Workout 28 May 2013

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Another crossfit workout:

500m row

3×4 Power Snatch 65lb
5×3 Squat Clean Jerk 65lb

10×3 Handstand Pushups
7×5 Strict Chinups with band

15 toes to bar
25 double unders
15 kettle bell swings (35lbs)
10 box jump (24″)
(14:28 minutes)



“Owning one’s success is key to achieving more success.”

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Recently I have been reading Sheryl Sandberg’s new book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead and her words almost give me chills as they reach out and speak to women everywhere about how to overcome obstacles that most females face in the workplace. Her chapters each discuss either a common barrier or obstacle that most women face in today’s workforce and how to overcome them. I’m sure you will find that my next few posts will encompass some of the high point’s of Sheryl’s poignant writing.

While reading chapter three: “Success and Likeability” I felt myself chuckling…it almost felt like Sheryl was saying “Malissa, do you hear me yet?” The beginning of the chapter begins to describe the “Heidi and Howard” experiment where two case studies were presented about a male and a female: both cases involved the business success of equally competent real life entrepreneurs. The irony was that the cases were EXACTLY THE SAME, the only difference was that one was female, Heidi and the other male, Howard. When the students were polled about which one would seem like a better colleague, majority of the students polled voted that they would rather work with Howard and that Heidi was seen as selfish. Ironic…the SAME EXACT personality, background, competency yet Heidi was undesirable as a coworker. Ms. Sandberg then writes that the experiment supports the unspoken understanding that “when a woman is successful, people of both genders like her less”(40). She also writes that “for women, even when they’re recognized for their achievements they’re often regarded unfavorably”(4).

I read her words and my mind immediately raced to December of this past year at our Battalion Ball’s DeFleury Ceremony. For those that do not know, the DeFleury is a distinguished honor awarded to members of the Engineer Regiment that have served as distinguished members of the regiment for their valor and actions while an Engineer. When my name was the first called to receive the Steel DeFleury, there were few to no claps…immediately after me came three other recipients, all male, two of which were my peers from two sister companies…all received ovations from their soldiers. I stood there as my Battalion Commander presented me with me the honor of the steel DeFleury and all I could think was “everyone in this room hates me and no one thinks I deserve this…” Unfortunately, after listening to the rumblings coming from my peers, it turned out that some of my hesitation was actually true…my peers were talking garbage about me and my achievements. Instead of feeling a sense of reward and accomplishment, I was immediately knocked off my horse.

In the same chapter of her book, Ms. Sandberg wrote ” in order to protect ourselves from being disliked, we question our abilities and downplay our achievements, especially in the presence of others. We put ourselves down before others can”(41). I think she was talking about me at that moment, I’m almost sure that was the case haha. She suggests that in situations like this, when we know that we will be on the receiving end of criticism for our hard work, we should refer to the following advice: ” we should let ourselves react emotionally and feel whatever anger or sadness being criticized evokes for us. And then we should quickly move on”(49-50).

This is exactly what I did, I let it brew, it probably didn’t help that I did celebrate a little with a glass or two of wine which exacerbated my sadness, but later that night I was up and around dancing and having a ball. I know that I can’t change people’s perceptions, especially those of females in military, but I can control my own reactions and how I move forward from the critics’ remarks. I remain a hard worker, nothing has changed, and I know that I will not be liked by everyone, especially because I am insistent, passionate and motivated: I do not coddle my subordinates or my peers with niceness…only when I know a little sugar will get me the next piece of information I need.

Girls in Green…read Ms. Sandberg’s book…it is worth your while.

Humanizing with Your Coworkers

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I always find it so interesting when senior leadership walk up to one of my soldiers and call them by the wrong last name….or don’t recognize them at all. To me, that slight makes myself and my soldiers very aware that our leadership either doesn’t care to get to know us or just doesn’t have time to get to know us. Both of these explanations for not knowing your subordinates are INEXCUSABLE.

Why do soldiers bees like coming to work every day? Because they like the environment that they are surrounded with and the culture their bosses have bred. I make it a point to talk personally to each of my soldiers every day. Yes, I joke with them occasionally, it adds a human perspective to their boss, but they all know when its time for business. My “serious face” is unmistakable to all of my subordinates which ensures respect up, down and sideways within my section.

The above blog post is critical for leaders to understand. It is important that officers and senior NCO’s alike make a connection with each of their soldiers. When you make a human connection with those that work for you, they feel that you care for them and are invested in their well being. You show that you are sincerely learning about them as a person rather than a subordinate and that you are not just there to evaluate their work ethic. The Military is not solely a business organization, but instead an organization which prides itself on family and teamwork. In order to build a team, you need to make interpersonal connections with every teammate, to include the team captain. You need to know your teams strengths and weaknesses and their personal struggles- this will give you key insight into their daily operating procedures and work ethic.

