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I am honored to introduce the 2019 CBN ‘Celebrating Women in Business’ feature. Thank you, CBN, for continuing this focus on our remarkable local businesswomen and their varied contributions to our community.
According to a Forbes January 2019 article, 10 Stats That Build the Case for Investing in Women-Led Startups, “the next Steve Jobs will be a woman.”
This article also states: “Businesses founded by women deliver higher revenue—more than two times as much per dollar invested — than those founded by men, making women-owned companies a better investment for financial backers. The authors calculated that venture capitalists could have made an additional $85 million over five years if they’d just invested equally in both the women- and men-founded startups.”
Women are brilliant and have a business savvy that pulls people and ideas together, not apart. With the above statistics, why isn’t every woman starting her own business, asking for that raise, making more noise professionally?
What is the missing link, the secret ingredient for women to take more risks professionally? In my experience, I believe it’s a lack of female self-confidence.
How does a lack of self-confidence hold women back? Here’s one example:
A Hewlett Packard internal report found that men apply for a job or promotion when they meet only 60 percent of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100 percent of them.
I see it daily in my work with highly talented, brilliant, educated, and extraordinary women. If they could only see in themselves what I and others see in them, nothing would hold them back.
Women share similar inner ‘self-confidence’ struggles such as the imposter syndrome; fear of failing in the eyes of those who believed in her; uncertainty around having the needed skills or resources; impact on relationships with family and friends; and the inability to manage other life responsibilities.
Self-confidence is not something you can gain from reading a book, it’s heartfelt and gained through self-insight and experience. It’s self-knowledge, self-trust and self-esteem. True self-confidence is trusting your instincts in the moment, not continually second-guessing yourself.
Self-confidence is courageously stepping into any situation and knowing that you can and will handle it. It’s trusting yourself when everyone else says ‘stop’ and your intuition says ‘go!’
Self-confidence is knowing that you are human. You will make mistakes, and not only will you learn from them but be stronger through having had the tenacity to go beyond what was safe.
I asked a few key local businesswomen how they had the self-confidence to start their own business, to reach higher professionally. Perhaps you resonate with their responses:
Katy Brooks, President of the Bend Chamber had an aha moment and overcame it. She had a reconciling of whether her insecurities and questions were preventing her from taking risks and promoting herself. “I wanted to make sure that if there was an obstacle, it wasn’t me.”
Wendie Every, the owner of Every Idea Marketing, is all about relationships. “It was through the relationships I developed in that business, and by surrounding myself with people I trusted (friends, family, clients, vendors, and peers) that I gained additional confidence to build Every Idea.”
Martie King of Bend Mailing and More says her confidence came through continually asking people what they wanted and thought “Why not provide it?” In continuing to ask people what they want, she keeps expanding her business. “I could probably open another store tomorrow.”
So, businesswomen of Central Oregon, let’s band together to raise your level of self-confidence to get what you want. And then help those around you raise theirs. Here are some strategies:
Build your foundation. You’ve experienced many successes through your career that are too easily overlooked in pursuit of your next goal. List them in detail, along with how ‘you’ contributed to your success, how it felt and what you learned. Keep this list of your successes and achievements close by and continually build upon it. When you feel low, look at it, remember who and all that you are. You are your own success story.
Find your tribe. As you travel through life and career changes, your tribes may also change. Surround yourself with individuals who share your aspirations, passions, and who will build you up. They need not be in the same field or even geographical region, just similar overall values and goals as you. You will all grow together and support one another. Know that as you grow and succeed it is necessary to leave some people behind. They have their own path.
Be prepared. Do your homework. Greatest killers of self-confidence are in finding yourself in a situation that you could have prepared for yet weren’t wise enough to take the time. It could be a meeting where you only glanced at the agenda and didn’t see the items pertaining to you, or you were unaware of the participants in the meeting who had their own disconcerting agenda. A vital question often overlooked ahead of any interaction is ‘why’. Why are we meeting, what do we want to accomplish, who is involved, what is the specific agenda and timing?
Sleep on emotional or tough decisions. The higher up you go in any position, the tougher your decisions become. Throughout your days you’ll have hard blows, surprises, or unexpected challenges that need your attention. You need time to sort through the facts and people involved, your emotions, and how you’ll proceed. Every successful woman can look back at a time when she reacted too swiftly. Be strong and confident enough to know when you need time and take it. You’ll see things differently tomorrow.
What every woman needs to succeed in business is, in most cases, enhanced self-confidence. Look in the mirror, see the accomplished, successful woman you are today. Appreciate yourself for all that you are, all that you’ve accomplished. Take that risk, show everyone who you are, what you’re capable of accomplishing. Perhaps we’ll be celebrating your business in this CBN ‘Celebrating Women in Business’ issue next year.
Executive/Leadership Coach Ann Golden Eglé, MCC, has steered highly successful individuals to greater levels of success since 1998. Ann is President of Golden Visions & Associates, LLC, can be reached at 541-385-8887, firstname.lastname@example.org or GVAsuccess.com. Subscribe to Ann’s internationally acclaimed ‘Success Thoughts’ e-zine on her website.