3 Myths About Going For Principal or Partner That You Need to Stop Believing

3 Myths About Going For Principal or Partner That You Need to Stop Believing

I hear a lot of things from women who want to feel valued and recognized as leaders in their companies.


They’ve considered the possibility of becoming a partner or principal in their firm, but they don’t believe it’s achievable for them or they’re afraid it won’t be a good fit for the lifestyle they want. 


I wanted to clear up 3 the biggest myths and misconceptions that I see about going for principal or partner:

1. If I were good enough to be a principal or partner, I’d be chosen.

Sometimes we think that if we’re ready for a leadership role, our leaders will come along and tell us—invite us into the next level.


But in truth, a lot of our leaders are busy thinking about the issues with the client, the next project that they have to bring in, and their kid’s college essay draft. They know they should be thinking about the future of their practice, but that’s not so easy to do in the day-to-day.


Waiting for your leadership to choose you is like being Cinderella and waiting to get chosen by the prince.


You might not feel like you’re qualified for the role, and you’re waiting for them to tell you you are. But they might think that you will signal to them that you want or are ready for a leadership role. Or maybe they’ve just passed you over due to conscious or unconscious bias.


The truth is that the only person who can decide that she is ready for leadership—or is ready to fill any gaps between you and a leadership role—is you.


And you don’t have to wait for someone else to give you permission.

2. If I’m already busy and drowning in overwork, I won’t be able to handle leadership or ownership.

If you’re stuck or feeling slammed by your to-do list today, you might worry that you can’t handle leadership or the risk or pressures of ownership tomorrow. You wonder, “how could I ever add more to my plate?”


But here’s the truth: leadership is hard work, but a different kind of hard. Your job is not to “get it all done” but to come up with solutions to the problems that arise and to think forward on how to uplevel and get ahead of challenges. And to lead others towards those goals.


And yes, leadership is a skill, but like any other skill, it is learnable. And if you’ve learned your craft, then you can learn this skill too.

3. What if I make a go for it and they don’t choose me? (and do I really want to co-own a firm with these people?)

What if you make a bid for principal or owner, and it turns out that your firm doesn’t see you that way? Or that you realize ownership is not all it’s cracked up to be?


What if the leadership team is dysfunctional, and you feel frustrated and stuck in molasses trying the make the impacts you hoped for? 


The amazing thing about making a run for principal or owner is that everything you create for yourself in your bid for leadership will get you to your next levelno matter what you decide you want it to be.


You can take it with you.


The internal leadership skills you develop to succeed to prove your worth in your company? Hey, those are the new bullet points on your shiny new CV that gets you that dream job at that other firm.


The potential client relationships you build so that you can bring value into your firm? Those relationships travel with you when you move to another company. 


The reputation you build for yourself in your field? It’ll make it so much easier to land your dream owner-track role when you put out the word that you’re looking for a new professional home.


While you can’t control whether others will choose you, you can control what you build for yourself on the way to being chosen.

Don’t wait to be chosen. Get help making the case for the promotion you want. Download my Tool & Tracker to lead the conversation that gets you promoted!

Hi I'm Maya

Mia Scharphie , career coach, headshot

I’m a career coach and strategist with a secret power (I mean, past career) as a designer. I love road trips, graphic novels and helping people like you design the career you love on your own terms.