Looking for a very insightful and forward thinking article about women? Just click here to read from Bloomberg.com an article titled” A Billion Women Are About to Transform the Global Economy.”
This posting relates to what I refer to as our Culture of Threes. As explained in previous posts, when an idea or concept comes to me three times from totally different sources, I have learned to pay attention, process the information, and then act.
The Culture of Threes happened to me recently concerning my Financial Freedom Party for Women.
My Number 1 post was about the Financial Freedom Party for Women and how financial education for women meets party plans and the financial industry asks, “Like Tupperware parties?” Please go back to my previous post for all the details.
Number 2 was about a fictional character in a novel who encounters mystery with a backdrop of relationships, relationship selling, and Tupperware. The book is The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty.
Number 3 appeared when I turned on the TV one morning.
I have never watched the CBS This Morning Show, just glanced at it while channel surfing. I was about to switch channels and then saw Gayle King talking. I decided to watch CBS since I hadn’t seen Gayle (a journalist and media personality in her own right, but best known as being Oprah’s best friend) in action for a while. I always say that Oprah and Gayle made having “girlfriends” cool again. Gayle intrigues me and I always appreciate her viewpoint.
Rick Goings, the CEO of Tupperware Brands, was being interviewed. What a nice way to start the day with such a positive story. This was a huge contrast to all the other reporting which centered around the challenges of the day such the government shutdown, health care reform, and the debt ceiling.
Tupperware has been around my life over the years and I have products in my kitchen that I purchased a long time ago. This is a pretty big deal since I come from that generation of professional women who thought parties to sell products were kind of unsophisticated and not for us. The irony of this attitude is that later in life I became a distributor for several direct sales companies and also created a new business model for marketing traditional products such as investments and life insurance through my Financial Freedom Party for Women® Had I not learned so much about the value of parties in business to the clients and the company, I would not have had the ability to modify the concept and transfer it to the financial services industry.
Embracing a party concept for my financial services business came out my observation that a whole bunch of women showed up at my neighbor’s home for a Pampered Chef party and then proceeded to buy “a lot”. This all happened on short notice with only a couple of days planning by the hostess who simply invited her friends. Yes, she had a lot of friends. Even so, this was quite a change from what I and a small team of women brokers encountered when we planned ahead for financial seminars and found few women would show. Obviously we (and the industry) were doing something wrong. Things needed to change.
So that morning on CBS it was really refreshing to hear how Tupperware has re-branded the company and recognized that with 90% of their market outside the United States, they needed to change and adapt their product line. Tupperware acknowledged that the U.S. market is all about bargain shopping and price. With the advent of inexpensive plastic storage containers, U.S. customers were not as abundant. This 65-year-old business re-invented itself and offers an entrepreneurial opportunity internationally and current has 2.8 million representatives, most of them women. A nice story about success brought on by understanding the market and creating change.
At the core of the party plan process is not only products, but women who understand relationship selling. In a busy world where we can buy products and services on-line, party plans understand the importance that we women place on having a little special attention and understanding what we are buying.
I have always admired how direct selling and network marketing businesses remember that the connection between the customer and the product is most effective when it is through some sort of relationship. This concept transferred effectively for me when using the Financial Freedom Party for Women® to meet women, teach them financial basics, and sell them investment and insurance solutions.
For me, hearing this short segment on Tupperware and the women (and their families and friends) it serves, was a nice and positive way to start the day. I was surprised and pleased to hear the statistic concerning women in Indonesia who are making $100,000. You can hear more by clicking here.
Being a financial services professional who is advocating a party concept for teaching women about money management and seeing it as a marketing tool for the financial services industry is not easy. Many people in the industry are more entertained by the concept of the Freedom Party for Women® than they are impressed. Watching the Tupperware story re-inspires me that what worked for me in my business and for my clients, can work for many more.
That completes my Culture of Threes story about the Freedom Party for Women®, women, money, products, success, business models, relationships, party plans and of course—Tupperware. I am listening and paying attention!
Until Next Time.
My monkey mind postings relate to Buddha’s description of the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, and carrying on endlessly. These postings come from my monkey mind.
These Monkey Mind posts are just fun. They allow me to step back, process thoughts, ideas, and other information which come my way, and then look for connections. Connecting the dots is apparently a creative process.
Since our world is super-charged with information, it is impossible to react to everything which interests me. So, I have used our culture of threes as a filter to lead me to those things which are worth pursuing further.
Our culture of threes was introduced to me by a trainer whose heritage was American Indian. Her perspective was different from those of us in the audience. She was attempting to teach change management and elevate the level of understanding about diversity in the workplace to a group of accounting oriented employees. Her approach began with talking about how most of us (in the Western world), live in a culture where we refer to things in threes. I had never thought about it, but she went on to list a few common terms and descriptions such as:
Three blind mice
The three musketeers
Three strikes and you’re out
Then I began thinking of others like
Three Dog Night (a band)
Once, twice, three times a lady (from a song)
Three wise men
A triple threat
and of course the familiar , I’m counting to three and you better….
You can probably think of many more. When I googled the subject I found some expanded writing which you can read by clicking here.
That day the instructor was trying to make a point about how just because we are comfortable with a culture of threes, it doesn’t mean that everyone in the world sees things this way. Unfortunately the subtlety of her message was not getting through to most. One attendee stood up and informed the group that he had a lot of work to do at his desk and just wanted to know what not to say and do when it came to dealing with women. He pretty much let us all know that this was a waste of time to him. The instructor looked shocked, and I was so grateful that I wasn’t the speaker that day.
