Overcoming Bias: Putting Your Brain Plasticity to Work!

2.1.11 http://www.bnet.com/blog/business-research?tag=mantle_skin;content

Reply to Why Women Can’t Raise Capital for their Businesses/Kimberly Weisul

Both discrimination and bias are factors in investment and leadership decisions. However, what’s really at work behind women not being at the top, or getting enough financial backing for their ventures is a failure in communication due to our expectations of the type of climate and culture the corporate world should be operating from and the actual reality. The corporate world has done little to honor, respect, and embrace women’s unique style of communicating in the male-created corporate culture. Yes, there has been Equal Opportunity, but the actual culture and dynamics has changed little. Now women, and some men too, can take leave after having a new baby, but aside from this perk, little has changed in regards to understanding how we communicate differently, and how we can use these communication differences to the advantage of the corporate world. Margaret Heffernan’s blog today about Are You Biased? Of Course You Are relates to what you are discussing in your blog, about how people make investment and leadership decisions based on preconceived notions and judgments many of us are subconsciously unaware that we make in a blink of the eye. When people make a decision, if they are unaware of their biases, then the decision is often made due to three things. When we are unaware of our judgments as Margaret Heffernan writes about we are operating blindly because the lens with which we make our decisions is foggy. Instead of making a decision based on what in reality the actual facts are about investing in said venture or hiring a person based on their merits (regardless of their gender) we often make decisions out of ignorance. We let the filters of: (1) past experiences, (2) unrealistic expectations, and (3) unexamined assumptions get the best of us. Lump discrimination and bias in there too—they fit into all three of the above categories.

My question to you is whether or not we should focus on these studies of unfairness proving the point there is an equality problem, or whether we should focus our attention and energy on correcting why it is happening instead. What we are commenting on and what we see occurring at the most basic level is a failure in communication. What I mean by this firstly is whoever is making a point tends to be operating from the combined three filters listed above. Secondly, the failure in communication also pertains to how we interact with each other, and whether or not we can get beyond the pettiness and voices in our heads, to actually deal with whatever or whomever is in front of us at the present time. I’m interested to know if the studies were designed by men or women. Why I say this—is because as women writing about gender bias and discrimination, we are writing from our own filter based on our experiences, and also our unrealistic expectations and unexamined assumptions surrounding women’s rights and the misleading idea that men and women are the same. I am also curious about who designed the studies, because even if men designed the studies, they are operating from the same misnomer. Research in academia requires a section for lessons learned, as well as solutions to the hypothesis posed. In learning how to operate from the present moment with our glasses/filters removed, we all have to accept no one is perfect. The easiest way to grow from experience is to pay attention to the solutions of what has worked the best in the past. So, I am interested in who wrote the studies, and why we are focusing on what’s unfair, instead of what works. Studying and discussing the best case scenarios. Let’s learn from our mistakes, talk about what is working right as it pertains to keeping, promoting, and letting women rise in the workforce so there is equal representation. Incidentally, the women on Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women List are the ones who have embraced their unique style of communicating and used this as a strength to promote their brand’s name. Let’s focus on the solution to spread the success.

We are at a point in history where we can now agree and acknowledge men and women are different, they are no less equal as far as rights are concerned, but each and every person is a unique and different human being. The companies on the Fortune 500 list excel above and beyond their competition, because they are embracing the concept of gender intelligent communication as a means to create balance within their company. Instead of focusing our attention (some may even say complaints) on the numbers not adding up, we should focus our attention on how to raise each other up and incorporate gender intelligent communication so the pressing question is not “why does discrimination (and bias) influence investment and leadership decisions,” but “how can we create more success for our businesses by incorporating the unique qualities women bring to the table in the corporate world?” Every great leader knows it is the relationships between their people internally, and in how they provide customer service to their buyers externally that makes their venture successful. When men and women operate in the workplace from a place of mutual respect and understanding of how their differences in communication compliments and adds to their productivity and efficiency, then the assumptions and expectations will be realistic, instead of based on discrimination or bias. And in time our past experiences will mirror this reality, and we will no longer have the discussion of why men and women are not in and at the top of the workforce in equal numbers.

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Mars Venus Success Coach

Mid-Life Crisis for Women—Running on Oxytocin Fumes?

Do women have a mid-life crisis like men? During my stress management seminars this topic often comes up as the participants strive to understand how what they do on a daily basis reflects their current situation in life. First a distinction should be made. The current work culture was first created by and for men—AND it compliments their physiology. When women are within this work culture, they are up against the very nature of how their bodies work. Let’s look at why women mid-life ask if they’re having a crisis.

