I have never thought of myself as the only female in the room, I let results and dialogue speak for themselves. I see it as an opportunity to thrive and showcase my abilities to communicate, affect change and utilize my background to make an impact.
When I connect with women in every stage of their career and act as a mentor, which is something that I am VERY passionate about, I am often asked for advice on how to stand out and advance your career. I have put together a list of Do’s and Don’ts that is applicable regardless of what industry or career you are in. These are rules that I personally live by and have been important in getting me where I am today.
These lessons to live by apply to not only work, but also advancing in life. I am sharing these to hopefully inspire and impact individuals to always be their best in all that they do.
1. Don’t think of yourself as a female executive vs a male executive. That is the wrong motto. Be yourself, and let your results speak for themselves.
2. Speak up and show your point of view. Make sure that you are adding value to every conversation and every meeting. Being engaged is a great way to showcase your abilities.
3. Dress at work as if you are meeting with your CEO daily. Always dress for the job that you want. Exuding confidence is very important as well. You may have reached your peak leadership position, or maybe you still have your eye on it. Either way, play the part to achieve your goals. Carefully curate yourself to act in a distinguished and respectable manner.
4. Keep track of your personal goals and your team's goals. Make sure to measure them and track your progress. Remember that you can't manage what you don't measure. This will help to create a baseline, and then you’ll be able to see growth. It will also help you to see areas where you are lacking and maybe need to increase your efforts. Business is not a one-woman or one-man game. It takes a team of people with quality contributions to make a working collaborative product.
5. Always be on time, prepared and educated on the topic being discussed. Don’t scan documents before meetings or skim important memos. You must know your material, backwards and forwards. Preparation is the bottom line, and it's a pivotal quality in successful individuals. While personality is excellent, it won't get the job done. Proper preparatory measures are taken by the most responsible and aware individuals. These are the people you want running an event or project, because they can think on their feet and execute tasks the most effectively.
5 Things To Never Do
1. Do not be late. It is very important to make a good impression and be on time. Everyone is busy and being timely is a must. People often ask me how I fit everything I do into a day (work, training, time with family and friends) and the answer is by having a rigid schedule and sticking to it.
2. Don’t hide behind email - confront situations in person. If you can't meet with someone in person, call them. Or even better, FaceTime. There's no excuse to hide behind email, and transparency is an important quality for business leaders. Open communication allows colleagues and clients alike to build trust with the leadership and the company. Keeping the door open allows for transparent conversations. Openness can be a paramount quality to your personal leadership skill set. Make your values known in a respectful way and others will appreciate your directness. If you are true to your word, sincerity will shine through your interactions. Everyone in your workplace and personal sphere will appreciate sincere and genuine interactions based in transparency.
3. In today’s texting and mobile environment, don’t flip off in a text message in the heat of battle. If you have a gut reaction that is negative, take a moment to gather your thoughts and remember, a message sent in email or text is never a message received. You need to be clear and also collect your thoughts before responding in haste.
4. Never use inappropriate humor or language. Make sure to be professional at all times.
5. Don’t let your health go by the wayside because you think you have to work 24/7. If you can’t take care of yourself, you can’t manage a team. So remember to take time for yourself, especially if you're feeling under the weather. I make a huge effort to plan my schedule around my training. This helps me to manage stress and I find that I have more clarity in decision making when I incorporate fitness into my days. For me, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is all-encompassing. I have a cadence at work like I do with my running and training style and I pride myself on being disciplined with time - professionally and personally.
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."