Too often women take a backseat in their careers because they’re too shy or insecure to go after what they truly want. Here are seven business rules to follow to empower professional gals to forge ahead in their careers with confidence and tact.
(Photo Credit: Dell Inc./Flickr)
1. Don’t be afraid to fail – So many dreams are stifled before the first step is even taken, because of the fear of failure. The word definitely has a negative connotation, and people forget that there is also a positive, empowering side to failing that often gets overlooked – with every failure, there is also a very valuable lesson learned. The great Bill Gates reminds us that, “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” So, stop thinking of failure as an end, and begin to see the power in the lesson learned, so that you can use it to your advantage in your career.
2. Be fierce – You’ll never get to the top by being passive and quiet. Be fierce, ladies! When you’re going after your dreams and aspirations, it’s vital to have an “I am woman, hear me roar” mentality because that’s what’s going to successfully break down walls (or glass ceilings). As the infamous female philosopher and author, Ayn Rand, reminds us, “The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.”
3. Don’t be shy – Just as our grade-school teachers reminded us, “No question is a dumb question,” so ask away! If you find yourself in a pickle and need some help, then, by all means, ask someone for help. A lot of women are too embarrassed to ask for help in a professional setting, fearing that they’ll be perceived as unintelligent or bothersome. This just isn’t the case. Asking for assistance from others is actually a sign of strength, because it takes a certain level of self-confidence to admit that you need help. It’s time to raise those hands, ladies.
4. Stay positive and be confident – Negativity, big or small, has a way of creeping in and making you forget all of the hard work you’ve accomplished, so be aware of this fact and nip negativity in the bud before it sets you back. Confidence looks awesome on a woman, so wear it humbly, yet proudly! When you feel good about yourself, your work shows for it.
5. Stop apologizing if it’s not your fault – Ever notice the difference in responses when a man accidentally bumps into someone, versus a woman? The man will, more times than not, respond with a respectful, “Excuse me. I must not have seen you there,” whereas, a woman is likely to respond with an apologetic plea for forgiveness. The same goes for the workplace: women are constantly apologizing and beating themselves up for mistakes, even if they weren’t the ones who messed up. People know when you’re being sincere, so stop over-apologizing about every little thing. Less is more, ladies.
6. Encourage others around you, especially other women – Harvard Business Review’s CEO Snapshot Survey found that “half of CEOs report experiencing feelings of loneliness in their role, and of this group, 61 percent believe it hinders their performance,” so be sure to empower a few capable and supportive colleagues along with you as you climb the corporate ladder. Paying a compliment to other coworkers is a great way to boost morale, enhance beneficial camaraderie, and show confidence in the workplace — and a confident woman is an unstoppable one.
7. Own your success – Women tend to shy away from taking ownership of their accomplishments and successes in fear of being judged or not being deserving of the “prize.” Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of Lean In, talked about this double-standard in her TED Talk presentation when she announced that “success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women.” Instead of acting coy about your successes, why not start owning them and using them as empowerment to do more in your career and life? Be embarrassed about your laziness, envy, and excuse-making — the negative aspects of your personality that keep you down — not the aspects that lift you up and empower you to reach your dreams.
Women need to stop seeing themselves as less deserving in any aspect of their lives, because, the reality is, this world needs a heck of a lot more confident, empowered females to outweigh the superficiality that the media impresses upon young women nowadays. Encourage women, young and old, to crave success, not aesthetics; wealth, not riches; and poise, not arrogance.
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