Does Your Haste Make Waste?

November 20, 2012

It is that time of the year, where the fervor of the holiday season coupled with the frenzy of all that I’d like to wrap up in a 2012 bow, can get the best of me. How about you?

I served up my own self inflicted lesson in ‘haste makes waste’ last week when my ‘doing’ vastly outweighed my ‘strategic thinking and planning’.  A botched video production afternoon and a couple miscommunications with colleagues and clients were the resulting road kill.  Nothing irreparable of course, but certainly a wake up call to remind myself of what is most important and what must really be de-prioritized or shed altogether.

How do you stay grounded? How are you keeping your eye on the ball when you are getting pulled in so many different directions? This is actually a critical issue for women in general as they work towards taking on more senior level roles: the struggle to shed their familiar tactical orientation in order to make room for strategic thinking and planning.  We women have been socialized to make copious amounts of lists and ratchet it down with glee throughout our days. We love getting taking care of business!

For me, as mother to two wee children and the owner of my own business, the to-do list always seems endless. Prioritization is critical, but even still, there can almost never be enough discipline inflicted in deciding how to spend my time and resources.  Unfortunately I seldom know if I have veered off of a productive path until repercussions are felt, much like they did last week.

Here are some simple ways I stay focused and disciplined:

  • Diligently manage my calendar: (e.g. send emails to folks I am meeting with the next day to confirm meeting details, I have become much better at determining whether a meeting is even needed in many scenarios as well as learning to graciously decline the folks who ask me for coffee to ‘pick my brain’, lean towards spacing out meetings vs. packing them all together)
  • Work out at least 4 times a week (that’s where I do my best thinking)
  • Check in with my husband (my coach) monthly (I tell him what I am focused on in my business and review how I am spending my time to hear his feedback. He always has a totally different perspective than I do, which is why I married the guy, he’s the ying to my yang)
  • Give myself mini deadlines for projects with ample time built-in to get things done, so that rather than operating from a place of stress, I am operating from a place of pride for getting things done ahead of time. It works!

What works for you? How do you ensure that your haste does not make waste?


Secrets for Success from my Hollywood Comedy Writer H.S. B.F.F.

November 13, 2012

I had the privilege to interview my high school best friend Gloria yesterday for my forthcoming book, Road Rules for Leading Ladies.  Gloria Calderon Kellett is a comedy writer in Hollywood who has had enormous and ongoing success ever since she dipped her toe into Tinsel Town 11 years ago. She started out as an assistant for Academy Award winning Writer/Director Cameron Crowe and has gone on to sell original pilots to CBS, ABC, FOX & TVLAND.  She also wrote on successful shows such as “How I Met Your Mother,” “Rules of Engagement,” and is currently a writer and producer on the new show “Devious Maids.” The picture atop is Gloria and I on the day of my wedding in Atlanta getting ‘beautified’ for the ceremony. She was my matron of honor.

She observes themes in Hollywood that get in the way of more women having greater success in senior level writing and performing roles.  These are exactly the same themes that prevent women from consistently succeeding in many other professional industries at a senior level.

Gloria kicked off the call stating:

Katie the most important thing for women to understand is that they have to be their own warrior.  You have to fight for yourself and self promotion is critical.

I see a lot of women being uneasy in this realm. Particularly in Hollywood, you need to constantly ask people to read your scripts, come see you perform-and for women who find their work to be so personal—they can get really uncomfortable if they see it as setting themselves up for personal disappointment or even rejection if people don’t show up or worse don’t laugh at your jokes.

Speaking for myself, women have to get past taking their work so personally. Men seem to be less sensitive about their work…and thus more successful in a lot of ways.  You have to raise your masculinity in this regard.

For me, I recognize that I am a sensitive person, I do have thin skin but I think my sensitivity is part of what makes me a good writer, once I recognized that I was not ever going to be able to thicken my skin, I seriously considered if this was the business for me. I decided it was, so then I asked myself how am I going to weather the storm?

Once I realized it’s not personal, it’s a business—things really shifted for me for the better.

Secondly, in order to be consistently successful you can never get comfortable.  You have to constantly put yourself in a state of discomfort. Because in Hollywood, even if you get a writing or an acting gig, anything could get cancelled the next day.  You are never allowed to ‘sit back’, ever.  No matter who you are.

