How hard a time do women have connecting to their power? Are they more reluctant than men to brand themselves as experts?
Not long ago I was conducting a “Message of You” workshop for women. As we shared our mess-to-success life journeys, I noticed we all seemed to have something in common: each of us seemed to feel compelled to APOLOGIZE for her SUCCESS (Note: Hillary was absent that day).
One woman told us of her growing up in a poor family. She had been determined to attend a decent college, but related that there hadn’t been enough money for her to take one of those courses that all but guarantees one a better SAT score. Refusing to give up, she actually figured out how to improve her own test-taking ability. She achieved the score required for acceptance and then, still in her 20s, wrote a book on how she’d accomplished it.
It was an incredibly impressive story. Had Hillary been at that workshop, she would have no doubt guaranteed. But this woman totally MINIMIZED her accomplishments with, “And what did I do with that terrific education? Nothing. I’m JUST a stay-at-home mom to 4 kids. So it was all for NOTHING.”
She wasn’t the only one characterizing herself as a LOSER. All the women were reluctant to OWN THEIR SUCCESSES, even though they’d run businesses while raising a family, fixed their plumbing, saved lives by getting traffic lights installed at what had been a dangerous intersection, all sorts of things that would have looked good on their permanent record…if they weren’t so quick to write them off. They felt more comfortable diminishing their accomplishments. The word I was hearing way too much was “JUST.” “I’m JUST running a small business…I’m JUST working for someone… I JUST work with kids.”
At a previous workshop, a man was eager to launch a corporate speaking career based on his LACK of accomplishments — he’d lost his parents, lost his marriage, and lost a million dollars. I then assumed that he was now happily married and enjoying a fat bank account, but NO! He’d been unemployed for two years, single and living in his car. And it wasn’t a Mercedes. Yet, he saw himself as someone capable of giving advice. What were we to learn from him? “I’m a loser and follow me into the pit.” Really???
Is copping to one’s strengths and successes a GENDER issue?
DR. PHIL wrote a BEST SELLING BOOK on WEIGHT LOSS. Anyone but me notice this man is chubby? What’s his next book going to be? Hair Care Tips for Men?
I’m not suggesting we take testosterone, but we would do well to access the alpha male component and give ourselves the credit we deserve. Let’s not believe because we still get paid less that we are worth less. Each day is full of us climbing out of a mess to a success — climbing stairs or climbing out of a depression. We battle entropy, acquire new coping skills and get closer to having better relationships, whiter teeth, flatter stomachs and bigger bank accounts. Okay, maybe not flatter stomachs.
Stop. Write the success of yesterday. Own it. It’s yours.
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