10 ways to live a little bolderBy Margie Warrell | Mar 07, 17 10:05 AM
Be Bold for Change - that's the call this International Women's Day. Here's how to do it.
Sexism runs rife in Australia, and that while I’ve never felt my gender has held me back, I still think there’s a long way to go for women around the globe to enjoy equal opportunity as men. Yet of all the barriers that hold women back, I believe the biggest one that limits many women is in our own heads.
Yes, we are women, hear us roar. But there are plenty of days where we spend an awful lot of time second guessing our decisions, questioning our value, beating ourselves up or talking ourselves down.
We work so hard to do a great job and keep people happy and scale the high bar we set for ourselves, yet we continually feel like we’re falling short on some measure; that we’re just not ‘enough’ in some way.
We spin plates. We juggle balls. We move mountains. Yet there’s often a little voice in our heads critiquing what we haven’t yet done or didn’t do … not ‘well enough’ anyway.
Most women I’ve had the privilege to work with over the years doubt themselves too much and back themselves too little.
As Kathy Calvin, President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation, shared with me during our interview for RawCourage.TV at UNF Headquarters, of all the barriers that women still have to deal with in the workplace and the world, the biggest one is in our own heads.
“We women hold ourselves back,” she said to me as she shared that she has overcome her own personal wrestling match with self-doubt over the years.
We think we don’t have enough qualifications. We fear ruffling feathers. We hate to appear too pushy or needy or difficult. We worry that at some point people will realise we’re not nearly as clever or capable as they thought.
The message to #BeBoldForChange is a rally cry this International Women’s Day. Yet changing the world around us begins with changing the world within us. So as you look toward your future, to what it is you want to accomplish and who you want to become, I encourage you to make the decision to be a little bolder.
Below are ten ways you can do just that. I dare you to pick five you’ll do this week.
- Ask for what you want. That’s right, it’s simple enough but let’s face it, too often we dilute what we ask for or don’t ask at all for fear of seeming needy or being rejected. But as I’ve written before, how can you expect to get what you want if you’re not willing to ask for it. Here’s a video to help you do just that!
- Say no. It’s a short little word, but it’s one many women struggle to say because we know the person who’s extended the invitation or offer doesn’t want to hear it. But if you’re ever going to do what you really want to do you’ll often have to say no to good things to create space for great ones. Check out this free video course to help you along.
- Push back. Yes, you’re a nice person and you loathe to appear difficult, but the truth is that if all you ever do is agree and ‘go along to get along’ then sometimes you’re selling yourself short. Way short. Pushing back isn’t about being pushy. It’s just owning your right to see things differently to others. Sure women can get called bossy or bitchy for simply speaking their truth, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Being bold for change is all about risking a little push back for a cause that’s bigger than your own comfort. Here’s a video to watch if you need a little help.
- Own your worth. Next time you’re talking about what you do, talk about it in a powerful way that lets people know you see the value in what you do (even if they have yet to realise it). Too often our fear of seeming like we are bragging keeps us from talking about what we’re up to. Time to own it! If you ever struggle with self-promotion, here’s a video for you!
- Risk rejection. It’s not rejection you’re afraid of, it’s how you will feel because of what you make it mean … a personal inadequacy on your part; evidence that you are ‘less than worthy’ in some way. It doesn’t mean that at all. The truth is you need to risk a lot of rejections if you want to get ahead in your business, career and life. If you’re still licking a wound from a previous rejection, watch this.
- Own your difference. We all like to belong to a group, but too often we let our fear of disapproval keep us from expressing who we really are and owning what makes us different. So don’t’ dial yourself down for fear of standing out. Just be 100% of whoever it is you truly are. As I wrote in this recent Forbes column, “When all you do is try to fit in and conform, all you offer is conformity. It’s what sets you apart from others that makes you interesting.”
- Take a risk. Women are naturally more cautious than men. It’s why women are far less likely to engage in high risks sports or suffer spinal injuries. We don’t get the same buzz from going fast as men. Yet we can often be more reticent to take the very risks that would enable us to get ahead. As I wrote in my book Brave, if there’s something you’d really love to do or change, embrace the discomfort risk taking and just do it.
- Expand your tribe. The more people who know who you are, what you can do and what you’d love to do more of - the more people who can help you get there. So think about who it is that you’d love to build a relationship with and find a way to connect with them.
- Challenge your story. You live in an intricate web of stories about who you are, about what you can do and, just as importantly, what you can’t. Your stories are the truth but they have the power to shape your life. So if you’ve been telling yourself a story that you’re too old, too young or that you’re not ‘enough of something’ try telling yourself another one and see what possibilities open up for you. Here’s an article I wrote with five steps to help you do just that.
- Ditch all guilt. Some guilt is healthy. Like if you haven’t paid your taxes or you’ve done something that’s violated a core value and leaves you out of integrity with yourself. More often though our guilt is driven by social norms and rules that we’ve unwittingly bought into. If you’re a working mother, you’ll know all about that. But here’s the deal, how can you teach your kids to go out and pursue their dreams if you aren’t pursuing yours? You can’t! Or not with any credibility anyway. So lay all the ‘shoulds’ to the side and ask yourself, what is it that you would love to do so much that you know even if it pulls you away from your kids more often than you’d like you know that they (as well as you) will ultimately be better off because you’ve done it? If you’re still struggling, here’s a recent free download I created for you.
So go on, pick five of the above and get bolder.