Recognizing negotiability, building confidence, and redistributing skills for a happier you.
It’s not a new concept; women holding themselves back because of barriers often manufactured within their own minds. It is a recurring theme that has been addressed across a broad array of media and publications for decades. But it is a theme that we, as women, need to continue to revisit, ensuring we are continually identifying challenges and growing from them.
To overcome the obstacles women face in the workforce, they need to begin by understanding them—starting with many assumptions that are all in their heads.
1. RECOGNIZE NEGOTIABILITY & ASK
It is almost always not written in stone.
Interestingly, women often perceive their situations as fixed, absolute, and less negotiable than they really are. And as a result of these perceptions, women often hold themselves back inadvertently in the workplace.
We often fail to recognize opportunities in circumstances as a result of powerful social, cultural, and political influences. Think about it. From the moment we are born we are cloaked in pink and gifted a doll and kitchen set. As we navigate through life we are told to raise our hands, wait our turn, and act like a lady. These attributes, while celebrated in school, are certainly less celebrated in the workplace.
In order to truly excel, we need to recognize and command our desires. We need to think outside the carefully crafted box society has put us in. We need to ask.
2. EXERCISE YOUR CONFIDENCE BONE
But in order to ask, we need to be confident. Confidence begins—and begins to dissolve, the moment we are born. Many women are born confident only to have such confidence eroded slowly and systematically over time. Somehow I am always caught off-guard to hear my daughter’s decisive “yes” and “no” without her even taking a moment to analyze the consequences of her choices. Her strength in decision-making is enviable.
As an adult, I have recognized that my ability to do the same has been bogged down by concerns of judgment and fear. But, as discussed in Lipstick Lawyerisms of a Work-at-Home Mom, “[w]ith each interaction with a new date, a new mom, a new potential employer, I’ve accumulated wisdom. I’ve learned not to check my brain at the door, because sometimes you need that brain to get out of a nasty or unexpected situation. I’ve grown more courageous, I’ve grown more canny, and most importantly, I’ve grown more confident.”
3. REDISTRIBUTE YOUR SKILLS
So what happens when we find ourselves wrapped into the current climate of the world and being forced to make life and career choices—career changes?
It is the ultimate culmination of finding our female voice. We recognize our strengths. We pool our resources. We redistribute our skills. And we do all of this in a way that is fueled by passions rather than crippled by fears. This fuel leads to change, which should be embraced, rather than avoided.
“We as women are seeking to progress in our homes, in our careers, and in our pockets. Change is a necessary component to progress, to enable us—as women—to evolve in our society.”
Excerpts extracted from Lipstick Lawyerisms of a Work-at-Home Mom, Tori Stetson