Episode 193 | November 5, 2019

Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich with Dr. Lois Frankel

A Personal Note From Orion

As a child, I was taught that being nice and polite would go a long way. And while having these values will certainly take you far in life, you may have noticed by now that we live in a man’s world – and as a woman, you have to be more than just ‘nice’ if you want to get ahead. 

Women are living under societal pressures which dictate how we should behave, look, and live our lives. A lot of the messages which surround you as a women are infused with limiting beliefs on what you can accomplish in life – from how much money you can earn, the kinds of roles you can play in society, to how valuable you are based on your looks. 

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, a Pulitzer winning historian, famously wrote “Well behaved women seldom make history” – meaning, it’s the women who have shaken things up and been assertive of what they want in life – often at risk of being labeled a “bitch” – who have gone on to lead memorable lives. My guest today is one such memorable woman who was tired of being the nice girl, and started taking matters into her own hands to create her dream life. Dr. Lois Frankel joins me today to discuss why Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich – and why you should stop playing nice.


About Today’s Show

When I was a little kid, I was taught to be nice and to be very polite. And by being really nice and quiet, I would get what I need. But nice girls don’t always get what they want because if you’re too nice and you don’t care about your needs, you won’t be able to get what you need. 

Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Dr. Lois Frankel

My guest, Dr. Lois Frankel, is an executive coach, keynote speaker, and bestselling author. Her book, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office has become a business bible for women and along with her other books, has helped thousands of women to achieve their personal and professional goals. So if you’re tired of being nice and you want to be a little naughty and get what you really want, stay tuned. And now on to the show.

Hello, Dr. Lois and welcome to Stellar Life podcast. It’s lovely having you here.

Orion, thank you so much for inviting me to be with you. I’m looking forward to this next hour.

Me too. Before we start, why don’t you share with us a little bit about your passion and why you do what you do in the world?

When you talk about why I do what I do and what my passion is, it’s a funny story. I don’t often tell this story, but I’ll never forget. I was probably 30 years old and I was painting my deck. As I was painting my deck—it’s kind of a mindless job—I was thinking, “What is the meaning of life?” It’s a little heavy thought for painting a deck, “What is the meaning of life?” Without a moment in between the thought and the message, came the message, “The meaning is to be of service to others.”

And it came as clear as a bell to me. I thought, “Whoa, that’s interesting,” and it resonated with me because I was a psychotherapist and I worked in human resources. I did all these kinds of things. It resonated with me that the best and highest use of my life is to be of service to others. So, for the last 37 years, that’s what I’ve been trying to do, is to make an impact on people’s lives in the way that they need, not the way that I want them to need.

I think a lot of people want to make a difference and they have a message, and they cram that message down your throat. I don’t want to name any authors or speakers, but you know who they are because they have a model and you’re supposed to stick with the model. For me, it’s really about who you are, how can I meet you where you are, and help you to achieve what you want to achieve. As a matter of fact, my slogan is, “Dr. Lois Frankel: Get and keep the job you want.”

Nice. How do you help people understand the difference between what they want and what they need?

I really don’t so much get into that difference between what they want and what they need. As I said, I meet them where they are with what they want, and then sometimes I hold up a mirror to make sure that what they said they want is what they really want. A lot of times for women, we say we want things because we settle for what we think we can get.

Let me just give you an example. I had a craft fair over at Santa Monica one day and this woman had all these people around her in her booth. When they left, I said, “Whoa, your product is really popular. You’re going to get rich.” She said, “I don’t want to be rich. I just want to be comfortable.”

What she wanted was to be comfortable. I said to her, “Is there anything wrong with being rich?” and she said, “No, but I just don’t need it.” I wasn’t there that day to make a difference in her life, so I didn’t get into it with her further, but that’s really what I hear from a lot of women. “I don’t want to be rich. I just want to be comfortable.” As I say to them, “I’ve been comfortable and I’ve been rich. Believe me, you want to be rich.”

I think it’s the fear of, if I say I want to be rich, then all those beliefs that were built into my subconscious mind throughout my life, maybe rich people are bad or maybe if I said I want to be rich and I’m not, I’m a failure. There’s so much fear around declaring your dream.

There really is and if I say I want to be rich, I have to do something about it. It commits me. It’s a little bit like saying out loud that you’re going to go on a diet. Well, people will be looking for you to lose weight, so you better do something about it.