A third point Gloria wanted to stress was that she saw a stark difference between herself and her male counterparts because many of them had a wife;meaning someone at home supporting everything that they did and helping them keep their life in order so that these men can go and focus on their work.  For Gloria, and so many power house women I know like her, hiring an assistant changed her life for the better in this regard. Now, she says, “I have a wife,” in addition to a doting husband who has a busy career as a top cartoonist (  This added support allows her to buy time so that when she gets home after her 12 hour days at the Disney studio she doesn’t have to schlep to the grocery store, etc, –rather she can be present with her young family (yes, she has a 3 month old son and a daughter in primary school).

Thank you Gloria for sharing your story with us and for being a part of this book—you are a hero to us all!

How Hurricane Sandy Awoke My Compassionate Self

November 5, 2012

Hurricane Sandy has devastated an area of our beloved country that is near and dear to my heart.  Seeing parts of the area lay in total destruction, particularly Staten Island and Queens, and continually hearing about how people there are still suffering in dire conditions right now, has AWOKEN my compassionate self.  I imagine I might not be alone in this vein, which is why I wanted to share my reflections.

As I am gathering items to send with a friend who is flying out to NYC tomorrow to help in the recovery efforts, I realized there are people who are staring into my window at the stop lights here in Portland who are looking for the same kind of basic support.  Why is it that I am pulled so strongly to aid those who are 3,000 miles away from me, when within a stone’s throw, I am avoiding eye contact with a homeless person who is merely asking for change?

I know all the naysayers have their hardened and cynical beliefs that the ‘everyday’ homeless person is likely going to use any funds I give them to fuel their addictions.  I try to convince myself that that’s the case every time, I turn a blind eye to them.  However, what if it’s not, what if they really are a single parent who has fled their hometown from an abusive partner and is trying to piece together a life, just as their cardboard sign says?  Why do tears stream down my face when I watch ABC news coverage of the Hurricane Sandy share stories of elderly people stuck in high-rise apartments with no electricity, water or food for days on end but then I will ignore those asking for a little support right in my backyard?

I don’t have the answer to this question. I imagine a social psychologist would be able to formulate a theory around a ‘numbing’ of our consciousness that we all develop when we are continually exposed to a similar request. However, I am going to try to make a commitment to do some of the things I think about doing as my ‘better’ self: things like loading our car up with boxes of granola bars and extra winter clothes even shoes to hand out when those much less fortunate and I come eye to eye at one of those stop lights again.
Has anyone else noticed these same phenomena? How have you reacted in light of Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath? What are you doing differently now in your community?

Finally, here are two local NYC offices that are accepting resources for those affected by Sandy. The money and items you send will go directly to NYC residents and thank you for sharing this information:

Tunnel to Towers Foundation (Staten Island based Foundation)

Or make an online purchase and have the following items sent directly to City Council Member James Sanders Jr., 1526 Central Ave, Far Rockaway, NY 11691.  These are the items in need: blankets, warm clothing, socks, rubber boots, diapers (esp. toddler sizes), formula, wipes, water, flashlights, batteries.

Are You a Leading Lady? If so, let’s Connect.

October 29, 2012

A very happy Monday morning to you all my lovely lady friends!  For those of you in Hurricane Sandy’s path, know that we are all holding you close in mind and heart as you endure your next 24 hours.  For your mental nourishment, I have a challenge for you all.  I am now deep in the throes of my winter book writing process and I need *your* help.  I am currently collecting aha moments, quotes, anecdotes, lessons learned from leading ladies all over the country to include in this aforementioned writing project.

1st Question: Are you a Leading Lady?

A leading lady is highly ‘aspirational’ professionally, meaning corporate climbers or entrepreneurial types and are seeking greater joie de vivre both at work and in life.

2nd Question:  Is this your Leading Lady Problem?

When leading ladies, of whom I consider myself one of, find ourselves mid-career, we can often be conflicted about how we want to spend the next 10-30 years of our professional lives, we consider the impact of what we want for our own family and then we are met with tinges of the glass ceiling or the impact of the incredible delusion that we ourselves can do it all.  Compounding the societal and organizational limits that we find ourselves bumping up against, there also is a significant difference in our skill set and intuitive strengths that men simply are better practiced in and are not as conflicted about personally which allows them to outperform and outshine us professionally as a group.

3rd Question: Could this be a solution to your Leading Lady Problem?

The intention of this book is to support you in this tightrope walk by teaching you specific personal and professional development tools and lessons that are critical for your continued career success. Together, we are co-creating a relatively new paradigm for women *consistently* breaking through the glass ceiling so that one day there won’t have to be a “Women of Google/GE/Nike, etc” group or a “Conference for Women in Business”, rather these conversations will simply be part of the mainstream dialogue.  Until then, we have our work cut out for us.

