As young people are preparing this summer to set out on their new careers after completing, in most cases, 15 years of academic education, they must be prepared to change the game as they have learned it up until now. The lessons of learning to be successful in business are significantly different for women than for men. We continue to hear of the disparity of women in leadership positions and comparable pay for comparable work. I have two wonderful young nieces who have just begun this transition into becoming “professional women”.
As a professional business coach for over 25 years, I have coached many women on the secrets of success. I have empathically listened to many as they shared about their lack of confidence, being afraid to make mistakes, being judged by others, etc. Recently, Time Magazine featured a great article published by Katty Kay and Claire Shipment, best-selling authors describing ways of being that create professional success for women. Much of what they talk about is the same coaching I have given to professional women for years. Perhaps it is because I spent most of my corporate career and advanced by learning to work in a male dominated environment and I really liked it.
Here are some of the key points in “Fagan Speak.”
There is no such thing as Failure – only Feedback – I remember one of my first ski instructors telling me “If you’re not falling down then you are not learning how to challenge the hill.” Learn the lesson, get up and move on.
Be Big, Bold and Bodacious – Let people around you know that you are not afraid to share your thoughts. There is a difference between confidence and arrogance. One has more to do with ego. Confidence is based on knowledge and a willingness to share what you know with others.
You are NOT the City Dump – Too many women make themselves available to clean up other people’s messes. Learn to say no and mean it. Your time is valuable. You can care and be empathetic but realize that if people see you as a soft spot – they may not appreciate your strengths.
Don’t Take Things Personally – Don Miguel Ruiz taught us this in his world famous book The Four Agreements. Learn to develop a thick skin. Women spend too many hours looking for approval from others. Learn to give yourself your own acknowledgment and always look accountably at your results – good or bad – to see what you can learn.
Move from Perfection to Production – One of George Patton’s famous quotes “A good plan violently executed NOW is better than a perfect plan next week.” Think time is money. Be willing to adapt as you move forward. What is great about young entrepreneurs is that they adapt and change. One of our most famous quotes from Source Point Training’s Leadership programs is “Leaders Don’t Wait“.
Commitment Shows Up in ACTION – People who see you in action will experienceyour commitment to contribute and to be a part of a working team. Forget about perfection, learn to take risks and then learn from your mistakes. Be willing to be seen as a Big, Bold, Bodacious woman!
Here’s to the success of all young people starting their professional journey this year. I highly recommend Kitty Kay and Claire Shipman’s book The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self Assurance – What Women Should Know.
By Barbara Fagan