Competition is NOT a Dirty Word

I see so many women hate on the word “competition”.

An Aussie woman, Ashleigh Barty, just won the French Open… Do you think she shies away from a little competition?  Congrats Ashleigh, while I am here, you are amazing! Pretty sure Ms Barty competed her ass off to win this award!

Our Olympic winners, do you think that they don’t compete?  Every day they compete with themselves and their personal best, to be just a little better than before.  We celebrate them, and if we don’t, we certainly should.  

So that is okay, so maybe it is just when women compete.. what… with each other?  That’s what Olympians do also. There is a first, second, third, and all the others.  Sometimes the others get a mention, like when they just keep going no matter what, but do we remember them?  Nope. But we celebrate the Gold Medallist don’t we? 

We join clubs and point systems and rewards than give us “Gold class” versus “Diamond” or “Platinum” levels.  Isn’t that a form of competition? Who has the higher level? These systems are designed to make sure we compete to get to that higher, glossier, more “privileged” level, aren’t they?  But that seems to be okay. Maybe that is competition with the “corporations” because we believe we are getting more out them than most, or maybe that is a competition with ourselves, to “level up”.

So why don’t we women “compete”, when quite clearly, we do, and we do it well in certain areas?

Is it because we compete against other women, and there is already enough out there telling us that we are too fat, too thin, too blonde, too shy, too prosaic, too plain, too pretty, TOO MUCH?  Is it that we are just joining the party and using the “women don’t compete line” to actually drag another women down because she wants to be a winner? Because maybe, we, ourselves, can’t compete, so we perpetuate a myth than means we don’t have to strive, to animate, to be better than yesterday, knowing we will better again tomorrow? What is wrong with wanting to win? 

I don’t think that is it, I see plenty of women getting their game on, hustling, entrepreneuring, creating, making, fulfilling, being out there in the world.  

I saw an article recently that stated :

“leadership has been a predominantly male arena and as a result, typically “masculine” qualities such as decisiveness, resilience and confidence, have been viewed as paramount.”

Erm, they are paramount and they aren’t “masculine”.  It is not a gendered word. I am sick of being “masculine”, “feminine” or some other category that I did not sign up to, but someone else thinks that I must be “this way” because of some daft gendered suggestion.  I am not masculine because I am resilient, because I can make decisions, because I am confident.

I am these things because I created myself this way, because I chose it, because I wanted it.  And I am a woman, heaven forbid! But I rose through the ranks of the construction industry as a female, and I will be damned if I reduce myself in any of these areas because some article designed to sell something suggests I am and have “masculine characteristics”   And if I do, what is the big deal with that?

Women raise the children, predominantly, and this is changing, but it is still mostly true for most families.  So when you are raising that child each day making decisions, you aren’t being decisive? Of course you are, whether you see it that way or not.  Making bad decisions is not less than decisive, it just means you like learning by experience.  

Experiencing breast cancer and over-coming the every day struggle that it is to just keep going, have faith, believe that there is hope and recovery – that is resilience even if you don’t have the energy to say the word. 

Being on stage and presenting requires a great deal of confidence and we see women more and more taking that stage.  Are they really women because they are confident? Or have they embraced being a man, being “masculine”.

Of course not, the suggestion is ridiculous. 

And so is the suggestion that these things are masculine in their intent, context and delivery.  I really get sick of women creating this divide and then wondering why they can’t be taken seriously in the world arena.  If anything, the suggestion of these traits as masculine or feminine are perpetuating the belief that there is one way to be if you are a man and one way to be if you are a women.  And that is simply not true. It also perpetuates the myth that men are less than women because they have these traits, and I think that is a pile of bullshit too.

And that denies the rights of women that have been fought over for years, the ability for our ladies to be in the defence force, fly planes, vote, own property, you know, “manly things”.  

The entire concept that confidence is masculine is absurd.  Confidence is defined as: full trust; trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing, belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance

Are we still in an era where we don’t want that for our daughters?  That our sons aren’t as good as our daughters if they have these traits.  When you break that statement down like this, it is entirely ridiculous.

