A woman walks into a boardroom…

A Woman Walks Into a Boardroom | Sedruola Maruska

“A man walks into a boardroom…”

Sounds like a bad joke right? Well, sadly it is. It’s about our perceptions of men in general. It’s about our perception of ourselves, as women, as we relate to men.

What did you envision in your mind’s eye about that man walking into the boardroom? Was he in a suit? What about well-groomed? What about race, was he white? That’s what I saw too. . .

“A woman walks into a boardroom…”

We know how this one ends. She’s not as strong as the man. As a matter of fact, you probably went to a very dark and dismal place with that opening.

What did this woman look like? What punchline were you envisioning? Was she strong? What about race, was she white? What I saw has evolved over the years. A little like the riddle about the doctor and the dying son. . .

A father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies at the scene and the son is rushed to the hospital. At the hospital the surgeon looks at the boy and says “I can’t operate on this boy, he is my son.” How can this be?

It’s a riddle because most people immediately think the doctor was the dead father, but how? Why? Our programming let’s us see men & women in specific roles. When challenged, there’s conflict.

A Woman Walks Into a Boardroom | Sedruola Maruska

Visions of Yourself

How do you see yourself? Do you see yourself walking confidently into that boardroom, or do you shudder at the thought? How you see yourself in your minds eye is key to how the world will see you.

Let’s take a minute and think about that woman who walked into the boardroom. Think about how you pictured her versus how you pictured the man. Then take a moment to really examine why you think you saw what you saw.

If the woman looked like you, why do you think that was? What if she didn’t look like you? What if she looked like the total opposite of what you consider yourself to be?

When I was young, in my fantasies I was always white. You may look at that and say “you wanted to be white?” No, I wanted the romance I saw portrayed in movies, on TV and in magazines. The people who had that romance where white. So that was what I saw in my mind’s eye.

Representation Matters

When I say representation matters I’m not only talking about race, but also gender & orientation. If you’re not seeing what you want to see in your mind’s eye as it relates to any part of your life, you need to ask yourself why and begin changing that.

How can you be a strong businesswoman if you can’t see yourself in that role? If when someone says “a woman walks into a boardroom. . . ” and you see something or someone “other” than how your perceive yourself, there’s work to be done.

Having a vision of yourself starts with being able to see images of who you want to be, around you. It also means looking beyond those images and putting yourself in the place you want to be.

You’re a badass business owner so it’s time for you to see yourself that way. It’s time to stop discounting your abilities and move in your power. When you hear the intro “A woman walks into a boardroom..” you should see yourself and all that makes you strong and unique, giving the most amazing presentation ever. . . or at least you should see that woman as strong.

Changing our Perceptions

As women we need to change our perception of ourselves. We need to start writing a new script that says “I have the ability to be someone’s true love and save them!” “Don’t save me, love and support me in my passions.” “I can do this!”

I want my daughter to see me doing this and know she can too!

Until we change our own perceptions, we’ll be stuck living the images and visions of others. It does my heart good to see that in recent years there have been movies where the woman doesn’t need saving by a man. My daughter is a strong girl, I want her to know she doesn’t need saving by a man, she needs to be loved, respected and supported in whatever she chooses to do. I want to be that representation for her so she’ll look for it in the books, movies & tv shows she’ll eventually watch.

What did you see when you read “a woman walks into a boardroom…” share below what your vision was and how you may want to keep it, or alter it.

6 Lessons learned during my Year of Me

6 Lessons learned during my "Year Of Me" | Sedruola Maruska

Last year, 2017, was the “Year of Me”. . . This year, 2018, is the “Year of Kindness”. Throughout 2017 there were lessons learned that directly contributed to the kindness theme for this new year. I’d like to share a few with you.

I’ve never been good at resolutions. I’m not sure why, but they never appealed to me. But at the end of 2016  I wanted and needed to do something to counter the sadness, pain and disappointment I felt. So, after reading Shonda Rhimes’ book Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person I decided to focus on “me”. After all, we are the creators of our reality right? We determine what happens in our lives by the actions, reactions or non-actions we take. So I focused on me. Which forced me to focus on my family, friends and immediate circle of influence.

