Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category:
The second I chucked my Jimmy Choo shoes in favor of flats I read about Stiletto Spy School for Women. Power has always been an aphrodisiac — for men. But when a woman is called powerful it’s often code Bitch. Combining sexiness with power creates the potent combustion of a femme fatale, a woman who is feared and desired. Men may even delight being controlled by her while conspiring to take her down. Think Angelina Jolie in the movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith and the current film Salt. Of course, unlike most of us, Angelina Jolie, is sexy in sneakers.
I grew up surrounded by a family of Aikido experts. My brother and father began training at NY Aikikai more than 40 years ago, and my Uncle and cousins in England all hold high level degree black belts in the art. I took a few classes in Aikido as well, for a short time when I was twelve years old. You can say that the Martial Arts are in my blood!
It wasn’t until six weeks after the birth of my second child, and at the age of 35, that I began MY ‘formal’ Martial Arts training. Signing up for classes at Tiger Schulmann’s Mixed Martial Arts (a hybrid of Aikido, Jiu Jitsu and Karate) back in February of 2000 was the best move I ever made – it changed my life for the better!
Training in Aikido has changed my life personally and professionally. For the past 15-plus years, I’ve been practicing Aikido both on and off the mat. I founded Portsmouth Aikido (Portsmouth, NH, USA) in 1995, and am currently a second degree black belt. I’m also the founder and owner of Power & Presence Training, offering programs on conflict and communication skills that use Aikido as a metaphor and teaching tool. In 2006, I wrote the book, Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict – stories and practices about Aikido applications in the real world. I happen to think the stories are dramatic and moving, and some are profound.
I began my Aikido training in January 1982 at age thirty-three. I carry the rank of 6th degree black belt. I am the founder and director of Society of Aikido Centers since 2002.
Being an Aikido teacher has become my business career. It has helped me to focus on one thing at a time as we were taught in randori (freestyle). That being in a calm state helps us make better decisions. Whereas I was shy, I learned to be assertive.
I worked on Wall Street for 20 years as an institutional salesperson, then retired to stay at home and raise my 3 daughters. Around that time I blew out a disc in my lower back and had to have surgery. As I was recovering I read an article touting the therapeutic and strengthening powers of karate.
Soon after the parent of one of my youngest daughter’s friends was raving about the karate instructor her son had. I got the information and paid a visit to the dojo the following week. It is said that the hardest move in martial arts is taking the first step, but I was hooked almost immediately (even though I was twice as old as the other students).
I work in both the Entertainment Industry and Martial Arts Industry – both male oriented businesses. I think martial arts has helped me in my business because of the self-confidence that I project and the knowingness that I am capable to handle whatever challenge may come my way. It is a confidence that I have been told that men are not used to seeing in women and I feel that it is directly linked to my martial arts training. By the way, I used to teach world wide (like my father) with my husband, Ron Balicki, conducting seminars in the USA, Canada and Europe and many times the classes are all “male” and sometimes you really have to hold your ground as a woman instructor—not everyone accepts a woman teacher.
At age 27, I achieved a goal of black belt in Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido. I started training in 1993, and after four years of consistent training four times per week, I tested and received my black belt, which was the new beginning to my continued training and the satisfaction of reaching a short-term goal. I was the only woman at my test. It took extreme dedication and lots of physical endurance to complete an eight-week-long test that included self defense, sparring, board-breaking (I kicked through six at once – more than any of the men who tested.) and kicking and hand techniques.
Being overly sensitive to how people judge us isn’t always a sign of low self-esteem; confident women also worry about how other’s view them. We are supposed to be perfect so we work hard to maintain this status. As a successful high-achiever, I have had to learn to take risks, love myself even when I make mistakes, and appreciate my aging body.
Women frequently think that they have to act like men to succeed. They devote themselves to climbing the corporate ladder by mimicking traditional male behavior. Although this strategy may buy them temporary “success”, most of the time, on a deeper level, it doesn’t take. They often end up dissatisfied, restless, and ultimately unfulfilled. While some women in the workplace don’t ever wake up to a different way of being “successful,” those who do often discover that their femininity and core values have been shoved to the background or edged out of their lives in a subtle but significant way. When women want to build a stronger business team, closer friend and family relationships, or a more centered self, many hundreds [...]
As a 20 plus year marketing and product management veteran making six figures and travelling internationally for my employer, I had just returned home from an Asian trip when I knew it was time. Time to buy a new car. Excited about my new-to-me, ‘certified used’ BMW, I told my boss about my latest purchase. Matt’s asked if I had received a good deal.
“Our stories are in us from a long time ago,” says DeeDee Myers a leadership trainer, speaker, triathlete and mother of quadruplets, twins and three other children. One of her core life stories came as age 16 on her first date. She met a cute boy at a football game on a chilly day so Myers was wearing a jacket. When Myers greeted him at the door when he came to pick her up she immediately saw the look on his face. She said, “I thought, ‘Oh my God, he doesn’t want to go out with me because I only have one arm.’”
I got an email from a woman who signed her missive “secretly wimpy,” and went on to describe the fears that hold her back from becoming a more public person. I loved the tone of her writing and thought that many other people would like to hear about people like her who have great gifts to give the world, but who have reservations about “coming out” into the scary world at large. Here is our email exchange.
Earlier this year I attended a four day course at the Strozzi Institute, Center for Leadership and Mastery titled Leadership in Action 1 in Petaluma California at the beautiful Strozzi Ranch. The great expanse of green hills and sky reflected what I’d hoped to gain — less cluttered and more expansive thinking and being. And I did. But not right away.
Weight loss coach Kathrine Brown is on a mission to help women of power and influence who are holding themselves back. Brown makes it her business to detect the subtle sabotaging dialogs, thoughts and actions that contribute the slow seeping away of their power.