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Firm Management

How To Forge A Better Working World For Women

While challenging conscious and unconscious bias and creating inclusive and flexible workplace cultures is everyone’s responsibility, throughout my career, I’ve learned some of the ways for women to continually boost and rebuild their confidence.

women in the workforce

What better time than Women’s History Month to consider how each and every one of us – men and women – can #BeBoldForChange and do our part to help women and girls achieve their ambitions. The Center for American Progress has found that, at S&P 500 companies, women account for only 25 percent of executive and senior-level positions, hold only 19 percent of board seats, and are only 4.6 percent of CEOs. It’s understandable that this lack of female representation in senior business roles may do little to inspire junior women with the confidence needed to move up.

While challenging conscious and unconscious bias and creating inclusive and flexible workplace cultures is everyone’s responsibility, throughout my career, I’ve learned some of the ways for women to continually boost and rebuild their confidence.

Ignore Self-Doubt and Celebrate Our Differences

Everyone has the niggling thoughts that tell us we’re not good enough or don’t have enough experience to go for what we want. Whether it be a business idea that you’re passionate about or the desire for a promotion or pay raise, you’re not alone in doubting your ability. Throughout the years, I’ve learned that these thoughts are rarely based in reality. Find a practice to process these thoughts and ensure you’re being honest with yourself. Through yoga, I’ve learned to observe these thoughts from a distance and break the pattern of believing them.

Being a woman shapes our experience in business, and there are hidden rules that our gender has to navigate. This can lead many of us to behave in a way which we think will be pleasing to others, for fear of appearing to be too aggressive or bold, but what that does is strip away the attributes of our personalities that make us unique. It’s important to take the best, unique parts of ourselves to show our capabilities, and to use them to create value for the company.

At the end of the day, we don’t have to be men to be successful. As women, we bring unique experiences and perspectives to the table, and these differences are our advantage. Think about the advantages you possess and use them to succeed and excel.

Strengthen The Confidence Muscle

The tendency to expect too much of ourselves can be detrimental. When it comes to building confidence, remember that when you start to lift weights, you don’t go from 2 lbs to 50 lbs in one visit to the gym. Weight training is a perfect example of how you can build your confidence. Start with taking a small step towards something that makes you uncomfortable – like presenting a sales pitch to a partner – and practice it on friends and family members and get their feedback to improve. Then, take it to someone less familiar, like an acquaintance, get feedback and retune. Finally, try the pitch on your target, observe their body language and get a critique. With repetition and feedback, you’ll build that confidence muscle over time.

When a specific movement is repeated over time – whether it be lifting weights or playing a certain song on the guitar – a muscle memory is created in the long-term banks of our brains. Over time, the task is able to be performed without any conscious effort – and it’s a very similar process when it comes to improving our business skills like pitching, presenting, or just generally asking for something we want. With practice, you’ll be able to build confidence in these areas quicker than you might expect.

You Time

Women, especially mothers, have a lot to juggle – and we’re especially giving by nature, which can often lead us to neglect our own well-being. It’s important to give yourself space to alleviate all the pressures of everyday life. Take some time for yourself to do what you enjoy, whether it’s a spin or yoga class, a hobby, or sitting down with a good book. Time out doesn’t just benefit you, it also benefits those around you in the workplace and at home. It gives you clarity to work and live better.

These are just a few of the things you can do to build and boost your confidence. While a lack of confidence isn’t the root cause of the greater gender parity issue, it’s a piece of a larger puzzle. Let’s be honest, every day should be International Women’s Day, and with support from men and women alike – we can make this a reality.



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