“The Voice” Meets the Workplace: Blind Interviews?

Why do companies say they don’t discriminate but still have the voluntary questions about gender and race? And are you like me? Do you answer the questions because somewhere in the back of your mind, you feel it makes a difference? Does a company that asks such questions really embrace diversity in the workplace?

“The Voice”, a smash hit show on NBC provides a level playing field for music artists by allowing them to initially be judged on their singing talent rather than their appearance. By removing race, gender and appearance from the equation, the judges on the show are able to create teams of diverse talent. Their teams are apprised of very talented artists from diverse backgrounds, culture, nationalities, shapes and sizes.

Is it time that other industries try this too? Would it work?

There is a new diversity start-up company, Gap Jumpers, which feels it is time and has shown that it can work. Gap Jumpers sells a software program that allows tech companies to perform blind interviews in the early stages of the interview process. Potential candidates take skill tests and are then chosen to move on to the next phase of the interview process based on their test scores. These test scores highlight their ability and talent, only thus eliminating any bias in the initial decision making process.

So, like The Voice, the initial decision is based on not knowing anything except the candidate’s talent. Companies using Gap Jumper’s software initially do not receive any identifying information like names, gender, race or education. Once the companies have evaluated the test scores and have chosen their list of candidates, they can then proceed to phone and/or in-person interviews.


Granted this will not completely eliminate bias in the hiring process, but I do however feel this is a great step in the right direction. What are your thoughts? Is this a step in the right direction? Or is this the wrong approach?

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Working from Home: Is Isolation a Double Edged Sword?

Working from home sounds like a dream and it has many benefits, but let’s face it, it has considerable challenges also. Yes, you may be able to avoid certain annoyances, like long commutes and traffic, but there are a new set of inherent struggles, that many home-based employees must deal with.

One of those challenges is the feeling of isolation.

Isolation: The double edged sword?

Human beings are social creatures by nature and by working from home, home-based employees may not realize just how much they rely on outside stimulation, like “water cooler” chatter, until it is no longer there. In the work-at-home environment, solitude is often construed as a perk. It is considered an opportunity to focus on tasks and projects without the countless distractions attributed to the typical in-office environment. But too much of it can be unhealthy and can lead to decreased motivation and stagnation, both on a personal level as well as professional level.

How to avoid the isolation pitfall of working from home:

  • Schedule work meetings or client interaction in person or through Skype
  • Go outside; run errands or take a walk during your lunch break or work at a nearby coffee shop or diner for a morning or afternoon
  • Join Facebook, Twitter or other social media outlets to connect with other likeminded individuals, but don’t let it become a distraction during the work day
  • Visit the home office or attend company sponsored events
  • Pursue new hobbies and interest or volunteer in your community

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Why Your Work-Life Balance Strategy Never Works Out the Way You Plan

As women entrepreneurs, we live in fear that if we don’t get it all done in a day, we will fail.  Fail as a business owner, wife, mother or friend.  And to stop that feeling we quickly throw together a work-life balance plan.

Be honest, how many times have you tried to create a work-life balance plan only to have it fall apart weeks later?   It falls apart because work-life balance plans do not work.  For your professional and personal life to be in harmony, you need to embrace work-life integration.

Here are three key components to having a successful work-life integration plan.


You need to create your own definition of work-life integration.  Work-life integration is a moving target that must be adapted to one’s own personal lifestyle.  For it to work, you need to have a clear understanding of what your needs are at work and home.  You must figure out how much time you really need to spend tending to your business and how much time you need to spend outside of work.


Analyzing your present situation is the first step in implementing a successful work-life integration plan.  You need to take a critical look at your work and home situation and devise a plan to bring harmony into your life.

