Written by Susan Diane Howell, MBA

Excerpt from her book, Empowering The Professional Woman

Life is full of highs and lows.  Some people find themselves as late bloomers.  Success can bring about its own accompanying stress factors.  Top professionals and celebrities often admit guilt, questioning why they became ultra successful while the next immensely talented person did not get the brass ring.  Successful people can fear that the bottom of their Cinderella story will fall out overnight.  The utopian dream can seem too good to be true and professionals often feel like phonies, pretending to be bigger than real life as they hide behind their facades of fortune and status.  The professional world understands that presentation is everything.  Few professionals will speak of their past failures, personal and financial problems in the real fear that people do judge.

What keeps the career ascension rolling forward is the internal question of not why did this success happen to me, but why did it take so long?  Putting aside the fear of loosing the business edge, successful professionals look to the expansion of what they already have in place.  A best selling book can be benchmarked against the next sequel book.  A million dollar sales client can be profiled for the next two million dollar sales deal.  A successfully patented product can be the inspiration for the next problem solving idea to market.

Successful professionals know that no one is safe in this world.  Where there is no calculated risk, there is no greater reward.  Top professionals focus on opportunities and refrain from any expectation of a totally secure life.  They anticipate constant change and find sanctuary in knowing that they can adapt to whatever life challenges they may encounter.  They take assessed risks, identifying their break even points and predetermining what they can afford to loose and what they can potentially gain.  Often professionals will choose investors who share the risks and rewards of their ventures, rather than bank interest loans that must be paid back to satisfy the debt.

Successful professionals enjoy the highs of being the center of attention, possessing the honey that attracts the buzzing bees, but we also understand that fans are fickle and our smiling associates can turn and find another Winnie The Pooh when the jar of honey runs dry.  Trusts in the professional world are closely guarded and we may not know for years who our true supporters are as we experience career cycles.

Financial stresses can be offset thru diversification.  Establishing multiple streams of income will protect you financially, should one of your streams dry up.  Establishing a business with many clients will keep you solvent, should one of your clients take their business elsewhere.  Understand that your best financial resource can take a turn with the inevitable entry of new competitors and market shifts.  Your service or product can become obsolete with the introduction of new technology, so solvent professionals logically evaluate the wave of oncoming trends and new market opportunities.

Cash flow can be a frightening experience: money comes in as money goes out.  Don’t spend on speculation.  There is no cash until it is in your hands.  Establishing and protecting a revolving line of credit can help you bridge the gaps in accounts receivables and payables.  Establishing an operations and lifestyle budget cap is also a great way to refrain from overspending this year and going into bankruptcy next year.  Set aside for yourself a practical monthly budget to live by and save or wisely invest everything else.  A career can take a down turn, leaving you living on savings for as much as two to five years.  Do you really need the private jet, helicopter and limousine or are these ego possessions that merely make you look good?  When can you rent on demand, as opposed to owning?

Wise professionals always make time for mind-body balancing.  For some, a brisk morning power walk prepares them for the day.  For others, a visit to the gym after business hours.  A weekend spa retreat is always a great refresher.  Get at least one good piece of exercise equipment at home to accommodate the busiest schedule periods or rainy day.  Then make the time to do at least 30 minutes of some physical activity five days a week as your starting goal.  Choose yoga, aerobics, jogging, swimming, fencing, nautilus, basketball or hula hoop.  Find your niche.  You do not pay the price for mind-body conditioning; you reap the reward of mind-body connection.  Your posture improves, your clothes look better, your complexion looks fresh, your confidence perks, your emotions are in better balance and you think clearer. 

Successful people also lean on emotional supporters as no one should feel alone.  Emotional supporters are valuable when put into perspective.  One of my great emotional supporters was my cat, Sabre.  He gave me the strength to continue my professional pursuits in Los Angeles, when I had to walk by faith.  A neutral girlfriend can be a great supporter, as can mentors and life coaches.  Family can be supporters, but most family members do not have the objectivity to support you effectively so guard relying on the wisdoms of parents, siblings and spouses.

Single professional women often rely on a boyfriend or intimate affair to establish  emotional equilibrium and advantage while pursuing a career.  These relationships can also backfire if they break up.  Single women should consider that an emotional supporter is not the same as a “husband”.  Marriage is about paying bills, raising children and making challenging sacrifices in behalf of the family unit.  A great emotional supporter boyfriend does not imply a great spouse.  Contemplate the different relationships and what this wisdom might mean for you.

Successful people have learned to feel comfortable in the state of discomfort.  They are unencumbered by the unwarranted criticism of others, knowing that criticism is often a manifestation of jealousy and want.  The masses and the mediocre will always have their opinions. 

Refrain from comparing your glorious lifestyle to the civilian workers who could loathe your success.  You worked hard to get where you are.  You made sacrifices in time, income, relationships and encountered opportunity costs in other pursuits to get what you have achieved today.  You have only your own life to compare against yourself.  To each is given the fruits of our labors when we are ready to receive.  The next person may pass over as a technology billionaire, while you passed over as a starving artist, so look only to your personal source of inspiration and faith when you ask the why’s about your life and compare your journey to no one’s.  You are here to gain the understanding intended for you.  May you pass through the veil of mortality in the act of doing what you love most!

“’Come to the edge,’ He said.  They said, ‘We are afraid.’  ‘Come to the

edge,’ He said.  They came.  He pushed them…and they flew.”

-        Guillaume Apollinaire

Susan Diane Howell, MBA is the Executive Director of Entertainment and a Master Vocal Coach at the Academy of Diva Arts, Las Vegas.  You can reach her at the Academy website or by phone at (888)340-7444.