Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.

Hillary Clinton
A Chance to Celebrate the Ways Women Improve your Life

A Chance to Celebrate the Ways Women Improve your Life

Posted by martin.parnell |

March 8th. is International Women’s Day. It’s worth noting the history of this event and why it is celebrated on that particular date. After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917, March 8 became a national holiday there. The day was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations. 

Having this date dedicated to women, provides us with a great opportunity to celebrate all the women in our lives, whatever the role they might play. It’s well worth taking time to consider what those roles might be and how they affect us. They may be family members, friends, colleagues, people we meet at the various activities we take part in outside of work and home, our doctor, dentist, physiotherapist, bus driver, the list is endless. 

The first thing we need to do is to thank them for the contribution they make and let them know that it you appreciate all they do. If you are in business, you can celebrate your female employees by recognising them, not just in the workplace, but on social media. 

You can make a point of contacting your female clients on that day and telling them that you are thinking of them on International Women’s Day. You might like to hold an event for your female clients, perhaps organise a lunch or dinner for them or a gift of some sort. I would suggest a donation to a women’s charity, in their name would be one option. 

In March 2016, as part of an article entitled Ways Your Company Can Celebrate International Women’s Day, Katie Burke suggested amongst other things:

Make celebrating a team sport

One of the biggest mistakes companies make with women’s initiatives is only engaging women in the conversation. 70% of men believe gender diversity is important, and given that men represent 83% of C-Suite executives, leaving guys out of the conversation leaves a lot of opportunity for change and transformation on the table. Your success as an organization as it relates to inclusion is directly proportional to the degree that you make empowering women a core part of your business philosophy rather than a one-off network or affinity group for women only, so consider including all employees in your celebration, regardless of how you choose to participate in the day.”

Burke also went on to encourage discussion, in the section:

Start A dialogue

A quarter billion women have entered the workplace worldwide since 2006, yet the World Economic Forum’s 2016 survey shows women make as much money as men did a decade ago. The challenges for women in the workplace aren’t relegated to pay: only 14.2% of the top five leaders in S&P 500 companies are women. The numbers are staggering, but what’s often missing is a dialogue within organizations on how to make gender equity a priority.

Taking the time to engage in the discussion, to solicit ideas on what can be better, and create a meaningful space for men and women to share ideas on this topic is an easy way to make a big impact. We assembled a guide for companies to start this discussion for a Blog Club, so even if you don’t have time for a lot of planning, it’s easy and fast to host a meaningful discussion around the day.”

Finally, Burke pointed out the ways in which empowering women is good not only for your brand, but also your business:

“..studies show teams with more women perform better and companies with women in leadership roles outperform those without female leaders so everyone at your organization should have a vested interest in creating a workplace that actively empowers and engages female employees in a meaningful way. Whether you’ve been celebrating International Women’s Day for years or are just hearing about it for the first time this year, getting in the game is a great way to make your workplace and employment brand more inclusive.

If you’re still on the fence about jumping in, we created a Powerful Woman Playlist you can rock out to at work, an inspiration video of remarkable women, and a blog club discussion guide you can use easily today to celebrate. Start a dialogue, run an event, thank someone you admire, but whatever you do, don’t be afraid to get started–creating even one conversation or opportunity can have a huge impact on your candidates, customers, and your company’s commitment to women.”

So, as International Women’s Day approaches, these ideas may provide you with food for thought. Also, it’s important to remember that, whilst we celebrate women, we must make a concerted effort to ensure that we ( both men and women) provide them with opportunities, mentor them and inspire them in order that they fulfill their potential  and achieve their goals,

I would like to take the opportunity to recognise and thank all the women I encounter in both my personal and business lives for all the worthwhile, gracious and invaluable contributions they make.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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All answers to why are information. All answers to how are knowledge.

Raheel Farooq, Kalam - Teacher and writer based in Pakistan.
How to Embrace being Questioned and see it as an Opportunity

How to Embrace being Questioned and see it as an Opportunity

Posted by martin.parnell |

The other day, I was reminded of a quote about looking at a question as an opportunity rather than a challenge. It’s true that, in some circumstances, we tend to see a question, whether it’s about our work, our opinion on something or a decision we make, as a challenge to our capabilities. It can make us feel vulnerable. We will often go on the defensive and feel we have to justify our actions or our choices. 

Instead, we might try to see it as a great opportunity, a chance to demonstrate how we work, shares our experience and our line of thinking. It’s also an opportunity to educate, especially if, in business, we have a particular expertise. 

If someone questions you in anything you do, it is also a great opportunity to evaluate your work, your company and your decisions, but, you should not be afraid to stand by what you have said or done, especially in business. Your actions would have been based on your knowledge, experience and training. Do not think that because someone questions you, you have done something wrong or they are not happy with your way of thinking. Take it as a sign that they want to know more. 

We are told that we should not be afraid to ask questions. It’s a way to increase our knowledge, understand another person’s point of view and a great opportunity to rethink the way we might do things and increase our skills. 

In education, students are encouraged to ask questions in order to learn. This is why it’s important to ask the right questions. See my blog dated June 12th. 2017 Get the best answers by preparing the right questions. 

