Recent research shows thousands of women want more impact and success in their careers, but shunpower. Yet ironically, power is what will help them attain the career goals they truly value. If they don’t take the reins now, they’ll miss out on achieving what they want most in their careers.
Here seven are the 7 most damaging power gaps that prevent women from thriving in their careers, and seven bravery boosting paths to break free of them.
Why do some women shun power?
Confident, assertive women are often still perceived as too “forceful” in the workplace. Sadly, we cannot achieve the highest vision of our work without access to greater internal and external power. From an early age (12 or 13), girls who were once just as confident and self-assured as boys start going “underground.” They become more concerned with their body image and social media pressure than boys. As they mature and grow, the idea of becoming powerful is not encouraged for girls and women.
I see bravery and power as two distinct and essential elements needed for self-actualization and authentic success. Bravery is the courage to face head-on what isn’t working in our lives and careers and taking proactive steps to change. Power is the ability to act on your behalf and effectively advocate for yourself and others. This approach is essential to helping us stay competitive in a challenging labor market.
Why is accessing inner power harder for women?
My research has revealed that there are seven damaging “power gaps” that working women face, which prevent them from success:
(1) Not recognizing your unique talents, abilities, and accomplishments
(2) Communicating from fear, not strength
(3) Reluctance to ask for what you deserve
(4) Isolating from influential support
(5) Acquiescing, instead of saying “Stop!” to mistreatment
(6) Losing sight of that thrilling dream for your life
(7) Allowing past trauma and challenges to define you.
So, how do we close these power gaps?
By building a happy life and career through consistent, committed, and intentional bravery, we become the true authors of our existence. We are an amalgam of everything we’ve ever experienced — our childhoods and early family life, cultural and spiritual influences, defeats and victories, even lessons and experiences from our ancestors. This rich material shapes who you are and how you see the world. To leverage your uniqueness, recognize everything your life has given you to this point: your unique perspective, strengths, and abilities. We cannot lead anything well (including our teams, organizations, staff, and projects) if we’re not able to effectively lead our own lives first.
The 7 Bravery Boosting Paths to follow are:
- See yourself more powerfully (Brave Sight)
- Speak more confidently (Brave Speak)
- Ask for and receive what you deserve (Brave Ask)
- Connect to your advantage with influential support (Brave Connection)
- Challenge and change negative behavior toward you (Brave Challenge)
- Be of service in more meaningful ways (Brave Service)
- Heal from past trauma and challenge (Brave Healing)
Choosing these paths increases self-confidence, improving communication, relationships, recognition, leadership impact, and support, which in turn, transforms our careers and futures.