Mentally Strong Women Refuse to Do These 13 Things

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By Amy Morin for Inc.

There’s societal pressure to engage in these unhealthy habits. But they’ll drain you of the mental strength you need to be your best.

You build mental muscles the same way you build physical muscles–exercise. Good habits (like lifting weights) will help you grow stronger. But giving up counterproductive bad habits (like eating too much junk food) is key if you really want to make progress.

While the exercises that build mental muscle are the same for both men and women, gender can play a role when it comes to the counterproductive bad habits that can keep you stuck. It only takes one or two bad habits to hold you back from reaching your greatest potential.

My newest book, 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do, outlines the bad habits that women are more likely to adopt. Cultural expectations, societal pressures, and the subtle differences in the way we raise girls are just a few of the factors that encourage women to engage in these unhealthy habits.

Recognizing your unhealthy habits is the first step in creating positive change. Here are 13 things mentally strong women don’t do:

1. They Don’t Compare Themselves With Other People

Whether you’re looking at Instagram photos of a celebrity’s vacation, or you’re hearing your friend talk about her latest raise, comparing yourself with others is tempting. But every minute you spend comparing your life with someone else’s life is 60 seconds you aren’t focusing on your goals.

2. They Don’t Insist on Perfection

Perfectionism has a cruel ironic twist; It’ll cause you to experience such high levels of stress that your performance will actually become impaired. Establish high expectations for yourself, but don’t set the bar impossibly high.

3. They Don’t See Vulnerability as a Weakness

Your game face definitely serves a purpose–it shows people you’re serious. But asking for help, acknowledging your weaknesses, and admitting you don’t have all the answers aren’t signs of weakness.

4. They Don’t Let Self-Doubt Stop Them From Reaching Their Goals

Your brain will try to convince you that you’re not good enough, capable enough, or smart enough. But don’t believe everything you think. Your brain will underestimate you.

5. They Don’t Overthink Everything

Rehashing the same things over and over again and worrying about everything that could go wrong wastes precious time and mental energy. And it will take a toll on your psychological well-being. Commit to problem solving and productive action, rather than ruminating and overthinking.

6. They Don’t Shy Away From Tough Challenges

Whether it’s a promotion to a leadership position or it’s an uncomfortable conversation you need to have with a friend, avoiding tough challenges will keep you stuck. Face your fears one small step at a time and you’ll gain confidence in yourself.

7. They Don’t Fear Breaking the Rules

From a young age, many girls are taught the importance of being polite and well-mannered. But it’s the rule breakers who change the world.

8. They Don’t Put Others Down to Lift Themselves Up

It may be tempting to try to elevate your own status by pointing out someone else’s flaws. But genuine cheerleaders are the ones who really succeed in life.

9. They Don’t Allow Others to Limit Their Potential

Whether someone told you that you’d never amount to anything or you got turned down for a promotion, other people can limit your potential if you let them. Build the belief in yourself, and you won’t let criticism or rejection stop you.

10. They Don’t Blame Themselves When Bad Things Happen

While it’s important to accept personal responsibility when you make a mistake, toxic self-blame does more harm than good. Saying “I made a bad choice” is much more productive than thinking “I am a bad person.”

11. They Don’t Stay Silent

From business meetings to social gatherings, studies show women don’t get nearly as much airtime as men. Speak up and find your authentic voice so you can be heard.

12. They Don’t Hesitate to Reinvent Themselves

As you mature, your personality, priorities, and values will shift and so should you. Whether you make a complete career shift at age 40 or you decide to embrace your spirituality at 60, reinventing yourself is key to personal growth.

13. They Don’t Fear Owning Their Success

Women are afraid of looking arrogant or too ambitious. Even when complimented, they’re likely to pass the credit onto someone else or give an immediate compliment back. Practice giving a simple “Thank you,” and own your achievements.

Build Your Mental Muscle

Fortunately, everyone has the ability to build more mental muscle by changing the way they think, feel, and behave. And the best way to grow mentally stronger is to work smarter–not just harder–by giving up the unhealthy habits that are holding you back.

WSJ: How the Fleece Vest Became the New Corporate Uniform

By Jacob Gallagher

THE FLEECE ZIP-UP VEST, the capstone of a new corporate uniform, lurks in air-conditioned corporate cubicles across America. It covers the sweating backs of nervous interns ordering supersize coffees at Starbucks . It’s worn by silver-haired executives in the elevator, heading up to their corner suites. It appears in myriad shades of gray and blue, on men of all shapes and sizes who earn all kinds of salaries. It has become as ubiquitous as the take-out salad in humdrum workplaces, and is slowly supplanting the suit and tie as essential office wear.

Typically, the vest is worn over a button-up shirt and paired with chinos and brown dress shoes of any flavor. “The uniform” is how this ensemble has been branded around the office of one 36-year-old working in capital markets in Pittsburgh, a past practitioner of the much-mocked look who asked that his name be withheld. During a recent trip to New York City this month, he observed scores of men wearing gray fleece vests even as temperatures touched the mid-90s.

The trend is so pervasive that an Instagram account with nearly 40,000 followers, The Midtown Uniform (@midtownuniform), has sprung up to savagely document these corporate clones in cities like New York, Toronto and Washington D.C. The anonymous account adds pithy captions to crowdsourced photos, riffing on the omnipresence of this particular outfit. “Money isn’t really yours unless you’re fully vested,” read a caption on a recent post showing two men in matching pink shirts and blue vests. Despite the implicit ridicule, the comment sections on these photos are littered with friends tagging each other and saying things like, “Bro, this is so you.”

