Liz Carpenter on Success
Feb 18 2009

Now for the next highlight of one of the people I interviewed for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, on Liz Carpenter that was published in the March/April 2005 issue.  You can check out the post I did on Mort Meyerson, former CEO of both EDS and Perot Systems, for some background information.

My writing partner, Pam Losefksy, and I pulled these articles together.  You can see them on the Success Profiles page of this blog. The series started as Success To Me and during the middle of last year we changed it to Self Starter to focus more on entrepreneurs.  When we told them we weren’t able to continue due to our other commitments, they brought the series in house.  You can see the full article on Liz Carpenter by clicking HERE (pdf).

Liz received her BA from UT in 1942.  She was the White House press secretary to Ladybird Johnson.  She is the author of several books and uses humor extensively not only in her writing but also in her speeches and day to day conversations.  One of her first books was called “Start with a Laugh,” which was a first hand account of writing speeches during her white house years.   She would be about 88 years old right now and was an active supporter of the women’s movement.

We started the article with this quote by Liz:

To me, being able to use your time, hopefully profitably, doing what you want to do, and finding happiness in it, is success. I think the keys to success are sharing and having a generous heart and a sense of humor. Another trait of successful people is that they are aware — they have inquiring minds.  And finally, people who are successful are committed to taking risks and to walking through open doors. If you don’t trust yourself to take a risk, you’re likely to be left out of greater success.

She then went on to say.

There’s an old quote from the women’s movement: “Men are made anxious by failure. Women are made anxious by success.” I think women have gotten much braver since the start of the women’s movement in this country, and it thrills me that now we are not so anxious with success. We now help each other achieve it.

I agree that many women (myself included) don’t really feel comfortable with success outside the home environment.  I know that sounds strange, but I’m still on the cusp of the generation of women who grew up with mothers (who may or may not have worked outside of the home) who were still ‘programmed’ to think about life, womanhood, wife hood, and motherhood in a certain way.

There have been many changes in society since we were children and as women we have many more opportunities than our mothers had (without having to worry as much about the glass ceiling and with having no help from our spouses), but many of us still struggle with defining our roles.  I imagine the same is true for men who now find themselves much more involved in child care than our fathers were.  With many more women working (by choice sometime during their children’s lives) than ever before, men have to be more involved in the day to day business of house management and child care because we often don’t have the nearby family support system that used to exist.  Our mother’s who had to work or chose to work in many cases had to do everything without much support from their spouse.

So it’s no wonder we sometimes still feel residual anxiety about success because with success comes worry about how we will manage the rest of our lives with kids…because I think it’s already been proven that although we can have it all, we can’t have it all at the same time!

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An Inside Look at a Little Known Secret to Success
Apr 10 2008

Liz’s assistant approached me a few weeks ago about doing a guest post on my blog.  She sent me a copy of her book The MavHERick Mind, which I mentioned in my Psychology of Entrepreneurship post.  It’s a really quick and easy read and a great reminder of how/why our thoughts get in the way of our success!  One quote from a famous person that she included in her book that made me really smile was “If it is once again one against forty-eight, then I am very sorry for the forty-eight.” by Margaret Thatcher.

liz-pabon-headshot.jpgAn Inside Look at a Little Known Secret to Success
By: Liz Pabon, The Branding Maven

During a recent interview, I was asked if women find it easier (or harder) to model the branding principles I teach.  While my answer may not come as a surprise to you, identifying where you fit within the continuum may.

Here’s how I replied…

The fascinating thing about it all is that women are known to wear their hearts on their sleeves, are more generous, and are generally an open book.  Yet, in business many women have been led to believe they must hide behind a role…the role of “business woman.”

What do I mean by hide?

Let me explain…

You see it’s quite a challenge to be your most authentic self when you turn who you are at your inner most core “on” or “off” depending on your circumstances.  Yet, that’s exactly what many women do. 

When we’re with friends we play the role of “trusted friend” always listening, offering sage advice or just being…silly.

When we’re with family, we play the role of “mother,” “wife,” “daughter,” “sister.” It’s then that we exhibit all the behaviors and place (sometimes unrealistic) expectations on ourselves associated with those roles.

