Written by 9:00 am SheHandlesIt Mindset, Women in Business • 33 Comments

Speak Up and the World Will Listen

speak up

We live in a world where we can become anything we want — yet we still see a huge disparity between men and women in leadership roles. Why is that?  

Don’t get me wrong here, ladies. We’re doing a kick-ass job of getting in there and moving up. In 2021 alone, the number of women in senior management roles worldwide grew to 31%!

Even with that wonderful news, we still have a long way to go. According to CNBC, there are approximately only 23 women running Global 500 businesses — which is only 4.6% total. Even though this is an all-time high, women only make up 8.2% of CEOs in major corporations.

Why Aren’t We Pushing Ourselves?

Seeing these articles about growth for women in 2020 and 2021 is exciting — but it also has me thinking — why? Why are we still not pushing ourselves further and harder to take on these roles that I know we’re capable of crushing? 

I had the privilege of attending a presentation given by Melissa Christie some years ago. At the time, she was the Director of Member Experience at Newtown Athletic Club and an absolute powerhouse of a woman. 

One of the reasons she believes prohibits women from moving into top positions comes down to not speaking up, compared to our male counterparts. 

A survey published in 2019 states that 68% of men negotiate their salary, but only 45% of women do the same.  

Another study published in 2021 confirms that almost 60% of women still don’t even try to negotiate. This is perhaps one of the biggest mistakes you can make — and it’s even more critical to women because if we start low, the chances of catching up are slim to none.

It’s Time to Ask for What You Deserve

The answer is always ‘no’ to any question we don’t ask. So why not try — what’s the harm in negotiating? Part of the problem is a woman’s perception of her role and what it takes to get there.  

During her presentation, Melissa shared with us something that still resonates with me today. 

When men find success, they tend to have the mindset of:

  • “I’m awesome, and contribute to my own success!”

As far as women go, we tend to be more of the mindset of:

  • “I know someone helped me get this job.”  

Never Downplay Your Success

Women, including myself at times, are inclined to downplay our successes, commitments, skill sets, and capabilities. I call it humility, but over the past ten years, I’ve learned that there is a price to pay for being too humble.

You can single-handedly manifest a reality in which your successes are not attributed to you at all. People start to believe your humble rants, and therefore, it wasn’t you who created those achievements — it was luck, or being at the right place at the right time. 

Whatever excuse you provide is what everyone starts to believe. 

Why Being Humble Holds You Back

The issue with being overly humble is that your ability to get a promotion or get placed on a big project becomes limited. You downplayed yourself to the point that management and your peers will begin to doubt your abilities.

It’s not their fault; you can’t blame your superiors or coworkers for not believing you’re capable. After all, you told them as much when you refused to show ownership in the hard work and efforts that led you to where you are today. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Show Who You Are

How can you start to change this? Well, first, you need to believe in yourself — no one will believe in you until you do.

It doesn’t matter how you got the job in the first place. What matters is how well you’re doing at the job now.

  • Are you kicking ass and taking names?
  • Are you breaking down walls and getting shit done?

If the answer is yes, then keep on keeping on.  

Most women don’t feel comfortable being their true selves at work. They’re afraid to be labeled a ‘bitch’, or they’re so scared that a peer will judge them if they speak up. We censor our words and emotions, and tell ourselves that it’s better for those around us. The truth is, we’re afraid of not being taken seriously.

Speak Up Without Fearing Rejection

If you don’t speak up, no one has the opportunity to listen, and if no one hears you, nothing changes. Speaking up doesn’t require confidence — it builds it. Speaking up only demands the nerve to do so. Once you’ve made your point, it’s out there. It’s in the universe, and let come what may.

When you ask for what you want, your chances of receiving it drastically increases. Like I said, if you don’t ask, the answer will always be ‘no’. 

Doing powerful things like making big decisions without second-guessing yourself, allows you to take more risks, and your self reliance grows as a result. 

What Are Your Three Professional Career Goals?

I want you to do something for me right now. I want you to jot down three things you want from your professional career. Then, share your goals with me in the comments. Don’t just make them random. Really think about three goals you want for your career trajectory. 

I’ll step up and be vulnerable —- here are my goals:

  1. Impact every single employee within my organization in a positive way. 
  2. Grow our organization exponentially to benefit our employees and clients alike. 
  3. Inspire the women in my organization to live up their full potential without fear of being judged.

Of course, these aren’t the only goals I have in life. I want to retire on a mountain, near a lake in the woods. I want to travel all across the world. I want to inspire young women and men to reach for their goals and not let society dictate what they’re capable of.  

Now once you have your list, don’t forget to share it in the comments so that you can help to inspire other readers

Small Steps Lead to Big Changes

Let’s take it a step further. Start thinking about what you do in your daily regiment that allows you to work towards your goals.  

You can create individual lists, and map out smaller goals within that. For example, I want to impact every employee positively so I have to make sure I’m making an effort every day to connect with my staff

How can I influence them, If I’m not engaging? 

Join Me in the Empowerment Movement

To grow the organization, I know I need to handle our losses, gains, and the processes that allow us to be successful.  

I want to inspire women to live up to their full potential —- I know I have to speak up every single day. I have to show them what it takes to be a leader and what’s expected of them — should they want to be in a similar role.  

I hope that you join me in my efforts to continue to impact the empowerment movement and to help those around you to find their confidence and their “inner boss.” I know we have so much more to give, and if we continue to press forward together, I know we can get there. 

Let’s Handle It!

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Last modified: August 3, 2022