Author: Valérie Parihar

November 30, 2017

Discover / What have successful women in common?

What have successful women in common?

This week, I had the chance to lead a workshop with a group of wonderful women from various universities in Bavaria/Germany. We spoke about what successful women have in common (several aspect of the framework apply to men as well, of course).

I had promised to follow-up with a couple of books, articles and exercises that evolve around the topics we have touched upon.

Overall (all of these touch upon the entire framework we had discussed)

  • Centered Leadership, Joanna Barsh
  • How remarkable women lead, Joanna Barsh
  • The homepage has some great articles and videos on other women in the workforce related topics
  • The Mind Manual, Rick Parcell: The coach from the bootcamp I’ve attended over the summer (Framing: “I’m sexy” instead of “I’m sore”) wrote an interesting little book that touches upon many topics we’ve discussed. See here for details:
  • The value of centered leadership, McKinsey: Research that shows the correlation between the capabilities touched upon and performance as leaders as well as general life satisfaction

Meaning and the importance of activities that make us happy

  • The happiness hypothesis, Jonathan Haidt: Book on how strong the voluntary activities we do impact our level of happiness
  • Authentic happiness, Martin Seligman: Feeling energized by activities that draw on our core strengths
  • Happier, Tal Ben-Shahar: One of my all-time favourites. Touches upon an optimistic view on life and gratitude
  • A collection of interesting articles and research


  • Learned Optimism, Martin Seligman: The book draws on Seligman’s clinical research to demonstrate how optimism enhances the quality of life, and how anyone can learn to practice it.
  • The Option B, Sheryl Sandberg: Sheryl talks about the loss of her husband and how she overcame grief. An inspirational story about the importance of being resilient
  • External and internal Control, Julian Rotter: From a reactive response to a reflective action

Connecting and the importance of a strategic network

  • Exercise: Building my network map
    • Step 0 – Set your professional or personal goals. Only if you know where you’re going, will you be able to identify you can support you along the way
    • Step 1 – Identify your people: First, create a list of people in your network and group them in the categories shown below
    • Step 2 – Place your people: On a piece of paper, draw a circle in the middle and label it “ME”. Put the various people you have identified on your map. Closer if you know them well or interact more frequently
    • Step 3 – Characterize your relationships
      • Label the people in your map along the way they support you (categories in the table below)
      • Draw a line between each person and you. The thicker the line, the more trust between you and the person
      • Add arrows to each line to represent the degree to which you initiate and give or you benefit/receive in this relationship. Some lines will have one arrow, some lines will have arrows on both sides (when reciprocity is equal)
      • Use colored lines to show whether the relationship and interactions usually boost your energy or if they drain you. Use green for boosting and red for draining
    • Step 4 – Draw insights. The following questions might guide you
      • Patterns
        • What do you see when you look at the map as a whole? Any surprises?
        • What do you see about the type of support relationships you have? Is there a pattern?
        • What do you notice in your approach to building relationships? What do you do and don’t do? What comes naturally and what is more challenging for you?
      • Mindsets
        • What are you learning about how you build your network?
        • What are you thinking and feeling when it comes to seeking support?
        • What do you need and what are you afraid of?
      • Outcomes
        • How are these mindsets serving you? Not serving you?
        • Are there people in your network who could play a different role?
        • Are there people and roles you wish you could add to your map? Identify people who could play this role. How could you reach out to them?
        • What else would you like to change?
    • Step 5 – Your plan
      • Write down your action plan. How will you go about strategically working on your network? What can you commit to? Be specific, incl. a timeline. Put your plan somewhere where you can see it. Or, even better, ask a friend or colleague to support you in your journey and hold you accountable for the changes you have committed to

Crucial to your work: Connecting, information, resources

Crucial to your development: Coaching, feedback, evaluation Crucial to your growth:
Crucial to your needs: Identity, independence, belonging, control etc. Crucial to your success: In the hierarchy or a primary influencer Others: In my community, industry or research contacts etc.

Energy and the importance to refuel

  • Restore Yourself: The Antidote for Professional Exhaustion, Edy Greenblatt

Engaging and the importance of overcoming fears that stand between us and opportunities