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Take a Risk Already!

Do you know that men will apply for a job if they have 60% of the criteria needed, and women will only apply if they have 100%?!  Isn’t that crazy? Yet, I’ve completely made this mistake numerous times, and so have my female colleagues.

We’ve talked ourselves OUT of taking a risk, applying for a job or promotion because the negative voice in our heads convinced us we weren’t ready, we weren’t worthy or we’d never get it anyhow, so why bother, right?

This mindset will hold us back and keep us in low-to-middle tier positions; it will certainly keep us out of leadership roles.

More men apply for leadership roles than women; therefore more men get leadership positions. It doesn’t mean they’re more suited to the job, they just take more risks and are willing to fail more often. WHY?  Because men do NOT internalize failure, and women will internalize and stew over it and ruminate, and talk about it with every girlfriend, they’ll cry about it, then think about it some more. Meanwhile, men have gone out and applied for 12 more positions while we’re crying about the one we didn’t get.

Ambition is expected of men, but it’s more of an “option” for women. Women get called bossy when they’re ambitious; men are congratulated and applauded for their drive and ambition.

Recently I was told my daughter (she’s 2.5 years old) was a little bossy at day care (and I proudly nodded my head, thinking yes! I’m doing something right—and the school gave me tips on how she could share more and is “nicer” with her friends.) –WRONG THINKING. I don’t want her to grow up and learn how to share, yet be stuck in the middle of the pack.

I’m trying to raise a leader here, and if you want to call her ambition “bossiness,” that’s on you.

I’m raising a champion. So, when my daughter sees a job posting and she’s only got 50% of the criteria she’ll apply because it’s ingrained in her that’s she’s worthy of being a leader, she’s smart enough, she knows enough and she’s got just the right amount of fear to push her through.

TIPS on learning to take risks:

  1. Start small and often. Reach out of your comfort zone frequently with low-pain drills. Talk in front of 5 people first, and then start raising your hand in meetings or larger size classrooms. Put yourself out there.
  2. Do something every day that scares you. Seriously.
  3. Invest in yourself. –get yourself the tools to succeed. Successful people will buy what they need to succeed (like a book or attending a seminar); while unsuccessful people just complain about the cost.
  4. READ—seriously, start reading. The average North American reads one book a year. Nope that’s not a typo. I’m serious. Look it up for yourselves. The average CEO reads 5 books a month.
  5. Find support friends or a social group. –Lean on these people to help push you forward and call you out on your crap when you’re not pushing yourself enough.
  6. One risk is not enough – stop patting yourself on your back just because you stepped out of your comfort zone once, or applied for one new job, or did one full day of productive work. OK, that’s good, but you need to be great. So keep putting forth that effort day after day after day.

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Comments (2)

  • What did you tell them at the daycare Maja? Are they going to try and influence her to be “nice” and “sharing” behind your back or are they going to let her be “bossy”? Did you tell them that you’re all for the bossiness?

    • I make comments here and there about the uselessness of being a “princess,” my dislike of anything Disney related, and the lack of female-driven characters in books. But the onslaught of female = nice/nurturer and male = strong/smart is strong and unrelenting. That’s why I have to make sure I’m a good role model for my daughter and that she sees “assertiveness” as a strength and not a liability.

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