In today’s world we are seeing the encouragement of many more women taking on leadership roles, running their own businesses, and taking control of their own economical wealth, but women are still under-represented in these types of pillars of success (1, 2, 3, 4). Whether it’s because of upbringing, social conformity, or risk aversion, research has shown that it’s predominantly women who take longer self-promote themselves and more likely to give up their power (5, 6).
When I say power, I don’t mean in the sense of having this mighty force that you use to control people or circumstances (imagine looool), what I mean is your potential or your capacity to do something that you are capable of.
In this blog post, I will be highlighting 4 different ways we as women unintentionally give away our power, which can hinder our prosperities in life.
Allowing insecurities to get in the way
Sometimes we let our insecurities get in the way. This can come from inner limiting beliefs or sometimes we let other people’s intentional or unintentional flexing get the better of us. Either way, we withdraw completely and allow others to steer the wheel in whatever direction they want.
You have probably heard of the statistic that men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them, indicating a difference in how men and women view the job hiring process. Professor and economist Marianne Bertrand even said in a 2017 speech that “only 10-15% of differences in labour market outcomes are due to psychological attributes such as risk aversion, confidence or competitiveness.” (7)
Yes, societal pressures can be strong, and yes, it is good to be cautious, however, we live in a society that rewards those who stick their neck out. So my advice is to pay attention to your self-talk, shift your perspective on any limiting beliefs, and find a way to champion your strengths because we all have them.
Realising that you are enough
Yes, there are many roles out there that require a level of qualification or experience, but this shouldn’t hinder you from pursuing what you want. And realise that many of the veterans started off exactly where you are, and just decided to commit, which is all you need at this stage.
To add to this, a lot of times we often already have the tools we need to get started, but procrastinate by believing we need to know more. In a lot of cases, all you require to get started is basic communication skills, the willingness to learn, and lots of tenacity. Everything else you will pick up along the way.
Allowing others to tell you what to do
I know women who felt more compelled to achieve financial success once they became mothers, and I also know women who said they stopped caring about money once they became mothers. Everyone is different in both their circumstances and inner personality, so you cannot allow others to convince you of what you need out of your life, especially if deep down you have your own ideas.
Worrying about what others think is also the same thing. So follow your own values because no one else knows you better than you.
Create healthy boundaries
Some people will waste your time, money, and energy if you allow them to. There’s, nothing wrong with helping someone out, but if it’s too much of an inconvenience for you, then you have to nip it in the bud. This can be anything from an unexpected call or dwelling over how a conversation went. Unfortunately, a lot of times there are constraints with women being direct, so tackling this usually requires a bit of charm, but if done right you can save yourself from the pain of regret.
As a working mother who’s trying to get her groove on, being aware of your power won’t necessarily change other people’s beliefs. But by recognising when you are giving it away and managing this regularly will serve you more when building your confidence and future success, which is a step in the right direction when it comes to balancing out the unequal positions we face in today’s society.