I think for women, that whole thing about the message—we’re just talking about money now, but it holds true for so many aspects of their lives—that they have these limitations that were first put on them, then they embrace and they put on themselves.

For example, if you grew up with the message that making money isn’t as important as doing good in the world. Okay, I happen to agree with that. I think doing good in the world is really important but I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive. If your message was they are mutually exclusive, then you’re limited. Or if you think about what career you want. I remember there was a woman in one of my workshops. She said when she told her parents that she wanted to be an engineer, they said, “Oh, great. Now you’ll never get married.”

Being nice just for the sake of being nice doesn't serve a purpose. You can be nice, kind, decisive, and strong-willed all at the same time. Click To Tweet

It’s those kinds of messages that women get, that if they internalize them, they’re always going to be limited. It’s not so much I want them to want something different or need something different. I want them to just make sure that what they want is that they’re conscious of it and that’s truly what they want because if it is, it’s fine, and if it’s not, let me help you get something else that you might like or in addition to.

Just maybe open the blinds a little more because those beliefs can become self-fulfilling prophecies. I think Henry Ford was the one that said, “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re always right.”

Yes, that is so true, isn’t it?

Why are women like that? Why are we so screwed up?

I’m not going to agree that we’re screwed up. What I think is that many of us—not everybody—act in ways that are stereotypically feminine because we live in a society that requires that. If you just think about it right now, we have a president, for example, who talks about women’s looks. If they don’t look perfect, there’s something wrong with them.

Yes, because he looks perfect.

Exactly. This is a guy who, in the mirror, he sees somebody who’s 6 feet 2 inches, about 175 pounds, and muscular. But he’s not alone in that. They’ve done studies where they put men and women in separate rooms and they ask them each to describe themselves. The men will always describe themselves in objective, if not always true terms. So, even if the guy looks like Donald Trump, he’s 6 feet 2 inches, 175 pounds, and just looks perfect, most women when they describe themselves, will say something negative. Even ones who are very attractive.

Again, when you say, “Why do we act in these stereotypically feminine ways,” in part it’s because the messages that we get at home, from society, in school. I would hope that things have changed more. We are at 2019, we’re soon going into 2020, and I would hope things have changed.

Let me give you one more example. There was a woman who came up to me after a workshop I did and this is also true about the messages that children get even to this day. She said, “I have a six-year-old daughter and I send her to school everyday with a fist bump. And I say, ‘Be strong, be smart, be healthy.’”

One day the little girl came home from school and she hadn’t eaten her lunch. The mother said, “Natalie, did you not like your lunch?” and she said, “No, mommy. That’s not it. I’m getting fat.” Now how does a little six-year-old whose mom is giving her all the right messages, come home and say, “Mommy, I’m getting fat”?

Again, when you say, “Why are women so screwed up?” I’m not using that phrase, but why do women internalize these messages? Because they get them from anywhere. From the media, from school, from boys, from everywhere. And because we’re wired to be more emotional, we do take them in a different way than men and boys take them in.

Of course. It’s also in our language. I forgot the exact statistics, but they said in the English language, there are about over 200 words for sexually promiscuous women, but I think about 20 for sexually promiscuous men.

I’m surprised there’s even 20. I’d be hard-pressed to come up with more than five. It’s true, though.

Be smart in every move you make. We all have to work hard, but hard work is not what gets you ahead.

And maybe the phrase “screwed up” was a little harsh, but that was the first thing that came to my mind. It’s just that it seems like we are conditioned to represent ourselves as less than, to not step up, to be modest, to make jokes so other people feel more comfortable around us.

Yeah, at our own expense.

At our own expense. When you look at men, they’re different. They brag and it’s okay. They speak up and it’s okay, they talk about their achievements and it’s natural, but when a woman does that, she might be called a bitch or unkind or all kinds of things.

Because there are different rules for men and women. It’s almost like we’re on different playing fields. A lot of times, women will say to me, “Well, that’s not right. That’s not fair.” But don’t shoot the messenger. I didn’t make the rules. I just report them. If you think about it, behavioral assertiveness can manifest itself in terms of speaking your mind clearly. As you said, expressing your achievements clearly. There are a lot of ways that you can express assertiveness.

