I love this post's title. I can't take credit for it. It actually is opening quote in a new book, No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, that is being released September 28, 2010 by my friend Gloria Feldt. But since the 24th marks my 50th birthday, the line really resonated with me.
As the kids head back to school this September, we have looked at a number of great business books together here on the CP Business Blog including The Recipe, Good Boss, Bad Boss, Are You Ready to be an Entrepreneur, Defy Gravity, and Conquer the Chaos.
In No Excuses, we move from the skills needed to run a business, to the skills we (women AND men) can use to make a difference at work, at home, and in our communities. When it comes to making a difference, Gloria Feldt is an expert. For over four decades, as a corporate leader, feminist and activist, Gloria has never been one to sit on the sidelines. As New York Times Best Selling author, writer,blogger and speaker, she also not afraid to speak her mind. I don't always agree with everything Gloria has to say, but I know that when we have a conversation, I am going to learn something and that to me is what makes the conversation, blog, or book interesting.
Last September, Gloria invited me to attend an event called Women, Girls, Ladies: a FRESH conversation among intergenerational feminists about all that matters: power, work, sex, motherhood, pop culture and more that was being held at Arizona State University. Normally I would not attend a "feminist" event. I just don't think of myself that way but I always learn something when I am around Gloria. So I set aside that evening and headed over to main campus to check it out. And, true to my past experience, listening to Gloria and the panel was very interesting and informative. It made me think, and that I believe was their goal.
Recently, I found this clip from Eldridge & Company with host Ronnie Eldridge (CUTV 75 NY) on YouTube with Gloria and some of her fellow panelists (Courtney E. Martin, Brooklyn-based writer, teacher and speaker; and Deborah Siegel, PhD, expert on gender, politics, and the unfinished business of feminism across generations.They are three-fourths of WOMEN GIRLS LADIES, a traveling panel that discusses issues reflecting our lives. (The video is just under 30 minutes but there are lots of thought provoking comments about what it takes to make a difference for men and women alike.)
Video via YouTube courtesy of Eldridge & Company, CUTV 75 New York)
What do YOU want to make happen in this world?
It takes power to make things happen and to me a key take away from this book is that we all have access to power IF we choose to embrace it. This book is not about gaining power over others; it is about power to bring change. No Excuses is not one of those "guru" self help books. This is a well researched, step by step opportunity to learn that combines lessons from life and from history to demonstrate what we each can do to make a difference in our personal lives, our business roles, and in our communities.
You've come a long way baby...Maybe
In the book there is a great quote from then-Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton. "My mother was born before women
could vote. My daughter gets to vote for her mother for president.” But what we see as the chapters progress is that while women have more opportunity today, many are still not comfortable reaching for it. (I have always considered myself pretty empowered. Then I read the the questions on page 26 and had to think again. Maybe I am not as far along as I thought.)
The 9 Ways
On the book, Gloria uses history, experience, and hard earned wisdom as a basis of the 9 ways to embrace your power. Each provides great ideas that can be used to advance individuals towards their goals be they women or men, boomers or millennials. Employing any one of these tips will move you forward. Learning to master all nine will move you forward that much faster.
Looking out at the next 50 years
On September 23rd, I got the opportunity to see Gloria again during a private celebration she held with friends to celebrate her new book. Since it was the eve of my 50th Birthday, I asked her for some words of wisdom as I head into the second half of MY century. This is what she shared:
"The great news is that at 50, women often come into our power quite organically. We care less about other people's judgments of us than we did when we were younger, and that is liberating. I suspect that the happiest among us are those who either take on something completely new in work or personal life, or who retool the way we have been doing things even if we don't have a major life change."
I hope you have enjoyed a look at a fascinating woman and a thought provoking book. That is my goal this September, after all. Learning is not just for kids.
Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned...