“If we’ve learned anything from this unrelenting recession, it’s that no fairy godmother is going to show up and ‘take care’ of you, Cinderella-style.”
– Vickie Milazzo
Buck Up, Girlfriends! Why Recession-Wracked Women Need to Stop Making Excuses…and Start Moving Toward Wicked Success
Yes, life feels particularly grueling right now. (That’s because it is.) But author and entrepreneur Vickie Milazzo says all women have what it takes not only to survive, but to thrive in these tough times. She lays out five promises you must make to yourself right now – promises that will help you dig deep and change your life for the better.
HOUSTON, October 15, 2011 – Times are tough. (Newsflash, right?) Our country is still dragging itself out of the recession, and, if you’re like most women, you’re feeling some pretty heavy fallout. Maybe you’ve been downsized and every door you knock on gets slammed in your face. Or you’re “lucky” enough to still have a job – one in which your workload and hours have increased but your income decidedly hasn’t. Or maybe your spouse is the recession statistic, making you the primary breadwinner. And in addition to these job woes, every time you attempt to balance your checkbook, you have to take into account the rising costs of basically everything, from gas to groceries to health insurance.
And financial worries are far from the only thing bringing you down. You still have all the other issues that seem to pile up on women’s plates: kids who need you, aging parents who need you, and friends who need you, leaving very little time, if any, for you to think about your own needs. It’s enough to make you want to curl up in a ball and sob in the corner.
Not to worry, Vickie Milazzo, author of Wicked Success Is Inside Every Woman (Wiley, 2011, ISBN: 978-1-1181-0052-3, $21.95, WickedSuccess.com), has some much-needed advice for you. But get ready because it is going to feel more like getting hit with a bucket of ice water than being wrapped in a warm blanket. Her advice?
BUCK UP, GIRLFRIEND! You can’t use tough times as an excuse not to move forward.
“If we’ve learned anything from this unrelenting recession, it’s that no fairy godmother is going to show up and ‘take care’ of you, Cinderella-style,” says Milazzo. “There’s no magic bullet solution that will guarantee the ‘security’ you crave. If you want your life to change, it’s all on you. And that’s great news. Who else could possibly know what’s right for you, or how best to achieve it?
“And here’s the best news of all,” she adds. “You already have all of the resources you need to stop accepting and enduring and to start achieving wicked success!”
Milazzo encourages women to take back control of their futures because that’s what she did. In 1982 she faced the reality that she was unhappy with the direction her life had taken. She was a registered nurse with a bachelor’s and master’s degree and six years of hospital work under her belt. But she wasn’t happy. She still wanted to be a nurse, but on her own terms.
“The only option I saw was to start my own business, be my own boss, make my own rules,” tells Milazzo. “With $100 in my savings account, I did just that.”
As the founder and CEO of a multimillion-dollar company, she has taken many doses of her own tough-love medicine over the years. She knows from personal experience as well as from numerous observations that women who expect their lives and careers to be easy just need to buck up.
“I don’t write self-help or how-to books, and I don’t make promises I can’t keep,” says Milazzo. “I’m not offering anyone a four-hour workweek, a corner office, or ten pounds off in ten days. However, I do respect women, and I do believe in their potential. That’s why I’ve formulated a buck-up plan, based on what has worked in my life, for women who are ready and willing to take responsibility for their lives, careers, and finances, and who are sick and tired of being too exhausted to go after their passions.”
When Milazzo set out to start her business, she made five promises to herself. The promises are based on strengths she says every woman possesses. And Milazzo has trained and mentored thousands of women in how they can make these promises and follow a path to happiness and success.
“Making these five promises to myself 29 years ago transformed my life from one of ho-hum drudgery to one of audacity, rewarding work, encompassing love, and exhilarating experiences,” Milazzo asserts. “Yes, I know that no two women are alike, and I absolutely love that we come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but the fact remains that there’s volcanic potential in all of us.”
If you’re ready to stop enduring and buck up, then read on to learn about the 5 Promises and how they can jump-start the rest of your life:
1) I will live and work a passionate life. “Passion” is one of those words that’s used so much we’ve forgotten what it truly means. If you need a reminder, passion engages and excites you. If you’re honest with yourself, you know that you can’t separate work from life. You must be fired up about both to maximize your joy, and you’ve got to understand that on-paper success doesn’t necessarily translate to happiness.
