Today, I want to talk about the nature of things, about our nature, our personal nature, things that come naturally to us and how we can work with those things instead of against them.
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I have a few examples here from my own personal life. The first one is that I’m a pretty naturally disorganized person. A lot of people who meet me are confused when I tell them this but it’s true. One of the reasons I love systems and setting up things so that when one thing happens, something else happened, you know, sort of, “if this, then that” kind of systems, systems to automate my finances, systems to give me reminders and notifications of different things is because I can’t keep all of that stuff in my head, is because I am so disorganized. I need my systems. Let’s be honest, all of us have so many things coming at us every day now, who can keep everything in their head?
So, it used to be that this disorganization was a real pain point for me. It would cause me to be late for things. I would get working on something, I would forget to check the clock or the calendar. I would forget appointments. I would forget phone calls. I would double book myself sometimes because something I had booked and forgot to enter into the calendar wasn’t there, particularly things with my kids and work.
I used to keep separate personal and work calendars so if my kids had an appointment with a doctor or dentist, it wasn’t necessarily in the calendar where I could schedule appointments with people, which would mean I would end up having to cancel things; either I cancelled my personal appointment which sometimes cost money because you have to cancel more than 24 hours ahead of time for certain things or I would have to tell the other person, “I’m really sorry, I got double booked.” And I felt like it made me look bad. I would have to ask them to move their schedule around to accommodate me which did not feel great. I didn’t like it.
So I Created Systems
My solution for this was to create a centralised calendar; a calendar where any appointment I would put in there blocked out appointments in all other categories. I have a personal calendar, I have interviews for my podcast, I have work appointments, different kinds of things but if I enter something in, it gets blocked out in every calendar now so I don’t double book which helps a lot.
I also initiated a system of alerts and reminders for important “stop” and “start” times. I even started putting buffers in between things because sometimes I used to have appointments go back-to-back, some of which I would have to drive somewhere for so that didn’t work very well.
Again, I hated ending some of these appointments early to give me time to drive somewhere to get to one of my kids’ doctor’s appointment. So doing that helped a lot and also scheduling help ahead of time if I need help. If I need someone to watch the kids so that I can do something else because it’s a holiday or because there’s a snow day or something like that the sooner I can get that done and know that that’s taken care of the better. So that’s part of my system now.
They Say Spending Actual Cash Hurts More
Another example of how I’m a bit disorganized myself is, I’ve seen these studies about how spending cash, real actual physical cash helps you spend less because you feel the loss more when you hand cash over. I like that idea, I’ve tried it myself but the problem that I have is I’m not fantastic at tracking cash. If I spend cash, I go to the gas station, I put some gas in my car, sure they give you a receipt but if I’m not deducting it for taxes, I wasn’t always that careful about that receipt.
Buying a drink somewhere, going to Starbucks, picking something up, the cash would go here and there so at the end of the cash I would look at it and sure I knew where some of it went but I didn’t have it all tracked. For me that was more of a pain point, trying to figure out where the money went, than the help it was supposed to give me by me not wanting to hand over the cash. I decided,
This whole cash thing, it may work for some people but it’s not in my nature
I didn’t feel the pain I should have felt with handing the cash over, it wasn’t that hard for me to hand over and I had more of a pain point with not being able to track it. So, I switched mostly over to a non-cash system because then, at least, I can track where everything goes. It’s not that much harder for me to hand over cash than swipe a card and one way that I sort of build into this system some checks and balances is that I have notifications sent to me when any account reaches a certain point.
So if it’s a credit card account, I’m using a credit card to get the points, I have balance notifications set at certain levels so it pings me an email or a text when my balance gets so high and on my bank accounts it also does the same when my balance gets so low. So, that’s me working with my nature. I realize that cash is not a great option for me because I lose track of it so instead, I’d rather implement this system so the system makes it seem like I’m organized. The system for my calendar makes it seem like I’m organized and it’s stopped me being late.
The Two Areas I See This Impacting Women
There are some other areas that I want to talk about where this can apply and the two big ones are promotion and negotiation for women. I’ve seen studies that say that when it comes to negotiating your starting salary and subsequent promotions and salary increases, women fall far below men on being able to negotiate those effectively on being able to get the highest possible salary. This is partly why we have the wage gap since future salaries are based on past salaries.
So if you don’t negotiate well enough for that first salary, that has a knock-on effect throughout the rest of your life. If you and a man who has the same degree, maybe even went to the same college as you and you both have the same student loan debt load, if you go to the same company and start working similar entry-level jobs but for different salaries, that’s going to continue to be an issue and a wage gap between the two of you possibly for the rest of your careers.
I see that as a big problem, however, I’ve also seen some studies that showed that when women negotiated for a female coworker or colleague, they were much more effective at negotiating a better package and better salary for their female colleague or coworker than they were for themselves.
What does this say about us?
Sometimes we find it much more comfortable and easier to negotiate for and promote a friend than ourselves. Why is this? Personally, I think there’s a cultural bias against women promoting themselves. There’s a cultural bias against women talking themselves up, being vain, being seen as pushy or aggressive. If a man and a woman have a conversation with the exact same words, if a woman were to speak word-for-word the script that a man used to get a higher salary, she probably would not be seen in the exact same light that the man was.
The man might be seen as confident and assertive and the woman might be seen as pushy and vain.
These are some of the problems that we run into just with our cultural bias of how women are supposed to behave and how men are supposed to behave, but the fact that it can have such a huge effect on our overall earning potential for the rest of our life means that we need to find a workaround for it. So if you aren’t good at promoting yourself, if you aren’t good at negotiating those salaries for yourself, the fact that we can do it better for each other says something and I see that as something that we should all use.
