In my previous article I wrote about the importance of the role of a mother in raising children. Our decisions later in life, our values and priorities, they are affected by the way our parents raised us. When a boy is trying to be a leader and manage other kids, we say, it is ok. But when a girl acts that way, we named her as “bossy”. Mostly parents know, that it is time to raise and approach our kids equally and give them equal opportunities.
If you ask young men how they did such a good job, they would say “I just do it, and it is great!” We don’t accept that answer for women. Someone either helped them, they get lucky or they worked really really hard. Only few women have enough self-confidence and courage to say “I’m awesome!” Men attribute the success to themselves, most women to the external factors. Don’t do it. Decide to be great and say it. Because you are great!
I have recently participated in an event for Young Professional Women. One lady was sitting way in the back. When she was later asked why she was not sitting in the front of the speaker, she said: “I am too junior to sit in front. it’s not the right time for me to do it”. But when is it the right time then? It is right now! Sit in the front, be visible, be active and sit at the table with people who make decisions and learn from them. If you do it, you will understand the physical behavior of other leaders better. And if you you understand the body language better, you will be better prepared for your next steps. One of the examples might be your negotiation skills.
Indeed, negotiation is one of the biggest challenges women have to face. Usually, women do not negotiate for themselves effectively in the workforce. Hannah Riley Bowles, Senior Lecture in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, believes that women could improve their negotiation achievements by combining several things. They should come across as nice, concerned about others, and “appropriately” female. Negotiation is part of our daily life. So believe in yourself, negotiate with confidence, don’t be scared to assume responsibility, take on a new project or move up.
The best time to move up and improve our careers is when we are young. When the time comes, women should decide when is the right time to have children, if they indeed want to have some. But according to latest statistics only 40% of women return to work full-time after having a child. If you’re thinking about having a career, do it now. As Sheryl Sandberg put it: “Do not leave before you leave”. If you start thinking about having a child, make sure you’re ready. Don’t leave before it is really time to leave. Stand up, look for promotion and keep your foot on the gas pedal until you know it’s time to take a break.