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On Improving When Your Friends Aren't

Just got a comment on "Having Your Own Ethics is Lonely" by a reader. He asked one of the hardest questions about becoming successful - what happens when you're improving when your friends aren't?

I found this blog because I'm looking for advice. I've realized four years ago that I was unhappy with myself. I lived a poor, and dead end life. So I decided to look closely at my lifestyle and eliminate some bad habits and replace them with good ones. I also got a second job to make more money, and lived in relative poverty by choice. And it worked! I'm healthy financially and I've gotten a chance to learn anything I've wanted to know. I'm strong and smarter than I used to be. I think I know what God is, and everyday I work to be better than the day before. But, I can't connect with my old friends because they do all the things I dont want to be a part of any more, because they dont care to do well for themselves as much. In a way, to put it bluntly, they're not usefull to me. I'd rather make friends with people I truely admire and respect. I dont feel like I can tell them that I basically think they're bad people. They've done nothing to harm me personally, but I want nothing to do with them. What do you think?

Indeed, that's one of the hardest parts about becoming successful.

Most people don't like to change after they get established. If you improve quickly, it can upset and turn off old friends and cause breaks in friendship.

Perhaps the worst time is when you're still on a shaky ground with your old improvement. I remember one time, I was going through a super healthy kick. Lots of gym, weights, very clean and healthy diet. But with one of my buddies, we always ate junk food together when we got together. Pizza, chicken wings, burgers and fries, stuff like that.

Lean In to What?

On MGT500

I've been hearing a lot about the concept of Leaning In based upon Sheryl Sandberg's (COO of Facebook) book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead (2013) and how it is a call to arms for ambitious women to lead successful lives. Yet, many people (who are women) find fault in the advice held within the book. If this is not the strategy for Women Leaders (or if we as women can't agree that it is), than what is and what are we supposed to do to bridge the female leadership gap in the workplace?

I had a working mother and as such I spent a lot of time in daycares. At one particular day care when I was still very young the director took my mother aside when she came to pick me up and discussed whether I would be a better fit at another facility. When a mother asked why she was told that I was bossy and didn't get along with the other children. My mother told her what she thought was bossy was really miss taken initiative. I haven't been accused much of being bossy since then, but that could be a sign of what Sandberg says society indoctrinates into girls to prevent them from becoming the leaders they can be. In the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg COO of Facebook Sandberg says that the label boxes put upon young girls and early age to reinforce a double standard currently seen that we all know this in the workplace. Where little girl is bossy a little boys praised for being ambitious or having leadership skills.

“When a girl tries to lead, she is often labeled bossy,” she writes. “Boys are seldom bossy because a boy taking the role of a boss does not surprise or offend.” (2013)

Sandberg promotes the idea that women should have a mission work hard to gain leadership roles, negotiate and lead like their male counterparts.

Yet there are many critics that state the concept of leaning in is an oxymoron in itself, claiming that a woman leaning in will ultimately jeopardize her success instead of achieving it. In a study done by sociology professors at the University of Toronto (Shieman, Schafer, McIvor, 2013) it was found that many women in authority positions felt they had little influence and autonomy - they also did not find their job to be very rewarding. It was also stated in this study that women found that at times excuses were made to justify their positions and there was a culture of "tokenism" among granting women high ranking positions.

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