I compete every day.  I compete with myself to be better, more intelligent, know more, be greater, achieve higher.  I compete in my role because I represent a company and I need to be the best I can be for that role, it is what I am paid to do.

I reject the idea that competition is masculine and has no place in a woman.  I reject the mythology that surrounds the “feminine” and the “masculine” and that they are somehow less than or worse than the other.

What I embrace is that we can all, both male, female, and non-gendered, non-binary and nonsensical if that is how you roll, is that we can all have these traits if we choose to.  We need to stop vilifying words in the attempt to one up the scale and continue the gender divide. And to sell from a platform that perpetuates this divide.

I embrace my resilience, I am confident enough to say it and I won’t be changing my decisiveness to do so any time soon.  Join me if that doesn’t make you afraid of being the best version of you, because that is the competition I am in. 

Empowering 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

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

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

Are You A Superwoman? -Part 3

The third installment of our blog series where we have been dissecting the idea of the superwoman.  The next categories for judging whether you are a contender for the title are

Situations – Happen Every Day, and I mean, EVERY DAY

There is always something to have a drama about it.  Especially if you look for it.  Smile whenever possible.  Because it makes a difference to you, not necessarily to everyone else, and that is okay.  Not everyone will ever agree on the correct path at any given time if it is dramatic enough, however you are not stopping a building falling down, catching a train by flying to it and landing on the roof, you are not usually in life threatening situations.  Many situations just need management and time, 2 things that don’t go hand in hand very well, no matter it children or board members; every women has the ability to make great decisions without realising it, that she in fact does it all the time, and needs to take the time out to enjoy her life in between the rest of her life.

Solutions – Trampolining is not for Everyone

We know our superheroine could fly, but we also know, through the wonders of modern media delivery, how better we can create something that looks like flying.  We all know the phrase “fake it until you make it”, but let’s face it, we know that behind the scenes our super lady used a trampoline to get some extra lift because she was pretty tired all the time in her busy, busy (crazy) life.  Both the movie person and you know this to be true

You make instant decisions on the go while juggling a full time family, career, both, working towards a goal, a personal event in health that has become all consuming; a sudden change in circumstance; life happening every day in fact.

You reaches into your briefcase/nappy bag, grab a skill, one sharply honed from many uses and in finely tuned condition and make things happen because they need to happen.  It may not be life changing every time, but all the smaller times, the ones you think don’t count, absolutely do make a difference. You make decisions all the time, so stop doubting yourself, every time.  Please.

Practice in just knowing that you have that superpower, the power of decision, whether it is one you have put on your list from earlier or not and stop trampolining over your own sense of self, your decision making ability, and have a little faith in what you can (and have) achieved already in your life.

So when faced with a decision, just make it with the knowledge that you have then and there.  Second guessing and third guessing and stressing and stressing, do not get you anywhere.  You can stop dressing up for others and put something you want on, take off a costume or a label you don’t like; make a new decision based on new information, try an updated costume, change superpower gears and continue on your journey.

Decisions come up along the way.  Don’t try and buy the time before hand with needless worry, because how you pay for it is with your comfort and your happiness.

BIO: This extract is from Becky’ published book, The Words of Bek (hyperlink to book for sale), and was also the subject of her presentation on Louisville Kentucky USA in 2014.  Becky Paroz doesn’t fit in.  She has worked for nearly 30 years in the construction industry, takitaking 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 New Year

Are You A Superwoman – Part Two

Following on from our previous blog where we discussed the idea of the superwoman, here are some categories for judging whether you are a contender for the title…!

Categories for the Title of Superwoman

  1.  Clothing – Remember As Long as I Wear it With Style ….

Does superwoman really need a costume?  Or is she just too busy being superwoman to worry too much about what she wears?  Is she out there achieving her goals, or getting the costume to the dry cleaners before the next big crisis?  We know which one is real.

If she is a superwoman in the construction industry, she doesn’t have time for dresses, she wears boots, jeans and high visibility clothing that does not look flattering on anyone.  But she doesn’t care, because the role she succeeds in is more important than how she looks. 

