As a woman who works in the technology industry, you can imagine that I've found myself outnumbered in my fair share of board rooms. Often I've received questions of how I've responded to the lack of respect that comes with being the only female in the room. However, I've simply never thought anything of the difference in gender. For me, everything is based on performance.
From the start of my career I rooted myself in confidence that transcended my outward differences that were obvious amongst those of us in the boardroom. Don't get me wrong, nothing was handed to me at any point in my career. It was simply instilled in me to work relentlessly for whatever I wanted.
In most industries women are severely outnumbered, but that doesn't mean we bow out of the competition. Rather, we take charge of the conversation and spur impactful necessary dialogues without fear. As a woman who finds herself outnumbered in the leadership levels of business, I have to take charge and lead with bold honest confidence. This requires having respectful conversations within the workplace.
Taking part in issues that are pivotal and essential for women today is our responsibility as leaders in the workplace. As women, we need not be afraid of backlash that could come as a result of differences of opinion. The key, in fact, is to not be afraid. If what you're discussing and fighting for as a woman for women is something you believe to be right, fight for it.
Taking part in issues that are pivotal and essential for women today is our responsibility as leaders in the workplace.
It's even more essential now than ever to take part in conversations within our world. Whether those conversations are rooted within the boardroom or transcend themselves to the media, we are essential players in the success and history of our communities. If you happen to be the only woman in a male dominated workplace, you've accomplished a significant achievement. You now have a responsibility to lead by example. Your leadership should be a reflection of the issues you hold dear, thus your narrative needs to be heard.
In an era that continues to evolve, being honest and bold in the face of such change is essential. Simply because the media shows a male driven narrative, doesn't mean that as women we have anything less to offer. Owning the conversation is imperative, don't sell yourself short on the basis of something as basic as your gender. I feel that I've thrived in the workplace because I've always been authentic and unafraid of any hard work. Hard work is where the fun is, after all. Most importantly, owning our own voices is our responsibility.
When taking part in conversations in the boardroom or in the media, learn to disagree with tact. To receive respect comes by first giving respect. The best leaders and employees alike are those that can be nice to people, regardless of differences. This does not mean that you have to be friends with everyone, but you should start from a platform of respect. Along with such is the importance to encourage others in the workplace to express their opinions. Again, as a woman in a leadership role you're a direct example for men and women in your business. Encouraging other women through your actions is another form of expression.
Courtesy Of Rhonda Vetere, photographed by Studio 5600
The big takeaway is that regardless of what field of work you're thriving in, or what worldly situation you're amongst, you have not only the right but the distinct responsibility to take part in discussions that affect you as a person. Separate the gender stereotypes from your identity, and act simply as a human that has a desire to be involved in the decisions that directly impact you. Women need to be bold and let me reiterate, unafraid as they conduct themselves in the world. Live your life with bone deep confidence that radiates outwards. Your eagerness to join discussions in and out of the workplace only further demonstrate your unapologetic authentic self.
To be a successful woman in any avenue dominated by men, you have to carry an attitude lacking fear and soaked in confidence. Being prepared for anything eliminates the need for fear. Try your hardest to place as little emphasis as possible on the difference in gender between you and your co-workers. You're all professionals trying your hardest to perform your best daily. Your gender doesn't affect your ability to think, create, or excel in any way at all. If anything, you're better for the tenacity that we as women have built within us. Remember, keep the fire in your belly and keep your focus on results not gender.
Personally, I am over the top excited that we are on the cusp of turning the page on not only a new year but also on a new 10-year window of opportunities and possibilities!
You may be thinking, whoa…I am just embracing the fall season…yikes… it is tough to think about a new decade!
Yet it is this groundwork, this forward thought that you put in place TODAY that will propel you and lead you into greatness in 2020 and beyond. Designing a new decade rests in your ability to vision, in your willingness to be curious, in your awareness of where you are now and what you most want to curate. Essentially, curating what's next is about tapping into today with confidence, conviction, and decision. Leading YOU starts now. This is your new next. It is your choice.
Sometimes to get to that 'next', you need to take a step back to reflect. Please pardon my asking you to spend time in yesterday. Those who know me personally, know that I created and continue to grow my business based on enabling the present moment as a springboard for living your legacy. So, indulge me here! True, I am asking you to peek into the past, yet it is only in order for you to bring the essence of that past forward into this moment called NOW.
One of the best ways to tap into what's next is to clarify what drives you. To design a new decade, ask yourself this question about the past ten years:
What worked? What were my successes?
Make a list of your achievements big and small. Don't type them, but rather use ink and paper and sit with and savor them. Move your thoughts and your successes from your head, to your heart, to your pen, to the paper. Remember that on the flip side of goals not attained and New Year's resolutions abandoned, there was more than likely some traction and action that moved you forward, even if the end result was not what you expected. Once you have a full list of a decade's worth of personal and professional accomplishments, think about how this makes you feel. Do you remember celebrating all of them? My guess is no. So, celebrate them now. Give them new life by validating them. Circle the successes that resonate with you most right now. Where can you lean into those accomplishments as you power into the decade ahead?
Now comes a tougher question, one that I used myself in my own mid-life reinvention and a question I adore because in a moment's time it provides you with a quick reconnect to your unique inner voice.
If it were 10 years ago and nothing were standing in your way, no fear or excuses to contend with…what would you do?
Don't overthink it. The brilliance of this question is that it refocuses purpose. Whatever first came to mind when you answered this for yourself is at its core a powerful insight into defining and redefining the FUTURE decade. Bring your answer into the light of today and what small piece of it is actionable NOW? Where is this resonating and aligning with a 2019 version of yourself?
Then, based on your success list and your answer to the above question, what is your 2020 vision for your business and for the business of YOU?
Designing a new decade begins as a collection of 3,650 opportunities. 3,650 blank slates of new days ahead in which to pivot and propel yourself forward. Every single one of those days is a window into your legacy. An invitation to be, create, explore, and chip away at this thing we call life. One 24-hour segment at a time.
While you have a decade ahead to work on design improvements, you have the ability to begin manifesting this project of YOU Version 2020 right NOW. Based on exploring the exercises in this post, begin executing your vision. Ask questions. Be present. Let go of 2019 and the past 10 years so that you can embrace the next 10. Position acceptance and self-trust at the forefront of how you lead you. One choice at a time.
Don't get bogged down in the concept of the next 10 years. Instead position clarity and intention into each new day, starting today. Then chase every one of those intentions with an in-the-moment commitment and solution toward living a legendary life!