Will Crowley, a 25-year-old investment banker who lives in Hoboken, N.J., is well aware of The Midtown Uniform account, yet it hasn’t inspired him to give up the ubiquitous outfit. “There are times where I can’t just wear a shirt. I kind of have to wear a vest,” said Mr. Crowley. He owns six vests, which he calls a “staple of people who work in finance,” mostly from Patagonia or Vineyard Vines. He rotates through the vests during the week, unless he’s meeting with a client, in which case he wears a suit.

The midtown uniform appears to have taken hold post-2008, when many financial firms loosened their once-strict suit-and-tie dress code. The message was: We know your salary is down, but at least you get to dress casual on Friday! “The payouts regressed, so just like every industry that has payment difficulties, they find other ways to satisfy employees and dress is one of the easiest ones,” said a 35-year-old stock trader in New York City, who also asked to be anonymous. He was on the floor during the 2008 recession, and described how the sport coats and wool slacks gave way to vests and cotton chinos in its aftermath.

Though midtown New York has now become especially associated with this new dress code, the vest’s roots lie in Silicon Valley. “If you go to the Whole Foods here you’re going to see [the vest] everywhere,” said Christina Mongini, the costume designer for HBO’s parodic sitcom “Silicon Valley” and a Bay Area native. Jared Dunn, the show’s type-A COO, wears a fleece vest over a button-down in nearly every scene in which his character appears. Said Ms. Mongini, “Jared’s style is really perceived as the normal basic understated business-casual attire.”

Outdoorsy fleece vests matched the youthful, countercultural Silicon Valley spirit in a way suits and ties never did. Bay Area C-suite executives such as Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and PayPal cofounder Max Levchin have boasted of cycling or hiking during the work week. As Ms. Mongini said, “You can hop on your bike and throw your vest on and head over to Santa Cruz on your lunch break if you wanted to.”

Across the nation, the vest was an easy sell. “It’s very difficult to just sit there and work in a suit jacket,” said the 35-year-old stock trader. In a vest, “I can sit at my desk and feel a little bit more comfortable.” Aiding and abetting the trend toward sleevelessness, a couple of years ago brokerage houses and trading platforms shrewdly started giving away the vests as a freebie to entice traders. The vests’ low cost was a way around financial regulations (which cap gifts to traders at $100) and the wearable promos were more functional than the giveaways they replaced such as candy tins and Nerf Footballs. These promotional vests, with “Equifax” or ”Merrill Lynch” embroidered along the chest, are now a common sight in New York.

The trend has become self-perpetuating: People wear the vest because it’s what people wear. “Now it’s the new thing: It’s not suspenders and a bengal-striped shirt,” said Mr. Crowley. “It’s a Patagonia vest and a button-down shirt.” He added that the “bro-culture” of finance has helped reinforce this look, with its scores of men following the same path from prep school to the Ivy League to a job in finance. Looking like your peers is part of the package. Said Mr. Crowley, “If you want to be successful, part of it is wanting to fit in.”

Though young professionals do typically want to fit in, the fleece vest can also help them tackle another insecurity. The Pittsburgher who’s mostly given up the vest part of the uniform admits that it had its uses: “As I’m aging, I would say it hides your belly.” Who says fashion isn’t functional?

The Vest In all of its glorious shades of gray and blue (or even black, for true renegades), the fleece vest is the pièce de résistance of the corporate clock-puncher’s uniform. Bonus points for your company’s name stitched on the breast—yes, that’s a thing.

The Button-Up Shirt The trusty base layer of today’s cubicle armor, often in safe shades of blue, white and pink. The only item more contentiously conventional than the fleece vest is the blue-and-white gingham shirt, so wearing both clearly brands you as someone who colors within the lines.

Slacks The Midtown Man favors beige-colored chinos, with pleating for the over-40 gentleman and a flat front for under-40 guys. Gray wool pants are the winter-friendly option.

The Lanyard Sure, you could tuck it in your pocket, or keep it in your wallet, but then how would everyone know where you work so they can find you on LinkedIn later? It’s all about the connections.

The Coffee Cup Because how can you get through a grueling 12-hour work day (after crushing tequila shots the night before) without a venti double shot latte? The Midtown Man whips out his battered Starbucks Rewards card at coffee shops from Rockefeller Center to Richmond, Virginia.

Brown shoes From chocolate-brown brogues by Allen Edmonds to cafe-au-lait square-toed Rockport loafers to topsiders straight off the sailboat, brown shoes are the anchor of the Midtown uniform.

Write to Jacob Gallagher at

Read the original posting here.

U.S. Job Openings Drop, but Still at Lofty Levels

Reuters Lucia Mutikani

Read the full story here.

U.S. job openings declined in November as a result of sharp drops in construction and other services. Job openings fell by 243,000 to a seasonally adjusted 6.9 million, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Hiring declined 218,000 to 5.7 million in November, and the number of workers voluntarily quitting their jobs fell 112,000 to 3.4 million. The quits rate was unchanged at 2.3%, and the layoffs rate remained at 1.2% for a second consecutive month.

The latest job openings data did little to change views that the economy is facing a shortage of workers. “It won’t get easier for small businesses to fill open positions but it’s premature to conclude there are significant labor supply issues,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics.