Resilience – Your Greatest Asset

Bek: Image Credit @Pam Hutchinson Photography

I was privileged to be invited to the BPW Geelong group to speak at their annual breakfast event, themed “moving On Up”, held at the GMHBA Stadium.  It was an incredible view over the grounds as the sun came up.  I can admire it because I usually make a point of not being awake when the sun comes up!

The topic was about resilience being your greatest asset and the intro that was given used all of my not-too-insignificant achievement to introduce me.  I wanted everyone to know that I had a achieved many amazing things in my life over the last 30 years or so since I started to embrace “adulting”.  (I’m still not sure I’ve nailed it 😊).  The reason I wanted them to know that is because of how I grew up. 

My family home was not… comfortable.  As I told the audience, my first memories are off my father belting the living daylights out of my mother.   The memories never got better.  They got worse.  There were various other forms of abuse enacted on her and on her children, myself and my two younger siblings.  I moved out of home as soon as could and was working full time to put myself through university when I was diagnosed with a lifetime autoimmune condition called Rheumatoid Arthritis that was going to be my constant companion for the rest of my life.  Which was likely to be short due to the aggressive nature of my disease – or so the doctors told me.

So there I was, 19 years old, with a traumatic upbringing that I had not even begun to deal with mentally, with a physical condition that was, by all external accounts, going to make it pointless to strive for anything, studying to be an engineer and with no family, no friends and no support.

How did I get from that to the award-winning, published, confident leader than I am today?

RESILIENCE

I didn’t know what it was back then, resilience was just a word that I read in books; it had no relevance to me, but that is what I used.  Like a muscle, I exercised that thing like I was powerlifting to rival the Terminator’s strength.  I was given plenty of opportunities to practice resilience in my life, what with a degenerative and painful (is there a word that is less descriptive of what continuous pain feels like?) condition, and working in the male dominated field of construction, with a history of male and authority figure violence.  I know the statistics.  I am not supposed to be this women.

But that is exactly why I am this women.  The powerful creation of my own making, because I refused the story I was told that was my predictable future.  I refused to give up, fade away, self sabotage, be less than, be a good girl, shut up, don’t make waves and definitely don’t be so damn smart.  FUCK THAT.  Let me say that again. FUCK THAT SHIT.

I refuse to be less than everything I can be, because history, statistics, my disease and some people tell me that I am not supposed to be here, capable, strong, powerful, a leader, whole.  I am not supposed to be comfortable with what I’ve been through and I am not supposed to be able to hold my own on a stage, a platform, a crowd, leading a project, or even in dealing with life and my disability.

It took so much for me to learn to forgive, to move on, to rise above, to be better than the story of my life.  I changed the story.  I will continue to write my own story and inspire other women, via the stage, via my writing, via being the best I can be and improving every day where I can. 

Resilience – it is the best accessory a person can have.  I carry it with me always.


If you would like to talk to me about being RESILIENT in your life please fill in the form below to contact me:

resilience

Dancing with Imposter Syndrome

“it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back, so shake him off’  
Florence and the Machine – Lyrics from “Shake It Off” 

We have a name for it now.  That feeling of inadequacy and the doom that shrouds us when we consider ourselves, particularly in comparison to others, when we allow the not-good-enough to rule our minds and emotions. 

I have been active participant in a dance with imposter syndrome ever since I can remember.  My father made a point of sharing his displeasure that I had been born a girl.  He often expressed that with more than his voice; fists were involved.  Fortunately for me I was of the type that used the physical pain to overcome and fight against.  The fight was only in my mind for many years until I developed the words to “shake him off”. 

My mother was not a role-model for me, many years of domestic violence had whittled away at her for so long she didn’t know who she was.  Even if there was a space for her in the world he created; her husband, my father, was far too controlling to allow any form of self-expression. 

In my professional life, I chose the difficult path of engineering and construction.  I didn’t really choose it, not back then.  Back then it was a suitable use of my skills and the fastest way to a high paying long-term career – in my mind – escape!  What I didn’t realise, that at no point was this industry going to make my dance with imposter syndrome smooth, more coordinated, elegant.  It made it worse.  And I still didn’t know what it was, just that I didn’t fit… anywhere. 

I was in an industry that (back then) was much more resistant to females in the ‘power roles’ – admin and HR were perfectly fine – but engineer, leader?  I was one of 10 women in my university course of over 600.  I had some wonderful men who didn’t see my gender as an issue, they went out of there way to acknowledge that as I was bright, determined, and logically smart, I could make it.  They supported and trained and mentored me before mentoring was even on the radar as a powerful tool.  Since then I have become my own mentor, failing to find anyone who could fulfil that role for me during the early professional years of my life.