When you decide to do something like that, there are going to be lessons along the way. My mom always told me “you don’t have to make your own mistakes, you can learn from someone else’s.” So I’ve decided to share some of the lessons I learned last year (and some I learned right before).

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

Lesson 1 – You are not alone

You are not a singular entity. I know it sounds weird, but it’s true. No matter how much you’d like to think that some things you do will only affect you, it’s not true. You are connected to those you love and those you come into contact with regularly or randomly. The decisions you make for yourself always affect someone else so decide wisely.

Lesson 2 – Taking time for yourself is wise

I love going to the spa. I love the solitude of the space and the ability to fully be taken care of so I started getting a quarterly massage. Why? Because when I’m not connected to myself or taking time for myself, I’m not very good for others. I’m more irritable, withdrawn and resentful of the people around me. So whether it’s taking half a day at the spa, thirty minutes to read a book or 5 minutes to close my eyes and breathe I count it all “me” time. I enjoy it and then allow myself to continue in all my responsibilities.

(please pin this image)

6 Lessons learned during my "Year Of Me" | Sedruola Maruska

Lesson 3 – Be fully yourself

Do you ever feel strangled by your own need to say, be or do something? Then, instead of getting out of the situation you put on a mask, robe or aire? Yeah, stop that. Authenticity is when you tap into yourself fully and allow that person to express themselves. It’s a journey I began in 2017 and will continue along my journey. The more honest I was about myself, what I wanted, didn’t want, liked or disliked, the freer I felt. “Authenticity” seems to be a buzzword, but there are so many truths in simply being yourself and embracing who that is. It’s something that will grow, but to begin try siting with yourself for five minutes without distraction. Focus on the moment and see who and what develops.

Lesson 4 – Forgive, yourself and others

There’s a quote from the Buddha that says “Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die.” It’s incredibly true. The more I decided to release my anger toward any situation, circumstance person etc. the better I felt, the clearer my purpose was and the more authentic I could be in any given situation. The more I released my critical self talk, the better I could express myself. Forgiving is one of the hardest things to do, but it’s so necessary to moving forward in life. Sometimes it’s as easy as just whispering “I forgive you” and walking away knowing you’ve let it go.

Now’s a great time to follow me on Instagram 🙂

Lesson 5 – Stay open

Stay open to love, kindness, understanding, counsel, critiques, people, places, foods and everything the Universe has to offer you. Stay open to being fully yourself and present in your life. In every situation you have the opportunity to decide how to react. Take the time to think, consider then act according to the authentic person you are and stay open to the lessons. There’s opportunity for growth and learning everywhere but to see it, you have to be open to seeing.

Lesson 6 – Allow your greatness to flow

Lastly, one of the biggest lessons I learned was to allow my greatness to flow. To not only offer and give my best self in all situations, but to allow others to give and offer themselves in return. Receiving is one of the hardest things we do. We feel, at times, that it shows we’re in “need” or “weak” or “incapable”. Funny thing is, all those things may be true. We may actually be in need, weak or incapable of doing for ourselves in a given situation, but it doesn’t make us less. Once we begin to realize we’re all connected and to help one is to help many, allowing the flow is easy. Today may be my turn to give to you, tomorrow may be your turn to give to another. Keeping the flow going, making sure that when we’re in a position to give we give, and when were in a position to receive we receive graciously.

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

Conclusion

It’s this final lesson (there are others, but we’ll stop here) that inspired my 2018 theme of “Kindness”. 2017 ended with my breast cancer diagnosis, an amazing trip to Turks & Caicos and deciding, moving forward, how I was going to keep my theme. . . I’ll talk about that next time.

For now, I hope these observations have helped kick start some of your own. What lessons were triggered for you while reading this list? I’d love to hear your ideas on how focusing on self can actually heal and mean embracing others.

Powerful Lessons Learned From “Girl’s Trip”

Powerful Lessons Learned From "Girl's Trip" | Sedruola Maruska

My sisters, niece and I went to see “Girl’s Trip” and we laughed our asses off!

We expected a fun ride, but this was certainly more than we bargained for. Not only did we have a blast being together and enjoying the very adult themes, we learned a lot about women, friendships and life.

If you haven’t had the chance to see “Girl’s Trip”, please grab some girlfriends and make an evening of it! If you think it’s not for you, think again. I was in a theater filled with diverse people and we all took the journey together.

