Glass Ceiling … Or Sticky Floor?

25 August, 2014

Glass CeilingCan women in business really have what matters?

I’ve been thinking a lot about gender equality. Now before you roll your eyes and groan, this post is not feminist and it’s not activist. This post takes a layman’s look at this thing called the glass ceiling, and whether it’s really that, or – dare I say it – just a sticky floor. This article is also not specifically for those in big organisations, but is aimed at the woman who wants to be more, do more and have more. I think that’s you.

To support this blog post I’ve been doing a lot of research, both online and in my own practice, about women in business. Here’s what I’ve found:

  • There’s this crazy thing called the confidence gap, which simply put, is the gap between where women are, and where they’re capable of being. The confidence gap comes about when women let their doubts and insecurities about themselves stop them from achieving.
  • Women feel they need to ask for permission when it comes to personal and professional development – or any other thing in life for that matter. Our excuse is we need to check with our spouses/partners for budget or family reasons, but the reality is that we really don’t need to ask for permission to grow.
  • We don’t think this is the right time. Well then, when is the right time? Why does achieving need to come as a reward for something other than the hard work we’re putting in right now? If that’s too cryptic, then let me say it like this: there’s never a ‘right’ time, there is only now. Don’t get lost in the excuses of why later is better.
  • When women consider investing in themselves, they worry about whether they’ll get the return on the investment they’re looking for. “What if this doesn’t work and I’ve wasted all this money that could have been spent on my family?” or “Do I trust myself enough to know that this a worthwhile investment?” Interestingly, men never question this.
  • And lastly, we’re fearful of what will happen to our lives if we achieve success. We worry that we’ll grow too busy for family if we invest in our own growth, so we sabotage our development. As women, all too often we back away from all we can be in the world for fear of what success will demand of us.

Now isn’t that interesting?

It seems to me that men achieve more, not just because of some archaic old-boys-club exclusion system, but because we as women are too afraid to step into our power. In fact, I believe we’re capable of achieving great success, perhaps even more so than men, and here’s why:

  1. We’re more likely to be authentic because we have a greater self-awareness, and so we find it easier to be our best selves.
  2. We’re more likely to share, support others and show gratitude, a sure way to create good relationships and connection.
  3. We’re better at linking the left and right sides of our brain, which means we can work equally comfortably with logic and intuition.

I think that what we need is to get more comfortable with self-promotion. Not out of ego, but out of service. We need to know exactly what we stand for in the world, what we offer that’s significantly different from the best in the field and how we can communicate this clearly and confidently to reach the next level of success.

What do you think? Do you agree with my assessment or do you think there are other things holding us back? Or are we held back at all? Write me an email. I respond to everything.

 

Robyn Young - Personal Leadership Branding for Executives

About the Author

Robyn Young

As a personal leadership branding strategist, Robyn Young helps individuals identify and articulate their unique strengths, values and goals, empowering them to build an authentic personal brand that resonates with their stakeholders.

Robyn has a keen eye for aligning personal attributes with professional aspirations, helping her clients project a powerful and compelling image in their chosen field.