me prior to a big meeting that I had myself pretty worked up over.  It took me many years to cultivate the confidence to see myself as whole and capable in the presence of those with larger titles than myself. Looking back, I don’t think it was one single experiences that cultivated confidence instead a compounding of many many experiences that brought me to where I am today. Which is by no means a state of “arrival,” however I can say that today I see myself as fully capable to have a conversation with anyone, even the president or the united states without the feeling of “less than” being part of my internal dialog, which is a far cry from where I came from.

In creating this article, I wanted to share my personal experiences on the topic as it has completely overhauled the way I see myself and therefore the world. Here are a few points in summary that when I think back were compounding experiences resulting in my ability to cultivate confidence.

Practice talking to people you feel afraid of talking to. 
As simple as this sounds, if you really evaluate your choices in people you talk to I would bet you air on the side of “safe” instead of risky, it is human nature to seek out comfort. The only way I have found to learn to tango with fear instead of bolt in the opposite direction is to face the fear square in the eyes and go for it. Do you follow an “important” personal on twitter that you would love to have a cup or coffee with? Ask them for a phone call! You know that quote we all “like” when it pops into our FB feed “do something each day that scares you,” this time, do it, scare yourself, I dare you.

Hang out with people doing and demonstrating what you want
The saying, “you are the sum of the 5 people you hang out with," find 3-5 people you want to be like when you grow up and hang out with them. Something I have done that I find useful is if the person is not available but they distribute content (Tim FerrissGary VaynerchukAmy Schmittauer) listen to/watch and consume their content. I have Tim Ferriss in my ear more than once per week, and as a result, he influences me. Find your role models and soak up their goodness as often as you can.

Take exquisite care of yourself and prioritize this above all. 
We are what we think, eat and do repeatedly. This is a basic equation and thought process AND the easiest to completely loose footing on and fall off track. The reality is this, if you do not take care of yourself, no one else will do this for you, it is your responsibility to love what you’ve got! We all see so many leaders burn out in their 40’s because they didn’t sleep, eat or exercise in their 30’s due to over working. I don’t know about you, but this whole gig is a marathon not a sprint, If I skimp on sleep, eat too much pizza and skip too many workouts today, it’s only a matter of time before I run out of steam and crash and burn. So even if it is inconvenient, create space for yourself everyday, and be vigilant about staying true to your routine. This will allow you to be available to everyone else. Self sacrifice at your own expense is not heroic, it is wasteful. If you do not care for yourself, your spouse, co worker, children and pets will get your leftovers instead of your best.

Cultivating confidence in yourself is a lifelong journey. Just when I think I have rounded one corner and feel great, a surprise is right around the next bend. The good news is that with practice dancing with fear, lots of help from other's and taking care of myself I will continue to create more confidence everyday. What’s the point you might ask of cultivating confidence? For me it is about being of maximum service to my purpose for being on this planet. We are all hear to fill our own specific and unique calling and having the confidences to say YES to life when the phone rings is what it is all about.

Do you struggle with confidence or want to chat on this topic? Send me a note and I would enjoy connecting with you on the topic. 


Lindsey Rainwater, also known as Lindsey RainH2O, is a sought-after business consultant, leadership coach, writer and presenter to the fitness and wellness industry. For more information about Rainwater, follow her on Twitter@LindseyRainH2O