  • Track your time – Keep a time log of everything you do for one week, including work-related and personal activities. This will help you determine when you are using your time wisely as well as highlight areas where time is being wasted.  Once you understand what activities are weighing you down, you can readjust or eliminate them.  You may find that many of the tasks you do each day are redundant.
  • Set Priorities – Before you start work today, ask yourself, “If I could only focus on one thing today, what would it be?” That answer is your top priority. What would you focus on second? Third? Fourth? Fifth? You’ve now identified your top five priorities. Keep the number of priorities to a limited, realistic number so you don’t get overwhelmed. Start and finish the first priority before starting the second and so on. Don’t try to multi-task, as it really is impossible to focus on more than one thing at a time. Focus only on the task at hand.
  • Establish Goals – Having clear goals makes life so much easier because you know where you are going, how to get there and you have more control. Without clear goals you can experience feelings of confusion and frustration and this can drain your energy and decrease your productivity.
  • Schedule Your Time – Combine your work and personal calendars so that you have a complete picture of your day. Combined calendars prevent you from overbooking yourself. Overbooking may cause you to work longer which can negatively impact your personal time.   Put aside an hour on your schedule each day to read a book, take a walk, or just to be alone.
  • Health/Fitness – Find time to ride a bike, take a walk or go to the gym.  Most of your day is spent on the go so be sure to keep healthy snacks with you. When you can, incorporate lots of fruit, vegetables and protein into your meal plans.  Also, make sure you are getting the proper amount of sleep each night. A regular sleep pattern keeps your body functioning properly.
  • Boundaries – Work-life integration means blending your personal and professional life so that you are whole. But it is still important that you set some boundaries so that work does not become all consuming.  Set aside time for yourself, family or friends where you don’t let work seep in.
  • Ask for Help – Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You are not expected to know everything about running a business. Read, research and learn as much as you can to help you build confidence in your type of business and how to run it. Also, delegate when and wherever you can.  Delegating lets you focus on big picture items.


Make no mistake about it. You cannot achieve your work-life integration goals, if you don’t hold yourself accountable. The reason is simple.  It’s your life and you are in charge of it.  When you are held accountable to your goals, you improve your commitment, focus, follow-through, and productivity.

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Work-Life Integration and a Happier, Healthier YOU

Work-life integration lets you integrate your professional and personal life so they work together in a way that satisfies the demands of both. It removes the stress of trying to equalize the time spent on your personal life and the time spent at work.

A successfully implemented work-life integration strategy can:

Improve Your Overall Health

By integrating your personal and professional life you give yourself the flexibility to shift your priorities around which can reduce stress and prevent burnout.  Work-life integration requires advance planning in order for it to be effective.  If you manage your time properly, you can schedule downtime into your calendar every day.  Creating a daily practice of yoga, taking a walk, listening to music, or a quick call to a friend is a great way to recharge.

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Strengthen Your Relationships

For work-life integration to work, you need to communicate your plan to your family and friends (your support system) because it impacts them as well.  If your job is not a typical “work ends at 5 p.m.”, then you need to be honest with your support system, so they don’t feel ignored or under appreciated if you have to interrupt your time with them by taking a call or doing another work related task.  Work with your support system to map out your priorities and proactively set boundaries.  Work-life integration should not mean that work is all consuming and that you won’t have time or energy for your friends and family.

Positively Impact Your Work Performance

Entrepreneurs who implement a successful work-life integration strategy improve their sense of fulfillment at work and at home.  Work-life integration allows you the flexibility to work anywhere and anytime. With work-life integration you can change your surroundings by working outside of the office which can boost your productivity as well as your creativity.

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Integrate Your Personal and Professional Life For More Flexibility

Integrating your personal life and professional life means eliminating the hard line you’ve drawn between work and life and allowing these two parts of who you are blend together to create harmony.  Notice I said harmony, not balance.  In today’s world of technology, work-life balance is no longer achievable and quite frankly, in my opinion, no longer necessary.

Trying to achieve work-life balance causes a lot of stress on you at work and at home.  It’s impossible to split yourself into two parts and spend 50% of your time with your family and 50% of your time working on your business.  With work-life integration, you can shift your priorities and schedule around to make sure that you can be where you need to be, when you need to be there.  You don’t need to leave work at work if you don’t want to.  If you have a doctor’s appointment or your car needs service during the day, go to the appointment. You can answer emails or make business calls while you are waiting to be seen or your car is being serviced.  If you have family obligations during the day, then carve out some time at night or on the weekend to make up the time lost at work if needed.

