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Mind. Blown.

pixabay dadTime for a shout-out to all the guys: Happy Father’s Day!

Thank you to all the dads, dads-to-be, stepdads, grandfathers, foster fathers, AND all those who father and mentor us.

Recently, in getting ready to issue an invitation to women, I went through the process of “segmenting” my email list—dividing it into different groups so that I can make my message relevant to each group. I was pleasantly surprised to find that close to 15 percent of my list is made up of men!

I know that most of my content is written for women, so thanks for hanging in there, guys—I hope that you’re sticking with me because it helps you understand a bit more about the women you love.

Today’s post is for men and women, so ladies, pass this on to the men in your lives!

I’m taking a little detour into the business side of my coaching practice—that’s right, it’s not all fun and games and coaching when you’re a solopreneur! We also have to wear the CEO, COO, CFO, IT, and marketing hats among others.

As a business owner, every lecture, webinar, and class I’ve ever heard on marketing drills into your brain that as a business person, you must have a very precisely defined target market: even if your work can help everyone, if you broadcast that message, you won’t reach anyone. Better to address a specific audience than a general one.

That’s not to say that you can’t work with those outside your niche, just that you specialize on a particular group.

I like to describe my tribe as “over. it. all. working wives and mothers who are ready to reclaim the starring role in their lives after too many years of playing best supporting actress in everyone else’s.”

I regularly attend a number of networking and referral groups, most of which are made up of mostly (if not all) women. In Caerusnet—a wonderful facilitated referral team that is more balanced in its gender makeup—there is always the opportunity to stand up and give what’s called the “member minute.”

pixabay targetThe member minute is a great opportunity to practice your elevator pitch—that brief introduction to what you do/who you are that you can deliver in the time it takes to ride the elevator with someone you’ve just met.

In my member minute, I said that I work with women who are so done with their overwhelming schedules of work, home, school, after-school, spouse, kids, volunteering, etc., that they are wondering what would happen if they grabbed the grocery money, got in the minivan, and just kept driving. Sometimes it seems their only option seems to involve a plane ticket, a wad of cash, and a change of identity.

The women in the room were nodding, some of them laughingly offered an “Amen!” A lot of us have been there. Some of us are still at that stage of life.

The men looked…confused.

No, guys, this is not a criticism: it’s an admission that part of the reason we women are so overwhelmed is that we tend to hide it, and hide it well.

It would likely blow our minds to have you ask (and really listen to the answer) about how we feel we are managing all our obligations. Not what is it we did today, not what do we handle every week, but how do we feel about how we’re handling it?

We aren’t necessarily wanting you to do something about our workload—yours is likely to be every bit as heavy as (or even more so than) ours. But wouldn’t this be a great way to open up the lines of communication, especially if you find yourself walking on eggshells around us, wondering why we’re losing it over the dirty dishes in the sink, and just assuming we’ve reached “a certain age?”

pixabay overwhelmSo here’s a Father’s Day gift for all you guys, somewhat oddly wrapped in the form of an assignment: pick an opportune moment (not when the woman in your life is trying to get everyone out the door on time in the morning and definitely not when she’s just lost it over the dirty dishes in the sink) and say, “Honey, I know how much you do daily, and I’m just curious: how do you feel about how you’re handling all your obligations?”

Mind. Blown.

She may actually ask you to repeat the question.

A warning: the reply, “I’m fine!” ranks #1 in passive aggressive responses. In fact, at my house, we consider these fighting words. Feeling brave? Press on, but tread lightly.

And if the response is a grateful, “I can’t believe you’re asking me this—I’m feeling incredibly overwhelmed, and I just can seem to manage everything on my plate any more…,” consider it a win: your communication lines are open!

She may just need to vent, in which case don’t feel like you need to fix it—just listen.

And if she needs more than a sympathetic ear, tell her there help is available, and pass on my invitation.

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