Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How To Break Through The Glass Ceiling

The glass ceiling is a phenomenon small business owners feel when they their business seems to hit a plateau, and they aren’t quite sure why they feel stuck where they are. Not moving forward. Not moving back. Just stuck. Recently I had the privilege of chatting with Cherie Hydzik, a long time Sales Director with Mary Kay Cosmetics. Here’s what she had to share with us about breaking through the glass ceiling and getting unstuck.

Q 1: Have you ever got to the point where you felt stuck or trapped under an invisible ceiling?

In my previous work I was an administrative assistant in cardiology at a busy hospital. It was a great position but didn’t fulfill me inside. I had been operating a home business as a hobby that started gaining momentum. I made the decision to leave my “real job” and manage my home business full time. I love meeting people, being a part of their lives, being there for them when they need someone. It also gives me the flexibility to help my in-laws who are aging and need more assistance.

I have been in business for 10 years but really working it for just over three. It has been a cycle of ups and downs. I wish I were one of those who jumped into it, and then bam their business is booming day after day! That’s not how it happened for me. Typically I would push really hard to get my business going and then the push would wear me out. I’d relax and tend to end up in la-la land, my business somewhere in the shadows. Have you ever been there? Then I finally recognized where I was at and how much momentum I’d lost. I’ve learned it’s much harder to prime the pump to get the water running again, than it is to just keep pumping steadily.

Q 2. What did you do to break through and push your business forward?

I had to go back to the basics of why I was running my business and start all over again. Yes, I had a customer base, but it wasn’t enough to keep the business going. I realized there are two options when you’ve lost momentum and aren’t going anywhere: prime the pump (in other words, start again from the beginning) or quit. I am not a quitter, so I invested my time and energy into getting my momentum back.

It can be depressing to realize that you’ve let your business go a bit. I found I could kick myself and condemn myself for losing some of my passion, but then it will only take longer for me to get back up and go again. I had to wrestle with the questions: What now? Is it really worth it? Do I really have what it takes to do this business? I learned that’s when I should be asking: Will the benefits of this business be worth the effort for my family and me? Where will I be 5 years from now if I DON’T go ahead with this business? Has it proven to be a good venture for others who have pursued this business?

Knowing why I was in business in the first place pushed me forward, out of my rut. I started over with a renewed passion, taking baby steps, and steadily doing the tasks that lead me to success in the past. It’s not easy. It’s very humbling. It is what it takes though: consistent work, daily steps, going forward little by little until the momentum is back.

Q 3. What is the key ingredient to your success?

When I have tried to move my business ahead on my own strength, it doesn’t seem to go. I have found that I need to take time every morning to ground myself spiritually. The days when I start the day doing this, fantastic things happen: I meet people that need what I have to share with them. The calls that I make reach the people who are interested in getting together with me. I pour my heart and time out to those around me, and it pays off. When I have a downer of a day, I realize that I skipped that very important part of my day; the time of reflection and realizing whom I feel is really in control of my life, my business, and my success.

Q 4. What do you now do to make sure you don’t get stuck in a rut or trapped under that invisible ceiling?

I start each day by creating my “6 most important things list”. I write down everything that needs to be done in the day and then I number them 1 to 6 in priority order. Then I make sure to get started on the most important things first. The things that don’t get done get pushed until the next day. This helps me to stay on track and not get side tracked with unimportant tasks. I consistently do those things each day that are needed to move my business ahead. I know if I stop – so does my business. It’s far more exciting to move forward each day than to fall into a sad, depressed state thinking, “I haven’t done this and that…” and to get stuck again where nothing is happening. It doesn’t take much – just consistency of the right things daily! 

Cherie Hydzik is a Sales Director for Mark Kay Canada. She is a wife and a mother of 3 young adults – AND soon to be grandma! You can connect with Cherie on Facebook or on her website at http://www.marykay.ca/chydzik.