Fast forward through sever and on-going chronic illness, the final death of my father and my mother coming to live with me, and the many numerous projects and construction experiences I have had and it is only now, coming out of my thirties, that I feel I am now the lead in this convoluted dance.  I chose when and how to turn, I choose the steps and the path.  The imposter syndrome is now subdued, my pet almost, something that lifts it head for attention but does not insist any more than I dance to the tune of its making.  I check in with it every now and then, because I also do not want to become its opposite – an ego monster, one so enamoured of itself that it becomes as consuming as the imposter syndrome once was.  But it is now a tool, a function, one I have embraced and integrated into my life, rather than forced out.  I stopped giving it permission. 

The voice that tells me I have come so far from that scared, frightened, shy and subdued young lady is now a roar that echoes through the lives I have affected, showing the world and its propensity for shutting down the shine, that I am here and I am an incredible survivor, a high achiever, and I am not stopping any time soon.   

I hope that your journey with imposter syndrome can be turned on its head and that you too can see the light that shines within you.  I made it, I know you can too.  

“pretty pretty please, don’t you ever ever feel, like you’re less than f###ing perfect” 
P!nk – Lyrics from Perfect  

Becky Paroz doesn’t fit in.  She has worked for nearly 30 years in the construction industry, taking names and making one for herself.  She loves her workboots, colours her hair purple and speaks loudly with a strong and confident voice.  Bek makes her place in the world, she has never waited for a space to open for her Moving beyond  mentoring within industry for the last 10 years, Becky is now seeking her tribe to connect within and would love to hear from any fellow mavericks and nonconformists out there at any of her social media spots which you can find on her website www.wordsofbek.com.au  


If you would like to talk to Bek about her mentoring please fill in the form below:

Empowering Mentoring Uncategorized

Adversity also means Opportunity

WORDS OF BEK

I was to have travelled to India to speak at the Women’s Economic Forum (WEF) 2019. It is a conference where women (and men) come together to exchange ideas in the hope that sharing experience, knowledge and networks can support economic and personal growth for women around the world. It is a global network and approximately 200 women were expected to attend. I was to be one of them.

Combined with that, I was one of the group chosen to speak with a charity run by the Australian delegate supporting this forum, the wonderful @Shar_Moore These wonderful young women had come from all kinds of backgrounds and were facing the possibility of studying to become doctors and engineers and I was looking forward to sharing my story with them and the myriad of possibilities that lay before them.

I was due to travel on the 9th April with the rest of the amazing delegation from Australia. I was in the hairdressers on the 2nd April getting prepped and pimped by the amazing Dana from @beautifyhairdesign

I had received my intravenous medication for my Rheumatoid Arthritis not a week earlier and it was full systems ready, set, GO for the big trip. Plus I was also booked to see the Taj Mahal – stopover for one night after the conference and before the meeting at Project RANi . Except something wasn’t right. Except, I was determined to overcome it, nothing was going to stop me. Turns out surgery did stop me. I was in hospital that night by 8pm representing with a blood pressure reading that was scaring people more than my pain levels, and the pain levels were through the roof. Turns out my gall bladder was filled with balls (technically called gall stones)– so full in fact one had popped out and was lodged in a pipe somewhere. Once that was determined, I was then prepped for emergency surgery. The nurses were very pleased that I had my hair and nails done for the visit and paid me a great deal of compliments. I love nurses. They do a great job in pretty extreme circumstances, and a bit of humour makes a bleak place just that bit lighter. So I always try and make jokes with the nurses so we can both laugh at our shared circumstances. There is no need to abuse the people who are making you as comfortable as you can be in, what are also pretty rotten circumstances for at least one of you #writethatdown I digress, because I am still devastated that I couldn’t go. One of the doctors was pretty nasty about it. I finally received the emergency surgery on Thursday 4 th April. I was maybe starting to accept that it might not perhaps be smart, to maybe consider, that perhaps, it was a possibility, I could not go to India… It certainly wasn’t acceptance at that point. So this particular doctor, on her rounds, with an audience, thought she would demonstrate her incredibly poor, very bad manners, terrible bedside skills, and clearly acknowledging my humanity, that despite making it all that way through what had to a have been a tough journey to obtain her skills

(dubious as I am about them); instead of being respectful of another powerful women, she dug another kind of scalpel under my skin and asked (and yes, the voice matched the attitude) “So, you still going to India?” Now I get that I couldn’t go. I get that it would have been risky and dangerous and quite potentially life-threatening if I got worse and not better. But that was MY acceptance to come to. In my own time, which admittedly, was a short window by this stage. Not her story to mock, to sneer, to spit upon. And it was mocking. It was nasty, nastily delivered, while I was drugged to my eye-balls, vulnerably lying with some tubes still sticking out of me, less than 12 hours after my surgery finished and dealing with my grief at not being able to deliver some (hopefully) supporting and powerful messages to women who might benefit from hearing what I have to say.

