Self-development and leadership experts Cynthia Bentzen-Mercer and Kimberly K. Rath offer spirited, if familiar advice for mid-career women in this guide to doing—and succeeding in—the work of your dreams.
The authors are founders of Zeal of the Heal, a consulting service aimed at empowering women in their careers. Too often, the authors posit, women are so overworked and distracted by the constant pull on their attention—work, family, community, etc.—that they fail to give sufficient thought or preparation to truly growing and expanding their prospects. This reactive approach ends up constraining their opportunities and options.
Women need to focus, they write, not only on what feels urgent or is right in front of them, but on what is Near and then what is Next. “We debunk the myth that putting your head down and working hard is the best way to realize your fullest potential,” they write.
The pair walk through issues such as boundary-setting, working while raising kids, clarifying your vision, and turning down work that doesn’t serve you. The text is peppered with enthusiastic sayings and mantras—“ignite intentionality” is a standout—and with numerous pull-out quotes. Their tone is positive and encouraging.
The content, however, adds little new to the conversation. In a discussion of imposter syndrome, for example, they do little more than define it and warn women away from it, offering a few motivational paragraphs; in the section on seeking mentors and sponsors, they fail to produce any fresher ideas than scanning one’s network for likely prospects.
In addition, the book is more focused on the emotional than the practical, talking at great length about getting in touch with one’s true desires and creating visions of one’s dream career, without offering much new, pragmatic guidance on how to make it happen.
Women new to motivational business books will find helpful information on tackling emotional hurdles, but this well-intentioned title mostly offers well-trod guidance for mid-career searchers.