My Request to You:  As I stated at the top of this blog, I am looking for quotes, commentary, anecdotes, examples of how *YOU* have overcome these golden lessons below or how you are currently managing them at your workplace today:

  • Career clarity so that you can set you career planning sails accordingly
  • Confidence to ask for what you need and go after what you want and deserve
  • Embracing change and risk taking with a optimistic and innovative approach
  • De-personalizing the art of business and business relationships, just enough
  • Developing organizational and industry influence
  • Effectively delegating and letting go of always being the ‘doer’
  • Continually practicing visioning, strategic planning and executing
  • Negotiating and/or by passing office politics
  • Building your own specific network to support you and your career aspirations

Lastly, do not hesitate to reach out to me and ask me any questions that you have, I always love to hear from my leading ladies! My email is

Keep on trucking my fine lady friends!


Power for Women is an Inside-Out Job

October 25, 2012

An aha moment struck me upside the head following my morning television segment a couple of weeks ago. I spoke about ways that women can be more powerful (Katie Kelley’s ABC Segment on How to Be More Powerful At Work). My revelation was that I did not address in that segment the fundamental building block necessary for women to be powerful.


Power for women is an inside-out job.

What I mean is that your ability to stand up for yourself and own the power that is rightly yours is directly related to your self image and the level to which you have accepted and embraced all that is uniquely YOU. This is drastically different for men, in general.  Men seem to compartmentalize their sense of self with the power that is theirs to own.

For women, we entangle the two.

We mirror our self worth outwards to the world and look for self fulfilling prophesies to confirm our worst fears about ourselves.  This has got to stop.  The only way for you to take control of this vicious cycle is to identify whether this is a reality for you and if it is, take control of it by diving into personal development work and start doing the work to help you seize your power, from the inside out.

Here’s one of my often referred to quotes from my graduate school days:

“The first dyadic relationship that a child has with their caretaker will be foretelling of their sense of self and their relational self throughout their lifetime.” (VanderKolk, 1987)

The truth is that our earliest relationships build the foundation of our relationship with ourselves and with others.  Assuming that we had confidence that our caretakers would provide us with the necessary safety and nurturing we needed during that fragile state, we are able to develop confidently and positively into mature, well attached adults.  If this was not the case in your early life experience, there is always an opportunity to re-establish that trust in others, it’s just going to take some hard work.  My advice to you is this is something that you think you struggle with (overall trust and security issues with others and frankly with yourself), then I urge you to engage in therapy so that you can explore exactly how your early life experience is impacting your life today.  This will very likely be one of the more challenging parts of your life that you are forced to tackle, but I guarantee it will also be the most rewarding and satisfying parts as well.

Go forth women and own your power!

How My ‘Binders Full of Women’ Roll

October 17, 2012

Last night’s presidential debate raised the critical issue of how ‘new’ women in power still remains in 2012. Whether you are contemplating the sound bite of “women in binders” or that Gov. Romney would be sure to let his female cabinet members go home in order to prepare their families’ dinner—the fact remains that there is a tremendous amount of antiquated and deeply offensive stereotypes that we are all working to dispel as women seize their rightful power and continue to break though glass ceilings.

Here are some of the *real* themes and quandaries that the women, whom I call my ‘Leading Ladies’ who I am blessed to work among, those who are hugely aspirational while also deeply devoted to finding their joie de vivre outside of work, are considering today:

  • Where do I look for inspiration when the few C-suite females at my company are not people whom I envy in regards to how they appear to be managing the idealized balance of work/life?
  • I have found so much satisfaction in my professional life; I have never had the desire to have children of my own.  I find that this highly personal decision can almost seem offensive to people.
  • How can I find a partner to share my life with when my professional success, so far, has completely intimidated those whom I have dated so far?
  • How do I negotiate with my family of origin that I am the one who is seeking a senior level role, while my partner wants to be in more of a supportive role-when this is breaking with our family’s norms?
  • How do I remain loyal to my values while working within a company whose culture is in direct opposition to those values?
  • How can I avoid becoming part of the rat race of life, when I want so much and have so far to go in reaching my goals?

This list could go on forever; I would love to know what you as a leading lady are struggling with and how you are working to overcome society’s false expectations of you as a woman seeking to own her power. Join the conversation. Let’s dive in together and figure it out.

TV: How Women Can be More Powerful At Work

October 15, 2012