And so she sliced. I have several words I have used to describe her that I will not print here. I may make a formal complaint. I may move on from it without doing so. I haven’t yet decided because I am more focused on myself than I am on the slings and scalpels of others. I am more concerned with getting better and continuing my missions to support other women, to lift up those that I can reach, than I am spending time worried about some nasty piece of work having a dig ‘cause thinks I am some privileged women complaining about her holiday plans – or whatever story she told herself to make it okay for her to be such a terrible person in that moment. I get she might not even be a terrible person generally speaking. But she was in that moment a woman who didn’t just drag a woman down, she kicked her while she was in down and in pain. That’s just plain old ordinary average run-of-the-mill nasty. It happens everywhere, every day, to lots of people. And some of them aren’t as willing, or empowered, or confident, or even aware enough to know that you don’t have to be affected, and you certainly don’t have to take on the nasty acts of others. You can move beyond it.

You see, I know where my privilege comes from – I earnt it. I grew up in poverty, in a domestic violence situation where there was never enough money for food but always enough money for drugs and alcohol. I paid my own way through university by getting a low paid “cadetship” (another word for cheap labour) role in my chosen industry. AU$3.33 an hour to be precise. And was paid in minute- long increments, none of this rounding up thank you! If he said I started at 7:36am and I wrote on my timesheet 7:35am, guess what? I didn’t get paid for that minute. Yep, that really happened and yep, I really put up with it. I was 17 years old. It was my first job out of an environment where I was raised to never question what I was told. I had no skills to negotiate or even begin to understand what my rights were. I just needed to work and earn money to get out of the situation I was in, so worked my ass off, I did. His office was also in his own house that he showered and lived in. There were other blokes working there too. I never knew how weird this was until I told people this story and they looked at me like “WHAT??!” That is just one example and it’s the first in my career of 28 years since then and counting. I’ve earned my money, my job titles, my qualifications, my knowledge, and my position, as well as the ability to share how I managed to overcome my circumstances and actually be a success.

During this time I have been working on accepting this really (badword) news about India, one of the ladies I have mentored has written a beautiful message in a guest blog discussing how I have inspired her life in the time we have known each other, and shared skills that have changed her possibilities. Her opportunities.

Another approach was random, completely unexpected, asking me to be a brand ambassador for beyondBeanie insta tag @beyondbeanie

One of the founders is in design and architecture and supports Arthritis Foundation as a volunteer. The sales of the hand-made beanies and other products available support women, artists and children in Bolivia, most of them from rural areas and/or disadvantaged communities. Talk about aligning with my values! I was privileged to be asked and am organising that as I write this. (Watch this space for official announcements – but you heard it here first and hope that this does make a difference and create opportunities for the community.)

I am the guest speaker for an event in Melbourne in the middle of May (tickets available ) and if you can attend, I would love for you to come and introduce yourself. It is the 15th year the BPW Geelong group has been around for and I will be at their   Moving On Up Breakfast, which is designed to encourage people to strive to ‘Move on Up’ in their lives and careers. The topic is one of my favourites – Resilience. Your Greatest Asset. It kind of coincides with the theme of my life! There have been more than a few other wonderful moments during this recovery time, where the women in my circle gave back to me at a really low moment. And so, I grieved for my loss, and then I got on with it. I am back at my desk sorting plans and making progress on other things, like writing this blog. Like supporting other women. Like applying for a book award (because you never know if you don’t try!). Like finding other ways to contribute to women through on-line communities while I am in recovery and supposedly “resting”.

I don’t do resting well, although I have had to learn, rapidly. Surgery is not arthritis, and frankly give me arthritis any day over major surgery again. It is always relative, what we can learn to live with, isn’t it?

So onwards, upwards, outwards and over it – as long as you’re using it, you’re not losing it. And that goes for my attitude as well as my bendy-not-so-bendy joints.