When a woman expresses it in the same way a man does, she gets called strident or a bitch or whatever, and he gets called self-confident. Again, because the rules are different. Now, it doesn’t mean that women shouldn’t express themselves clearly or highlight their achievements. It’s just that they have to do it differently than men.

That’s actually the topic of my book that’s coming out in January. The working title is The Nice Girl’s Guide to Telling People to Go to Hell so They Look Forward to the Trip because women have that added pressure of making sure people are okay with what they say. So, it’s going to be an audiobook and I wanted it to be an audiobook because I think women have to hear what this sounds like. They have to hear me giving them the advice, not just reading it, so that they can understand that there are ways to get your point across without being called names. You just have to develop the skill around it.

Are you going to be the one who’s narrating the book? Because your voice is so beautiful.

Thank you. Yes. As a matter of fact, I’m going into the studio in two weeks to read it.

It’s going to be a great book. Saying, “No.” Saying, “Stop.” Saying, “I don’t want this.” When it comes to anything, not only the male-female relationship but even a patient-doctor relationship or in the workplace, it seems like it harder for us to do.

I’m an Israeli, very direct, and for me, it was about toning it down and not saying exactly what I think in the exact way that I think. But because I lived here for half of my life, I think now I’m on the other half of the spectrum where I’m nicer. Sometimes, I’m too nice. How do you stop being that nice?

It’s interesting because if I were coaching you 10 years ago, I would not tell you to be less direct because when you tell people to do that, women who are assertive when you tell them to do that, they go in the opposite direction. Then, they become overly nice when overly is not necessary. Instead, what I suggest to women is that they add behaviors to their skill set that will soften messages without diluting them because you need to say it in a way that people can hear but that is still very direct and straightforward.

Let me give you an example. Like you said, saying no. It’s hard for women to say no or stop that or whatever. But let’s just say that your boss gives you an assignment that’s really unreasonable and humanly impossible to achieve. Women will often just roll up their sleeves and get it done. What men do instead is they do one of three things. They negotiate, they use humor to show why it’s not really realistic, or they delegate it to a woman because they know she’ll get it done.

What I tell women is that you need to manage expectations. Nobody wants to hear no. Your boss doesn’t want to hear no. I don’t like people telling me no. At the same time, if you manage people’s expectations and say, “You know, I’d be happy to do that for you. Now, let me tell you what it will realistically take. I already got five high priority projects on my desk. If you’d like me to replace one of them with this, I’d be happy to. Or if you like to give me more help so that I could do with them all, I’d be happy to. Or if you’d like, I can find someone else with the skills to do this so that nothing else gets put on the back burner. What would your choice be?”

When you put it out like that, you’re advocating for yourself. Instead of being a doormat, you haven’t said, “No,” you’ve said, “Yes, and…” and I think that’s what women need to learn to do is add that, “and let me tell you what it’s going to take.”

Or another technique is what’s called contrasting, which is where you tell people what you do want and you don’t want. “I don’t want you to think I don’t want to do this because I’m certainly happy to. At the same time, I do need to let you know about what the limitations are so that you can reasonably anticipate what I can deliver.” It’s often just about learning a couple of phrases that are going to work for you.

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You mentioned humor, what men uses usually. You mention choices, which reminds me, I think it’s an NLP technique where you offer two choices, “Would you like a cold drink now or a hot drink later?” So they have to say yes to one or the other.

Exactly. And that’s how I put it out. “Would you like me to take another project and put it on the back burner? Would you like to give me more help? Or would you like me to assign it to someone else?” Obviously, it’s a forced choice, isn’t it?

They have to say yes to one or the other. So you’re actually looking for them to say yes. I studied improv and I also studied with Michael Port’s Heroic Public Speaking. It’s always about the, “Yes, and…” You said it. Let me know what you think.

It’s interesting because I tell people all the time they should take an improv class or course, or get involved in improv if you want to learn how to think on your feet. That’s the main complaint that women have because I give these examples and they go, “I wish I could think of that at that moment.” “Well, you know it’s not like I came out of the womb knowing how to do this.”

Maybe you did.

No. Believe me, I was one of the nicest girls you’d ever want to meet. I will say that I’m a recovering nice girl because that’s still my fallback position. I don’t want anybody to think we’re talking about not being nice. Nice is necessary for success. It’s just not sufficient that we have to be nice. Nice is not about giving up myself or my sense of self so that you can have one or that so you can have a life. It’s about making sure that we all win.

