Think for a moment about your professional journey until now. Has it been a satisfying climb toward well-established goals and aspirations? Or have you found yourself stalled at a career stage that you should have gotten through years ago? We spoke with Bethany Williams to hear her advice for achieving success in your professional life and were surprised to hear what she thinks is a major roadblock facing most professionals today.
4word: Tell our readers a little about yourself.
Bethany: I’m driven to change the world. Having struggled throughout my career to support my children while scaling to the top of corporations in a mainly male dominated executive ranking was difficult. I had many instances where I was passed over for promotions. Let’s face it, I wasn’t invited to the same golf games or drinking events, and I was underpaid for much of my career, as I hadn’t learned how to ask. (I now teach all of you how to ask in video seminars and trainings.) I dealt with the gossip mongers. They are often men, and even women, who are jealous. They start vicious rumors about you and say hurtful things. Dealing with people like this is hard, especially while juggling kids, relationships, and career.
I struggled to believe in myself. That misbelief caused me to not fight for promotions and pay raises. That is why, today, I do what I do. I aim to help people overcome their inability to believe in themselves and to start asking for what they deserve.
I was determined to not let things stand in my way. After 30 years in corporate America, I struck out on my own as an entrepreneur to do what I love. I now own and operate Bethany Williams Enterprises, a company dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and executives unlock a future that is beyond their dreams.
4word: As a single mother of three, what are some challenges you’ve found yourself coming up against as you try to balance building a career and being a mom?
Bethany: The scales are not equally weighted. I ran into constant challenges. The men had it easier than I did. They had wives at home buying Christmas gifts, taking their clothes to the dry cleaners, getting kids ready for school, etc. I traveled internationally AND still had to manage the social schedule, get the clothes bought for school, and try to attend the sporting events. It was a bit like juggling glass balls.
4word: Were there ever times where you ever felt like it would be impossible to find work/life balance?
Bethany: Yes, more often than not. Finally in 2007, I had a breakthrough. I recognized that, as women, we try harder. We scarcely want to take time off. We feel guilty and loyal to a fault. We don’t ask for raises. I decided I needed a new “game plan.” I would ask for the pay I deserved. I would take my vacation time. I would spend time with the kids and be the mom I should be.
I continually thought I’d be fired. I continually thought the two wouldn’t mix. But they did. I, apparently, was one of the people standing in my way of success AND work/life balance. Who would have figured?
4word: In your book “From Mother to Mentor and Father to Coach,” you discuss and share advice on how parents can make that crucial shift from being your child’s parent to being your child’s mentor. How were you able to accomplish this with your three children? How have parents responded to the advice presented in this book?
Bethany: Many parents have said the book was a life changer and that it dramatically changed their relationship with their kids. I enjoy being a mentor to my two adult children. They look to me for advice. They want to know what I think. I don’t give my opinion if they don’t ask for it. That is a hard place to arrive at without much work, or at least it was for me. My children are individuals. They are unique and gifted, smart and knowledgable. I had to treat them as such. Our relationship had to mold and change into a new “thing.”
We don’t treat our children like projects. At work, we have projects that have to be done in X amount of time. We make task lists. We prioritize duties. We get the job done. With our kids, we hover and we dictate. With my daughter, I had to start backing away and talk to her about moving out. I had to say, “You are 15. Soon you will be on your own and out the door. Let’s begin thinking about what you will need in your first dorm or apartment and lets plan for it.” We began shopping for stuff for her dorm room or first apartment when she was only 15. We started talking about mortgages, PMI, and insurance costs when she was 16.
Our children need to know how to be independent. I got my daughter a debit card. I put her on a budget. She had to be responsible for her expenses, and if she got in trouble with her cell phone bill or didn’t have enough for her clothes, I would help her figure out how to get a babysitting job or earn the difference. I became her mentor to transition her to successful adulthood.
4word: As an executive coach, author, speaker, and personal brand innovator, the main thrust of what you do revolves around the idea of achieving success. Where did your desire to help people succeed come from?
Bethany: I wish I had found the advice I needed early in my career. But I didn’t. I struggled, and I learned the hard way. My desire to help others is driven from a place of pain. I want to make it easier for others coming along. I want others to benefit from my struggles. Every time I help a company grow, I feel like I, myself, succeeded. Every time I help an executive negotiate for higher pay or more vacation time, I feel like I am reaping the benefits. It is a fulfilling and satisfying position to be in.