Uncategorized

Guest Blog by Nurdiah K

Words by Bek – I met Nurdiah in the same week she started work in the industry as she describes below. I saw an amazing young woman who was keen (and pretty clueless about what was ahead of her!). She had some amazing raw materials and plenty of potential, and so we have worked together to craft a beautiful and powerful women. I asked her to share her insights on what mentoring has done for her and she has created this beautiful story that makes me feel incredibly privileged to work with her and watch her development. It gives me a great deal of pleasure – in this month of April’s awe-inspiring women – to introduce to you to someone who is already, and will be, creating amazing things for her future!

Journeying with a Mentor

Journeying with a Mentor

Just shy of three years ago, I began my journey. I had no understanding of what I was about to get myself into. All I knew is that I wanted a change in my ‘job’ and that it was about time I stopped procrastinating stepped onto the path to pursue the career I dreamt, spoke and was fearful of for so long – Project Management. I was longing for a challenge and didn’t want to regret being in the same situation a year from now. Same thing, different day. I didn’t want that.

But, how do start? I had so much ‘catching up’ to do and to think that someone my age (28 at that time) would have started around 8 years ago, I felt I was already at a disadvantage – not to mention I was a female walking into a male dominated industry – Construction!

My introduction to the industry was like no other. It was September and I was given an incredible opportunity for a (then) small company who hired me as a Project Administrator/Trainee Project Manager. It was agreed that with time, exposure and training that the ‘Trainee’ on my role title would be removed. How long was this going to take? When would they know that I was ready? That I was no longer a ‘Trainee’. I guess it was the same as asking ‘How long is a piece of string?’. A few things I knew is that I wanted to be a Nationally Certified Project Manager within 5 years, have a good chunk of completed projects under my belt and most importantly, the salary to match! I was a single mother at the time and being an independent mother was a big deal to me.

During my first week on the job, I saw the General Manager of the Company let go and within months, the only other team member for my region say ‘It’s been great working with you!’ in an email while I was on holidays overseas. He gave me no indication, notice or a ‘heads up’ that I would be returning to work with no one (I repeat) no one in the office. Yet, there were three (I repeat) three unfinished projects. They were all in the delivery phase (check me out using the right terminology… ask me the same thing 3 years ago and God help ya!) I had barely been shown how to read plans let alone understand scope of works and specifications. These words and what they meant were foreign to me. Not to mention, the company I worked for had just been awarded an FSC project due to be kicked off in the upcoming months. What was I to do? Is this normal?

Then, came a Knight in Shining Armour. Well, more like a Superhero. A #GladiatHER In steel cap boots. Wearing Jeans instead of a cape. Wearing a polo shirt. Rocking purple hair. My Superhero’s name is Becky Paroz.

Over the next 2 and half years (and still to this day), Becky mentored, supported, encouraged, challenged, tested, sculpted, and threw me into the deep end. There were a lot of hard conversations (and tears on my end) that only my today self would understand it was part of her unique strategy.

Her unique style of teaching me about the industry had me gobsmacked some days, where I realised later she taught me a very valuable lesson without knowing it. She mentored me in a way that she knew so much about me; my strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes to harness qualities and skills and way of thinking I already possessed to be a Project Manager.


One of the qualities I admire about Becky, is that she taught me all of these things simply for the fact that she wanted a different experience for other women going through the same challenges in the industry. All she wanted in return was to see me believe in myself and use my true potential to influence someone like me one day and make a change in the world a person at a time. When she told me words of encouragement and eulogized me, I believed her – because it showed, and she proved it to me in how much she taught me. That’s inspirational in itself.

I have seen such a change in myself in such a small amount of time due to Becky’s mentoring. It’s not something you can describe on a pamphlet or put a price on. Taking away valuable life lessons that can impact your way of thinking, operating, negotiating, strategizing is something not a lot of people can offer you and really succeed and prove it. I have changed and grown so much in that I have self- confidence, I am able to initiate and get through difficult conversations, I am respected by men and women within my industry, able to think strategically and one of my favourites, pull off a mean poker face.

Becky has taught me that although first impressions can last, it’s what you bring to the table is what will change it. At the end of the day, it was not my hair, my make-up, my outfit nor my gender that was going to matter, it was my skills, knowledge, capabilities and confidence in myself that mattered. Like many superhero stories, this one has a happy ending. Two and a half years later, I achieved exactly those things I aspired to have/be – a Nationally Certified Practicing Project Manager, over $12 million dollars of completed Defence project under my belt AND earning the six-figure salary to match – all because I have the best mentor the industry has to offer, Becky Paroz.

