Last night I had a conversation with a friend about what it takes for women to get ahead in the work world. We look around and see that some of us aren't being developped, and we have talents we could be applying in certain capacities that aren't. My friend said that neither of us sell ourselves well enough. We can both cite people that aren't as smart or educated, but know how to sell themselves, and have gotten further ahead than we have.
Now that I know the Enneagram and can more or less identify types, I look for the type Eights wherever I go, because they know how to sniff things out where others don't. I have the pleasure of working with three or four Eights, and I watch them really closely. Their natural ability to sell themselves, say no, see through bullshit, protect their boundaries, strategize, figure out where the opportunities are, maximize their efficiency, protect their rights and resources, and stay focussed on long-term goals help them get ahead by miles compared to others who get sidetracked by little things that eventually drain them of their energy. Eights know how to ask for things, or even just insinuate themselves into awesome situations because they know how make it clear to their boss that their needs are important. They just carry themselves that way.
I went out for breakfast with my mom this morning, and she handed me a piece of paper she found when she was cleaning the house, and it was a list of things I wanted, from 1991. One of the items was a raise. When I was a kid, I got 25 cents a week for weeding our massive backyard garden (this was Regina in the insect-infestation era of the 80's when you couldn't step anywhere outside without crunching on a grasshopper or a cricket- going into that garden was terrifying), cleaning the bathroom, and vaccuuming. 25 cents was pretty piddly, even for the recession of the late 80's when I was doing these chores. Other kids in my grade were getting 5$ a week. I did ask for a raise, and I think I eventually got one in high school.
In Joanne Wilson's blog this morning, she invited her readers to do an exercise started by Paul Holdengraber of the New York Public Library, and describe yourself in 7 words. My first instinct was to think of all the things that held me back from getting that raise, or getting my talents used, or finding the right circle of influence. But then I decided to go along with the spirit of the exercise, and say 7 positive things I knew were good about me. I felt like I was cheating, like someone opened the front doors to a Tiffany's store and said, go ahead and take 7 items from the shelves- you can have them for free. But it was the best exercise I'd done in a while, and I'm going to incorporate it into my course.
Here are mine: "Fierce, loyal, protective, opinionated, creative, talent-cheerleader, big-picture-seer.
What are yours?