Maybe it’s nice versus kind. When you’re nice, there is not always a reason for that, but when you’re kind, there’s a lot of kindness in assertiveness if you have, let’s say, that conversation with your boss. This is an act of kindness to tell your boss, “Hey, I cannot do this project. I need help.” It’s also an act of kindness to yourself where being nice for the purpose of being nice doesn’t serve a purpose.

That’s a very good point. I haven’t thought of it in relation to kindness, but I think you’re absolutely right that just being nice for the sake of being nice doesn’t serve a purpose for anybody because if I take another project on, I’m not going to do any of them well. It’s not serving me, it’s not serving the boss, it’s answering anybody.

You said you are a recovered nice girl. Tell me about your recovery process.

Recovering nice girl. I say that because I think if you grew up like I did with messages like girls or women are supposed to be helpful, they’re supposed to be kind to other people, they’re supposed to consider everybody else’s feelings, you can put yours to the side once in awhile so that you take care of other people’s needs, if you grew up with that and some women still see that all around them. I know generationally things have changed, but some of it is also cultural.

For example, when I’m speaking with groups of Latinas, they still see their mothers doing all this stuff, being really nice girls or nice women. For me growing up with that, people find it hard to believe, but I didn’t find my voice until I was well into my 30s. I think there’s a reason why I chose to become a psychotherapist because you certainly do more listening than talking when you’re a psychotherapist. I think as time went by, I realized that I had important things to say and that other women needed to hear them. Now, I say that I’m recovering because if you were a nice girl, I don’t think you quite get over it.

It’s funny because the other day I was with a group of women and we were talking about somebody who is really sweet. Then someone said, “Well, do you think I’m sweet?” and I said, “Mmm, I wouldn’t call you sweet. I’d call you kind and generous.” Then, she said, “Would you call yourself sweet?” I said, “No.” I said, “Sweet is not a word that I would apply to myself. I’m a lot of good things but just sweet is not one of them. It’s not something I aspire to because sweet has a thing about maybe being naive and kind of a martyr. I guess that’s what.

A pushover.

Anyway, that’s my recovery story. I don’t think I’m ever going to get over it. I follow my own advice, though. When I have to have a difficult conversation with someone, I use the same techniques I tell other people to use. I’m not a pushover, but when I tell somebody to go to hell, they do look forward to the trip. As a matter of fact, my clients call it, they’ve been Frankelized. They learn how to say things in ways that are socially acceptable but still direct and straightforward.

Discouraging words are roadblocks on the path to achieving your dreams.

There was a culture gap, but my first lesson about being nice here in the US was when my friend took me to an art gallery opening. I was like, “I really don’t like this piece. It looks ugly,” and she’s like, “Shh. People can hear you. When people ask you about that, just say, ‘Mmm, that’s interesting.’” I had to learn those things and I just repeated after her, “Mmm, that’s interesting.”

You’re right. It is cultural because we know that any other middle eastern cultures do tend to be, could I say less polite?

You can say rude. Sometimes they’re rude.

Well, I’m not going to say rude. I say less polite because they’re not as concerned with that. They’re not rude to each other. I’m not going to say rude because, in that culture, it’s not rude.

It can come across as rude and I think there is a balance. I think there’s good and bad in both types of cultures. I just feel like in the American culture, people need to be more straight with each other and, let’s say, the Israeli culture, people need to be more maybe sometimes not say everything that’s on their mind in exactly the same way it’s on their mind.

There is a continuum of self-expression, isn’t there? In one of the continuum, you have people that say everything that comes to their mind with no filter. On the other end of the continuum, you have people that won’t say anything if they think that it could even possibly hurt someone’s feelings. The real trick is how do you stay in the middle? Because self-expression is important. You have to say what’s on your mind. This is about finding that place that’s comfortable for you.

I think my personal journey right now is to be more with integrity, with the way I am, just say and express my opinions regardless of what other people think, care less about what other people think about me and more about what I think about me and more about my values.

I think as long as you’re living your values, that’s what’s important. Now, you’re self-employed so it’s a little bit different. There’ll be people who are listening to this, who are not self-employed. When I coach those people and they say, “I don’t really care what other people think about me,” the people who are working for someone else has to care what other people think about them.

