“We are each responsible for our own life. If you’re holding anyone else accountable for your happiness, you’re wasting your time.” – Oprah Winfrey
Women are more empowered than ever to rise up, find their voice and take personal responsibility. Following the headlines on women’s rights and marches, #MeToo, and Oprah’s riveting speech at the 2018 Golden Globes declaring, “A new day is on the horizon”, I’m wondering will we choke on missed opportunity? We each have a responsibility to be living our best lives, unencumbered by limitations set by others and ourselves. How are you creating a personal life revolution?
Ten years ago I started my Master’s thesis on the differences in gender leadership to prove women make better leaders. My results were surprising. Women and men are equally successful leaders with different skills. However, men are perceived as superior leaders by both genders, men and women. Ouch. Little has changed from my thesis recommendations encouraging women to take personal responsibility for their career advancement. Ten years of coaching professional women, I’ve witnessed their struggles regardless of background and education. The top things that block women from advancing are: a lack of self-worth, self-promotion, and personal leadership.
Self-worth – Settling for a mediocre career or not getting paid fairly is directly tied to your self-worth and lack of confidence. Women are 8x less likely to ask for more money than men. Salary negotiation, annual reviews, and promotions are opportunities to ask. Did you know management’s perception of a woman that doesn’t ask for more is she’s not leadership material or intelligent? Ouch. Do market research, take a negotiation class, or phone a friend. Practice in the mirror and repeat after me, “I am worthy.”
Self-promotion – Women work hard. However, we make the mistake by assuming this equals recognition and reward. We get angry after an abysmal increase or being passed over for a promotion. You must learn how to discuss your awesomeness, stellar contributions and your expectations. Your boss is busy, you can’t assume they know you should be nominated for employee of the year. Chances are they haven’t seen you in weeks. Start by having a courageous conversation asking for regular 1:1 monthly meetings. Courageous conversations are politically correct right now.
Personal Leadership – It’s not enough to take action, women must be strategic. I often hear, ‘I’m too busy.” While you’re busy taking care of everyone but you, your competition is mining for opportunities, networking with successful people, building teams, and becoming visible. Men do this exceptionally well. Don’t wait for someone to miraculously hand you a new job or promotion; it’s all on you.
Yes, a new day is dawning. Will you seize this historical moment and fight for your career success or sit on the sidelines, letting another day pass you by wondering why you don’t have the career of your dreams, aren’t being treated fairly or getting paid your worth? As the media frequently touts, 2018 is the Year of the Woman! You officially have permission to find your inner-champion. I expect nothing less.