There are so many things I want to take lessons in. Cooking, singing, salsa dancing, fiddling, Mandarin Chinese… “One day,” I tell myself. “One day, when I’m not so busy.” Sure, once I have a full time job, a mortgage, and a kid, I imagine I’ll have plenty of time to spend crafting gourmet pastries and practicing Broadway showtunes.
Well, I started tennis lessons this week. Real, live lessons with an instructor. He taught me how to swing a racket without looking like a complete doofus or sending the ball flying over the back fence. I was so excited by my new-found sense of mastery that I went out and bought a tennis racket and a 27-pack of balls. Learning to play tennis requires a lot of balls. That’s because you’re going to hit them a lot of places where your partner can’t hit them back, and you don’t want to spend your entire practice session running around the court to retrieve them. That’s free advice, straight from me to you.
This doesn’t sound very relevant to business school so far, but stay with me.
Now, my friend Christy is a huge tennis nut, and she was thrilled to hear that I’d finally dug my head out of the sand and discovered her favorite hobby. She said, “Did you realize hardcore business women play intense tennis on the weekends and that’s how deals get done?”
I didn’t know that. Apparently, while the male executives are wheeling and dealing on the golf course, their female counterparts are passive aggressively tearing each other to pieces on the tennis court. I’m sure that’s because tennis outfits are way cuter than golf outfits. Anyway, her comment got me thinking about what it takes to be a hardcore business woman. Right now I’m a student, but soon I’ll be launched back into the corporate world. People will demand things of me. I’ll have to innovate, motivate, synergize, and manage up while blazing my path to the C-Suite. No pressure or anything. So it’s good to know that I’ve taken the first step by taking up the official sport of female power brokers.
Next steps to becoming a Hardcore Business Woman:
- Start reading books like “How to Make Friends and Influence People” and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” then tell everyone that true leadership can’t be learned from a book.
- Get up at 5:00am every day to work out. Arrive to the office first and leave last. Never appear tired.
- Casually mention the healthy homemade meal I whipped up the night before. Do this while sipping an organic kale smoothie, because “I’m really trying to take care of my body.”
- Trade in my mid-range sedan for a luxury car, but an understated one that broadcasts my success without being obnoxious about it.
- Have my clothes impeccably tailored à la Claire Underwood (the ultimate power broker).
- Tell everyone I meet how meditation has transformed my life. Never actually meditate.
- Have a Facebook account but pretend to never check it. Have a Twitter account but only follow other executives that I can tweet with familiarity. “@marissamayer Awesome keynote at #Dreamforce! Coffee soon?”
- Get good enough at tennis that I won’t completely destroy my credibility by sending balls flying over the back fence during an important business deal.
Well, since I hate early mornings and can’t afford anything remotely approaching a luxury car, I think I’ll be starting with the last one. C-Suite, here I come!