Succeeding in business takes many talents, and without integrity it’s much harder. Entrepreneur and civility expert Sue Jacques puts on the Advice WINGS to share her tips on “walking your talk”, honoring commitments and why a “pause” is often where the magic happens.
Melinda Wittstock: Sue, welcome to Wings.
Sue Jacques: Thank you Melinda.
Melinda Wittstock: I am so excited to have you on and of course I'm all ears about what's inspiring you right now.
Sue Jacques: You know what's inspiring me in this moment are voices. And by that I mean all the voices from all the people, men and women, young and old, who are speaking up right now. Especially about positive changes, you know like kindness and compassion and calmness. I love what I'm hearing now.
Melinda Wittstock: It's interesting isn't it, how much the world is shifting and picking up pace in that shift.
Sue Jacques: Absolutely and it's a really interesting time because there's the negative voices that are shouting and then there's the calm voices who are really, interestingly, getting their point across. And it's interesting to me how the calm voices are being heard.
Melinda Wittstock: Yes. People want that, they crave it. That's beautiful. And so, when you think of the things that are challenging for women in business, for you in your career, in your business life, or for any of your clients, what's the main thing right now that's the most challenging?
Sue Jacques: You know this goes back to voices again. What I'm finding, and I know I share this with a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of business people who are at this interesting stage, and that is how to find a way to make our voices heard above the rumble. Because there is a lot of chatter right now. And it's really challenging to find ways that are effective in all of the modes of media that are in front of us to find our way. Each of us as an individual, to get our voice out there so that we can be heard above the crowd. Especially when our message is positive.
Melinda Wittstock: This is true. A lot of women confuse personal branding with personal bragging. It's hard sometimes to go out there and sing your own praises. There's sort of a certain self-consciousness about that. But I've found that when women are just being themselves, you know, being authentic, and this is true of men as well, it's more of an energy that attracts the right people to you rather than you having to pursue them.
Sue Jacques: You're absolutely right. And I think that's part of, one of the skills that I've had to learn along the way, is you can't spray everything all over everybody and hope to land somewhere. We have to be very, almost methodical in finding who it is we want to speak with. Who it is who we think will receive and value our message so that we can find the perfect people to work with and to begin to make change with.
Melinda Wittstock: Yes. And what a perfect segue into your top three pieces of advice. So let's start with number one.
Sue Jacques: My first piece of advice, I've lived by this and it works. Set your own standards and set them high. It is hard because we're inundated with so much advice, everywhere we look there's someone telling us how to do something or a different way to be or how to present ourselves. And I believe that if anybody, anybody listening wants to be successful, we cannot wait for someone else to tell us how to present ourselves. And that is physically, verbally, electronically and in the cyber world.
Melinda Wittstock: Lovely. So set your standards high. What's number two?
Sue Jacques: Number two is to honor your commitments. That is how you gain a reputation for being reliable. And it's simple. It's more than just showing up on time, it's about showing up prepared. It's about showing up ready to rock. Instead of just showing up we need to be prepared to honor every commitment we make.
And here's a little thing to remember, it's a comment can be turned into a commitment very easily. A comment is, “I'll get this to you sometime next week.” A commitment is, “You can expect this in your inbox by Thursday at two.” That's the difference.
Melinda Wittstock: Right, so I think sometimes women can over promise. Because we have this little gene inside ourselves, many of us, that we're so eager to please, that I think sometimes we can over promise.
Sue Jacques: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And especially when we're starting out in business. Sometimes we really do want to say yes to everything because we're so excited. But we need to be a little bit just discerning in what it is we say yes to. And so that when we say we'll do it we can do it to the absolutely best of our ability.
Melinda Wittstock: So the integrity of honoring your commitments. So what is number three?
Sue Jacques: Number three is one word, and that is pause. We do get in a hurray, we do get excited. And even a second or two, just taking a moment to think about things, can change our perspective. It can change even our decision and potentially our lives if we pause to listen, to start with. And then to think. And what we will end up doing is responding versus reacting. And that's why I recommend pausing. And sometimes a pause will even be what we need to help us realize that we need to walk away.
Melinda Wittstock: Yes. Having those moments even of silence. As I took up mediation, one of the things that I've added into my daily life is when the phone rings, I let it ring three times. I will take three breaths. You know, I will re-set. I will have these quiet moments to try and just get all that that voice, that kind of clutter out of my head, to find clarity. So what brilliant advice.
So Sue, how can people find you on social media and work with you?
Sue Jacques: Well I have, my website is suejacques.com that's J-A-C-Q-U-E-S.com. Sounds different than it looks. And on social I am @thesuejacques.
Melinda Wittstock: Wonderful. Thank you so much for putting on your wings and taking flight with us today.
Sue Jacques: Thank you Melinda.