Blocks Women in Business Face and How to Rise Above

Performance Coaching for women in business

Watch the pitch of your voice, take a seat at the table, but blend in, rise in a man’s world, and for heaven’s sake never show an ounce of emotion. Whether you are a career woman or a woman running your own business, this is the world we live in. You will find yourself in the vortex of battling between taking up more space in the full ownership of your incredible worth which risks standing out or staying confined to the comfort of safe and small.

What’s it going to be? Will you risk being seen, judged, scrutinized in detail, making mistakes, and fumbling through leadership?

Driven to belong, wired for acceptance, socialized to support and be about community, but there is a light inside that can only be seen if you step out of the crowd and out from behind the crutches of stability that prevent us from standing on our own two feet.

You are and always have been more than you know, capable beyond current comprehension, and deserving as much as anyone else you admire.

Yet we stand still, we stay safe, we seek security, and play small to appease our fears and avoid discomfort.

So how do we rise up above self limitations, societies ceiling, and cultural constraints? The good news is you, my warrior, can elevate yourself above what has been holding you back and down.

Women’s Leadership for Career and Business Success

There are two sources of barriers that block women in business from advancing to standing in and owning their worth and power; one being internal from within us and the other external in the cultures we exist in. We most certainly can change our internal barriers with some work and actually we can take back our power in our external environments too. We cannot always change the culture or people who hold us down and back, but we can take our power back. You always have choices!

Okay so let’s dig in here and go a bit deeper on how you can elevate yourself to stand in your power for business and career success. First off let me share a few of the common barriers that many of us face and over the years of coaching women entrepreneurs and career women some constant themes of disempowerment pop up. One of the biggest concerns that blocks our growth and keeps us small is the fear of rejection or judgement when we become more visible.

If you check Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, belonging is part of our wiring. So when we step up to be more visible whether that be in video, speaking engagements or leading a team, we risk not being accepted by the tribe. In addition we are challenging our wiring as our brains are wired to avoid threat, our human needs are driving us to fit in and be accepted, and the patriarchy has conditioned us to know our place and it’s not out front there.

This is where we can and must rise! As a Women’s Leadership coach and American Confidence Institute certified Confidence coach, I have seen first hand the transformations women experience when they address what is blocking their brilliance. We first off examine the beliefs, perceptions, and thoughts or self talk that may be the culprit constraining growth. Next we would take a look at confidence and where it is at and what may be impeding it which often can be rectified with preparation, perception shifts, skill refinement, and action steps. Lastly we shake hands with the fear, make it our ally working with it there to be unstoppable, powerful, and dispel its lies.

Lone behold you would make a mistake or not be perfect

The other day it was fascinating to speak with a woman who was recalling working in a male dominated environment, actually she was the first women to be allowed in the Israeli secret military service. She shared that she would never ever show when she had a bad day as it would be seen as being emotional or female, but when the guys had a bad day, it was really a bad day for them. She said she prepared herself for the environment she was going into so she expected this double standard. Her approach and also her skill has since paved the way permitting other woman to apply to that sector of the military. How sad that a double standard exists, but it does.

I have to ask it, “What would happen if you were found to be not perfect?” “What happens to you if you make a mistake?” We are so busy trying to prove our worth in the roles and leadership of our business, we think we cannot have a flaw or it will all fall down. Do you think a man despairs over making a mistake in his business or as a leader in front of his team. He shrugs it off, doesn’t think about it too much, most definitely does not care what others think, and goes forward taking action to improve it or be better.

Is it that we have worked so hard to prove we can do it, that we are worthy, that we are just as good, or yes we can do it all and be everything perfectly because society has told us that is the benchmark for acceptance and ego applause? Let me state something here that might let you off the hook:

“You will probably make a mistake, you will probably not be perfect, you may be more harshly judged for it, but so will the men and other women leaders you look up to and it will not be the end of you. It will be the making of you.”

That may not make you feel better in this moment, but one day when you need it, remember this and know just as a diamond becomes so through great friction and harsh pressure, you are being groomed to be the finest, to shine, and to be respected.

Being Affected by Others Opinions or Treatment of you

Ooh this is a big, juicy one that could very well take being possessed by a Zen Bhudda peace keeper to truly master. How others treat us is more a reflection of who they are or where they are at than ourselves. We always need to reflect and take responsibility where necessary, but allowing others comments or treatment toward you to become who you are or a part of your identity is soul destroying and detrimental to your own growth.

I guess it is about time I got personal here. This has been a learning lesson for me and I have to confess ladies that it is not always men that may be on the other end of making you feel crappy; sometimes it is women and somehow it can feel even worse delivered by another woman.

Here is what I learned:

  • People can treat you poorly or dreadfully and not know they have
  • People say hurtful things when their ego is being threatened
  • Power and the need for control can possess people
  • Sometimes people hurt you to protect themselves or their ego
  • You can learn a lot about yourself from people who treat you poorly
  • Differences that are drastic need insight and detachment from emotion and require compassion or curiosity to deflate tension

However, the biggest lesson if we are to rise here no matter how anyone treats us or what anyone says to us, is to not take anything personally and to know we and only we define our worth. I took on this part time contract a while back now and there was a woman in charge of the project. She was intense and stressed and if I can say so, she had horrible communication skills; they were dictatorial, demeaning, and full of blame. What was worse is that a lot of the communication was delivered by message, email and online and then when I say her in person she was all smiles.

At the time I did not have the full insight into how much stress she was under even if it was self induced as a type A go getter personality, but I actually took on the degrading messages as a doubt in myself. It was not until a man who was also working with me on this project called me up right after she had sent an email and inquired, “What the hell was that email anyways?” He was baffled at how she spoke to us, that she blamed us, and just the whole tone of the email. This came as a relief to me as it was not just me, but why did I need that confirmation from someone else to know it was wrong?

Do not doubt yourself ever. Always reflect, always try to be better and improve, but never ever doubt yourself no matter what!

Ironically at the end of that contract, this very same woman at our close out ceremony came up to me and said,

“I learned from you, I have never had this type of community before, the type of re enrollment or heard from so many people how much fun they had and how much they enjoyed it. You taught me this.”

I have to say it was a 360 in our relationship because it was the first words out of her mouth that she appreciated or saw the hard work and devotion I put in to make it great for everyone despite feeling I was failing her all along.

Performance Coaching for Women

Whether you call it women’s leadership coaching or confidence coaching or career and business coaching, I have come to realize our performance towards our career and business goals is affected by a multitude of factors. When a woman comes to me for leadership or career or business coaching, it is always a combination of elements we work on from strategy, to beliefs, to skills, to emotion, and so much more. The outcome, however has a common thread and that is to advance our careers, build our business, and step confidently into owning our leadership space.

Just as an athlete acquires a performance coach to get a competitive edge in their sport, performance coaching for women in business will energize and elevate you to your next level.

I offer performance coaching for women leaders, women entrepreneurs, and women advancing their careers. If you are interested in what this could do for you, reach out for a complimentary coaching session to jody@jodykennett.ca.

Ready to Rise? Reach out and begin today.

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