Are women afraid to lead by themselves?
When you first start out, you have no idea. It doesn't matter whether you have been in business for one year or twenty. Starting off a business means that you have to cover business planning, marketing, human resources, accounting, legal and corporate governance - all at the same time, with limited resources available to you.
It's frightening to start off a business. It's ten times more terrifying when you make the brave decision to go it alone. No business partner. No life partner. Just you. Every single decision is yours to make, and yours to fall on the sword by. What's even more fascinating is the fact that when you fail, it's all your fault, and when you succeed, the credit must go to everyone. Learning to put ego and ownership aside is one of the first things every female entrepreneur needs to be work out. Basically, leave it at the door, and that will be one less thing you have to worry about.
The highs and lows are like being on a permanent rollercoaster and for the seasoned professionals, you know that every time you don't have a bump, you need to savour the moment. It will come again and again and at some stage you will build resilience and become stronger.
The interesting fact about women is that few make it to the top. Perhaps they are not stupid enough to run a successful business by themselves without a partner, investor, or someone to go home to at night and discuss what happened that day. I personally cannot think of anyone who is self-made that falls into this category, but I am sure there are thousands out there, who don't share their story. Let's face it, sometimes telling the story comes with embarrassment.
What I have noticed only by observation is that women look to make the leap with others because sometimes its better in two's or three's, and other times they realise that to do it by themselves they "could" fail because they don't trust that they have the ability to go it alone.
Trust yourselfQuite simply, trusting ourselves and believing in ourselves is the biggest issue we face. Not men. Yes, I said, "Not men" because it is so easy to blame men and a so-called glass ceiling on why we don't acheive our goals, but the truth of the matter is that in the western world there has never been a better time to be a woman.
While I never use this card, I know that the excuses women make for not 'making it' are not real. Men don't stop us. We live in a world that is pro women.
Making the jump by yourself is not for the faint hearted. It's for bold, confident and determined women. You can't steer a ship second guessing your next move, sitting on your hands or worrying about the fact that people may not like you (just because!).
The reality is:
- Women have more chances of running large businesses by themselves than men in today's western world
- Women are naturally resilient and their nurturing side will help them better understand both sides of the fence
- Leading by yourself without the support of a partner, investor or someone at home who you can talk about your day's activities is very hard to cope with but you will survive
- Winning is not running a successful business, it's having a successful life
- Whatever is holding you back from running your business the way you know it should be run, is holding you back in other parts of your life
- You are powerful, worthy and strong - and need to remind yourself of that
- Never look to other people for praise. If you can't go home at night and say you have done the best job possible, then no amount of praise will make you happy
- Fake friends, lives or compliments are just that
- Learn to laugh and find your 'silly side' because in that moment you will realise that you are human
- You don't need to be a bitch to be successful
- Focusing on your competitors is a sure way to create a very unsettling life
- Stop being competitive with everyone else, and only be competitive with yourself
- Promote women and men based on merit, not gender or how much you like them
- Loyalty is hard to come by but when you have it, cherish it
- Never ever put another woman (or man) down. It says something about you, and not them 100% of the time.
- Insecurities will creep in, but learn to manage that early on in your career
- People will be nasty to you, but you will never be able to change that. All you can do is always be kind and let your actions speak louder than someone who actually hates themselves that needs to try and pull you down.
I don't live a perfect lifeI won't pretend to live a perfect life. I have spent the past 2 years working my ass off to ensure that I achieved a particular work goal. I gave up everything from long holidays through to catching up with family and friends. Is it worth it? I'm not sure. What I know for certain is that I have done it myself the hard way. I have remained consistent with who I am and in particular my values. While I spend many hours alone, I need it to recharge for the next day. I never start a day off thinking 'bad things'. Instead, I start every single morning off thinking that this is a new day and it holds so much opportunity for me to make the most out of it.
There is no-one to say "I am so excited by what I have achieved today", because people rarely want to hear about someone else's success. I on the other hand, invite people to share their stories and am proud of people who accomplish what they set out to achieve. There is so much work to be done and none of it is glamorous, but when you make your way through your business plan and execute your marketing strategy the way that you believe it should be done, then it's pretty satisfying.