Don’t fail your daughters (or your sons) by Roz Usheroff

Strong Fathers graphic

“First, trust your own passions and tastes. Don’t let people tell you who you are or what you’re best suited for — especially when their opinions are based on old-fashioned gender stereotypes. If there’s a job you want or a subject you’d like to study or a career you’d like to pursue, go after it. And don’t apologize.”

Even though I am the proud mother of a wonderfully talented and successful son, when I read the letter that Target’s EVP/Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Jones wrote to his daughters – from which the above excerpt was taken – I was in a word “moved.”  By the way you can read the letter in its entirety through this link.

In my Art of WOW Conferences I talk about how women can find their way out of the Endless Loop Trap, the kind to which Jones referred in his letter.  However, I cannot help but think how we as parents create the blueprints for our children’s success based on the values that we instill in them starting at a young age.

Please do not misinterpret my words as a call for all women to rise up against the enduring prejudices of men.  After all, I truly believe that by casting a hard die relative to traditional gender capabilities and roles in the business world, we do a great disservice to both girls and boys.

The fact is that I would be delighted to one day discover that the need for a specific conference to equip women with the tools for overcoming gender-based obstacles, would be replaced by a conference that empowers the individual regardless of sex.

To get to this point, we have to ask ourselves “what kind of legacy are we creating for our children?”

For the men are you, like Jones, encouraging your daughters to truly pursue their dreams, and in the process smash the illusions of inequality that have limited their opportunities.

What about the women?  Are you setting an example for your sons that demonstrate your true power and capabilities to both individually and collectively make a strong contribution in all areas of the business world . . . and in life?

In short, are we creating the blueprint for a better world.  One that doesn’t focus on perceived or misguided weaknesses, but on strengths such as integrity, perseverance and passion.

The last time I checked, these character strengths were not gender specific.

Letter to children3

Jeff Jones

30

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3 responses to “Don’t fail your daughters (or your sons) by Roz Usheroff”

  1. johnagno says :

    Roz,

    I agree that success is not “gender specific.” In fact, today’s young women are better educated than ever before. They have accumulated a wealth of skills, have learned to be adaptable, and have been told that they can do anything they want to do.
    The upside is that they become independent, self-sufficient and confident of their abilities. The downside is that they will readily admit they have not found the enjoyment or satisfaction they once imagined. The reason they attribute to the problem is that they have taken on too much.
    These days, most women dance to a frenzied beat, believing just because they can, they think they should. These women have been taught if you are capable of doing something it shouldn’t be necessary to hire it out or look for help.
    This has led women to become frustrated by experiencing long days and a never-ending “to do” list. In an effort to squeeze even more into their night-marish schedules, they make choices that actually undermine their health, their familly life, their careers and important relationships.

    Source: http://www.WhenDoingItAllWontDo.com

    • piblogger says :

      Excellent points John. I remember when Roz actually talked about this in her Women in Business Series: Find Harmony beyond Balance post (http://wp.me/p1XSrf-eg).

      I particularly enjoyed her reference to the Enjoli commercial from the 70s re “the 8 hour perfume for the 24-hour woman.”

    • rozcoach says :

      John: I will be the first to admit that women do too much and resist asking for help. Often we still carry the belief that we must work harder than men. Not all females share this but I do seem many. I share my perspectives in my Art of WOW Conference for women that we need to say “no” more often and work smarter, not harder. Perhaps the reality is that in the business world, females are still challenged to be seen and heard. We still stand on ceremony and believe to a fault that cutting into conversations is rude. Men are much more comfortable with confrontation and speaking without fear of looking silly or being judged. And finally, if females don’t have the support at home that they need, are put in positions where they have no choice but to wear the Superwoman hat, which can be exhausting.

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