Research now shows that women feel fulfilled when they are connecting and nurturing others. When women are giving freely and helping other people out (think random acts of kindness)—the stress-reducing hormone that is produced is oxytocin.

Unfortunately, at work women’s oxytocin production is inhibited, because the competitive nature produces testosterone. This can apply to women raising children at home too if they do not have a good support system to nurture their interests and help out with the child-rearing. It could even double if you’re a mompreneur!

When women do not have enough oxytocin being produced, on top of constant low grade stress it can seem like a crisis. Cortisol, one of the stress-producing hormones, is not supposed to remain in our body overnight. Today most people have chronic low-grade stress, which means we also have excess cortisol in our body. This wears us out and compromises our immune system.

If you’re a woman and have any of the following physical symptoms, then you may be deficient in oxytocin:

  • weight gain,
  • sleeplessness,
  • fatigue,
  • headaches,
  • migraines,
  • decreased sexual drive,
  • infertility, and
  • cardiovascular disease.

If you have any of the above symptoms as a man, then you may be deficient in testosterone.

Juggling a job, trying to keep or find a partner, and/or raise kids can feel like a crisis. Why?

A woman’s body has not had the time to replenish enough oxytocin on a daily basis to keep her energy levels up. Poor nutrition, mineral depletion, and not engaging in 4-5 hours of low-impact daily movement also compromise her health. The resulting physical symptoms of neglecting daily stress-reduction activities negatively affect both our body and our relationships.

Do you consistently nurture yourself or give to others freely without expectation?

Women mid-life may begin to ask themselves:

  • Do I pursue my career and somehow find connection within my career–will this make me happy?
  • How do I balance raising kids as a single parent and work?
  • How do I nurture myself, while also caring for the hubby, kids, pets, friends, family…?
  • I challenge you if you feel run down, to reframe your situation.

Instead women should be asking:

How can I connect, and keep my stress levels low–not just for my health, but so I can have the family life too (even if it’s spending time with parents or siblings, this doesn’t have to mean raising your own)?

We Can Achieve Balance & Our Absolute Potential too

Education. Educating ourselves about our physiology and what we need to do to increase our oxytocin is half the battle. The other half is follow-through on doing the daily, weekly, monthly activities that fulfill and balance us. If you feel like you’re in crisis. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a life-changing career shift.

Remember what I wrote a moment ago, when women are connecting and nurturing they are producing their stress-reducing hormone oxytocin. John Gray, Ph.D., talks about how women can produce more oxytocin in his books, Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice – Hormonal Balance – The Key to Life, Love, and Energy, Why Mars and Venus Collide: Improving Relationships by Understanding How Men and Women Cope Differently with Stress, and The Mars & Venus Diet & Exercise Solution.

Men feel fulfilled when they are able to solve problems. When they are solving problems they produce testosterone. So the workplace helps men to produce their stress-reducing hormone, but the off-set is that they also need time to do nothing (when they finish work), because it is in the doing nothing that testosterone is replenished. Not so for women.

Doing nothing for women increases cortisol and does not increase oxytocin.

If you don’t have time to read the books, and want to practice your skills the same time you’re learning them—Mars Venus coaches around the globe also facilitate workshops covering John Gray’s, Ph.D., latest gender intelligence material.

Accountability Partner. Finding someone, like a good friend going through the same struggles or a coach helps you produce oxytocin. They will hold you accountable to taking time to nurture yourself and your interests. A coach ensures that you are effective at time-management by creating tailored 90 day plans that help you prioritize your time and energy for your wellness. You get faster results then the following the same pattern of empty promises with yourself.

As women reach mid-life their quest becomes how they can make an impact on the world with their work. The difference is with men it’s typically self-glorification, for women it’s more community enrichment. Successful women can find the work-life balance that may currently be out of whack. From the mineral and hormone depletion to finding relationships that support her–this is how women can regain balance.

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Event Test

“HOW TO PRACTICE SAFE STRESS” A Seminar on How Men & Women Cope With Stress Differently

Based on Dr. John Gray’s book, Why Mars and Venus Collide…

A fun, entertaining and informative look at stress, including:
• How to avoid stress taking a toll on your personal and professional relationships
• Why men and women respond to stress differently
• The the long term effects of stress on men and women
• Practical ideas that can help men and women reduce stress for each other and themselves.

Great for individuals or couples.

Presented to you by:


August, Saturday 13th & 27th 2011
Time: 2:30-4:30 pm
RSVP: 407-929-3288
*you have to register, pay in advance and arrive 15-20 minutes in earlier*

5905 International Drive
Orlando, FL , 32819

Seats are limited to 30 seats only.
Reserve your seat today, either on 13th or 27th

Your Investment: $49 only.

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