“Do you see those who are skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.” Proverbs 22:29
Young women growing up in the 21st century face a steep uphill task in forming a positive, healthy view of their own identity in the workplace. The culture of this modern age is steeped in perplexity regarding proper characteristics, roles and goals for women. Feminism scorns the traditional roles of women, and encourages women to function as “quasi–men”—behaving like men, pursuing the same goals as men and competing with men.
The workplace has become a battle of sexes–each wanting to prove their worth and supremacy over the other. As a result the work environment is a cutthroat place for any woman who wants to get ahead of her career. So how does The Proverbs 31 Lady do it? How does she climb the social ladder without stepping on other people’s heads or toes?
The Proverbs 31 Lady must constantly resist and unlearn the values and the ways of the world around her. She must swim against the current if she wants to thrive in her career and excel in her work place without losing her identity. So, what qualities exemplify her from the rest of the population in the workplace?
The Law of Compensation
Just like The Law of The Harvest, this law operates everywhere in the universe and especially in the workplace. You plant a seed in the ground, and the effort and resources you invest in it will be reflected in the fruits it shall give you. No one can defy this universal law. Even those who try to defy it by getting by force that which they don’t deserve will reap the reward of their actions–nothing goes uncompensated, good or bad. It is the law that balances out the cause and effect to make sure everybody gets what they deserve. Put the law to a test, think of something good or bad that has happened in your life (effect). Then think through of what cause it even if the cause can be traced back to your parents, the society or something you did years ago.
Does it add up? Is your diabetes as a result of choices you made that were taken through the modest advantage principles? Is your low paying job as a result of a weak transcript caused by the choices you made in your childhood? Is your failed promotion as a result of you not improving yourself or your lack of interpersonal skills? This is how compensation works, the best man always wins and if he doesn’t, his time is coming. If the evil man manipulates results so that he wins instead of the best man, then there is a reward for him too either in this life or the next–nothing goes unrewarded.
When you understand this law, there is no longer anything to grumble about in the office. Make sure the law of compensation works for you. From the day you step into a new organization, set a precedent. Give your best and most outstanding job in every task that is placed in your able hands. With time, someone will notice and that someone may be your boss. With time more responsibility will be given to you and when that opportune moment comes, you will have a past record to negotiate better future terms.
Working for Just a Pay Check
There is an ingredient for success that is often overlooked. It is overlooked a lot in the corporate world because it does not look politically correct. The ingredient is passion. Without passion, we get bored with whatever we do for a living and we look forward to when the month will end and we get our pay checks. We don’t even go the extra mile in any task assigned to us because we simply don’t care.
Working without interest is captivity. Even if you aren’t super passionate about your work, you’ve got to at least be interested in it. When you design a lifestyle in which your work is something you suffer through daily strictly to pay your bills, you end up spending your entire life wishing you had someone else’s.
Think about it. This is your life. Your work takes up over a third of your life. It’s not always about the money; it’s about you. Ignore the propaganda, especially from people who say, “Don’t let your work define you.” Reverse this message and meditate on it: “I will do work that defines me.” When the essence of who you are defines at least some slice of the work you do for a living, that work generates fulfilment.
The bottom line is that interest in your work puts quality in your results and contentment in your mind. Money is a good reward for work but don’t settle for just a pay check. Scuffle around until you find work that interests you.
“Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.” Proverbs 10:4
Productivity is a twin birth of two words, product and activity. Just because we are busy doesn’t mean we are productive. Every activity needs to give birth to a product or result before it can be labelled productive. The Proverbs 31 Lady understands this better than everyone (Proverbs 31:17). She knows being exceptional takes great effort so she prepares for it. She does not stop at her skills, appearance, or accomplishments; she continually pursues excellence in every area of life. She takes her role at work seriously and intends to do everything excellently and in return success follows her.
She rises early every morning with a new lease on life and intends to be better today than she was yesterday. She takes regular steps to identify, develop, and preserve her expertise, people skills and abilities. She ensures that she remains relevant at work.
She knows that wisdom multiplies and she directs her efforts to greater yield. She will not be caught with blunt tools (Ecclesiastes 10:10). She is eagerly insightful to better processes, tools, systems, programs, and communication–anything to enhance productivity. She is on the cutting edge of every advantage she can discover to accomplish more!
Deadlines are a fact of life. However most of our stress levels don’t come from the deadlines themselves but by worrying about whether the deadlines will be met. Set very clear objectives on exactly what you want with yourself then focus on those objectives and you will be surprised at how fast you will reach your goals–what you focus on grows.
Her Continuous Learning
There is a 10/90 law in life. If you spend 10% of your time learning the principles and laws it takes to achieve anything in a particular field, it save you 90% of the effort and time you will have spent achieving that particular goal.
If there is something that this life has taught me, it is that the people who grow the most consistently are the ones who invest in lifelong learning. In every aspect of life, everything is either growing or dying. Almost everyone wants to be alive and passionate about life–but some people are a little more than talking corpses because they settled a long time ago. Growing requires the willingness to learn, explore, experiment, discover and boldly go where you haven’t gone before.
