Why aren’t more women asserting themselves at home or at the workplace?
Enough has been said about what holds most women back – their fundamental lack of belief in their value and ability. Recently, the family of an accomplished friend lamented that even if she made a million dollars today, she would still not believe she had achieved something worthwhile.
It got me thinking – why do most women wait for that big event to validate their confidence? Why not celebrate every little positive step, whether at home or at the workplace?
I do not profess to speak for all women, but for those who want to step up the ladder of confidence, here are a few ways that can help personally and professionally:
1. Think like a resume
Documenting a monthly accomplishment list as a habit will ensure that when the time comes, we do not skip out on any worthy ones. Every holiday season, a dear friend of mine sends out a holiday letter instead of the ubiquitous Holiday Card. Her letter celebrates achievements – big and small – made by individual family members throughout the year, as well as collectively. What an incredible way for a family to realise how much they have moved forward in a year.
Now apply this principle to your yearly job appraisal or an important interview and watch your resume build up without digging fruitlessly into your memory bank. Being prepared and having a visual on your big and small accomplishments will ensure that you wear your confidence like a cape. So whether you ran a marathon, helped a coworker meet their target or tutored your neighbor’s kids, make sure you document that periodically.
2. Who do you compete with?
Stories about the wage-gap and boardroom inequality are prevalent. A recent study, cited in Women’s Agenda found that in America, in 2015 , the number of women in CEO roles is so sparse that they are outnumbered by men named John. Researchers consistently find that men negotiate salaries more aggressively than women, but since we don’t know what our coworkers make, why not focus on ourselves first?
Do your homework on yourself and ask how you can move going forward? Taking it one step at a time, do not aim to beat your best, but beat your everyday average. Whether it is a small tweak in your appearance, waking a few minutes early for better productivity or saying hello to a co-worker you never bothered to before, personal development can be incremental to any degree and each step, over time, adds up to building your overall confidence. So look in the mirror and say hello to your ultimate competitor.
3. The Bottom line – You are your biggest advocate
Professionalism is a label you earn. Being on time, knowing your subject, investing in your appearance are all building blocks to self -assurance and confidence. There is no substitute for expertise, ethics and manners.
When you aim to put all these under your belt, people will automatically look up to your aura.
As is oft said: Confidence is like a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it gets. There is enough pressure on women to be accommodating, accomplished and perfect. Give a little slack to your margin of error and do not dwell on your mistakes. Instead take the lessons learnt and focus on your strengths. And remember, be the image you want the world to see.
Do you have tips or stories to share on your experiences? Please share with us in comments below.
(Article originally published in 2016, Revised and updated in 2017- Content is timeless though)
You can’t use up creativity. The more you create, the more you have.
A Designer and Entrepreneur, Aditi graduated from a top design school and subsequently started her own design and merchandising business. Co-founder at Maroon Oak, she has over 17 years of business experience with Two Dotts, her design consulting company and an Etsy store which serves as an outlet for her gifts and patented product designs.
A mother to a teen and a tween, she enjoys running, dancing and raising her newest baby, a Bichon named Miltie.