In my neighborhood it is common practice to leave old books on one's stoop, free for the taking. The other day I found a small silver paperback called Taking Control of Your Life: The Secrets of Successful Enterprising Women. Of course it came home with me. The fuchsia flair of the word Enterprising in the title made it extra appealing. When the book was published in 1990, its authors Gail Blanke and Kathleen Walas were respectively the Vice President of Public Affairs, and the National Beauty and Fashion Director of Avon.
The book covers everything for female entrepreneurs from best financial practices to best beauty and grooming practices. Care to guess where my eye lingered? You know how I feel about dated beauty tips, and advice written with the Modern Career Gal in mind is one of my beloved genres. So how does a busy lady executive effortlessly move from the boardroom to cocktail hour?
Your jewelry for the day is plastic-- fun geometric earrings with colored plastic bangles. For evening, you tuck a silk scarf into the neckline of the dress and change to gold earrings and bracelets.
The authors emphasize the importance of keeping fit; if you're going to start an empire, you'll need energy:
The idea is not necessarily to work out until you look like Jane Fonda, or Cheryl Tiegs, or Cher. You want to reach your own optimum energy level, your own level of fitness.
Funny they should mention those three. You'll be hearing from all of them here soon. The book is sprinkled with anecdotes from successful women in business. I liked this one:
Sharlyne R. Powell, one of our 1987 Women of Enterprise winners, is an excellent example of a woman who has found her own niche in the competitive world of fitness as business. In 1983, she launched Woman at Large systems, the country's first fitness program for large women...
Powell, herself a large woman, had found herself depressed when she got no results from any of the several exercise programs that she'd tried. She says, "I couldn't keep up with the routines. I was embarrassed and humiliated, self-esteem battered." With no previous experience, she experimented with a new kind of low-impact aerobics system specially tailored or larger women...
Then she made a mistake. Powell hired the same sort of fitness instructors that most clients were used to seeing in other salons: women who were not only fit but thin. Powell's target of larger women were alienated from the very first. But Powell recognized her error almost immediately, and she and her partner filled in as instructor until they could train a staff of larger women.
Gail Blanke now owns a motivational company called Lifedesign and writes a column for Real Simple magazine.