I’ll give you an example of a woman I coach. This was many years ago. She was Director of Social Work at a hospital. She had a staff of—I don’t know—a hundred people reporting to her and they were in revolt. Nobody wanted to work for her. So, I was brought in to coach her. Practically, the first thing out of her mouth was, “Look, I’m not here to win a popularity contest,” and the first thing out of my mouth was, “Oh, yes you are because you can’t get your job done if people don’t like you.” The fact is having strong, positive collegial relationships makes it easier to do the job.

I call relationships the WD-40 of communication. When you have a relationship with someone, they’ll let you get away with practically anything. So if I am in a relationship with you and I know you, I trust you, and I like you because we’ve built this relationship, if every so often you come off with something that I think is really rude, I’m going to make excuses for you because I like you.

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I think in most workplaces, people have to be concerned with what other people think. It’s why we collect 360-degree feedback so that we can hold a mirror up to people, let them see how others see them, and then they can decide whether they want to make changes. As I often say to them, “You don’t have to make any changes and at the same time, this may not be the right workplace for you because in this workplace here are the rules. You tend not to play by the rules. So your choice is you play by the rules as long as you’re on this field or you find a field that has rules that are more similar to yours.

So you, for example, Orion, you have found a field of your own where you can say, “I make my own rules, I live by my values, and I don’t care that much about what other people think.” Perfect. You created the right place for yourself.

Yes, and there is still the fear when I present myself online, when I present myself in a video, when I present myself in a podcast. I used to be more reserved and I’m a little more loose because there is still a relationship even for an entrepreneur. There is still a relationship between me and my audience, and how I express myself to my audience.

That’s true. Likability is a key ingredient of success for anybody. LQ, your likability quotient is a key factor in success because what we know is that likable people get hired more, they’re given more perks, they’re given more opportunities than people who aren’t likable. I always say that what I did my entire career coaching and training, I wasn’t the best at it. I’m sure there are plenty of people that are better than me, but I was very likable and people keep coming back and hiring may time and again.

That’s not to say they hired me and I wasn’t good at what I did. I was good at what I did, but there’s always somebody better than you. Always somebody. But that’s the importance of likability and I think a big part likability is also making people feel good about themselves. It’s not being ingratiating, it’s not about toting, it’s not about kissing up or being insincere. It’s really about bringing out the best in people.

Yes. So, if somebody, let’s say they’re employed and they want to increase their likability in the workplace, build a better relationship with others, what can they do to improve those relationships and to be more likable in a way that is assertive and they get what they need as well?

First, focus on spending time building casual relationships in the workplace. One of my very earliest clients was a woman that her bosses love but her peers despised. Her bosses love her because obviously, she got the job done. She was really good at what she did. But her peers despise her because they thought she thought she was above them, when in fact all it was, was she grew up in a household that was German. She came from German parents and in that Teutonic kind of way. They told her to, “Keep your nose clean, work hard, respect authority, and don’t do things just because everybody else is doing it,” all those things served her well in managing up, but her peers didn’t like her.

So, we really worked on that in terms of saying, “Okay now, at least once a week you’re going to have lunch with a peer. You just going to go out to lunch, you’re not going to talk about work, and you’re just going to sit and ask them about them.”

Ah, that’s a big deal.

That is a huge deal, isn’t it? “You’re going to learn about them,” because who doesn’t like to talk about themselves?

I love talking about me.

Right. Another coaching tip is, what I call, doorway conversations. I coach this woman that five minutes in the morning, five minutes in the afternoon. I’m not asking her to do something like, “Oh my God. It’s going to take so much time.” Stand in someone’s doorway and have a conversation. Look around their office. If you look around people’s offices, they give you clues as to who they are. If you see a picture of somebody with a dog, say, “Is that your dog? What kind is it? Tell me about your dog.” Again, it’s about making the connection.

Or going into someone’s office and saying, “I heard that you’re a gourmet cook. My mother-in-law is coming for dinner. Can you help me come up with a menu that would be impressive but simple? People like to help you, too. Those are some things about likability.

Something else. Just today, as a matter of fact, somebody wanted me to watch a video of them giving a speech. I looked at the video and the content was right on. It was spot on and she was very articulate and well-prepared, but my feedback to her was, “You needed to lighten up because you came across as overly somber.”

I think for some people, they think, at work, they have to work-work-work-work-work. So, it’s about lightening up. Sometimes it’s about smiling and it’s about being able to be self-deprecating about yourself. That’s kind of a simple thing, self-deprecating about yourself, but be somewhat self-deprecating or just lightening up.