Connect with Nurdiah Via Linkedin


If you would love to start your mentoring journey with Bek just contact her on the form below:

Empowering guest Blogger Mentoring

Strength to Strength

Jodie Lane – Author

The best part about having two female protagonists is I get to write two strong, but very different, women. I can explore what it means to be a strong woman in different settings, without stereotyping what it means to be strong.

Case in point: my main character, Gwyn, is nineteen when we first meet her—bit of a dreamer, has a romantic streak. Yet when she is placed under extremely difficult circumstances—namely, is flung back in time to a violent siege—she not only survives; she escapes, forges friendships and ultimately saves some of the people she cares about. Yet she hasn’t lost her romantic side—she is confronted by uncomfortable realities and emotions, doesn’t always behave in a way she might be proud of, is frustrated and often frightened, yet still struggles on in an effort to do what is right.

Michelle on the other hand, fulfils the trope of bad-ass action hero; kicking butts and taking names. Adaptable, ruthless and determined, she perseveres through intense physical discomfort in order to do her duty. She is extremely capable and confident, so she fears little, knowing she will be able to fight her way out of trouble.

These two characters clash. It’s easy to call Michelle the strong one, but when you consider how Gwyn not only survives, but succeeds, without any of the physical and psychological training Michelle has, you realise how, despite her flaws, Gwyn has a strength of character that continues to grow despite the hardships thrown at it. Michelle’s personality risks hardening to breaking point, however, once her support systems are taken away, and it’s only through some painful self-reflection that she admits that Gwyn’s coping mechanisms are simply different, not weaker.

Right now I am part way through the last book in this five book time-travel series. I’ve had the opportunity to showcase each of my protagonists’ strengths and weaknesses—alone and together—and while they have formed a working partnership, their respect for each other doesn’t mean they are now best friends. Strong women don’t have to be the same. They don’t have to even be friends and have the same interests.

I am surrounded by strong women in my life, some of them very different. Capable, resourceful, powerful women—they achieve in many different areas of life. They are all managers to one degree or another: whether in actual job name, project managing multi-million dollar projects, or organising finances, renovations, teaching a classroom full of excitable and challenging students. Many of them are mothers—they have the strength to get up for the sixth time that night to a crying baby, corral toddlers out the door with lunches, nappies, spare clothes, water bottles. The strength of mind to deal with a relentless, unpredictable landscape. Many of them are creatives or academics, with the self-discipline to see through a multi-year project, persevering in the face of thankless tasks, with only themselves to hate or blame when the self-doubt overwhelms them in the seemingly endless days.

But they carry on. They survive, they improve, they thrive—particularly in the company of other strong women. And it is that theme I have sought to draw out in my books, that alone, a strong woman is strong, but together—with others—she is incredible.

Jodie Lane is the author of Turning Points – a time-travel adventure series that takes readers from the ancient world to an interstellar future. Based in Brisbane, Australia, Jodie is an enthusiastic historian, combining her love of travel with fascinating stories from the past. Find her books at www.jodielane.com or stay up to date with her events and news on www.facebook.com/authorjodielane

Jodie provided this blog on request because Bek loves how she makes the point that strong women don’t have to like  each but they do need to respect the others skills/beliefs.  It is a core part of my belief system.  I am half way through reading Jodie’s first book and am trying to free up a weekend to binge read the rest.  Purchase your copies of Jodie’s books and anthology contribution here .

guest Blogger

Redland Bay woman Becky Paroz to speak at Women’s Economic Forum

WORDS OF BEK

Redland City Bulletin with a story on the upcoming
Women’s Economic Forum in New Delhi.

“I am super excited to be a part of this global initiative as well as having three speaking spots over the course of a few days,” Ms Paroz said.

Having worked in the engineering, building and construction industry for three decades, Ms Paroz said she was familiar with the struggles of women living and working in a male-dominated world.

“I was one of 10 women in a course with 600 men,” she said.

“There was no mentoring (and) no programs to help us and even 30 years later, there is still not a lot of women in those fields.”

It was this need for support that led Ms Paroz to write her book Words of Bek, which was published in 2018.

The book includes personal anecdotes and advice, and also draws on Ms Paroz’s past struggles, including growing up around domestic violence and being diagnosed with a chronic illness as a teenager.

“I couldn’t find the book that I wanted to help me, so I wrote it,” she said.

