When you look at successful men and women, you notice differences in how they view success. Those differences are what push so many men ahead and, unfortunately, hold many women back.
But the thing is…that women, just like men, can evolve into inspiring leaders. When effectively and professionally trained and nurtured, females can learn how to navigate their career with political savvy and success.
Women are strong and capable. However, self-limiting beliefs often get in the way of asking for what they want. All of us, regardless of gender, to a certain extent are subject to self-limiting beliefs. That said, when we perceive a problem, we need to be proactive in the solution of those problems. This blog is designed to encourage females to operate from a platform of strength, through which they can acknowledge their value and realize their full potential.
Are you holding yourself back?
Do you envy all those self-confident men out there and wish you could be just as strong and self-assured?
Are you uncomfortable asking for what you want?
Do you shy away from the spotlight, because you’re concerned about exposing your own flaws and imperfections?
Are you hesitant about asking for a promotion, because you have a tendency to minimize your achievements?
Are you reluctant to seize opportunities for self-promotion, because you believe you aren’t good at it or don’t know how to do it?
Are you holding yourself back from expressing your unique and exciting ideas, because you worry about not being the subject matter expert?
If you’re female, these limitations, which are not as common with men as they are with women, may sound all too familiar. They may even overwhelm, distract, and discourage you. In my coaching practice, I have the privilege of working with amazing and dynamic females. While not all of my female clients fall into the above obstacles, I oftentimes find myself having to challenge many to move beyond their comfort zone and to adopt a stronger voice.
Unencumbered by the above limitations, men also enjoy the benefits of having a significantly different outlook than women, especially in how they both define success and pursue success. Sure, neither men nor women like to change. But, men seem to not get distracted by emotions that hijack behavior. This is another noteworthy difference that women must address.
The proven gender difference.
A couple of years ago, Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development reported results in a 40-year study of mathematically talented men and women seeing how they progressed over the years, starting from age 13. The study wanted to see if these people go on to, “generate creative contributions, become leaders in their professions, earn high incomes and be pleased with the quality of their lives,” according to professor David Lubinski, a co-author of the study. He went on to say that “Early manifestations of exceptional mathematical talent do lead to outstanding creative accomplishment and professional leadership, but with notable sex differences.”
Lubinski noted that “Men in the study were more likely to be CEOs or to be employed in information technology or fields associated with science, technology, engineering or mathematics (the so-called STEM fields).” Conversely, the women were “more often employed in general business, elementary and secondary education, and health care—or were homemakers.” This difference in career paths meant that the “men were more highly compensated than women, with median incomes of about $140,000 compared to $80,000 for women.”
Why gender imbalance exists.
Do you wonder what’s holding you back?
Perhaps it’s that women are perceived as less competent and lacking leadership potential. As a result, they encounter greater challenges, or face increased skepticism regarding their ideas and abilities to work in the same fields as men. This may lead to their avoiding the careers referenced in the Peabody study.
But are these the only reasons?
Or perhaps it’s due to innate differences in men’s and women’s perceptions, decisions, and behaviors. “Men are more likely than women to engage in dominant or aggressive behaviors, to initiate negotiations, and to self-select into competitive environments—behaviors likely to facilitate professional advancement,” as shown in a Harvard Business Review article. In other words, “…men are more motivated by power and status…women tend to be more motivated by affiliation—the desire for warm, close relationships with others.”
Being warm and fuzzy isn’t the answer.
You are who you are. It’s that simple.
Possessing female motivations doesn’t have to define how far you go. You can change. You can adjust. You can focus on achievements and the obstacles you have to overcome, instead of focusing on your limitations. It will however require you to become your best PR person and celebrate your uniqueness with pride.
In a recent special report in in The Globe and Mail regarding the concerns women face, Dr. Stephen Murphy, dean of the Ted Rogers School of Management at Toronto’s Ryerson University, said the following: “As we enter 2017, female leaders should be conscious of their narratives and highlight and celebrate their accomplishments as corporate leaders, unapologetically.”
As you’re forging your own upward path and pushing to reach new heights of achievement in business and in life, surround yourself with champions and sponsors within your company who can offer you encouragement.
Listen to the sage advice of Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and one of America’s most successful female leaders. She said in her book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, “We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.”
To make sure that change for the better happens to you, you must focus on gaining a leadership and communications style that is more focused. You must elevate your visibility quotient. You must learn the skills to make that happen at our upcoming Art of WOW Conference®. For women only, this two-day program on March 7 & 8 teaches females how to identify opportunities for success and to enhance their power and status within their organization and showcase confidence. Sign up today to close the gender gap, project your unique persona, be a compelling communicator, command more respect and attention, and feel more balanced personally and professionally.
Looking forward to seeing you—and wowing you—at WOW!