I decided to share my framework for working with clients here because I get asked a lot not only what I do, but how I do it.
The first question is easy to answer: I help women with STEM careers handle their immediate pain points and then help them refocus, re-purpose and re-energize all facets of their lives.
The second question is trickier because every client is different. However, when I really think about it, I realize that all the building blocks are there because every woman I work with already has a life (imagine that!). Together we assess those blocks and we decide where to begin.
So my framework, depicted here, is based on classical Greek architecture.
Why that particular metaphor?
Well, I like classic architecture for one thing and this one works on so many levels. Let’s explore.
The Greeks wanted to build something that lasts, something that matters. Most women I talk to want to build something that lasts, too. In other words, they want to make a life that matters. (For an excellent podcast episode on this, click here)
So, if this is the goal, how do we end up stressed out, strung out and overwhelmed?
Well, it’s like the ancient temples with the passage of time. The sun is like our information today. A little is a beautiful thing, but the constant, unceasing barrage takes it’s toll.
The wind and the rain are like our distractions today. Any busy office or lab will have their inevitable distractions, just as the beautiful Mediterranean climate has its inevitable storms.
And then there are the marauding hordes of old. Just like they didn’t care about those temples, our modern penchant for management by crisis has a casual disregard for our long term goals and plans.
So when the information overload, the distractions and the crises have us ready to throw in the towel, it’s time to do a little restoration work using the STEM Rev Framework.
Framework: A Solid Foundation
All great buildings are built on a solid foundation, and lives are no different.
We plan on going to college, we plan on getting married and we plan on having children…ahem…usually…
A lot of STEM women choose STEM because they want to make a difference in the world – an impact. That is a great foundation to build on!
Even if you chose STEM because it’s financially lucrative – that’s STILL a great foundation.
But when things get complicated and overwhelming, we naturally ask ourselves why.
Why did I think this degree would be awesome? Why did I get married? (trust me, we’ve all been there!) And why on earth did I want children (as they’re screaming and fighting with each other)?
It’s pretty easy to lose sight of our bigger why.
And that’s why we need to be reminded.
You build the foundation when you’re in a calm, excited, conquer-the-world state.
So you can remind yourself when the sun, wind and rain, AKA information overload and distractions, erode your soul.
Framework: Strong Pillars
The pillars are what people usually see first when approaching a temple and these are the roles that we play in our lives.
For the STEMinista Revolution, there’s career, partnership, motherhood and self-care. These are our foundation pillars.
Many women have others as well.
But the pillars, or our different roles, are what takes the brunt of decay over time. After all, if a pillar comes down, the whole building isn’t usually far behind.
So the framework requires that I work with women to shore up their pillars, which translates to helping them with their immediate pain points. I typically see two types of issues: relationship issues (e.g. I can’t stand my micromanaging boss anymore!) or resilience (e.g. how do I cope with everything on my plate AND this impending vacation?)
Once I help a woman assess her pillars, she can choose where to begin the shoring up process.
Framework: Holding it All Together
Warning: quick architecture lesson: the triangle structure at the top of buildings is called the pediment. The entire structure between the top of the columns and the pediment is called the entablature.
Since that’s a terrible word that even my spell check does not recognize, let’s call the entablature the frieze, (pronounced freeze). Architecturally inaccurate, but much simpler to visualize!
The frieze gives every column stability because it forms a system that connects the columns together and everyone knows a system is much harder to knock down than a single element. Our studded walls of today still rely on this principle.
So the frieze in my framework is the Annual Goal Planning Strategy found here.
Why is this so important?
Because a goal strategy:
- Let’s you intentionally go through your days and weeks
- Prevents overwhelm
- Keeps the big picture at the forefront
- Let’s you look for overlaps in your goals
It’s the glue that holds all the elements of your life into a system that is much more resistant to the modern world.
When I work with a client on this piece, we are stepping back and looking at her life as a whole and developing a strategy around how to accomplish it all.
So now you know my secret sauce to working with women to help them achieve STEMinista status.
I ask you this:
Do you consistently remember your bigger Why (your foundation)?
Are your pillars (roles) defined and strong or under siege?
Do you have an Annual Goal Strategy to hold it all together?
Leaving you with this from the lighter side: The wedding was so beautiful that even the cake was in tiers! (Sorry, it is the only vaguely architecture-related pun I know!)