Let me preface this post with: this is not intended to be a political post. It’s not intended to be a feminist post. It’s not even intended to position me as an expert on women in the workplace.
I most certainly am not.
It’s merely to share with you some observations I’ve found over the past four years, as I’ve coached hundreds of men and women alike. By working with both women and men pretty equally, I’ve gotten a good handle on how work situations affect men and women differently as well as how men and women differently approach their careers.
Maybe you are a woman who identifies with some of these observations as being true for you…and maybe you don’t. There are actually a lot that don’t resonate with me and that’s okay.
For me personally, I’ve actually had a REALLY hard time identifying with the narrative in the media that says that women are hitting glass ceilings and aren’t given the same opportunities as men. While I have seen the statistics, that has just not been my personal experience. By working with other men and women though - specifically with women - I’ve been able to empathize with that experience and see that it’s not just a bunch of words, but a real concern for many women.
It’s humanized the headlines for me: Women have some battles up ahead.
HOWEVER! At the same time, I’m not a huge fan of letting it become a self-fulfilling prophecy for my clients. (Or for you, if you’re reading this!) In my coaching, I’ve encouraged these women to blast through their limiting beliefs and showed them that change is possible and success is attainable.
Let me also preface and say I’m not a scientist, I don’t have stats, and this is purely anecdotal and reflective of my own experience working with clients. It’s not a blanket statement for all women or all men. It’s JUST an observation. Take it or leave it.
The goal with this post is that if you DO resonate with some of these similarities I’ve found: You are not alone. And not only are you not alone, you can start taking action on remedying some of the lies that are keeping you stuck in your career.
Here are some things I’ve picked up along the way:
Men & women both struggle with confidence.
Again, I’ve worked with men and women pretty equally over the past four years in my coaching business. And in my corporate life, I worked in predominantly male-dominated industries. Hear me when I say: women AND men both struggle with confidence. Women just tend to be more vocal about it.
I’ve had male clients that have choked up on the phone, beat themselves up, and told me that they felt that they were awful at their jobs. Women have done the exact same. Both feel the emotional weight of losing confidence at work.
In my experience, men however, relate their confidence issues back to circumstantial evidence. For instance, maybe they lost their job or they keep getting poor reviews. Women on the other hand, have an innate belief/lie that they are not confident. That they are inherently not good at their work. It’s a different vantage point from which they see themselves.
It infuriates me actually. Be gone, Satan! Seriously though, those are lies straight from hell. Do not give it a second thought that you aren’t worthy, good enough or talented enough. I’m a Bible girl, so when it says that Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy…..you better believe I take that seriously. If you are hearing words that are coming to steal your joy, kill your spirit, and destroy your confidence….it is straight from the devil and is not how God intended it.
If this is you:
Girlfriend, I am praying right NOW for you in this. I am praying that those lies leave your mind and heart today. But then I also pray that you do the deep work of remembering when you first heard that lie, understanding where it came from, and then make the decision right now to not let it run your life. I see so many women get stuck at this stage. They just sit and sit and sit in the hums of “not enough” and don’t evolve. You have GOT to step out of agreement with those lies and into agreement with who you know you were designed to be.
It’s a choice. Once you realize that you’re someone who struggles with confidence in your career, you can decide to wallow in it (become a victim) or start making the small, brave steps to move past it (become a champion).
Speak words of affirmation over your life...and then believe them to be true. If you want more resources on how to use these confidence boosts in your life, I partnered with Marigold to create some awesome, digestible content to help you boost your career confidence in 5 minutes a day. Get 50% off the yearly subscription using JENA50 at checkout.
Women REALLY hate talking about themselves.
I get it. You don’t want to come across as too bold or brash or braggy. YET! If you don’t talk about yourself and your accomplishments, how do you expect an employer to understand what value you have to offer?!
Here’s the deal: if you aren’t an advocate for yourself in your career, who else will be? You have got to get over the fear of talking about yourself. There is a way to speak matter-of-factly on what you’ve done that doesn’t sound braggish. It sounds confident and sure. People gravitate towards that stuff! They don’t want to hire someone who isn’t sure if they can do the work! You’ve got to put yourself in a mindset that you are the GIRL for the job!
If you hate talking about yourself:
Take some time out of your day today to write down 3 work wins. These could be projects you worked on or a hard conversation you finally had or something new you learned. Then, when someone asks you, “How are you?” you can honestly reply and say, “Actually I’m doing pretty well. I’ve been waiting to have this difficult conversation with an employee who is not performing well. I’ve been avoiding it, to be honest. But today I bit the bullet and I’m pretty proud of myself. It ended up going really well and we have a pathway forward. How are you doing?”
