No matter how talented you are, and no matter how high your position, it’s still a challenge for women to succeed in today’s business environment.
It’s bewildering. When someone as confident and accomplished as you seems unable to break through to the level of success you know you’ve earned, you start to ask yourself the Big Questions:
• “What should I be doing to excel in my role and show myself to be a leader?”
• “Am I really performing at my best – and is my best even good enough?”
• “Will I ever get ahead in this organization?”
• “Are women really valued in my organization? … And more importantly, am I?”
Reality starts to sink in when you start to wonder whether what you’re putting into your success is really worth what you’re getting out of it. You see other, less talented people getting promoted past you. You hear the glowing praise of your work but it never seems to be followed by the rewards. You rarely make it to the soccer games, the family dinners, or the date nights you used to love, or if you do you find yourself distracted and distant – pulled between the tug to be present and the persistent buzzing of the Blackberry in your bag. You feel heavy, weighed down. On the worst days you find it hard to breathe.
You don’t have to live this way. You can be successful in a way that works for you.
You can be a successful, overachieving, results-oriented business leader at the seniormost levels of your organization, and you can do it in a way that works for you . You can leverage your talents, stay aligned to your values, make the most of your time, and still have some of that time left over for you.
• You feel excited about your work again – committed, engaged, and leveraging your talents to the fullest – because you know you’re valuable and that you get the very best results.
• You finally do get the promotion you deserve.
• Your salary goes up, you earn more respect, and you feel the full power of your authority at work.
• Best of all, you get your life back. You become a mom again, a friend, a sister. You go to lunch with the girlfriends. Spend Saturday mornings with your kids. Your boundaries are clear. The guilt is gone.
• You feel focused. You feel lighter.
• You finally made it.
If it’s so easy (if it’s even possible) … Why haven’t women done this before?
There are multiple forces working against women’s ability to achieve the professional success they want along with the quality of life they deserve.
Few role models. For one thing, there are so few models of success that it’s hard for women to really see what’s possible. They can imagine it and strive for it, but they can’t see the models of truly powerful women who are successful in every way, including their work, their family and personal lives, their happiness, and their sense of peace and prosperity.
Busy lives. For another thing, women are just so busy! With husbands, partners, kids, clients, bosses, teams, homes, groceries, personal finance, fitness, and more, women often don’t have time to step back and breathe, much less to reflect on their lives and align them in a better way.
A secret lack of confidence. Surprisingly, many extraordinarily successful women harbor a secret – potentially even unconscious – lack of confidence. Compared to men, they opt in to the Big Opportunities less often and more slowly than men. They may not be sure of their ability to succeed in a bigger role and want to prove themselves first, or they’re waiting for the invitation or the nod from higher-ups to give them the signal to go for it.
Isolation. Even though women are known for their strong relationships, it’s lonely for women at the top. Even executive women they felt they could overcome the obstacles they face, in that effort they feel very alone.
A lack of information. This may surprise you, but we already know what makes women successful. We know the steps to the top of the ladder. The secrets are out. The problem is that the information is still hidden and struggling to reach real women in organizations. The good news is the solutions are out there; the bad news is no one seems to know it.
But there’s good news. You can reach the highest levels of leadership while achieving your personal goals and preserving your quality of life.
Here’s what women in highly successful leadership roles are learning about how to succeed:
• Get clear on your vision. Not just your vision for your organization or your role, but for yourself.
• Focus on the outcomes. Know what you want to achieve, with clear specificity.
• Capitalize on your strengths. Understand what it is that makes you so valuable, and learn to leverage it for a better result.
• Align to your values. Know what you love and want to protect, and put systems into place to preserve what matters most to you.
• Maximize your time. Learn to make more of every minute.
• Find your network. You will perform at your best and feel most supported when you surround yourself with the people who build you up, guide you, and give you opportunities.
• Learn the secrets. Despite the low numbers, women have made it to the top in some of the best and most admired companies of the world. They have learned how to do it, and their secrets are there to share with you.
Now it’s your turn!
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Related: Tips To Build Your Dream Team