Going out with other people when they go out for a drink after work. You don’t have to be the last one to leave, but if people are going out and they invite you, go because this is how you build relationships.

Offering your help. Another way to build relationships. Me coming to you and saying, “Hey, you know what? I hear that you’re trying to get out of here because your daughter is graduating from high school. Is there anything I can do to take off your desk that would help you?” Stuff like that builds relationships. It’s not hard and it doesn’t take a lot of time. It takes consciousness.

We live in an era where women can embrace their desires and become who they want to be.

I have a friend that I have known for years and she switches jobs every 2–3 years, sometimes more, but there is this constant story that happens in every work where she’s the last to be chosen, to go abroad, or she is not as popular as the other girls, and it’s her versus the world. When I look at it from the outside, the only common denominator is you. When somebody has this victim mentality, things are done to me, what would you advise them to do?

The psychologist in me wants to know what purpose does that serve. People don’t change their behavior because it’s a nice thing to do. It’s the old joke about how many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? It only takes one, but the lightbulb really has to want to change.

What I would want to find out is what purpose does that victim mentality serve? Did she grow up in a household where her parents are like that? Or is that how she got attention? There’s some behavior there that has certainly outlived its usefulness to her. First, that’s what I want to know. Second, when I talk about being overly sober, it sounds like she’s probably that kind of person.

I think so, yeah. Very strong, masculine, reserved at work, but a completely different personality outside of work.

And that’s hard to maintain because it comes across as ingenuine then or inhuman, in this case, because if outside of work she’s like this nice person and easy-going, and then she gets to work and she’s an automaton, a robot who thinks she just needs to work-work-work-work-work. It doesn’t go together. We are who we are and we bring ourselves everywhere we go. So, the idea is how does she integrate those two portions of herself? Yeah, you have to work hard, but hard work is not what gets you ahead.

And I think what you said about socializing is also a big key, where you have to care about what other people do. We had a meeting with our team this morning and one of the things that I asked them was like, “What’s going on in your personal life?” It became a very beautiful, intimate, and revealing meeting, where people were like I was sharing I was vulnerable, I was sharing what’s going on for me, and they were sharing what was going on for them.

It’s very beautiful even when you have a virtual team. It’s beautiful and you don’t get to do this, “Oh, let’s go and have a beer together,” or, “Oh my God, what a nice photo you have on your desk. Even virtually, it’s really nice to connect in this way like, “What are your struggles? What’s going on in your life?” Then, I shifted the end into something like, “What do you like about what you’re doing here?” There was this sweetness to it as well. It wasn’t all heavy.

There was some positive to it because that’s what life is, isn’t it? It’s not all or one. It’s not all negative and it’s not all good. It’s usually some combination. But going back to what you said in terms of people wanting to be seen, I feel strongly that people want to be seen for who they are.

There was Mary Kay from Mary Kay Cosmetics who started that business, she had a philosophy that we should treat everyone as if they have a sign that says, “Make me feel important,” and if you do that, you’re going to be successful. And it doesn’t cost anything. I can make you feel important and it doesn’t cost you anything. It doesn’t cost me anything.

Carl Rogers called it unconditional positive regard, that you treat everybody with respect because it’s the right thing to do. I don’t care if they deserve it or earned it because you hear people say, “Well, I treat people with respect if they earned it.” They don’t have to earn it. They deserve it because they’re human beings. I don’t take it away from them because they didn’t earn it. So, I may not choose to be in a relationship with them if they do things that are not consistent with my values, but it doesn’t ever give me a right to disrespect people.

We can’t change who people want to be in the world but we can build positive expectations around them. If you’re working with somebody and you constantly have this mindset of, “I expect the good in you. I know that there are good sides in you that are not showing up to me right now, but I know they’re there, and I know they’re going to show up,” and you come up with this attitude all the time, eventually people will step up in many cases.

Yes. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, isn’t it? If I believe in you, you start to believe in yourself.

Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich by Dr. Lois Frankel

I like that. Let’s talk about your other book. You said that Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich.


But why?

In part, it’s because we have a very complex relationship with money. On one hand, we’ve been given messages that money is important, you have to save for a rainy day and all that stuff, but we were also given messages about, especially if we grew up in a household where we saw dad took care of the money or dad was the breadwinner, and maybe mom worked but she didn’t earn as much money. This is the message that I got, that I should be a teacher because I was just going to get married to have children and I didn’t need as big a job as my brothers did.

