A conversation with Ellen Lubin-Sherman, author, The Essentials of Fabulous/Because Whatever Doesn’t Work Here Anymore…
The fabulous people of the world are fabulous because they work at it. Sure, there could be attributes inherent in a person that makes being fabulous a little easier (like having patience or a friendly disposition), but even those attributes can turn from assets to liabilities as the context changes. Instead, there’s a special combination of elements that creates fabulousness. Executive coach and consultant on all that is fabulous Ellen Lubin-Sherman has created a guide to give us the keys we need to get beyond the “whatever” life and move into the fabulous life. I had the pleasure to correspond with Ellen and wanted to share her best advice for Gen Y.
Emily: We are in a world that promotes being connected 24/7, forcing us to get caught up in getting plugged in. How can the fabulous create personal balance even if there is an illusion of always working?
Ellen: “This is a great question because you’ve used the word ‘illusion.’ None of us are always working but our technology keeps us tethered to our desk, seven days a week, till all hours of the night. You cannot work at full-throttle, high-energy if you’re exhausted so make it a policy of applying ‘triage’ to all phone calls after 9 p.m. or during the weekend. If it’s an authentic emergency, of course be available but if it can wait until Monday, let it wait! If the boss gets the impression you have nothing in your life but work, he’ll just keep up the pressure but if you passively give him/her the impression that you’re one of those people who love to run, bike, attend the theater, or play in a band, he/she will respect you all the more.”
Emily: While Gen Y may be considered overly confident, that really isn’t the case for everyone. How should people who lack self-confidence bridge the gap when those around them are fabulous?
Ellen: “The fabulous-in-training should always be watching and learning from those who have mastered the 10 ‘essentials’ to being fabulous. No one starts out with ‘self-confidence’ – that comes from setting small goals and reaching them. Listening is just as important as speaking so use your time around fabulous people to see the way they use their words to persuade people to go along with them.
“Young executives also must come into any professional situation with humility. You cannot know everything nor does anyone expect you to know everything. But you must ask questions, be curious, show interest, be upbeat and as enthusiastic as possible. By establishing a positive outlook, you will be perceived as a super-performer. (It also helps to stay a little later so you can grab a beer and get to know people better.)”
Emily: What is your advice for building good decision-making skills?
Ellen: “In Chapter 11 of The Essentials of Fabulous, I write at length about the importance of building a personal board of directors. These hand-picked, savvy, thoughtful, insightful people are there to help you when the going gets rough or when decisions have to be made (they’re also there to cheer you on when you’ve nailed it.) Young executives need to get feedback from their peers and their mentors when making decisions to ensure that they’ve looked at the problem from every angle. And once that decision has been made, utilizing all the information they’ve accumulated, stick with it! Don’t second-guess yourself. Believe in yourself!”
Ellen’s book, The Essentials of Fabulous/Because Whatever Doesn’t Work Here Anymore, is available at Amazon.com and you can read more from Ellen at herblog. Stay tuned for Part II of my conversation with Ellen, Gen Y and the Pursuit of Fabulous: Your Best Foot Forward.