Startling fact: More than 70% of women I researched in America last year didn't have a career plan that was working for them. And more than 48% of women were just winging it. Pretty scary isn't it? What have you done lately to move your career forward? I mean, to intentionally…
What happens when you put yourself out there
When was the last time you really put yourself out there? Put yourself forward for a new job, asked for a pay rise, requested a promotion, or asked for your needs to be met at home? I wouldn’t be surprised if it is has been a while, or even if you struggle to remember the last time.
You would be in good company. So many women I know, and many more I read about through my research, really struggle with this. When it comes to work, we feel like we just need to put our head down and keep going and that is enough to get us through. And at home, well, we are usually just too busy to even bother asking for what we need, so we just keep going.
I have been in both of these categories before. And when it comes to work and receiving recognition, I have been the last person to put my hand up at times. This is especially true when it comes to awards. There have been many times in the past five years when I have had people ask to nominate me for awards. Each time I have said no. Either I didn’t feel it was the right time, I didn’t feel I was worthy (the big one) or I just didn’t want people to go to any trouble. Sound familar at all?
But a few months ago when one of my best friends Taren emailed me to say that it really was time to be put forward for the NAB Womens Agenda Leadership Awards, something inside me said, “ok, maybe it’s time”. So I was put forward, and low and behold, I became a finalist in not one, but two of the seven categories. I was dumbfounded. Out of the hundreds and hundreds of women nominated, I was selected. Now don’t get me wrong. I know I am good at what I do, I know that I am pretty accomplished, and I am very proud of that. I have worked really hard for it and I am not a wallflower by any means (although writing those words is still a little hard). But when you look at the calibre of women and the impressive things that they are doing, most people would feel fairly amazed to be selected.
So that was pretty cool, being a finalist was awesome. And that was enough recognition for me. You can imagine me then, sitting at the awards lunch yesterday surrounded by amazing colleagues and friends, with Taren next to me, my utter amazement when I was announced the winner of the Emerging Leader in the Private Sector Award. Speechless (well almost, I am still me after all). I hadn’t prepared a speech and my biggest concern was not tripping up the stairs and having a Jennifer Lawrence Oscar’s moment in my pencil skirt and heels (I would have died). I didn’t trip, and managed to be somewhat graceful in my little 1 minute thank you speech. Pretty cool moment. And my Mum and Dad are very proud (we are never too old for that right?!).
Reflecting on this on my walk this morning, it raised a few things I thought worth sharing and for you to think about. Firstly, it is not just about the award, but it is nice to be recognised. The award is amazing and I am totally humbled and grateful to have received it. The acknowledgement by others and the recognition that what you do matters, is a beautiful thing and something to savour. Secondly, recognising so many amazing, powerful and accomplished women on the eve of International Women’s Day, and so many women and men coming together to celebrate that, is so energising for those involved, and empowering for all women.
And lastly, this has taught me something worthwhile about putting yourself out there. I try to walk my talk, and be as authentic and real as I can be. I write about that a lot, and coach and speak about it all the time. So part of this, being put forward, was me walking my talk. We need to celebrate ourselves and each other, more. Worry less about failing. Worry less about what others may think of us, and more about what really lights us up inside. And we need to get better at saying this is who I am, this is what I have done, and I am proud of it. I hope all the women who won yesterday, and all of the finalists and those nominated, take a moment to savour their success and be proud of their accomplishments. I will be, and I hope you will too.
Happy International Women’s Day. May we continue to work for a world that is filled with peace, safety, freedom and equality for all people, everywhere.