That didn’t sound “un-humble” now did it?!
Women crave community.
If I ask a male client if he wants me to connect him with someone in his industry, he usually says “sure.” But when I ask a female client, 10/10 times she says yes and immediately calls the fellow career gal up and they become fast friends. Then, she asks me to connect her to anyone else I may know that’s a female career woman like her.
My men just don’t vocalize their need for community as often (not to say they don’t want it), but my ladies CRAVE it. I believe that as women we are designed to connect and socialize. We love to share. Think about it, we share our favorite products, television shows, and books we’re reading. And then once we’re sharing our “life-changing” discoveries with one person, we go and share with a different friend. We’re the best evangelizers!
When it comes to our careers, it’s absolutely no different. I feel this need greatly as well. In fact, when I moved to Nashville, I launched a women’s entrepreneurial group called The Breakfast Club because I knew how important community would be to my overall health and success in my business. And, as I write this, I’m currently in a new co-working space called The Coterie which pays homage to the old women’s clubs and is a place for women business owners to meet and collaborate with other women.
If this is something you’re craving:
Reach out to someone today. Social media makes it SO easy to connect with real humans and with tools like Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn it’s exponentially easier to find someone who is parallelling you in your career. I do this ALL the time. I met one of my roommates via Instagram and even reached out randomly to a girl here in Nashville before I even MOVED because I wanted to befriend her and learn more about her career. A year later, I was invited to her wedding and she’s introduced me to other friends that have actually pushed my career forward.
You just never know what a small ask to connect could do for your career – emotionally and financially.
Women won’t apply for jobs they aren’t at least 90% qualified for.
This one drives me crazy and I have to admit I do NOT relate. When I have a male client, he will more often apply to jobs he’s only 60-70% qualified for. It’s an anomaly if he tells me he can’t apply for something because he doesn’t feel like he’s qualified. On the flipside, it’s an anomaly for my ladies to apply for anything that they aren’t more than 90% qualified for.
This is a huge problem.
One, it keeps women stuck in their same fields (they fear career changing). Two, it keeps them from applying to jobs in higher pay brackets with more responsibility in leadership. And three, it literally takes them out of the running before they even apply.
If you find yourself opting out of opportunities because you fear not being qualified:
Challenge yourself to create two lists of job opportunities. One list that includes jobs you feel are “more reasonable” and another list that includes jobs that are more of a “stretch”. Apply for the stretch jobs first. Network with the people within that company, work on your elevator pitch, craft a killer resume. Leading ladies take chances, bet on themselves, and know they have something incredibly valuable to offer. Be a leading lady.
I’ve done this in my own career. I was only 50% qualified for my sales job, but I weaseled my way into that interview and landed the gig.
Yes, women need to have more seats at the table. Just make sure you are giving a company the opportunity to invite you to it.
Women are scared to negotiate.
We all have money mindset issues. My lady clients have some real blockers around money...especially when it comes to negotiating. On very rare occasions have I had a man ask me if he should negotiate. Instead he asks me how to negotiate.
My lady clients need to be told to negotiate. They need to be given more guidance on how to do it than men and often struggle with feeling not worthy of getting paid what they are worth. Quite frankly, this seeps into entrepreneurship as well, not just my corporate professionals.
If you struggle with negotiating:
While I do believe there is a gender pay gap for people in the same roles, I ALSO think women are not helping themselves by keeping their hands in their laps. Raise your hand! Ask for the promotion. Ask for the raise. And don’t just ask, come with a portfolio of your accomplishments for the year and how that directly affects the business’ bottom line. Show them how you’ve provided value.
Also, invest in a coach. It may not be me, but invest in someone to help you navigate through this! There are a lot of money mindset issues and identity issues that come into play here that I can’t unpack in one post for every person’s specific issues. A coach will help you work through your issues so you can freely and confidently negotiate like a boss.
Just think, by not you could be missing out on THOUSANDS of dollars every year! Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate!
I love both my male and female clients the same. While I’ve highlighted a lot of the ways women are different than men, I also want to mention that we’re more alike than we’d like to admit. Let’s be allies for each other as we move forward in this modern working world.
And ladies, be culture changers and start healing the lies that have ruled your careers. You can’t afford to let it dictate your life any longer.
I’ve coached hundreds of women on their careers. Here’s what I’ve learned.
October 15, 2019