Educate yourself Ladies! When you strive to develop your mind and to become well-rounded, you become comfortable in different situations, including speaking to people of various backgrounds. Invest in enlightening and profitable books, videos and CDs. Seek new experiences! Take opportunities of travel and learn about different geographical areas and cultures.
Continuous education is required of many professions and trades because the changing world demands additional knowledge. If a woman will not keep learning and improving, then someone else will learn for her and take her position! Most employers will pay for tuition and books on courses that enhance an employee’s value to the company. They want employees who are continually expanding their abilities and knowledge to contribute more and more value–take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way.
Dressing for Success
Appearance counts–dress the way you want to be addressed. Look good, stay healthy and make sure how you present yourself is virtually acceptable to your organisation. Blend in with your organisation culture–you do not want to make very bold fashion statements in the office. The more you resemble everybody else in the company, the more your colleagues will feel comfortable with you which is a big plus to your likability factor. It also helps to observe the way those above you and those below you dress–dress in a way that mirrors the most successful.
Don’t be tacky or indecent. A lady can show a lot of personality in her wardrobe through her choice of even the most subtle details. In a world where most people wear tailor made suits and simple dresses this simple details can make a big impression.
It is therefore not very wise to wear accessories or perfumes that make very loud statements. Especially if you are working with more mature and conservative colleagues, anything with flashy labels or accessories will be considered tacky. So every morning after dressing for work, take a step back, look in the mirror and ask yourself if you like the story being told by the woman on the reflection.
Her Prevailing Attitude
“Never condemn or blame anyone. If you can stretch out a helping hand to someone who needs it, do so. If you cannot then bless the person in need and let them go their way.”
While we are in this world, it is very easy to fall into the trap of what is wrong with the world–the economy, the mean boss, the unhelpful subordinates, the unreasonable peers, the cocky receptionist, and the long unnecessary processes. That is a bad attitude towards work ladies. You asked for a job when you joined that company–the least you can do is give it your best.
The Proverbs 31 Lady is solutions oriented. Rather than engaging in fault finding and blame allocation missions she would rather find a solution to the problem. She would rather take steps (no matter how small) to improve a situation rather than taking hours complaining about a problem.
She keeps her bearing and composure even in the toughest of times–she never loses perspective.
If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you must develop the habit of excelling in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.
Her People Skills
There are many factors that will influence your ability to foster good relationships in the workplace and advance your career, but your likability factor sure ranks at the top of the list. Make an effort and be good to people and you will be amazed at how great your spheres of influence will grow. You will also get better results when working with a team since people are subconsciously drawn towards people who are friendly.
The good thing is you do not have to fly to the moon and back for people to like you. The secret is in the little things you do. Give proper handshakes. Accept compliments graciously. When you are talking to people, make eye contact and show a genuine interest in what they are saying.
When you are wrong, accept responsibility. Be a woman of your word and respect people’s time by being punctual in meetings. Make people feel comfortable when they are around you–do not intimidate them or override them when talking. Do the little things consistently and your likeability factor will skyrocket.
The workplace is a cutthroat place for any person who wants to grow. For you to grow a vacancy needs to be created above you and this will not rub well on your peers who are also striving for the same. You will need a lot of wisdom, advice from the right sources but most of all, people skills to be able to handle competition in the work place. (vs.26)
Learn how to get what you want from people. Whenever you have to work with other staff members always strive to give them a good reputation to live by, that way you get the best from them. It also helps when you instil confidence in people, that way you can make your presence felt by dramatizing your idea.
At the end of the day, your work is your mission. Stay away from office politics–they can get dirty. Let your work be your campaign and believe me, when you do a good job, someone is bound to notice.
Ladies your success in the workplace is your own responsibility. You cannot leave that decision to anyone else–including your boss. And since pursuing success is deliberately putting yourself in the path of giants, you must find a way to survive.
Win people into your way of thinking without pushing. When you want things to be done your way by a workmate, make them want to do it–give them what they want. What do they want? Respect, recognition and appreciation-that is what everyone needs.
Along the same lines, make your work known to the key decision makers in your department and organisation. Whenever you get the chance to work directly with them, give your best performance–without trying to override your immediate supervisor. Let your work show them that you can be relied upon even in the most challenging tasks.
“Those who guard a fig tree will eat its fruit, and those who protect their masters will be honored.” Proverbs 27:18
Never ever try to outshine or outperform your boss–most bosses don’t respond well to being embarrassed. Make those in authority feel comfortably superior around you. Be subtle when you are trying to impress them or showing off your talents lest you inspire insecurity among them. You want to make sure your boss sees you as a resourceful person not as a competitor. If it is possible, let him/her take full credit in public with the view that your boss will recognise your value. The last thing you want is a boss who thinks you are better than him/her.
Few people like to hear truths that reflect on their judgment so tone down on your criticisms in as much as you can. When you remove specs in other people’s eyes, you only make them see the log in your eye more clearly- and not in a good way. Criticisms are like homing pigeons, they always return home. If you must correct a colleague make it indirect and subtle otherwise let it go–judge not and you will not be judged.