I have also written about the use of surveys and questionnaires to receive feedback from customers. It’s important that they are invited to question us about our decisions. This enables us to explain what’s happening and why we have taken a certain path and introduced new innovations. It’s the way a client can gain a deeper insight into the way a company works. By answering questions, it gives us the opportunity to share our decision- making and promote the improvements we have made in order to become more efficient and improve our services. 

So bear this in mind, if we are being encouraged to ask questions and see this as a positive thing, then being asked should become the norm and we should see it in the same light.

Needless to say, there are times when we question ourselves, in which case you may want to take these steps before making a decision, making changes or introducing new concepts

  1. Know your facts – do your research
  2. Consult- either with your team, other colleagues or outside agencies
  3. Look at risks- could your decision jeopardise the work that is already in progress?
  4. See the end goal – and know when you’ve reached it.
  5. Consider how your decision may affect others.

When you have made your decision and acted upon it, evaluate – what are the consequences of your decision – did it prove beneficial?

Being able to question yourself and determine that you have made the right choices will give you confidence when being questioned by others.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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For those lucky enough to be baptized with a middle name, they don’t ever have to wonder what it would be like to be without one.

Franklin P. Jones - Reporter, Public Relations Executive and Humorist
What's in a Middle Name and Why do you Have One?

What's in a Middle Name and Why do you Have One?

Posted by martin.parnell |

Today, March 19th. is Saint Joseph’s Day. Wikipedia states that “The Feast of Saint Joseph is in Western Christianity the principal feast day of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and legal father of Jesus Christ. It has the rank of a solemnity in the Catholic Church. It is a feast or commemoration in the provinces of the Anglican Communion, and a feast or festival in the Lutheran Church. 

Saint Joseph's Day is the Patronal Feast day for Poland as well as for Canada, persons named Joseph, Josephine, etc., for religious institutes, schools and parishes bearing his name, and for carpenters. It is also Father’s Day in some Catholic countries, mainly Spain, Portugal and Italy. The 19th of March was dedicated to Saint Joseph in several Western calendars by the 10th century, and this custom was established in Rome in 1479 by Pope Pius V.” 

Now you may wonder why this is of particular interest to me. The reason is because my middle name is Joseph. It was given to me when I was baptized into the Catholic Church. In many countries, it is customary for a person being baptized or confirmed into the Roman Catholic Church to adopt the name of a biblical character or saint as it is meant to engage the patron saint as a protector and guide. I use it on official documents and I sign my name with a “J” in the middle. 

Other people may have a middle name for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it is part of a family tradition, a name in memory of someone or being named after a family member or friend. Of course, it can simply be because the parents like the name. 

I found an article on mentalfloss.com. by Sean Hutchinson, August 2004 in which he asks “Why Do We Have Middle Names?” and he tells us some of the history behind the practice: “The phrase “middle name” first appeared in an 1835 Harvard University periodical called Harvardiana, but the practice dates back much further.

In ancient Rome, having multiple names was an honor usually bestowed upon the most important people—like Gaius Julius Caesar. The fad died out only to pick back up again in Western cultures in the 1700s, when aristocrats started giving their children lavishly long names to indicate their place in society. Similarly, lengthy Spanish and Arabic names adopt paternal or maternal names from previous generations to trace the individual’s family tree. (In other cultures, like Chinese, there are traditionally no middle names.)

The three-name structure used today began in the Middle Ages when Europeans were torn between giving their child a saint’s name or a common family name. The practice of giving three names eventually resolved the problem with a formula: given name first, baptismal name second, surname third. It branched to America as immigrants arrived: Adopting a trio of labels became a way of aspiring to a higher social class.

Nonreligious middle names—often maternal maiden names—gradually became the norm, and by the Civil War, it was customary to name your child whatever you liked. Middle names had started to become more or less official by World War I, when the U.S. enlistment form became the first official government document to include space for them.”

So, if you are given a middle name, are you legally bound to use it? This question was answered by trial attorney, Mark Wheeler, in July 2017, on the Quora website: “If you are signing a deed, or any to be recorded document you must use your full name. Banking practices have dictated this modern trend. Ancient practice only required a person’s mark. Then first and last names were used. And now, full names are the norm. I would guess that the future holds some type of biometric application like an RFID chip or a drop of blood. Nothing is more individual than DNA (in the case of identical twins I would perceive the addition or an eye scan).” 

You may love your middle name so much that you would rather use it than your given first name. However, you may not like it at all and want it removed from any legal documents. This can be a lengthy process as one contributor to Reddit showed when listing all the documentations that he had to change:

  • SIN
  • Health Card
  • Driver's License
  • Some banking information
  • Citizenship card
  • Passport
  • University records
  • High school diploma
  • Online banking
  • PayPal
  • Vehicle ownership
  • Insurance (Home and auto)
  • Utilities
  • Telecommunication
  • Employer's records
  • Pension plan
  • Various organizational memberships
  • Subscriptions”

And someone else noted that there is a fee of $137 just to have it changed on your birth certificate.”

So love it or hate it, you may want to stick with that middle name that was given to you by a person or persons with the best of intentions and it might be fun to find out why it was given to you in the first place.

Martin Joseph Parnell

About the Author

Martin J. Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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