The culture of threes and the reaction of the man in the audience who was so resistant to change have stayed with me over the years. As with most of us, when I hear something new, or someone wants me to pursue a certain activity, join a group, or spend my energy in a certain way, I often resist and shut off the message. So I adopted a personal rule that when something came into my consciousness the first time I would just make a mental note and move on. Then, when it comes again from a totally different source, I start paying attention. When it arrives again for the third time from yet another source, I invest some time and energy is seeing what I am supposed to do with all these triggers of information. I sense there is a message reminding me to open my heart and mind and see where things go from there.
In the last few weeks I had one of those culture of threes experiences. These are just little things which don’t mean much to anyone else but me. Put together, they have made me smile, encouraged me in my work with the Financial Freedom Party for Women, and connected some dots in a manner I didn’t expect. I will be posting about them in future postings.
Until next time.
Recently I read about a study which tells the story of under-representation of women as financial advisors, and describes the lower level of earnings of women advisors as opposed to that of men.
Clearly I am not celebrating those statistics. I am, however, so very excited and grateful to see that someone has actually studied the situation and brought it out for all to see. As part of the development of The Financial Freedom Party for Women, I searched high and low for any type of information about the brokerage and financial advisory industries and the level of representation by women. Not a successful search at the time.
So, to learn more, please click here to read my article titled “I AM CELEBRATING!”
It is always nice to understand the industries we rely upon to either to provide us with services, or as employers and business partners. I hope you will learn a little about the financial services industry from my article.
Until next time.
I blog about women, money, and the Financial Freedom Party for Women. Most of the time I write about basic financial information for topics such as life insurance, long-term care insurance, investing, wills, debt, goals, values, and expense management. There is an additional important topic which really is part of the foundation of our financial lives, income management. Most of us need to make money to have money to manage and spend, right? Income management starts with income.
Making a living, or earning income, really means we trade our time and skills (or expertise) for money to buyers. Explaining all the potential buyers would fill this page. So, an example of a buyer is an employer in a business or organization. As a business owner, a buyer could be an external customer who purchases goods or services. The value of what we earn is directed mainly by the marketplace. You know the term, supply and demand. Sometimes earning income is also greatly affected by the attitudes and experiences of those who “buy” from us and the culture and norms of the business or organization.
It is estimated in the United States that women make 78 cents for every dollar earned by men. This doesn’t mean the world of buyers owes us as women a better living, or that someone owes us more money. It does mean that we have to be willing to advocate better for ourselves and to take some chances. Once we gain a little success, we need to reach out and help others. When we open doors for others, we give them a chance to change their lives.
I recently learned that one of my “door openers” passed away. His name was Roger and he had been an Air Force Officer and an Air Force Academy graduate. These two experiences formed some of his attitudes, values, and his approach to life.
Our paths crossed when he selected me for a position as a civilian planner in a small command post. I was not what the high-ranking officers had in mind when they created the position. They were looking for a retired enlisted man. I was a younger woman with no military service. My credentials were great, but I was not the preferred type for the position.
Roger selected me based on my qualifications. It was a challenge for him to select me. After all, he had graduated from a class of all male Air Force Cadets. It wasn’t until a few years later that women were allowed to attend the Air Force Academy. As time went on he admitted that when he hired me he had some concerns for me and for our work unit. We answered directly to the Commanding General. The success or failure of our work was highly visible. In the beginning I was told by one of my new bosses, also a high-ranking officer, that I was there in spite of his wishes. My normal welcome to the organization was not so welcoming. I had gotten used to these things and just did my work. We began passing inspections and getting high ratings on our headquarters reports for my area. Over time the concerns about me as a woman in that position were no longer aired publicly. I became a respected part of the team.
When I left the position for a promotion, I was replaced by a very capable woman hired by Roger’s replacement. She and I became close friends and remain so to this day. I am talking about a 20+ year relationship. Our careers progressed. Some folks told the two of us that we were “fast burners”. I was promoted three times into different positions . Of course promotions equate to more responsibility and more income. Eventually I left the federal government. My friend stayed, earned promotions, and went on to a prestigious position which involved her in many interesting assignments and projects throughout the city where we lived.
The legacy of Roger’s career is not about a stellar rise to the top in the military. He found a better fit elsewhere for his interests, talents, abilities, and considerable brainpower. A new path and lifestyle resulted in a life with a different rhythm and purpose. Among other things, he earned a Master’s Degree in Architecture and became involved in creative arts. His legacy is, in part, about the door he opened for me, and then indirectly opened for my friend. He also led the way in showing those given the title of superiors and subordinates how to judge women and men on their qualifications and contributions, not on their sex.
I thank Roger for showing me that leadership isn’t about bossing people around. It is about reaching out to others, helping them develop their talents, opening doors, and staying constant when it is easier to just give up and conform. I think pay equity is more prevalent now for women in many career fields, but it took some men and women to help us along the way. I do not know if women will ever reach a time where we earn dollar for dollar for men. I am confident it will continue to get better faster if more of us become “door openers”.
I strive to be a “door opener”. It has become a natural part of my life. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t. However, I have gotten pretty brave about giving it a try.
Please reflect on your life. Are you opening doors for others? Are you constant in your efforts? Will your legacy include fond memories from those who enjoyed better lives personally and financially because you took a chance and acted? As the 78% statistic changes and moves upwards, will you count yourself as part of the process?
Until next time
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