“There’s not a lot of good solid advice for women outside traditional roles.

“Back when I was growing up and going through what I went through, these things weren’t really spoken about.

“I want to raise awareness and make people comfortable talking about what they’re experiencing.”

READ THE FULL STORY HERE:

Empowering

Mentoring is NOT Parenting

Coaching and mentoring are the new way of saying trades and apprenticeships for those industries that used to use clerks. That period of “junior internship” type of arrangement that is less practical and prevalent than it used to be. 

Instead now we have many coaches and mentors, most of who are leveraging their experience in order to support and nurture a new and emerging wildcard to the industry – the rise of the indie. 

The phenomena of self-publishing has created some monsters that feed off the innocent and new, but has also led to the ability to access some true industry greats and learn from the leaders.

What is missing in many of these areas is the commercial aspects (corporate, industrial and even retail skills are all relevant here) of running a professional business.  For people who have not had that experience before and, generally speaking when one is of a creative nature, they have never been exposed to that kind of knowledge, never had the chance to learn those kinds of skills.  What is risk management to an author?  The answers should concern you.

So here is a list of what mentoring is and isn’t.  If you are in the market for a mentor – keep in mind that you want them to have their own success, not feel they need to patronise you with promise of your future success, be genuinely interested in your future success, and not at all busy talking about their own success when they are with you.  Just a few hints to help narrow down the wide market availability of those who would soon part you from your hard earned investment.

So mentoring…

  • It’s not telling you what to do
  • It’s not being upset when you don’t take action
  • It’s not showing you the ‘right’ way of doing things
  • It’s not taking care of you or your mental health by replacing any kind of medication or physician/specialist advise (and if they do – run – they are dangerous and unqualified)
  • It’s not counselling
  • It’s not training, but it can have some of those elements
  • It’s someone sitting  down, calling you on the excuses you might be telling yourself on why you can’t do anything about where you are in life, communicating those challenges and options professional and without self-interest, and in such a way that you ‘get’ it, not just get told it.
  • It’s knowing that if you don’t want change, don’t go looking for it. It’s knowing that if you go looking for change, you need to do the work once you find it, and change too.
  • It’s someone who shows you all the cock-ups they made, all the opportunities they failed to take advantage of, the ones they did take advantage of, and how they achieved the success they did, without telling you to do the same exact thing
  • It’s showing you the process of how success happens, in which you get out of your own way, changing your mindset to what’s possible instead of what you don’t want, and by sharing the lessons and ideas of performance excellence as applied to your success measures
  • It’s about support not about ‘help’, you have to do the work
  • It’s about knowledge combined with experience applied to your circumstances
  • It’s about getting the best out of your skill, knowledge experience and own personal power to achieve success in life, whatever that looks like for you
  • It’s about being really clear that you’re worth it and you can earn it
  • It’s about action. Making plans, setting goals getting clear on what you want, and action.

IT’S ABOUT YOU.

It’s still not parenting.


Becky Paroz doesn’t fit in.  She has worked for nearly 30 years in the construction industry, taking names and making one for herself.  She loves her workboots, colours her hair purple and speaks loudly with a strong and confident voice.  Bek makes her place in the world, she has never waited for a space to open for her. Moving beyond mentoring within industry for the last 10 years, Becky is now seeking her tribe to connect within and would love to hear from any fellow mavericks and nonconformists out there at any of her social media spots which you can find here

Empowering Mentoring

What’s In It For Me?

(extract from Words of Bek published October 2018)

International Women’s Day 2019 Special Release by Top Ten Women to Watch 2019 YMag Australia


“… Highly skilled women succumb to stereotype-driven expectations. It begins early when girls as young as six stop believing that girls are the smart ones, while boys continue to believe their gender is gifted. As women get older, these stereotypes discourage them from pursuing careers thought to be typically reserved for men. And, with fewer women in a field, subsequent generations  of women are deterred from pursuing them.  It’s a vicious cycle, but it can be broken. … ”
https://hbr.org/2019/02/research-based-advice-for-women-working-in-male-dominated-fields

As women, we are not encouraged by society to ask ourselves “what is in it for me” as a natural attribute.  In fact you may already be feeling uncomfortable about the question, before you even read the article. 

We are told as young women to “behave”, to support and nurture those around us.  Who has heard “nice girls don’t do that” in a response to a spoken wish, perhaps to something as personal as desire for a tattoo or even as simple as a haircut. 