I recently have been reading Gloria Steinem’s book, “On The Road” about her history of being an advocate for women’s rights around the world and especially here in the United States. Over and over she brings up this idea of talking circles and of organizing and women getting together for different things.
She also talks a lot about the Civil Rights movement in the 60s, but the talking circles seem particularly effective when it comes to women. Women sitting down together in a room, I mean for her, traveling state to state, college campus to college campus and things like that, it often would be in person. Though now, we have these virtual talking circles that we can use and that’s exactly what I’m trying to do with these podcasts.
Talking Circles & Wolf Packs
I would love for this Podcast to turn into a talking circle where we can all talk to each other about finances which is part of why I started a new Facebook group for it. You can join here It is a female only group and while I realize I do have some male listeners from time to time, for the most part this is all focused on women and I do want women to have a safe place where we can have conversations about money.
So, the talking circles are one side of it. I think that just being able to talk about these things really makes a difference. Part of the reason that women do get paid less is they don’t know what men are getting paid. So start talking about it, researching it, looking at what other people are getting paid in your industry and realizing that you are worth it, you are worth the top dollar, you put in the work, if you’re not putting in the work, go put in the work. If you’re not a top performer, go be a top performer and ask for the high salary that you need.
On the other side of things, I want to talk about wolf packs. So we have talking circles on one side where we really communicate, really hear what’s going on, find out what people are struggling with, get a better understanding of where people are coming from. Then there’s also this thing that I like to call the wolf pack.
Now, I first heard of the wolf pack idea from Nathalie Lussier. I was doing her 30-day list building challenge and she talked about having a group of women that is kind of your wolf pack as you start to put yourself out there online and really be more visible and her reason for doing was knowing that there were some people who have got your back.
You’re out there trying to get some articles published on bigger platforms, you get a Huffington Post article and you’re so excited but you’re afraid there’ll be crickets. Having this wolf pack, they’re all excited for you too, they go and they comment and they share and they help support you getting out there and you do the same thing for each one of them.
This is not about promoting something that you don’t believe in or haven’t used or anything like that. This is about having friends in business, where you all believe in the work that you’re doing, you’re all doing great work and you can easily go and support each other.
It feels great. I love it when I see one of my friends succeed and I totally want to shout it out everywhere. I want everyone to know how great it is. I think that having a new product or a new service or a new book get published, Wow! How exciting! I mean, I think that we should all share those things for each knowing that other people would want to celebrate when we have those things happen too.
My Little Wolf Pack
For myself, I have created my own little wolf pack now which is my Mastering Money Matters group. It’s a group of women, it’s still quite small and it is a monthly paid membership. Part of the reason for that is that we are working through specific content, we’re going through sort of a course of content to get your finances organized to do my calculate, eliminate, automate process. In the midst of that, we all end up talking out our projects and the articles that we’re getting published, the books we’re working on, all those sorts of things and we’ve really started supporting each other in a very tight knit friend kind of way.
I love it, I love having this group of women whose work I know about because we talk about it all the time in there and anytime they have something come up it is so easy for me to go and shout out how great they are because I can see what they’re doing week by week. We have weekly Blabs where we talk to each other about our businesses and we do a weekly co-working Zoom, which is very private, because often what we’re doing in it is our financial task for the week.
We sit down as we approach taxes, we work on tax stuff, as we get to our quarterly estimated tax payments, we talk about that, we talk about gross receipts, we talk about how much we’re spending on different aspects of our business and if anyone has a better tool or resource, it’s really nice. It feels great to have a group of women because online entrepreneurship can be so lonely, it’s different than the loneliness that the only woman in the office at a corporate environment experiences but it can still be very lonely so it’s nice to have some people who’ve got your back and who are ready to be encouraging and helpful in any way that they can.
So that’s my pitch for not going against your nature and finding ways to work with it. If you are in the corporate situation that I just mentioned, not the only woman I hope in a corporation, but going back to that idea of negotiating for each other, of putting each other forward for new projects and promotions, that can really be powerful.
Of course, you want it to be someone whose work you believe in and who you genuinely support and like. Hopefully, there’s someone like that in your organization so you can help each other out. Maybe it’s a mentor situation, maybe there’s a woman who’s higher up in the organization and who really had to fight to get where she is and would like it to not be as hard for others.
If you are that woman higher up in an organization, why not help make it a bit easier for others. Be that mentor, be that person who helps out and if you are an online entrepreneur get yourself a wolf pack or come join mine.
Come & Find Us
If you want to join mine, you can find Mastering Money Matters here or if you just want to come and join the talking circle, you can find us here. I would love to talk to you about what’s happening on the podcast and any ideas that it brought up for you. So many times I talk to someone about an idea that I had, something that I thought of in a certain way and they bring a new perspective and it completely changes how I see it. I have a new understanding based on someone else’s life experience and that’s amazing, that’s fantastic. I love it when that happens.
So, anyways, thank you so much for joining me today. I’m going to sign off now, keep this pretty short and sweet but just remember you don’t have to completely change yourself or change your nature, you don’t have to go into hard-nosed negotiations training to get the very best. You don’t have to change the kind of person you are in order to make your business work or get paid a decent salary. There are usually ways that we can do workarounds, we can find ways to make our own nature and what we’re naturally good at and what naturally feels good to us, work for ourselves in our businesses and our lives.