Wisdom will be your greatest asset in getting ahead of your career. Be wiser than most people if you can but don’t let them know so. Try a little kindness. Instead of pushing your opinion on people, ask those questions you can only get yes from, ‘wouldn’t it be easier if…’
Her Personal Initiative
“Success is something you must achieve without someone telling you what to do or why you should do it.” Napoleon Hill
Most women in the workplace shy away from challenges. They complain about every additional responsibility they are given by their superiors. Their favourite words are, “It’s too difficult,” and, “It won’t work.” Long–term business or career plans are overwhelming for them.
They don’t make any efforts to develop their career or at the very least, add to their knowledge. They want something easier, success that will fall on their lap. So instead of tackling the challenge, they do nothing. But ever since Adam chose hard labour over Aden, there are no easy alternatives.
It is up to you to do everything you can to shine–take control of your success. Work on your strongest points and pursue excellence at all times–successful people see themselves on their high points in life. Believe in your ability to deliver ladies! If you don’t expect much from you, chances are much won’t be expected from you.
Strive to know your job better than everyone else around you. Be the go to person- whenever anyone wants to make a key decision on your area of expertise, be the person they come to for advice.
Self-confidence comes from knowing and knowing comes from skills, knowledge and experience. Instead of doing only what is required, do the extra things that make you stand out as an employee. It is that consistent use of personal initiative that will make heads turn in the office and ultimately somebody–preferably your boss–will notice.
The Proverbs 31 Lady is nowhere near a lazy bone nor does she give excuses for not delivering. Being an early riser, she goes to work on time after planning the affairs of her home every single day, and attacks her job with energy and determination.
She looks forward to getting her eager hands on a new project; and she will do it with valour (Ecclesiastes 9:10). She will soon rule over the lazybones in riches and honour (Proverbs 12:24). Her soul shall be made fat. (Proverbs 13:4) Her diligence will put her before kings and great men (Proverbs 22:29).
In her, the world sees a living example of focused vigour, intense determination, and passion to do anything necessary to finish even unpleasant tasks.
She Confronts Gently Without Controlling
A person who is self–absorbed and controlling carries with him a great deal of stress because he is not just obsessed with his own work demands but also with changing others point of view. Don’t try to force others to see things in your own point of view. While once in a while you may influence another person’s point of view, it is important that you try to respect the opinion of other members of your team. Try to see things from the other person’s point of view.
Diffuse the ticking time bombs.
You probably know someone who’s really good at trying your patience–it happens. At times you are probably waiting for a colleague to rub you the wrong way just one more time so that you can show them what you are made of.
The best way to avoid an argument is to avoid it. If you want to gather honey, don’t kick the beehive. Instead of engaging workmates in arguments regarding who is right or wrong, find a win–win solution which promotes cooperation. You don’t want to enter into direct cutthroat and backstabbing situations with your peers–it always ends badly. You have a reputation to uphold–guard it with your life.
Sharing Credit and Taking Responsibility
Good Employees don’t make poor decisions but when they do, they own up to them.
We live in a world where everyone wants to take credit and share blame. We all feel entitled to be recognized for every effort or idea that materializes as much as we would like to share or pass blame for every idea that turned into a big mistake.
In such a world, sharing credit would have to be the highest form of surrender and generosity. This trait, no matter how insignificant it looks will put you above the rest. Taking blame shows that you would never crucify others for your undoing and that makes trust you. When your colleagues trust you they will share information freely with you.
Share credit and take blame when you make a mistake. The world is full of people who are blame shifters so if you are a person who accepts your mistakes and fixes them then you have a competitive edge over any other person. Whenever you mess up, be ready to accept responsibility. Don’t just take responsibility but also provide a solution for the mistake made.
The only other thing that is wiser than accepting responsibility is being prudent. Prudence is the power of discernment. It is the practical wisdom to detect problems or dangers in any situation and avoid them by altering actions and finding the most profitable course. Obviously, prudent women move more slowly than fools, because they know that hasty or heady decisions are risky. The golden rule is to strive to not just doing things right but doing things right the first time.
Climbing the Social Ladder
Money doesn’t make us bad people. With more wealth comes more responsibility to do God’s work. We should not shy away from projects or jobs that will further our family’s financial status. We simply have to remember that each dime is granted to us by God. He can just as quickly take it away!
We live in a materialistic world. Most women are as drunk with power, success and money as the rest of the population. The workplace is a haven for anyone who seeks to get ahead of their careers. As a result most women are thrown off balance as they try to make money, ending up depressed.
What is more important to you woman? Labouring for food that perishes or labouring for food that lasts to eternity? It is very easy to lose our soul as we try to gain the whole world. (John 6:27) We must therefore never overwork to be rich. (Proverbs 23:4) We must have the wisdom to show restraint when it comes to serving mammon. What is your prime goal in life? For what are you working for? Do you love Jesus more than these things? (John 21:15)