Girls in Green…ask yourself if you know your coworkers personally…if not, get to know them and learn to grow with them.

Today’s Crossfit Workout…

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crossfitBeat myself up today…

1000m row

5×5 deadlift (90lbs 110lbs, 135lbs, 155lbs, 155lbs)

500m row
12x squat clean thrusters (65 lbs)
21x sledge hammer chops
500m row
9x squat clean thrusters
15x sledge hammer chops
500m rown
6x squat clean thrusters
9x sledge hammer chops

Time: 17:24

Getting stronger takes commitment…work hard Girls in Green!

Embracing Your Feminine Mystique…

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This week I had the pleasure of meeting a couple civilian contractors that support our unit’s maintenance, supply and fieldings. I always ensure that I ask for their business card and put on my best smile. I make them smile, try to make a personal connection and then when they see me next time they have a huge smile on my face and remember me immediately.

I find that using your “feminine mystique” to your advantage in the military is key…but be careful not to abuse the privilege. I recently read an article by Rebekah Iliff from the website “Young Entrepreneur” called “How Today’s Young Female Entrepreneurs Embrace their Feminine Mystique. In the article Rebekah talks about “bellism” which is used to represent the modern day business woman: “smart, strong, beautiful and unapologetic.” Bellism encompasses four features listed below:

1. Don’t be a woman in drag (Be graceful, be whip smart but lighthearted rather than act like a witch towards men).
2. Understand the nature conundrum (using your beauty to your advantage- understanding the power of beauty and femininity, and how it can be used as a catalyst to drive male-decision making, is absolutely necessary)
3. Don’t be a “manizer.” (let men treat you like the badass that you are, from arm’s length)
4. Be of service. (female-driven entrepreneurship has the ability to defy logic and reach heights that profit-only endeavors will never accomplish).

I feel all of these appropriately apply to females in the military. I feel often times, ladies try to be one of two personas: Barbie or Butch. Barbie acts as is she is constantly helpless, uses her feminism to an obscene advantage to the point where her counterparts almost expect that she will need assistance with every task. She flaunts her beauty and uses it to get by. Butch on the other hand acts completely the opposite: though she may look like a lady, she cusses, spits, dips and rubs shoulders daily in conversations that should be reserved for men only. She wants to be “one of the guys” but is never looked at as a lady. Instead she is viewed, as crude, brass and unappealing.

The importance of knowing these two extremes is to help find yourself a healthy balance of the two. I used the example from work to show I used my femininity to network in the workplace. I never try to over-flaunt and flirt with my coworkers or counterparts, but I do always try to make sure they know I am approachable, strong yet not necessarily “one of the guys.” It is important for men to see that you are a lady, but never drown yourself in feminism to the point where you turn into the typical Barbie. Don’t necessarily act like a bitch, but stand your ground, be firm on your beliefs, opinions and products to retain credibility 100% of the time.

Girls in Green, Act like ladies, walk strong and carry a big stick!

read more at:″ title=”How Today’s Young Female Entrepreneurs Embrace their Feminine Mystique”

Picking up Crossfit…

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The Company Commander for the unit I am replacing is crossfit certified.  I decided to jump in on his workout today.  Pretty fun!

36x pullups and dips (no time constraint)


15 wall balls (14lbs)

7 cleans (65 lbs)


30x Turkish getups

1000m row


Kill it!  And then of course this was in the backdrop…



Why are we rude to each other?

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I always wonder whether girls intend to be rude to each other when they first meet a new female?  Today in the shower I had a rude confrontation with one of the females from the outgoing unit.  I have been thinking all morning as to whether she meant to be rude to me or whether she didn’t even realize that the way she was talking to me was rude and abrasive. 

Sometimes I truly believe that females have an uncontrollable reaction to be defensive when they meet a new female.  They immediately buck up to try to prove alpha status.  I found this very true during our relief in place with the outgoing unit.  It seems as if majority of the females (minus my counterpart who has done a fantastic job inculcating me into this culture and lifestyle) are wary of our arrival and unwilling to help us acclimate.  Is this a product of being a female in a competitive environment or do all females react this way?

I can almost compare the feeling I get here when I interact with these females as when a new female comes into your group of close friends at home.  Have you ever been in that situation where you are hanging out with your regular group of friends and one of your guy friends brings his new girlfriend around and she is rude, abrasive and unapproachable?  I definitely have been there and I almost feel that same distance during this relief in place.

Women, I have one piece of advice, there is no use in trying to prove alpha status.  The business environment we operate in would be a hell of a lot better if we all contributed to each other’s success and acted like a community rather than enemies.  Find ways to mingle with your female counterparts at work instead of push them away.  Everyone needs a hand, whether they ask for it or not.

Quit being so rude and hold hands with other GIRLS IN GREEN!

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