I recently had the privilege of attending the 2nd Annual Women in Leadership Summit, held in Queensland. I call it a privilege because that’s how it felt. To be sitting in a room listening to the personal experiences of successful female leaders is something I’ll never forget.
Just in case you are new to Parties, Pearls and Being Precious – I’m very passionate about gender equality, especially in the workplace. So to hear about the challenges these women who are now Chief Executives faced was inspiring and comforting. Comforting because so many of them have faced discrimination and/or harassment or had to deal with conflict on multiple occasions.
It was reassuring to hear that at the time they were facing those issues, they didn’t have the answers. They didn’t know how best to deal with it, they did the best they could at the time. Whats more, they all said that looking back they feel they could have done it better.
Why is that reassuring? Because it’s nice to know they started out where we are. That they faced some difficult and challenging situations, made some mistakes but have still risen to the rank of Chief Executive.
That they faced the same sort of challenges that I’ve faced in my career and they have come out the other side and done so with great success.
I make no secret of the fact that I’m a career girl. I’ve worked very hard to get to where I am and I’m proud of my achievements. It hasn’t been your typical career progression path but it’s my path and I’ve relished every second of it. Well almost every second of it.
I’ve made some mistakes along the way, stayed in roles I was comfortable in for too long. I’ve taken on ridiculous battles, put up with shitty behaviour from colleagues. I’m prone to self-doubt and being overly risk adverse.
In hindsight I’d do a few things differently, but thats the beauty of making mistakes. We learn from them. I don’t think I would be in my current position if I hadn’t made all of those mistakes, so perhaps in hindsight I should do exactly the same thing.
It was truly a wonderful and inspiring thing to listen to so many successful and fabulous women. Each and every single one of them gave this piece of advice.
“Back yourself and don’t be afraid to take a risk”
Self confidence is an issue for so many of us. Most of them also expressed that they had at some point in time (if not multiple times) felt unsure of themselves. They felt unsure of why they had been hired or promoted because they doubted their own capabilities.
As women we need to be confident and believe in our own abilities. If you don’t feel confident straight away, fake it until you make it. Push against the innate behaviour of doubting yourself.
Women make fantastic leaders. There’s a swag of evidence that backs up that statement – google it. What we don’t need to do as leaders, is act like men. As a leader (female or male) you should act in accordance with your personal beliefs and values. You shouldn’t ‘conform’ to what you think you need/should be.
Be honest with yourself about who you are, what your values are and what you want to achieve.
Then go out there and chase those dreams! #WomenCanDoAnything