This week I had the privilege of leading a workshop on confidence and executive presence to a group of professional women. A lot came out of that session but what was most impactful for me was hearing what some of us are most afraid of in challenging settings….showing up!
Now, let’s just be honest about it. As it relates to positions of influence and power, men are still leading the charge. Just this week I learned of three new studies on compensation gaps between men and women for similar, if not the same work. This does not mean we’re not making progress, but we can’t take Sheryl Sandberg’s advice of leaning in lightly. Yet, for those of us with influence and power in leading organizations and leading our own entrepreneurial ventures, a good portion of us are still holding back. We’re present, in the game, at the meetings, participating in networking events…but we’re not showing up. What does this look like? So glad you asked:
- Giving the little voice of “Can’t” a bullhorn in your ear so that you even question whether you should be in the position you’re in
- Dressing to the 9s for a meeting, so you look good, but letting the fact that you’re the youngest, the only female, and/or the only minority keep you from speaking up and offering your opinions and insight
- Being afraid to ask questions because it might make you look like less of an expert
I could go on and on but this is the basics of not showing up. This does not help to positively reinforce your brand. What’s the point of a great outfit if no one knows what you have to offer? Why even accept the invitation to a big meeting if you’re not planning to share some of the expertise that got you the invitation? Why opt to not ask question? The smartest, no the most brilliant people in the world are so because of their inquisitive mode of operating at all times!
So, what does this all boil down to? Showing up! It’s not enough to be present. Wall paper is present! Art and décor may spark conversation. But there is nothing like a fabulously fierce, confidently assured, woman showing up by:
- Engaging in conversation by contributing insight and expertise
- Asking questions for additional insight or to facilitate even deeper thought for others in the room
- Leaving false humility at the door and walking in the power and influence that you have
So, this week, my friends, quite frankly, I’m challenging you to show up and either let people know who you are or remind them why you’re in the game. The answer, quite simply, is because you’re fabulous. And I am going to push even farther and ask you to roar! Yup, be that bold because here’s a secret: when you start to challenge yourself to roar, it’s progressive and the roar that you hear in your ears from your own voice is but a whisper to others….and that’s ok. Soon enough, you’re going to figure it all out, get more comfortable, and own it all!
Go to a meeting with a planned question or two. Remind yourself why you are where you are and how you’ve succeeded to the point you have so far. Mentally see yourself engaged in any of the settings you know it will be important for you to reinforce your brand. Ultimately, show up and don’t forget to let me know how it goes!
Soundtrack of the week: Katy Perry’s Roar