The story of a struggling single mom becoming a successful business entrepreneur provides a motivational message of women empowerment. When told by Molly Mahoney Matthews, it’s solid advice for anyone who is faced with a career decision, whether they’re just starting out or developing an encore career to follow their passion.
Molly tells Dr. Nancy that she’s written her new book, Unsinkable: Find a Job, Create a Career, Build a Business, in a format of anecdotes followed by lessons-learned. Her honest account tells how she grew from feeling like a small child sucking her thumb and persisting through those early days to own Matthews Media Group, named the fourth largest public relations firm in Washington, DC.
If You’re Going Through Hell Keep Going
Molly says everyone feels like a small child in the beginning. The point is to move beyond that. If you fall down, pick yourself up over and over again. Especially as a working mom, she says that you’ll feel like a failure at home and at work. But you have to keep going. Maybe you have to change something or even allow yourself to hit bottom before you learn your lessons.
Dr. Nancy talks about how Glen Stern, the mortgage banker, told how he almost lost his business and had to learn to ask for help. Molly says that asking for help is particularly hard for women. We are schooled to help everyone else, but not help ourselves. Another obstacle created by girls’ education is we’re not taught to compete to win. She tells the story of her granddaughter, who is a very good swimmer, but didn’t feel right about beating others. The day of her first swim meet, her mother took her aside and told her that it was okay to win, which she did.
For the Love of Money
Another obstacle against succeeding in business is women’s attitude toward money. Molly stresses that money is a tool, like a shovel. It is morally neither bad nor good, but can be used for either. Dr. Nancy agrees and shares her view about how money creates opportunities for whatever you want. For her it’s not about material things, but how it can be used to change the world and leave a legacy. The aspect that prevents success is fear of scarcity. Molly says that when she was generating revenue potential for her company, she had to do her best on her proposal and pitch to her client, then let it go. She says this is the hardest thing. For her, there is a fine line between setting the goal and being open to abundance.
Practice Using Soft Skills
Soft skills that are natural for women are not taught in schools. Molly says that people have to pick them up in other ways. These include team building, negotiating and communication. She spoke with an employer who said that his first criterion was how many times someone smiled during an interview. This gesture indicated to him that this person used soft skills. Increasingly companies are requiring innovation and creative problem solving. This didn’t used to be part of job descriptions, but Molly thinks it’s a new frontier that will require self understanding and self development. She says that you may have learned to color inside the lines when you were six, so you don’t think you are creative. She says we’re all creative. You just have to find it in yourself.
Read Molly’s blog to find out how to create your own unsinkable skills.