Does the superwoman at home always iron her outfit for the day, freshly pressed to ensure she can just whip it on when she gets a call on the “mom-phone” for an emergency pick-up and delivery somewhere that has just been remembered?  Or does she just get in the car in whatever she happens to be wearing and get her children to safety, or the local choir, on time?

Either role, she doesn’t need killer heels every time, a briefcase over her shoulder; a baking pan and wooden spoon in her hand.  She needs a few important things like attitude, confidence and stature; standing strong in her environment, whether it be armed with a cardi(gan) or a cape; facing the situation at hand no matter, her inner armour is assurance in her own abilities.

  • Super Powers – Portfolio of Abilities

Make a list…. Take one minute to make a quick list of top 3 superpowers that you would love to have in your life right now.  You can write more than 3, but for now, GO.

Examples include – organization, time management, cook extraordinaire, event manager, safe driver, the ability to put a straight crease in a garment with an iron!

Take a moment to add a few more, because we all know that women ar so used to doing, they forget to remind themselves that they are doing fine.  So even if you only managed to think of one (and I know you have more than that!) you are still winning at life because you got out of bed today 😀

Share the list with friends and get them to add a few more.  Check in over the next few days and add to the list as you realise finding the remote control is a super power!

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

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 New Year

Are You A Superwoman? (and did you want to be?)

The image of superwoman has changed over the ages.  In the 80’s era of emerging female power, the model was created in our minds of the first “Supergirl” from the movie of the same.  She has appeared as early as the 1950’s in the comic version.  Since then, we have used that trademark in various iteration to describe women.

We have the character Supergirl™ in the red and blue with that cute little flip skirt and boots.

We have supermum – the ultimate baker, maker, creator, cleaner, teacher, “well kept” housewife image that greets a new vacuum cleaner at Christmastime with joy.  Also a product of 1950’s advertising and sadly still used today as the picture of the “perfect mum”.

We have the business power superwoman – she of the killer suit and heels, lipstick and stockings, career and family perfectly balanced to create a happy and fulfilling life.  Her rise started fully in movies from around the 1980’s where women joined the boardroom in deadly but stylish shoulder-pads.

These are all fantasies created for us by advertisers, of both personnel and professional “beauty standards”, or standards of perfection that are not able to be achieved by anyone, least of all the man that dreamt up the images.  If you are a mom, you use the best of baking equipment to whip up cupcakes any old time for your children and their friends because you always have time to do that, don’t you?

If you are a business women, you house is immaculate and clean, just waiting for that evening soiree that you cater for by cooking everything yourself in all your free time. Because you have so much of it of course.

Who here knows the real truth? 

The one where the career woman has business paperwork, and maybe clothes scattered all over the place because she is always working and never has the time to get truly organized at home.

The mum that doesn’t bake because she can’t find the time between grocery shopping, cleaning, mending, ironing, schooling, delivery to numerous after school clubs, washing the dog; and is lucky to find anything other than a butter knife to ice those cupcakes because she is doing three other things at the same time.

These “failures” to live up to the dream, such as they are, consist of often small things that build until you want to scream… or cry…..  or both……  We have this mental image that comes from asking “can we have it all?”, and knowing the answer is yes, but the solution isn’t anywhere as simple.

These pictures are carefully and artfully created and controlled to elicit these specific types of responses from us, but what if we stopped listening?   What if we just stopped buying into the story that we are told, day in and day out, that we must have these “things”, achieve these “measures”, meet these standards, that provide our worth to society and we decided to create our own standards of measurement.

What if our image of the superwoman was taken back from the marketers and put in the hands of real women?  If we nominated a figure of superwoman today, how would she appear to us? 

What then would a superwoman look like?  Act like?  What would today’s superwomen truly be like – if real women created her?

Some of you might already have some samples of who you would nominate as a superwoman.

Over the next few weeks I am gong to discuss the different categories that might make you a contender for the title of superwomen (or superdad for those dads out there making it happen for their families).

BIO: 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. 

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 New Year