The Nice People's Guide to Business PoliticsWritten by Lisa Lake
I re-entered workforce after years of being a stay at home mom. I knew that I was good at what I did, but when I first started back in business it seemed that nothing I did was good enough. I felt I was lost at sea. It seemed that people were mad at me for no reason, or people didn't like things I had to say. My work was good, but not fast enough, and on and on. Sometimes I would leave office so stressed out that when I got home I couldn't be cheery with my husband and kids.
I was determined to get out of my rut so I started analyzing what was going on. I knew I did a good job, and that I was a pleasant enough person. It had to be something else. I asked my husband what he thought, and he brought up office politics. He said that, in a lot of businesses, your social skills and behavior have as much or more influence as your actual job performance on how you were treated. He told me to open my eyes and ears and to start noticing what was going on around me and to try to adapt.
The first thing I did was listen to morning conversations in break room. I was usually pretty chatty with friendlier people, but I decided to keep it down for a few days. What were people talking about? It seemed that people were talking about business issues and current events. I guess I'd forgotten that everyone didn't have kids, and that soccer and scouts weren't popular office topics.
I made a commitment to myself to read morning paper on bus, instead of latest romance novel, at least 3 days a week, and to make an input in more serious office conversations. Of course I'd still talk about my kids with ladies I'd become friendly with, but on our own time. The guys in office really started responding. They even ask me my opinion on issues now.
Next I decided to figure out why my boss, who was seemingly so friendly, would sometimes complain about me behind my back. I really started listening to what she was asking for, and I realized that she was a little vague sometimes, and therefore maybe I wasn't always understanding what she wanted.
Success Begins WithinWritten by Monique Rider
Incorporating bodybuilding into my lifestyle has been one of best decisions I ever made. My early childhood was marred by trauma of sexual abuse. Although these memories were repressed until just a few years ago, I spent most of my life suffering from all classical symptoms of abuse: low self-esteem, low self-confidence, phobias, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and depression.
The cycle of abuse continued through my adolescence when, at age 16, I entered into an eight year abusive marriage. I endured daily emotional and verbal abuse, threats, and intimidation. My self-esteem continued to plummet and at age 24, when I finally divorced my husband, I was a physical and emotional wreck. I had never practiced a healthy lifestyle, had no self-respect, and stress of my lifelong abuse had taken its toll. At 24 years old I weighed 97 pounds, was having daily chest pains, heart palpitations, panic attacks, and insomnia. I also suffered from TMJ Syndrome due to stress. My doctors advised me to begin an exercise program before my condition worsened.
I reluctantly began aerobics and then incorporated a mild strength-training program. I immediately noticed physical and mental benefits of exercise. At that point in my life, toning and building muscle was not my goal. I needed an outlet for stress and an increased energy level. However, it didnít take long for me to develop an interest in nutrition, building muscle, and possibly competing. My self-esteem and general outlook on life improved tremendously as I continued my workouts.
In January 1998, at age 34, I took my love of sport one step further. I hired a professional bodybuilder to train me for upcoming Belding Natural Classic Bodybuilding show in Belding, Michigan. Due to abuse I suffered, I have always had a terrible self-image. Even though I never had a weight problem, I have always been very embarrassed of my body. Competing was something I never thought I could do, because of this hang up.