“I grew up in an Italian family in the middle of New Orleans, where a life without passion and fun was considered no life at all,” Milazzo says. “I still agree wholeheartedly with that notion, but I won’t pretend that it’s always easy. I’ve found that to live a passionate life, you have to be honest with yourself and others about what you truly value. And you also have to accept the fact that some people just won’t understand your definition of success. But trust me, the rewards will come when you experience success on your own terms, which includes living, not just working, a passionate life.”
2) I will go for it or reject it outright. It’s fun to dream big…until you never quite get around to pursuing your goals, and then wake up one day realizing that you feel like a big fat failure. According to Milazzo, there’s only one way to avoid this type of hindsight headache: either go all in, or don’t go for it at all. Yes, living this way can be scary because there are no guarantees in life. Women who play it safe tend to end up with watery punch and plain white cake at their retirement parties.
“You can’t always know upfront if a dream or goal is right for you, but you owe it to yourself to buck up to making and sticking by a decision,” Milazzo stresses. “Fear is insidious because it freezes you into place. Instead, try to look at your fears as opportunities to grow, to step out and make your mark again and again. It’s okay to reject a commitment because it’s not right for you and the wicked success you want to achieve. What’s truly tragic is holding back, not giving your all, or putting off a goal that is integral to living your passionate life.”
3) I will take one action step a day toward my passionate vision. Belief in your vision is crucial, but it’s only the first of many steps. Obviously, if you want to change any part of your life – whether it’s your career or your marriage or your location – you’ve got to act. This is where many dreamers stall, because moving forward generally requires hard work and sacrifice.
“Great things happen one step at a time,” Milazzo points out. “When I decided to ‘invent’ the legal nurse consultant profession – in other words, consulting to attorneys on medical-related cases – my first step was to put the TV in the closet. I also cut back on socializing and bucked up to working on my fledgling passion, no matter how exhausted I was at the end of my ‘regular’ workday as a nurse. I had to talk to that first attorney, get that first project, and so on. I learned something extremely valuable: success is in the motion, not just in the dreaming. That’s why you need to commit to doing something every day, even if you’re still working out the best way to move forward.”
4) I commit to being a success student for life. There are two ways to develop the skills, habits, mindsets, etc. that you’ll need to achieve your vision. The first is to go it alone and learn by trial and error in the school of hard knocks. The second (much smarter) path is to learn from others who have encountered and surmounted problems that are similar to your own. That being the case, surround yourself with as many mentors as possible and practice the skills they pass on to you.
“I’ve been in business for three decades, and I still learn every day from my students, staff, writers, speakers, business experts, and more,” shares Milazzo. “And in the early days of growing my business, I devoured every book on business strategy I could find, even though none were aimed precisely at the niche I was creating. Smart women know that aggressive learning is a competitive advantage in achieving any desired goals.”
5) I believe as a woman I really can do anything. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll reach any goal you set for yourself if you don’t believe with your whole heart that achieving it is possible. Among other things, you won’t be confident enough to take calculated risks if you don’t believe that the limitations in front of you are surmountable. Anytime you find yourself entertaining doubts or trying to limit what you think is possible, remind yourself of your past successes. Let them infuse you with confidence and bolster your resolve.
“Believing you can do it – whatever ‘it’ is – is 90 percent of the win,” assures Milazzo. “When I walked into my first meeting with a potential client, my legs were literally shaking. I forced myself to remember that this attorney needed specialized knowledge that only I – a critical care nurse – could give him. That reminder didn’t banish all of my nervousness, but it did enable me to make the points I wanted. And I walked out of that meeting with my first client. I learned that when you expand what you’re willing to believe about yourself, you can transform who you are and what your life looks like.”
“Ultimately, the 5 Promises helped me to realize success on my own terms,” Milazzo concludes. “They helped me to focus my goals, plan my steps forward, and they even helped me to boost the confidence I had in myself. Remember, though, that making these promises to yourself each day is only the first step – you’ve also got to follow them by taking action. When you do, you’ll be surprised by just how wicked your success is!”
About the Book:
The New York Times bestseller Wicked Success Is Inside Every Woman (Wiley, 2011, ISBN: 978-1-1181-0052-3, $21.95) is available at bookstores nationwide and from major online booksellers.