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When you integrate your professional and personal life you get to decide when you want to work, where you want to work and how you want to work.  Integrating work and home life is not always easy in the beginning and it will require planning and support from your family and friends, but over time you will definitely see the benefits.

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You Are Still A Rock Star Even If You Don’t Have ONE SINGLE CLIENT Yet!

Hi Ladies!  Hope you are enjoying sweet success in your business!  For those of you that are still struggling – It’s pep talk time!

You are still a rock star even if you don’t have any clients yet.  Yes, that’s right – You are still successful!  So, don’t give up! Keep plugging away!

Let’s take a second to understand what success is. It’s not just getting clients and making money.  Don’t get me wrong, we created our businesses to make money, that’s a given.  But that will come as long as you consistently put the effort into promoting your business.

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Just remember, success comes in many forms.  Here are a few ways to gauge your success besides just making money:

  1. If potential clients asks for samples of your product or services. Guess what! You caught their interest.
  2. If someone retweets you on Twitter. They see value in your product or services and want to share it with their fan base.
  3. If you get likes or comments on Facebook or Instagram. People are making an effort to connect with your business.

You are getting noticed and that right there is success and a reason to celebrate!

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Paying clients will come if you consistently put the effort into marketing your business. If for some reason you are not getting noticed, then it may be time to revisit your marketing strategy.

You’ve got this ladies. Keep the faith! You are all ROCK STARS!

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Increase Your Productivity and Effectiveness at Home and Work with S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Why is goal setting so important and how can it make you more productive and effective in your personal and professional life?  Goals give you focus.  When you are focused, you are able to minimize distractions. You can be the most talented person in the room, but if you cannot remain focused, your talents, skills and abilities become ineffective.  Staying focused and on task makes you productive which can save you countless hours of wasted time.  Time that could be spent with family and friends or used to build your business.

Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (or tangible).  In other words, they should be S.M.A.R.T. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals allow you the best chance of success.

Set Specific Goals

Your goals must be specific and should include the 5 W’s. Who, What, Where, When and Why.  A simple goal is “I am going to create a work-life integration strategy.” That’s a great goal but it’s not specific, which means it cannot be measured.  Instead, your goal should be more like “I am going to create a work-life strategy that works for my personal and professional life by April 1st so that I can be more productive and effective at home and at work.

By breaking this goal down you can see:

      • Who: You
      • What: Work-life integration plan strategy
      • Where: Home and work
      • When: By April 1st
      • Why: To become more effective and productive in your personal and professional life

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Measure Your Progress

Now that you have your specific goal, how do you measure it? You do that by setting concrete target dates and tracking your progress.  For example, by month 1, you will have the steps lined out on how you will achieve your goal, by month 2, step 1 and 2 will be complete and so on until you reach your goal date.  Be sure to celebrate each achievement along the way.

Make Your Goals Attainable

To make these goals attainable, you need to develop the attitudes, abilities, skills and be financially capable to reach them.  Your goals become attainable because you have grown and expanded yourself in order to achieve them.

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Keep the Goals Realistic and Relevant

Goals cannot be achieved if they are not realistic.  Your goal should be high but not so high that you cannot actually reach it.  It should represent significant developments and it should keep you motivated to move on to the next step and motivate you to create more goals.

Goals should be Timely or Tangible

Lastly, your goal should have a time-frame.  Don’t set a goal that includes “someday”. It should be a hard date (i.e. April 1st).  Or if the T means tangible, you should be able to have something that you can experience through taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing.

Eliminating Self-Sabotage

If you don’t already set S.M.A.R.T. goals, do so, starting now. As you make this technique part of your life, you’ll increasingly see the benefits of how it helps you integrate your personal and professional life, and you’ll wonder how you did without it!

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