Two such ladies came to me separately from different businesses and positions, but similar situations. They had been in the same job for over eight years. They were earning under their market values. They didn’t believe it could change. They believed they were ‘stuck’. Both were able to double their pay. One left her company and is loving her new job at a different company, doing the same work and making twice the pay. The other was able to negotiate for twice the pay and keep her position at her company.
Both repeatedly say they would NEVER have believed it was possible. Both are ecstatic. I love seeing women claim their power and be paid what they should be making. With both of them, I started with, “If you had a car in your driveway worth $80,000, would you sell it for $40,000? Then why would you sell yourself short for your skills and what you are worth?”
Often, we believe we don’t “need” the money, so we should accept less, but no one is willing to carry that over to a car or a house. No one wants to sell a car or a house short of the value just because you don’t need the money. It is a strange mindset that women have trapped themselves in.
4word: In your own life, how have you followed your desires and dreams to create the mind-blowing career you have today?
Bethany: It is hard to eat your own dog food. It is hard to follow your own advice. There is risk in all reward-seeking activities, and I’ve risked much. I decided to write down what I stand for and to run after it despite the cost. If I wasn’t willing to give up my lifestyle and eat beans, then it wasn’t worth fighting for. I, luckily, haven’t had to ‘eat beans’ (except at Mexican restaurants), but the concept and willingness to decide what I believed in, then follow that passion wherever it takes me, has been my journey to a more fulfilling life.
Sometimes, we do what we think we have to do. We follow a path preset for us and run after someone else’s dreams. I aim to set executives and entrepreneurs free to run after their own dreams.
4word: Were there ever times where you doubted that you were headed in the right direction?
Bethany: Always, daily, constantly … ok, not that often. I did a show on fear on Grant Cardone TV, and I had a Clinical Psychologist on the show. She said we only feel fear when we are running towards the desires of our hearts. So fear is, in fact, an indicator that we are running in the RIGHT direction. We are most afraid of trying things we really want to achieve, so, running from the things we most want, we live lives of quiet desperation. I’m willing to run after my dreams and sacrifice comfort to achieve them.
4word: In your experience, what are the top obstacles holding professionals back from achieving success in their lives? Did you struggle personally with any of these?
- An unwillingness to believe that what we TRULY want can actually be achieved
- A feeling that if we run after our desires, and miss them, our lives will be ruined forever (fear of failure) and other faulty belief systems
- Bogging ourselves down in unhealthy relationships, habits, or thinking
I struggled with all of those obstacles. Would you trust a marriage counselor that was never married? I do what I do because I’ve lived through all of these issues and I’m able to write about many of the struggles throughout my six books.
4word: Tell us about “3 Days To A Raise.” Is this a concept any professional can apply? Do you have any stories you can share with us of people who have gotten themselves a raise in three days?
Bethany: Yes, any professional can absolutely apply this practice. I have a talk show called “3 Days to a Raise” that covers various topics and shows examples of success. I also have a show called Home Made Money, which focuses on starting a business and moving forward with your passions.
One of my favorite success stories is of a lawyer who negotiated for a $30,000 salary increase after only one day of watching the videos. It isn’t about time. It is about recognizing the faulty belief systems that we are trapping ourselves in. I often hear from those who get a raise within days of buying my seminar or hearing me speak.
4word: At 4word, one of our main goals is to see and help professional women identify and achieve their career dreams. What are the top three pieces of advice you would give to professional women?
- Target the desires of your heart. Stop setting mediocre goals and achieving them. Set high goals and run after them.
- Value yourself and your pay/position. You are probably worth more than you are giving yourself credit for. Talk to yourself like you would a daughter or a niece.
- Keep asking until someone says no, and when they say no, see it as a speed bump rather than a stop sign.
4word: Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Bethany: Don’t believe that teacher who said you were no good. Don’t believe that boyfriend or husband who said you couldn’t do it. Stop believing all the negative voices in your head. You can do it. You can chase after it. You can achieve it. You will surprise yourself.
What has held you back from achieving your life and career goals? Is it outside opposition or is it maybe your own inner voice? Take Bethany’s advice and start making your voice heard. You will undoubtedly amaze yourself at what you’re able to accomplish with a little grit and conviction.
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