I grew up the same way. My mom was a single mom but I think that message of, men understand what to do with money. Women don’t, but men do understand, and money doesn’t grow on trees, and it’s us versus them, us versus the rich people.

Yes and for some people, that’s also the message. We heard the phrase filthy rich. There’s another thing which I think growing up, girls’ brains when it comes to things around math and numbers, for most girls, it develops differently than for boys. Boys have the capacity to do math, numbers and things like that earlier than girls. Ours starts a little bit later. So, we grew up with the whole notion of, “I’m not good at math.”

Being nice is necessary for success, but sometimes it’s not enough. You need to be more assertive to get what you want out of life. Click To Tweet

I just got an epiphany.

Did you?

I did not like my math teacher at all and I was with her for four years. That’s why I didn’t like math because I didn’t like her. She was mean and she would spit when she talked and I didn’t like her.

She probably didn’t understand that girls’ capacities for math develop a little later. Just like girls’ capacities for language develops earlier than boys. We’re good at language. So, we just need to respect those differences and make sure that little girls aren’t discouraged. Or maybe they go out to dinner and they see who always pays the bill. Dad, right? Or if you look at who’s on the top of the wealthiest people in the world, it’s primarily men. When you say why don’t we get rich, part of it is the messages and then the other part is our wiring around wanting to be of use and helpful to other people. We see those as mutually exclusive, again, which they are not.

Again, I often use myself as an example. Once I really focused on money was important, it made it easier to find ways to earn it. It’s mind over money. It wants you to decide that it’s important. You will find ways to get it, to acquire it. I think women need to consciously say, “I need to acquire wealth because I need to live my life free from concerns about money.”

For me, that’s what the rich are. When I define rich, it’s having all the money I need to live my life the way I want and free from concerns about money. It’s not a dollar figure because for everybody it would be different. For me, it might be several million dollars because I like to live the high life.

I’m thinking about a friend of mine who said that just the other day. She lives in New Jersey and she said, “You know, Lois? I know you like to travel and you like to do all that stuff. If I never left my town, I’d be happy. I have my family, I have my husband. I have my work, I have everything I want right here.” She doesn’t have much and she doesn’t need as much.

Yes, and it sounds like somebody that didn’t travel enough. I think that there is a travel bug. Because I traveled to over 40 countries, it’s insatiable. I just want more, more cultures, more flavors, more colors, more people. It is so intoxicating.

Now, I feel that way, too. At the same time, I know people who just don’t feel that way. It’s just not that important to them. I agree with you. I did quite a bit of traveling for work. That’s really what started my travel bug. Once I did that, you couldn’t keep me on the farm anymore.

That’s amazing. Tell me about your non-profit, Bloom.

Bloom Again Foundation. In 2005, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It wasn’t a particularly aggressive kind of cancer, but I had let it go for so long that it had to be treated aggressively. For a year, I had a couple of surgeries, I had chemotherapy, I had radiation treatment, and it took its toll. I realized as I was going through it that I was really very lucky, not because I had cancer but because I had all the resources I needed to heal from it. I had my own business. I had my own home. I had relationships to support me. I had everything I needed.

I also realize that there are a lot of women who were not in the same boat as me. These were women who worked very hard and they were still living at the poverty level, through no fault of their own. I said when I get over all this, I want to do something to help them. So, one day when my hair started growing back and my eyelashes started growing back, a friend came over and she said, “Oh, Lois. It looks like your blooming again.” I said, “Well, that’s going to be the name of my organization. It’s going to be called Bloom Again Foundation.”

With some friends and colleagues, I put together this nonprofit and what we do is we provide rapid response financial assistance to working women who live at the poverty level when they have a medical challenge that causes them to miss work. We pay for their rent, their utilities, food, things like that so that they can heal.

I strongly feel that healing should not be in the domain of the wealthy. Right now, it is. We talk about equal access to health care, but we don’t talk about equal access to healing. People may be able to be treated but then, they don’t have the time to heal properly because they have to get back to work, because they can’t pay for the rent, they can’t pay for their kids’ clothes, they can’t put food on the table. I want to give them just a little bit of room where they could heal.

