It seems that everywhere you turn, from Silicon Valley to afternoon talk shows, women are sharing their stories of shattering the proverbial glass ceiling.
By leaving behind the confines of corporate America to launch their own businesses, where there are no glass ceilings and the only limits to your success is looking back at you in the mirror.
Women are leveraging their education and skills learned while in corporate America to create businesses that allow them to live life on their own terms while gaining the much-needed flexibility for the needs of their families.
No longer is waking up to a sick child or needing time off to care for family a stressful situation. Women now have the ability to run businesses from any location thanks to mobile technology.
One trailblazing woman in particular is on a mission to show women dreaming of a better way, that they, too, can harness their talents to create a business and lifestyle by design.
Kelly Fidel is an internationally known Motivational Speaker, Author, Strategic Marketer, CEO of Kelly Fidel International LLC, and the creator of No Glass Ceiling, where she teaches women and cool men, how to break through barriers, land bigger clients and create fearless seven-figure business empires.
Kelly stops by today to share how you too can shatter the glass ceiling.
JB: You have an interesting story of your first venture into entrepreneurship. Please share your story and the valuable skills you learned.
KF: My single mom raised me and we had very little money, although I didn't know it. I really wanted a pair of shoes, but not just any shoes. These were Red Ball Jets! The most amazing tennis shoes in the world. I was 9 years old. We couldn't afford them, so my mom had this amazing idea. She told me to go pick avocados from my Aunt's Avocado trees, put them in my wagon and sell them door-to-door to make the money. I happily went and did just that -- honing my sales skills at 9 years old. I learned the art of sales and the science of leverage. Finding all of my ideal clients in a cul-de-sac, I sold out and yes, I got my shoes! (A girl has got to have her shoes.)
JB: You started in corporate America right out of college and did very well as you climbed the corporate ladder. What was it like as a woman competing in some of the top board rooms in America?
KF: It was not easy. I took a lot of "hits" being passed over or not winning deals. The Good Ol' Boys club was strong. I knew the power of mentorship. I learned as much as I could, was never afraid to ask questions and was very bold and fearless. I just figured I had nothing to lose. Perhaps it was the way I grew up.
This caught the eye of several senior executives. I was taken under their wing and taught the inner workings of the C- level boardrooms and the Good Ol' Boys Club. Often thrown to the sharks, yet never eaten alive. I earned the right of passage and the well-earned crown of the "The Dealmaker."
JB: You made the decision to leave corporate America. Why?
KF: My mother was ill with cancer. I decided to take five years off from corporate to turn in my briefcase for a diaper bag and have my babies. It was bittersweet. I was successful in the eyes of most people, yet I felt empty until I had my children. No Glass Ceiling was my vision that my mom also believed in for me. My dream was shattered when my mother died in my arms. I was 8 months pregnant with my first son. Life went on hold.
JB: When did you realize you could leverage your knowledge and skills gained in corporate to launch a business?
KF: I always knew the skill set I'd acquired through the years would apply in any industry. As women, we forget all of our experiences when we start new ventures. I was committed to leveraging all the years of hard work and knowledge. I became bored and longed for the art of the deal and the competition of the sale. I decided to build two businesses in unrelated industries, to seven-figures, before selling them for a great profit.
JB: Women are known to be natural connectors and network builders. How can someone use their network to launch and grow a business?
KF: I believe women are natural connectors, collaborators and love the power of a team. We want to see each other win and celebrate those successes. Through the power of leverage and strategic alliances, women bring to each other's table the skill set, knowledge and insight to help each other grow.
JB: One of your passions is helping women break down the glass ceiling. You teach them to forget about it, because it's not real. Tell us more.
KF: Women want to break the "perceived" glass ceiling and work so hard by sacrificing so much only to discover this perceived barrier doesn't really exist. Time is wasted when they could have called their own shots, on their own terms. In fact, once women shatter the glass ceiling, often, they realize this life "above" the glass ceiling isn't really what they wanted.
The Glass Ceiling can't be shattered because there really is No Glass Ceiling. Often times, the lack of success you are experiencing in your job, your business or life is often the result of who you are being, lack of direction, focus or a plan. Limits are what we put on ourselves instead of designing the life we want. Discover your strengths, because these are the things that give you control over your own life.
JB: How can women avoid some of the top mistakes?
KF: By doing what you absolutely love! Not what you think you should do or what you think will make you money or what the market is trending. Follow your heart, your dreams and passion. Once you decide and commit, you will be amazed at all of the doors that open and resources that come your way, effortlessly.
JB: For the women who are ready to break out on their own and start their own business, what advice would you give?
KF: Stop waiting and start doing. Be a work in progress. Give yourself permission to make mistakes, to be normal and to enjoy the ride. Then choose "just one" business you want to dial up. Jump in with BOTH feet, because there are no rewards for the timid. No one ever said, "Congratulations for being AVERAGE!"