When it comes to time management, as women we usually put ourselves last in factoring the allocation of minutes to tasks in our work, let alone in our personal life (and sometimes they are the same).  Add children into the equation and there is even less ability to put ‘you’ first.  Some of that is practical.  Some of that is a societal condition that we have been encouraged to believe – that we are not allowed to be selfish.  And that definition of selfish can be very broad depending on who wants your attention.  It often gets thrown around when we, as women, dare to say “NO”.

Boss wants you to stay back and work on his presentation and you have sick family to attend – “are you going to be the one to let the team down?”.  Significant other springs a surprise dinner party on you for their work colleagues and wonders why you don’t have time; between soccer, the ballet lessons and cleaning; to just whip up that 3 course gourmet meal in less than an hour.  Children forget to tell you about a project that is due the next morning and requires you to build a science project or bake a cake. 

All of these things are unavoidable and often just have to be dealt with in the moment.  However, ask yourself how many times, both in work and home life, do you get asked to do something and just say “yes”?  You don’t stop and think, you don’t know if you have the time, but it becomes easier to just say yes and worry about ‘how’ later.

What if there was a question, that if you allowed yourself to ask it, could help you, in that moment, to have a second thought and decide on your answer; instead of that instant, automatic response?

That question is “What’s in it for me?”.  WIIFM.  This question allows you to take a moment and realise if the activity you are about to agree to is something that adds value to you and your life.  When it is to do with your children, the obvious answer is the time you spend with them, the joy of their achievements and watching them learn.  Similar might be said of your significant other.  There are benefits.  This question asks you to check in and see what those benefits are in that moment. 

When it comes to the work place, often, if you are an achiever, you might find that you are asked to complete tasks simply because you get them done.  Which is fantastic if you receive acknowledgement of your efforts; a pay rise, or a promotion.  How often does that happen?

Does your senior management thank you for those extra hours, or do they now just expect it?  Do your work colleagues commend you on the time spent to achieve the outcome, or do they take the credit for themselves?  Do you get any satisfaction out of what you have achieved, or is it just momentary relief another task is complete, before you start the next one?

It is not a selfish act to ask, why am I doing this – what is in it for me?  It is an act of sanity.  It allows you the space to realise that this particular task may not benefit you – and if it doesn’t – allows you to ask “Why am I undertaking it?”. 

Obviously you get paid to achieve certain things in your work role, but you don’t get paid to be treated like a slave or whipping post for others’ inability to meet deadlines.  It is a fabulous skill to be able to “get things done”, but if you are not getting them done for yourself, or for some achievement that you want – what is the point?  Why are you fixing the mistake of others?  Why are you allowing yourself to be used in such a manner?  You might have answers to these questions, or you might be wondering to yourself why you didn’t ask these questions a long, long time ago.  The answer doesn’t matter as much as allowing yourself the space to ask the question in the first place.

You might have to simply undertake the activity, but, now that you have asked the question, you can be aware that is why you are undertaking the task.  If the task isn’t important to you, then you know to spend the least amount of time on it, and not to engage in sleepless nights over the outcome.  You can let go a lot of anxiety with this simple little question.  It doesn’t mean do it poorly, it means do it efficiently.  Which gives you more time for the things you do love, such as spending time with family or that hobby you never get to.

It assists you to check in with where you are going, what your goals are, and filter out the things that do not align with those goals, whatever they may be. 

So, what is in it for you?

Becky has 5 only strategy sessions left between now and May 2019 when her other courses commence.  The 3 hours focuses on your #gladiatHER – the warrior that is passionate, fired up, focussed, high functioning and fixated on HER future. The kind of woman who wants to #getyourbootson – who has developed an addiction for success. Want more?

Drop me a line here, private message or via other means (using that amazing concept first thought of by a #woman, #hedylamarr  – wifi) and take action now.

What are you waiting for? 

Empowering Mentoring

How Do You See Yourself?

A GUEST BLOG BY: Maree Ashford of Chrome n Silver Photography

Still hating yourself in those photos?  Are you the nominated “photographer” so that you can avoid having your image recorded for a lifetime?  Do you still judge your image harshly because you aren’t happy with it yet? 

I am here today to tell everyone an important truth in regards to your self-image, self-esteem and confidence. Please DON’T listen to your inner voice telling you to wait until … you look less tired, WAIT until you have lost weight, PAUSE until you grow your hair out, STOP until you find the perfect clothing.