Now you may be thinking to yourself, I’m 100% authentic 100% of the time.

It’s funny how we are sometimes asleep to the subtle shifts in our behavior brought on by the situation we’re in.

Here’s what I observed in the interview I mentioned earlier…

During my interview we had a short break.  And on this break the host and I gabbed about shoes, lipstick and where we planned to vacation this summer.  As soon as we got the cue that we were back on the air, her voice tone and demeanor did an about face and she was now playing the role of “show host.” 

Was she being phony in her role as show host?  No.  But she turned off the delightful, engaging part of her and replaced it with a more formal, conservative persona.  Had her listeners been introduced to the woman I connected with during the break, her listening audience numbers would grow like wild fire!

What’s the result of all this mask wearing and role swapping?

Living with a tiresome sense of having to compartmentalize yourself instead of enjoying life in a wonderful stream of simply being.   Where the personal and the professional flow naturally and effortlessly as one.

It’s a rule of good branding to remain consistent.  Showing your market two faces can lead to disaster.  Showing your market what you think they want to see can also prove ineffective.

Business today has gotten very personal.  What this means is giving (and showing) your audience more of who you are and what you’ve got. 

That’s a little known secret to success.

©Copyright 2008 Liz Pabon.  All rights reserved.

About the author:  Liz Pabon (aka: The Branding Maven) is a champion of women, shoe lover, award-winning author, and brand strategist.  To learn more about Liz and her recent book, The MavHERickTM Mind, visit her at

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Success To Me – Clay Nichols
Mar 6 2008

I co-write articles on the topic of success for university alumni magazines with my fabulous writing partner Pam Losefsky. Our latest article for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, is on Clay Nichols.  Clay is a Michener Fellow at the Texas Center for Writers and Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer at DadLabs, an Internet TV show featuring humor and advice on fatherhood.

Our goal with this endeavor was to get people thinking about what success means to them by reading stories on how others define success.  Please click here to see more success profiles.  Here is a thought provoking quote from the article:

Leadership in a corporate context is very different from that in a family context.  To me that’s painfully and brutally obvious, but I’ve run across many who don’t seem to recognize that distinction and the relationship with their families suffers irreparably.”  He goes on to say “The time you spend with your kids is going to be as valuable to your ultimate success as the time you spend with your colleagues.”

You can’t manage relationships with friends and family the same way you manage relationships at work or manage your career.  I fall victim to thinking it can be managed the same myself from time to time.  They are two different things and as we’ve seen from observing people around us trying to fit a square peg in a round hole doesn’t usually turn out that well.

Stay tuned for a whole new series with the next edition of The Alcalde that will be called Self Starter. We will be interviewing exclusively entrepreneurs from The University of Texas at Austin.  Hook ’em Horns!


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Do Not Plan Your Career!
Oct 1 2007

According to Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape, Opsware, and now Ning (a social networking site) you should NOT plan your career.  I wholeheartedly agree.  We are living in different times where there are too many variables to plan for a life-long career at say IBM, GM, Dupont, etc.  He then says focus on developing your skills and pursuing opportunities.  I agree with this too because you may just stumble upon your, shall we say, happiest LIFE.  This doesn’t mean don’t have goals.  If you want to be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, then pick opportunities to help you develop those skills so that when the opportunity presents itself, you are ready.

Check out his lengthy but interesting blog post where he describes in depth his following rules of career planning:

The first rule of career planning: Do not plan your career.

The second rule of career planning: Instead of planning your career, focus on developing skills and pursuing opportunities.

His thoughts reminded me of the thoughts shared by one of my interviewees (available on the Succes Means… tab of this blog).  His name is Jimmy Treybig, and he happens to be the founder of Tandem Computers, which is now part of Hewlett-Packard.  Oh and Jimmy also happens to be one of my Babble Soft business Advisors.

One of the things I notice most prominently about Marc’s blog posts is that he often uses the feminine gender (i.e., she, her) in his writing when he gives illustrations.  I think that’s great and it’s a small step to help adjust all of our minds and remind us that women comprise at least 50% of the world population!

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