So you need a mentor, your calendar is a mess, and you double booked yourself — maybe your professional life is in a bit of a slump. We spoke with a black belt in business — Teresa Taylor, the author of The Balance Myth: Rethinking Work/Life Success — for some fast, confidence-boosting tips for your professional life. Her credentials? She's the COO of a Fortune 200 and a Board Member for multiple companies, like T-Mobile USA (we're sure you've heard of it). Teresa gave us the lowdown on how to seek out a mentor, combine your calendars, and that "confidence is key." What do we recommend doing after you read this? Take Teresa's six tips, print them out, hang them up on your desk, and conquer the professional world.
1. One life, One Calendar
"This literally means to put your personal and work calendar together. People often try to have one life at home and at work which becomes conflicting — you start missing things, they overlap or you just forget about them. One of my most successful tactics was to create one calendar. Maybe personal and work events would overlap, but I knew about the soccer game, the work meeting and which one that I'd be going to."
2. Windows of Time
"Focus on where you are, what you are doing and don't have regrets. I'm not a supporter of multitasking. I prefer, and I have found success on just focusing on where you are. If you decide you are going to a meeting, be at the meeting, be present, and don't think of being somewhere else. Also, don't renegotiate with yourself. Think of it as a window of time."
3. Set Time Limits
"I'm a big supporter of creating time limits on things. Once you are done with something, you are done — for personal and professional things. For example: give yourself a two hour time limit to do a project. You might have to come back to it a different day, but don't let it dribble down. When you have a list of things to do, write a time next to it. When the time is up, stop doing the task, and then move on. "
4. Between the Lines: Integrity and Ethics
"As your responsibilities grow, don't lose your ethics. It is a mistake that lots of executives make. If you have that funny feeling in your stomach, you should probably stop what you are doing. It is easy to get sidetracked as you gain access to more information, more business expenses, you make more money, things may be tempting. As people move up in the rank and they often say, "the company can pay for this," but maybe not. Usually a company will have an expense policy but some people push it. You always have to ask yourself, 'How would I feel if it was on the front page of the newspaper?'"
5. Reach Out To A Mentor: Give Before You Take
"Someone will just call me and ask, 'Can you help me with this?' and I haven't met them in a year and met them only twice. Build the relationship first before you ask [a mentor] for something. 'Giving' can mean getting together for coffee and not asking for anything. Sometimes, people meet me for five minutes and ask me to mention me. It is a time investment that I take seriously. People should invest— just have a cup of coffee and talk, and then follow up. If we have coffee and talk, you can send an article to the person two weeks later that you think the person liked. Stay in touch but don't stay in touch by asking. If you give first, the action will usually return themselves."
6. Your Own Worst Enemy: Lack of Confidence
"Many women don't have confidence in themselves or they don't express confidence. There is so much talent: look at the statistics — women are the best in school, they get the best grades, but somehow in the workplace they talk themselves out of things. Start by telling yourself you are confident. Wake up and tell yourself you are the best, a good person, and give yourself an A+ in the morning. If you have negative energy from someone, get rid of them."