I recently read the book Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office. The author Lois Frankel says, “I often hear women say they don’t care if they’re given credit; they’re just happy to make a contribution to the bottom line.”
We’ve all either been there or seen it happen in the corporate world, start-up world and other venues.
Why do women just want to contribute to the bottom line as the author suggests? Are we being genuine?
In today’s New York Times an article was published “Instead of Work, Younger Women Head to School.” The article says more young women are going back to school to brush up on their skills rather than enter a bleak job market.
The author interviews a young woman who worked at Starbucks, but went back to school for her masters degree. She says “as women we feel like we have to be more educated to be able to compete in any field.”
I notice with friends women are less likely to jump into the ring because they doubt themselves. The ring means jumping on a career opportunity, or speaking up in a meeting.
If You Go In Like A Football Player You Won’t Get Hurt
I like the metaphor of the football player who goes into a tackle and avoids injury by going in “hard” and being aggressive. The player balancing on his heels ends up getting tackled. He will be the one to get injured. Football players and professional athletes can’t over think moves. They simply don’t have time. The player who is brave, focused and tenacious will be the victorious one.
The “I don’t give a sh*t I’m going in” Moment
Have you ever had that moment when you’ve worked so hard for something–blood, sweat, tears–despite your nervousness–you want to be heard? I wrote a blog recently about passion being the path to the podium. The same idea is explored here today.
For people who’ve had shyness in the past, insecurity, low self-esteem the key is to practice showing up. Speak up, raise your hand, ask questions. If it’s easier for you to, start blogging, tweeting and vocalizing an opinion.
Perhaps Lois Frankel, the author of Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office isn’t entirely correct. Nice girls might not get the corner office, but honest girls do. Step one is being honest with yourself.
There are things that can help you do this. Check out the suggestions from Bebe Principal Accounting Officer and VP Controller (and the person who recommended the Nice Girls book) Liyuan Woo who gave me these suggestions for a Women 2.0 article.
· Believe that everything is possible as long as you truly want it
·Chart your career path and plan ahead on how you want to get to the end point, but revisit and revise as you progress
· Seek a career path and a company to work for that you truly connect with, and want to see yourself in senior position there; or at least can train you to be in that position some day
· Seek mentors, women or men, you can connect with and are super connectors (e.g., well positioned in leadership already, with huge network etc.)
·Raise your voice and hands frequently in warranted situations and make your intentions and your presence known
· Read books and participant in activities that help you navigate your way as a woman who wants to climb the ladder
· Prepare yourself for superb communication skills (e.g., written and speaking training; Toastmaster etc.)
·Network, network and network – put yourself out there in the market place, but choose venues intelligently
·Volunteer to be on a non-profit board as a starting point – choose specialty roles if you don’t care to fund raise only (e.g., financial, legal or HR expertise)
Do you find you have trouble taking credit? Do you have fear of public speaking? Of raising your hand? Please share your story.