That’s what we do and that’s all we do is we give away that money. Now, we are starting to do something also that’s called the financial literacy campaign, which is to go around to low-income women and help them understand money better and how they can save more, maybe even invest and get ahead of the game just a little bit so they could have a little more financial security.

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That’s beautiful. How do you do that? How can women in need contact the organization or how can somebody contribute to the organization?

The way that we do this is we have strategic partners in the community from all the way up in Santa Barbara, Ventura County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, and Imperial County. We have partners there like hospitals, churches, and clinics, and these places can apply for a grant on behalf of a woman in need.

In order to keep our expenses low, we’re all volunteers, which means we can’t have people coming to us and asking for money because we don’t have the wherewithal to check them out. But for example, a social worker at Huntington Hospital would be familiar with the woman, familiar with her needs, can vouch for her, and then she applies online. If somebody had a need, I would suggest that they go to our website, which is bloomagain.org, and look to see who are our partners, so that you could contact one of them and say, “Could you apply for a grant on my behalf?” Then to donate, you can donate on our website, bloomagain.org.

Right now, we’re looking for sponsors. We have one big fundraiser a year. This year, it’s going to be called That’s Entertainment: An Afternoon of Music, Magic, and Comedy, and we’re looking for sponsors for that. If anybody has a company that they like to donate and be a sponsor—we need somebody to donate champagne, we need all kinds of donations—they can contact me at info@nullbloomagain.org.

That’s beautiful. And what if somebody wants to contact you? This is a beautiful mission and I really respect you and appreciate you for doing this in the world, helping so many people. This is marvelous. I also appreciate the way you help women in other ways with all your books, coaching, and programs. If somebody wants to know more about that, about how to be a maybe more assertive and how to get the corner office, or maybe just finding their voice in the world, how can they reach you?

They can reach me through my website, drloisfrankel.com. All of my books are listed there. You can take some self free self-assessments of where are your strengths and where are your development areas. I also do keynotes in organizations, professional associations, companies, and so forth.

Beautiful. Before we say goodbye and thank you again for being extraordinary, what are your three top tips to living a stellar life?

Number one would be to make sure you are doing what you love. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” There’s a lot of truth to that, but it’s not because it’s magical. It’s because when we do what we love, we endow it with energy. That energy brings to us all the things that we need. I would say do what you love.

Number two, live your values. Too many people work for organizations that don’t embrace their values. They wind up feeling as if they’re empty shells. They’re just corporate cogs and a wheel. That’s because you’re not living your values. There are plenty of places these days that are looking for people who share their values. If you’re changing jobs or looking for a job, ask them about what are the corporate values. If they don’t know what they are, it may not be the right place for you. And be selective. That’s number two how to live a stellar life.

The third way to live a stellar life is to remember, the more you give away, the more you get.

Beautiful. Thank you very much.

Thank you very much. It’s been my pleasure.

And thank you, listeners. Remember, do what you love, live your values, and remember that the more you give the more you get. This is your host, Orion. Until next time.

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

{✓} Do not accept delimiting beliefs from others or from yourself. Discouraging words are roadblocks on the path to achieving your dreams.
{✓} Reject the stereotypes that society has placed on women. We live in an era where women can embrace their desires and become who they want to be.
{✓} You need to manage expectations and learn how to say “no”. If you think that you can’t fully commit to something, then be honest about it and provide better options on how to get the job done. 
{✓} Learn how to be assertive without being rude or disruptive. You can be polite and still get what you want. 
{✓} Always maintain your integrity in your personal and professional relationships. People want to deal with those who are true to who they are. 
{✓} Communication is key. Don’t be afraid to initiate a conversation, even if it’s just small talk. After all, most relationships start with a simple “hello”. 
{✓} Lighten up. It’s not all about work. Find time to rest and relax with your colleagues to build a better rapport.
{✓} Learn more about money and finance. Be smart about money, and make an effort to equip yourself with knowledge that will expand your wealth. 
{✓} Do what you love. At the end of the day, all your effort will be worth it when you’ve been working on something you are passionate about.  
{✓} Grab a copy of Lois Frankel’s book, Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich.

Links and Resources

About Dr. Lois Frankel

Dr. Lois Frankel is an executive coach, keynote speaker and bestselling author. Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office has become a business bible for women and, along with her other books, has helped thousands of women to achieve their personal and professional goals.


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