I’m writing this week about some of the ways I see women get lost in the crowd and slow down their career growth.
How many times have you seen a woman raise her hand timidly in a meeting… and then make a suggestion in that baby girl voice.. trailing off at the end into a question?
When that happens, here’s what we hear:
“What if we [this is a good time to zone out because this is just a filler comment] maybe, you know, changed our marketing focus [this must a bad idea because she doesn’t even believe it] from Live Journal to Facebook?” [hmmm…. Would it look bad it I took another cookie?]
Leaders make choices. They take positions.
Sometimes they’re wrong and sometimes they’re right.
But they’re willing to take a stand instead of dithering.
Do you dither? Do you hesitate to speak up? Do you have a hard time making decisions? That might be why you’re getting lost in the crowd.
I’m a reformed wishy washy decision maker….. Yes, of the paper-plastic variety. I can see all the possibilities—which is sometimes a great skill for a creative….but that knowledge used to make me get overwhelmed and frozen. Unable to choose. A
I was so, so afraid of getting it wrong.
But I unlearned that habit because I knew it was holding me back. And it not only supersized my career growth, it made my life better as well.
I recently went to a public speaking training. The coach on stage made people do strange things—like run back and forth while presenting their talk, or speak in gibberish instead of speaking.
“Go to the extremes..” he said. We spend so much time learning how to fit in—but to lead on stage we need to make bold choices. Directors want to hire actors who make bold choices, and take direction.
Bold Choices. Take Direction.
Make Choices. Learn from Your Mistakes.
The key to being a bolder decision maker is to spend time making bolder choices faster. I used to endlessly consult mentors and friends before making professional decisions.
The decision to turn down a job offer before starting my business was one of the hardest I’ve made. I must have talked to 15 people for their opinion on what to do.
I said I was gaining insight, but in truth, I was giving up my agency.
I told myself in that moment that that was the last time I’d ever make a decision like that.
So how did I “unlearn” my analysis paralysis?
- I sought out opportunities to make decisions. Hire this business coach, or that one? Get grapes or apples?
- I’d listen to my gut—which one should I choose? If I really needed to I’d make a pros/cons list. The end.
- I’d ask myself what the cost was? If I don’t get this right, what happens? What are the real costs, and are they actually as catastrophic as they feel in my mind?
- I made decisions.
Some were not the best, but making them boldly meant I went farther. My business income almost tripled, and I had many more creative ideas.
Because I wasn’t spending time wondering if I should….. all the time.
Want to stop being that woman? That woman no one hears? Then go to the extremes. Push yourself to make bold statements, to make decisions, and let them hang in the air.
Because you want to be more interesting than a cookie.