Women in leadership positions in credit unions: Invest in yourself

When we think about starting a business, taking a promotion or deciding how to get to that next level, we sometimes feel we are superwomen. We can do it all, maybe not all at once, but we’ve got this. Isn’t that the battle cry we tell each other? “You’ve got this~” …and while that is true, why do we feel we need to do this alone? Why can’t we be real and authentic and let others know we need help?

I remember my first meeting when I started out in the Insurance world. The room was packed and although everyone seemed friendly enough, I didn’t know what I didn’t know and wasn’t even sure what questions I should ask. Instead, I listened. I was sure that if I concentrated on the speakers and focused in on their words, I would simply get it…maybe through osmosis.

We were about 20 minutes into the meeting and one of the top leaders talked about a new program in the health insurance arena. It was a PPO. He said it numerous times and people were smiling, shaking their heads in a positive direction and some were high fiving each other. People, Productivity and Opportunity were the first 3 words that came to mind, but I didn’t think that was right.  Maybe Profitability, Persuasion and Organization? This was 1990 so there were no smart phones to look this up. Our cell phones were…phones. 

After about 45 minutes of my mind coming up with different combinations of PPO words, the man of the hour asked if anyone in the room was unfamiliar with the term PPO. This was my first meeting and I was the only female in the room, and I had to decide should I raise my hand or not. It seemed like hours had passed since he asked the question, even though it was about 30 seconds.  I was just about to bravely raise my hand, knowing the looks I would receive, when he decided to just blurt it out…Preferred Provider Organization. I did have the O correct and 1 out of 3 wasn’t too bad, was the thought that went through my head.

The reason I tell you this story is because from that moment on, I understood the value of investing in myself. I found mentors in the company that would explain things to me and help me in my journey to navigate this unfamiliar world. As I started to show success, they identified me as an emerging leader and I again had to find those that would support me within the company and then I hired a coach to fill in the other pieces. Investing in myself was the way I was going to create my future as a leader in the company. 

That always makes me think of a story about investing in yourself. I was at the airport and my flight was delayed.  Nothing new was what I thought, and others were visibly annoyed. I was standing next to a woman and we started chatting. The conversations always comes back to “What do you do?” She worked for a large agency and I told her I am a speaker, Executive Coach and Leadership and Sales trainer. She immediately told me that she has never worked with a coach and wouldn’t ever consider it. Her boss works with a coach, but she again said it wasn’t for her. I asked why and she explained that when you work with a coach, they want you to do more things than what you need to do. They expect more from you. She didn’t want to be promoted or go any higher in the company, so a coach was not for her.  I thought she is probably correct and reminded myself how important and beneficial it is to invest in myself.

The truth is, investing in yourself is extremely powerful. Here are some benefits you receive when you do:

* You are letting people know that the way you treat yourself is the way they should treat you. Respect is earned. Once others see that you respect yourself, you can earn theirs as well.

* You know what you need better than anyone else. Don’t wait for anyone else’s approval of how to care for you. 

* You are demonstrating that you prioritize who and what is really important to you

* You become a magnet, attracting the right people and opportunities into your life. You know what is right for you and what is not. You become unafraid to say no to your deal breakers. You do not compromise your values or integrity.

When you take care of yourself first, you will accomplish and enjoy more professionally and personally. By eliminating negativity in your life, you will have more time and energy to complete the projects that can help propel you and your business to the next level.

Remember, taking care of yourself is the best selfish thing you can do.

Judy Hoberman

Judy Hoberman

Judy Hoberman is President of Judy Hoberman and Associates, a company focused on empowering professional women. Her company combines Sales and Leadership for Women using the philosophies of her best-selling ... Web: www.sellinginaskirt.com Details