At a meeting of a professional women’s organization recently,
I spoke with and counseled six different women, all consultants owning their
own businesses. Each of these women expressed a desire to grow her business and
to develop herself professionally. Yet, each failed to take the positive and
powerful steps that would enable them to get where they wanted to go.
self-created obstacles they manifested or shared with me:
Did you know that even today, many women sell themselves
short and continue the self-defeating behaviors that kept their mothers’ in
support roles, rather than leadership roles. It is still safer for us to be
“helpers” or “committee members” rather than taking on the decision making and
public persona of the leadership role.
- Not investing in their business equipment and
- Doing everything themselves rather than
- Not having support personnel to call on.
- Not investing in professional marketing
- Not dressing as though they were successful.
- Speaking in a quiet and self-effacing manner.
- Not volunteering to chair, rather only offering
Why do we do this? – Because we don’t want to look pushy, or
bossy, or appear to be too strong or competitive. In other words, because it’s
not “lady-like” to stand up and stand out.
When I mentioned this trait to a male CEO at lunch the other
day, he responded believing this was no longer true, that women were as strong
and dynamic in the workplace as their male counter-parts. He mentioned knowing
20 dynamite women executives. He’s right. He’s also wrong. For every 100
dynamite male executives he can point to, there is only one female. We are
getting there – but we haven’t all arrived yet. It is wonderful to see the
role-models that do exist – these incredible women who reassure us that we can
be the best we can be.
One of the ways we manifest our self-defeating behavior is
our lack of trust in our ability to be financially successful. We fail to
invest in our own businesses or professional practices. Ask yourself how much
money you invested in setting up your business. Compare this to others you know
in similar professions. Typically, men will borrow whatever money they need to
set themselves up, and women will start out on a shoestring, working out of the
garage or second-bedroom.
How many other self-defeating behaviors can you identify
that stand in your way of being the best you can be?
Labels: personal investment, self-defeating, women leadership