Women in the business world have a much different experience than men and even more to prove. We have come a long way in the opportunities we are given, but we still have a way to go. There are many women who have paved the way to move us in the right direction toward equality in the workplace. Women are not often recognized for their role in their careers because they play so many other roles–wife, mother, and household manager. They also are expected to carry themselves in such a way that is acceptable by society, whether it be in appearance or behavior. There is much more pressure on women than men to conform to society's expectations to gain respect. Not only do we wear all these hats and carry extra pressure, but we expect ourselves to be successful in all areas!
Instead of being resentful toward all that we are expected to handle in comparison to men, we should look at our experience as the key to why we will succeed in the business world.
An article in Forbes writes, “Women are CEO’s in the home every day. Don’t you think they know a thing or two about what it takes to run a business? Women are multi-taskers, not afraid of hard work, typically a good listener, and can be very determined. With these qualities on their side, women can succeed.”
In addition to women's responsibilities holding them back from success, so do other peoples misconceptions of women. An article by Fortune gave a great glimpse into common misconceptions. It claimed that motherhood, emotions, and differing responses are strengths that benefit the business.
Irene Dorner, the chief executive of HSBC USA, said in a New York Times article how she was successful in business by saying: “The women at the top of organizations that I know will tell you that we think that we’ve made it because we were born the way we are and can play by these rules without feeling damaged by them,” Ms. Dorner said. “Or, we’ve learned how to play by these rules and use them to our own advantage.”
So, we wanted to give women a few tips on surviving in the business world:
1. Create value.
The perspective of a woman in a man's world is valuable. Men and women see and do things differently. Both men and women matter and are needed. Women are great at relationship building, are natural multi-taskers, and are generous in their encouragement. Find a way to show the value behind these natural behaviors and actions.
2. Have courage.
“Women do funny things,” Ms. Dorner said. “They do things like work very hard and expect to be noticed for it — and they’re not because it doesn’t work like that.”
We must have the courage as women to do things differently. The business world doesn't recognize us the same way as it does men. Why do you think there are so many organizations created and articles written that are committed to “empowering women in business” but we don't see the same for men? Because resources are meant to solve problems, and men don't struggle in this area the way women do. As I said before, we have more to prove. So we have to courageously go against the grain to stand out for the value we add.
3. Be relentless.
We can't let failure knock us down. Let failure be a lesson learned that inspires us to try again and to take the knowledge and wisdom we gained to be relentless in our pursuit of success. If you tried something one way and came up short, step back, analyze, and try again in a different way! Don't give up.
4. Trust your instincts.
There is a reason we have so many “gut feelings.” We are trained not to trust them because we are “too emotional,” but it's not that we can't control our emotions it's that our brains collect a large amount of information that we sometimes don't even notice. This compilation of information gives us our intuition during times we need it most. We need to trust it.
Tell us in the comments, what has been the biggest obstacle you have faced as a woman in business and how did you overcome?