Women start careers in business with the same level of intelligence, education, and commitment as men. Yet comparatively few reach the top echelons. — The McKinsey Quarterly, September 2008

This report (which you can find by subscribing here) describes five dimensions of a supreme leadership model:

* meaning: using your core strengths in an inspiring direction

* managing energy: identifying the source of your energy and how you can harness it

* positive framing: adopting a more constructive way to view your world

* connecting: relationships, belonging, true mentorship

* engaging: finding your voice and becoming self-reliant

Simply put, how we treat people – and how we treat ourselves! – is crucial to success. It sounds so common-sense. But unfortunately, in the realm of getting busy, doing work, and running between tasks, we forget the basics. And that is our downfall.

I became religious ten years ago because I thought it was a path toward meaning and good living. It can be. It wasn’t for me – because I was looking outside myself for answers.

We all hold the answers. We just need to quiet the noise to listen to our inner voices.

A friend just called to tell me her doctor’s opinion of my last appointment. A distant acquaintance repeatedly asks a family friend about details of my sister’s cancer. My daughter shares conversation fragments about her father’s relatives’ opinions of me.

I can’t help what others think nor that they choose to spend their free time concerned about the details of my life.

I wake before the sun these days. I snuggle my children, make them breakfast, pack their school lunches. I work in the silence of the pre-dawn, doing the best that I can for people who trust me to create something special. Each day, I see, speak to, hug, drive past and encounter so many people, all on their own journeys, with their own concerns, driven by inner fears and worries.

I have learned to silence my negative voices. But when they come from outside of me, I have absolutely no control.

What you send out to the universe is what you will get back.

This past week, religious Jews sat in huts decorated with harvest fruits as a testament of their faith and supplication to God. Sukkahs are beautiful little islands of celebration.

They’re also imperfect hurried constructions adhering to exact measurements and in which debates occur over whether the men are permitted to sit in the “non-kosher” part where the gutters overhang the evergreen branches. Sometimes, the men don’t even smile as they recite blessings that have become all too familiar.

Look down your nose at me if you so please. Speak badly if it makes you feel bigger.

But know that we all start from the same innocent cradle, with the same potential. I embrace my path. I plant pine trees and tulips around its perimeter. When the flowers fade in summer heat, I know they will return the next spring, without any effort.

You who lurk behind this blog to spy on what I’m doing and how I believe. I’m not afraid to share my story or my questions.

My business, Your People LLC, is built on the concept of creating connections between company and client. Authentic relationships.

I don’t pretend to have all the insight and answers nor do I profess to be the marketing guru of the world. I act on instinct and use my voice to lead me on an upward trajectory toward the proverbial oval office. (No, I’m not vying for Sarah Palin’s place.)

Women stumble along the way to the top because they begin to doubt themselves. It’s not hard to do, when everyone else voices opinions of my every move.

I’ll get there, in time – by believing in myself and acting with authenticity.

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