Publisher: Jossey-Bass, September 2011
Reviewed by Terri Schlichenmeyer
You’ve run out of breath just running in place. For months you’ve been more than willing to work 60-hour weeks. Nights and weekends are the norm and you never complained. You’ve taken classes, gotten certified, volunteered for committees, but it hasn’t seemed to matter. Your career is stalled. What’s holding you back?
Authors Jill Flynn, Kathryn Heath and Mary Davis Holt say the problem might be you. In their book, Break Your Own Rules: How to Change the Patterns of Thinking that Block Women’s Paths to Power, they tell you how to step aside and let yourself fly.
In order to succeed and grow, Flynn, Heath and Holt say that you need to learn to think differently. By doing so, you’ll be able to act differently and opportunity will follow. They identify six major stumbling blocks to career advancement.
Biologically, you’re hardwired to be nurturing but focusing on others won’t get you ahead. Instead, take your own goals seriously. Learn to say “No.” Practice taking center stage. And notice that your male co-workers aren’t the ones leaping to organize birthday cakes and baby showers. Be brazen and bold. Asking permission, over-apologizing and wanting to be liked are holding you back. Instead, learn to take action and make decisions. Make things happen and see what happens. Seize the power. Act like the executive you want to be and don’t be modest. Instead, be poised, confident and take credit for your ideas and your work. Toot that horn! Remember that you may be limiting yourself if you want “all or nothing.” There is such a thing as “both-and,” so learn to relax and compromise with yourself. Understand that there’s no way to avoid office politics or sales. The good news is that women excel at both of them. Learn to “run for office at the office” and know that work is a game you really can win.
In their introduction, Flynn, Heath and Holt write that their dream is to see women in 30 percent of the top leadership positions in corporate America. Break Your Own Rules is packed with guidance and thought-changing information to make that happen — so packed that it practically begs to be read over time and with careful pondering. If you’re tired of bonking your head on the glass ceiling and you’re ready for career advancement, this book may be just what you need.