Career 06 May 2018
After 15 years of consistent growth in the media industry, digital executive Fran Hauser was writing a post-grad playbook of how to launch a successful career when she received an overwhelming response from a blog post she published on succeeding as a “nice" girl.
“It's not just about winning, it's about how you win," shares Hauser on her decision to pivot her book's message to shatter the nuances between the correlation of success and kindness with “The Myth of the Nice Girl."
“It became clear I had struck a chord; this was a topic women were thinking about and they were struggling with."[thb_image full_width="true" alignment="center" image="9774" img_size="full"]
The original idea came to Hauser in 2009 when she was serving as the President of Digital at Time Inc. and realized connections from earlier in her career were reappearing in her professional life, which she ultimately ties back to how she built her brand. “If you win in a way that is not aligned with your values and you are hurting people in the process, that's going to come back to bite you; people's memories are long."
For Hauser, these values were kindness and strength--defying the mentality that you need one or the other in order to be successful. This, therefore, became a key message in “The Myth of the Nice Girl" as Hauser highlights the potential to lead with both kindness and strength through a combination of personal stories and anecdotes from notable names in her personal circle. Among them are Mindy Grossman, Susan Canavari, and Blake Lively, who support Hauser's personal narrative with tips and techniques from topics in their relevant fields, addressing mentorship to evidence-based confidence. “They are all women that really 'walk the talk' in terms of bringing both kindness and strength into their professional lives," says Hauser. “I really wanted them to share something that would deeply and richly support one chapter."
“It's not just about winning, it's about how you win," shares Hauser on her decision to pivot her book's message to shatter the nuances between the correlation of success and kindness with “The Myth of the Nice Girl."Hauser, herself, is seemingly a woman who “walks the talk" as she shares her experiences from building PEOPLE.com to advising consumer-facing companies, while remaining true to some of her strongest character attributes, which she defines as empathetic, collaborative and confident that there are enough opportunities to go around. “The last part is really important because it's this whole abundance attitude rather than a scarce mindset; when you have that [abundance], you're more generous."
Relating it to an experience in her early career at AOL, Hauser explained how she was promoted frequently but there was a coworker who viewed this growth as “overly ambitious." In one of the key messages of “The Myth of the Nice Girl," Hauser explores the idea that you can be ambitious and likable. “I didn't do it in a way where I was stepping on toes or being disrespectful. I was doing good work and, in that process, developing really great relationships with people."
She explains the ambitious-likeability factor as a double standard that you can take control of based on how you create “opportunities for yourself, while also elevating others." Along with describing this correlation, Hauser highlights the necessary balance between direct and kind feedback; firm and collaborative decisions; caring too much and setting boundaries; as well as strategic and empathetic negotiations.
“I'm not a pushover or a people pleaser. I'm direct," she says on the ability to depict the book's chapters on these coexisting qualities that are often overlooked.
She concludes with the take-home message, which is also the underlying theme throughout her book; finding the balance boils down to the interactions you have and relationships you develop. “Try to get into the other person's head, understand what's motivating them, what they value," she says, “because when you do that, it's empathy, and that will allow you to connect with anyone on a much deeper level."
“The Myth of the Nice Girl" is in bookstores now, and while Hauser first published it to encourage women in their early careers to excel with kindness, she's found a response from women of all ages as a transformative, learning experience.
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I think we can all agree that we are living in unprecedented times, and many of us are experiencing challenges in both our personal and professional lives. But it is important to remember that often, challenging moments present opportunities for change. Right now, companies and individuals are using this time to rethink how they conduct their business, the resources critical to their success, and how they go about their daily activities. And what we are seeing is that more and more people, especially women, are taking control of their lives by starting their own businesses.
While it is estimated that the number of women-owned businesses is one-quarter to one-third of all enterprises worldwide, there are still many women who aspire to make entrepreneurship a reality. A new Herbalife Nutrition survey conducted by OnePoll of 9,000 women across 15 countries, including 2,000 women in the U.S., found that globally, 72% of women want to open their own business. Of those, 50% don't yet have a business and 22% have one but would like to open another.
Women want to have more control over their future, but they are committed to helping future generations by being a role model for younger women; 80% believe this is a strong motivating factor.
The second annual survey, which explores women and entrepreneurship globally, revealed the overwhelming challenges women experience in the traditional workplace compared to their male colleagues. In fact, more than 60% of women said they would like to start a business due to unfair treatment in previous job roles. Of the women surveyed, 7 in 10 believe that women must work harder to have the same opportunities as men in the workforce. Results also revealed that 43% of women have delayed having children because they thought it would negatively affect their career, and 25% said they had faced pregnancy discrimination. 42% believe they've been unfairly overlooked for a raise or promotion because of their gender — and of those, the average respondents had it happen three separate times. These are a few of the challenges that have been a catalyst for the surge in entrepreneurship among women.
The irony is that startups founded and cofounded by women performed better than their men counterparts: on average women-owned firms generated 10% higher cumulative revenue over five years, compared with men.
With the barriers and negative experiences women cited in the workforce, it is not surprising that across the globe, the top motivation for starting a business is to run it themselves (61%). Women want to have more control over their future, but they are committed to helping future generations by being a role model for younger women; 80% believe this is a strong motivating factor.
But the women surveyed don't expect entrepreneurship to be smooth sailing: one-third of women with plans for entrepreneurship are "very worried" about their business — or future business — failing in the next five years. The top three challenges when starting a business center around finances — earning enough money to offset costs, having enough budget to grow, and financing their business. And when it comes to financing, women face stark disparities in the capital they often need to fund their business. Boston Consulting Group found that women entrepreneurs averaged $935,000 in investments, which is less than half the average of $2.1 million invested in companies founded by men entrepreneurs. The irony is that startups founded and cofounded by women performed better than their men counterparts: on average women-owned firms generated 10% higher cumulative revenue over five years, compared with men.
Women entrepreneurs create a source of income for themselves and their families. They are a vital part of our world's economic engine that society needs to support with flexible opportunities, mentorship, and access to capital. Herbalife Nutrition is proud that more than half of our independent distributors worldwide are women who set up their businesses and decide when and where they work and do so on their terms. We need to invest in women entrepreneurs, not only to help one generation, but to offer role models for the next.