This applies to your personal and professional life. I hear it all the time as a photographer, “I’d LOVE to have some portraits done of myself or of my family & I, BUT I just need to WAIT UNTIL I love myself more”

They are always waiting for the right time or the perfect moment, a moment that may never come or will always be one day, someday, anyday, but not today. The time to start your path to where you want to be is NOW!  Stop putting off enjoying life because of what is not and start celebrating what is.

As a female and an artist I understand the mental anguish that comes with a lack of self-confidence, an absence of self-esteem, a low dose of empowerment which everyone else seems to have or fake perfectly.

I suffer from these things as well, as I can imagine everyone who isn’t a megalomaniac would also do so, even just occasionally.    After all we are only human. It is human to doubt.  It is when we aren’t enjoying our lives as a result, that it helps to change your outlook – or have someone else show you the worthiness you have.

I am asking you to, instead of seeing the “wait for”, seek out the things that make you worthy of reaching out for your goals.  Do it now, because there will never be the perfect time but right now if you really want to live your best life.

One of the reasons I love what I do so much – I love the response to the images of my clients once I show them how I see them, how the camera sees them.  You, the final product. It might be corny, but it truly is the essence of a good portrait to capture the authentic version of the person trusting you with their vulnerable self.  I don’t know your insecurities by heart, what I see is a strong, beautiful soul who needs to let themselves shine and tell a story of who they are, how they are feeling, their individuality.

I simply LOVE doing what I do.

The most common response to the finial result of a portrait session is the client saying “I never knew I could look like that” There is no magic involved there is just you and your inner confidence, even if you don’t feel like you have any, it shines through into who you are and what others see in you. Please don’t wait, instead surround yourself with those who see the inner confidence, those who empower who you, and those that give good welcomed advice to raise you up, and help you fulfill your dreams and boost your self confidence.

Strong Women raise Strong Women

Good women empower other women. No tall poppy syndrome here.


Maree Ashford is a photographer in Brisbane. QLD Australia. If you would love to see more of her work or contact her please click on through to www.chromensilverphotography.com.au or follow her at www.facebook.com/chromensilverphotography/

She also donates her time to various animal rescue groups to promote the lives and stories of all animals in need across the country and is a strong advocate for animal rights.


guest Blogger

Are You a Superwoman – Part 4

The final installment of our blog series where we have been dissecting the idea of the superwoman.  The last category for judging is upon you. By now I hope you realise that you are doing well just making it through each day!  You are doing the best you can and that is what make you a contender for the title.

This extract is from Becky’ published book, The Words of Bek , and was also the subject of her presentation on Louisville Kentucky USA in 2014. 

Action – Flying Safely

You know that making decisions is only half the story.  The other half is the action required to see it through.  Whether wearing an apron for a BBQ, a business coat for the meeting, a flour covered housedress while baking; juggling a wooden spoon, mobile phone, mixing bowl and engineering plans; while organizing school camp, the next monthly budget report, creating a birthday cake, while setting up the latest science project due; herding dogs with your feet, children with your elbows; greeting a husband welcome home and sending that email; you are doing it.

It may not look elegant; it may not be pretty; it may seem ridiculous watching from afar to another being; it may hurt and it may not look like that all the time either; however it does feel like this, some of the time, for all of us, in whatever our situation is.

So today’s superwomen are the women in this audience; the women who helped put this conference together; the women who will work in the hotel and cater to us during our stay; the women who are nurturing and raising the next generation of leaders for our world; the women who are in hospital recovering from life-saving surgery and the women who are helping them to recover; women everywhere around our world are the picture we need to have of the ultimate Super-Woman, because it is all of us that will make our community truly global if we can but see the superpowers in others and work together.

Now go back to your list of superpowers and maybe think about what else you would like to add and go ahead and write it.  You already have it, but sometimes it feels good to acknowledge it and be supported in that knowledge.  Celebrate with someone today about what your powers are and how good it feels to tell yourself that you are a superwoman just as you are.    B

If you have found this blog series relevant, please drop the author a line or let her know on social media.  Your feedback is welcome and reviews of her book are always appreciated.  You may also wish to purchase a copy of her book for more words of bek to support managing your mindset.

Becky Paroz doesn’t fit in.  She has worked for nearly 30 years in the construction industry, taking names and making one for herself.  She loves her workboots, colours her hair purple and speaks loudly with a strong and confident voice.  Bek makes her place in the world, she has never waited for a space to open for her. Moving beyond mentoring within industry for the last 10 years, Becky is now seeking her tribe to connect within and would love to hear from any fellow mavericks and nonconformists out there at any of her social media spots which you can find here (hyperlink)

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