ArLyne's Diamonds

A running commentary of ideas

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Be the Best You Can Be

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. 

Among the self-created obstacles they manifested or shared with me:
  • Not investing in their business equipment and supplies.
  • Doing everything themselves rather than delegating.
  • Not having support personnel to call on.
  • Not investing in professional marketing materials.
  • Not dressing as though they were successful.
  • Speaking in a quiet and self-effacing manner.
  • Not volunteering to chair, rather only offering “to help”.
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.

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?  

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