Last Saturday was a stormy, rainy day in Washington, D.C., or what I like to call the absolute perfect excuse to close the blinds, order Chinese take-out and secure my place on the sofa for a full day of Sex and the City re-runs (not the TBS edited version, nope, I have the DVD collection, of course!)…a.k.a. bliss.
After about my 5th hour or friendship, dating and yes, sex, I had a total light-bulb moment…everything I need to know about business is right here on my TV screen. In fact, after interviewing countless (amazing!!) women for my e-mag, every major tip to success they’ve shared was being mirrored right back to me through the four beautiful stars of my favorite show.
Four lessons in business from four fabulous women, allow me to explain:
Miranda. Try as we might, we can’t do it all alone.
Miranda is a real ball-buster; determined and self-sufficient – breaking professional ground in historically male dominated territory. Remember Miranda’s early take on men? “In fifty years men are going to be obsolete.” She needs no one, that is, until she starts seeing clearly.
As women in business we often put up (self-imposed) barriers and hang our “No Help Needed” sign on the wall, making sure everyone outside knows that we have it all under control. Yes, we will start our business, have a baby and have dinner waiting by 7:00. That is, until the fateful day that we start seeing clearly, too. Going it alone is not the secret to success. To profit and prosper, we MUST have the confidence to ask for support and build a strong, capable team around us; personally and professionally. Even the strongest woman, toughest entrepreneur, needs someone to lean on. Remember, businesses (and business women AND men) do NOT grow and thrive by doing it all alone.
Thanks for showing us the way, Miranda.
Samantha. To Your Own Self be True.
Love her ‘hot habits’ or hate ‘em…one thing is true, you can’t ignore the force that is Samantha. Despite her resistance to entering a relationship, hell did, in fact, freeze over and Samantha fell in love! Happy ending, right?
At the end of the day, you just can’t stifle and disguise who you are. Despite Samantha’s efforts to stay in a relationship, it became clear, she wasn’t being true to herself. Ladies, take note!
It is no different in business (or life). You have a vision; you know your heart and strength. So why, why, why do we so often choose to squash our voice or abandon our vision? In the end, it never fits. We waste time, money and resources in the process and ultimately must regroup and get back on course. Happiness, wholeness, and success come when we stay true to who we are. Your business is you, and if that means you have to turn down a few deals or choose to take the scenic route – do it. Take a lesson from Samantha; to your own self be true…screw what everyone else thinks! (Pun very much intended)
Charlotte. Etiquette takes you a long way.
Ever the Upper East-Side Princess, Charlotte defines tradition and idealism; if there is a rule, it is followed – from dating to decorating. I know as entrepreneurs we like to challenge the norm, push boundaries and set our own rules – which I totally support – but before you dismiss Charlotte’s good manners and firm fist on ‘the rules’ – think again!
Business is about relationships – clients, customers, investors, board, and even through social media – relationships rule business and create success. How you create, and care for, those relationships will set you apart from your competitors. Do you take the time to thank your customers? Go old school and send a handwritten note thanking your customers for their business and watch the return you get on that .44-cent stamp. Having trouble with your vendors? You could snap out and send a nasty-gram, or take a cue from Charlotte and send a thoughtful note of understanding and thanks. Relationships are queen; take care of yours and they’ll take care of you…Charlotte knew it all along.
Carrie. The eternal optimist.
For six seasons, and two movies, we watched Carrie stumble through heartbreak and love, career highs and lows, often questioning where she stood when it came to her ultimate outlook – is she an optimist or pessimist? Through it all, Carrie came to rest on an optimistic hope; a hope each of us connect with, deep down.
Ladies, take the lesson – we must determine to do the same. Yes, we are guaranteed to have many challenges in business – deals that fall apart, loans that never come through, ideas that don’t get off the ground – yet it is absolutely critical that we resolve to remain hopeful and optimistic. Actions follow your thoughts and success follows your actions…see how it works? Let’s consider our options in the face of challenges, 1) run screaming back to whatever “safety” looks like, abandoning our passion and dreams, attaching our hearts to pessimism, or 2) honor our hearts, push forward tied to hope, with a strong belief in ourselves.
You know the right choice. After all, turning our backs on our passion is like Carrie in flats – never gonna happen.
I used to think of Sex and the City as my guilty pleasure…how delicious to find out it’s so much more!
p.s. Do you think my Chinese take-out can be considered a business expense due to this epiphany?!
What have the women of Sex and the City taught you?? Exchange below!
-Stephanie Goetsch, April 2011