There’s nothing like being in a theater crowd that’s into everything happening on the screen.

Powerful Lessons Learned From "Girl's Trip" | Sedruola Maruska

Full Disclosure

Now, for the record, I want you to know, I didn’t go see this movie with all people of color. This audience was majority white. I’ve been to movies where if you dare laugh too loudly with a majority white crowd someone is ready to call an usher on you. This did not happen here.

As a matter of fact, I was pleasantly surprised to see that at the same times I laughed my ass off, other white asses were falling off too! I’m a woman married to a white man who squirms in his seat if I’m “too loud” during movies so this was truly refreshing.

But the women on the screen truly deserve the credit for keeping everyone engaged. Thing is, this wasn’t just a funny movie, it had heart. The heart made the difference and that’s what I want to explore.

There were powerful lessons throughout the movie. They didn’t just go out for laughs, they went out to celebrate their friendship and In that that celebration, we learned a lot.

Powerful Lessons About Women

  • We are strong – We get so many things thrown at us as women and yet we find a way to bounce up, back or sideways to confront and deal. Bad things happen, but we’re well equip to handle them and more.



  • We are beautiful – These four friends couldn’t be any more different in looks, shape & size but they represented us all. We are different. We look different, we wear different clothes, we wear different sizes, we like different things and that’s okay. We are all beautiful and we need to remember that.

  • We are smart – We can give good advice even when it’s hard to do. We can also take good advice even when it’s hard to swallow. We’re capable of making good decision and bad ones with our eyes open. Never underestimate the power you have and the thoughts that go through your brain. You may be depriving others of your sparkle.

Powerful lessons about Friendship

  • We need our friends – There is no world where women don’t need their sisters because there is no world in which we can do it all alone. We get married, have kids and move away, but we’ll always need our girls. They know us in a way that our loves and our babies can’t. We need that kind of support for a lifetime.



  • Loyalty is Key – We may not see our friends for years, but true friendships never truly die. Loyal and loving friends know that there’s a time to get together and a time to stay quiet. Both are fine.

  • The right friends make a difference – I’ve heard, more than I’d like, that the 5 people you spend the most time with determine who you are. Having those ride-or-die kind of friends who will support your efforts in all that you do is priceless. If no one else is there or believes, they’ll be there and that matters.

Powerful Lesson on Life

  • Be true to yourself – Don’t worry about what the world has to say. The world will always take from you. What you need is to do is deliver your authentic self to the world and see what that brings back. You set the expectations and you may change. That’s okay. Let the world come on a ride with you because what matters most is being true to yourself and what feels right to you.



  • Love is hard – Loving and allowing others to love you back is making yourself vulnerable. Vulnerability is scary. Thing is, not loving is a poor option. So whether you’re loving  yourself, your friends or a significant other you’re opening yourself up to hard stuff. Don’t fear, allow yourself to love and be loved.

  • We all deal with fear – No matter how we think another person has “made it” they have fears. We’re all dealing with our own special demons and what we need are friends to be compassionate. We need to remember we’re not alone and our fear is not our own.

Are you Authentic? Click to read the article and find out for sure.

Final Thoughts

For all the laughing that brought tears of sheer delight, so did the heart of this movie bring tears. We experienced every part of this girls trip. This year I’ve been working to connect with my girls from high school, college and beyond more than I have in the past.

Life takes it’s toll and sometimes we forget the sisterhood. We forget that we need our girls no matter what. I don’t want to forget that anymore. It takes work, but so does anything else that matters. I have my girls that I can call up at any time and know we’ll pick up right where we left off. It’s not a good idea to take that for granted. It’s one of life’s many amazing blessings.

Thank you Malcolm Lee for another beautiful movie with heart. Thank you Latifah, Jada, Tiffany & Regina for your awesome chemistry and depiction. Thank you to my sisters Debbie & Rose and my niece Katya for an amazing evening. And last, but not least, thank you to my girls across the world whom I love, truly cherish and need no matter what. You are loved, supported and appreciated.

Your Turn

Do you need to reach out to your girls? Who do you know is your ride-or-die? What solidified that for you? Talk to me. . . I’d love to hear your stories below. We’ve got those girls, let’s give them props!