More often than not we are our own worst enemies. Especially when it comes to believing in our abilities and embracing that self confidence that is so crucial to career success. As I continue to progress in my career and the more and more I start to become more aware of this it has really caught me by surprise how true the stereo type of the difference between men and women is, I hate to say it, proving true to me.
I have plenty of male colleagues and when they do something great or receive recognition for something they are doing well in, they don’t typically act like they are embarrassed they are getting the attention or play it off like it’s not really them who deserve the credit it’s someone else. However, the times I’ve seen my female colleagues receive recognition for something great they are doing, very few of them embrace this and run with it, they defer the recognition to someone else saying they had help from “so and so” or the most common one I always hear is “I got lucky”. When in reality, no you didin’t. You didn’t “get lucky” you worked your tail off, you know and everyone else knows it, so why then is it so hard for females to take ownership of their abilities and embrace the recognition they rightfully deserve?
There is plenty of studies out there and statistics quoted that show this is a very common situation for women to be in, but my biggest question is not what are the results, it’s why are those the results? I’ve been thinking about this lately and the conclusion I’ve drawn in on more and more lately is women are their own worst enemy, we are our own road blocks. I think women value being liked by their peers so much that they shy away from being in the lime light or embracing public recognition for their outstanding work because in the back of our minds we know that this will usually come with jealousy and dislike accompanied behind it from some of our fellow peers. So to me this conclusion on why women feel the need to always try and share their recognition for their hard work, sweat and tears with others, I feel like it’s almost a defense mechanism that we subconsciously do without even realizing the reasons we are doing it for. All in the mean while our male counterparts are embracing the recognition, building off of it and blasting forward from it….when we should be right there alongside them doing the same thing. Instead we are too worried about what other people think and feel about us getting all the attention.
In a speech Sheryl Sandberg gave to the 2011 Barnard College graduating class, she made a very profound point that started me thinking on this whole topic. It made me more aware in noticing these situations when they happened, and the point that really spoke to me was, “Take a page from the men and own our own success”. This quote spoke volumes to me and my assumption is it did the same to the all-female graduation class of Barnard College she was addressing.
It is more critical the ever for the Gen Y women to take ownership of our success and our own amazing abilities, to embrace them and run with them to our absolute full potential. We shouldn’t do this just to change the current statistics of more men than women in high power exec roles, or the statistics on how women under value themselves more than men. No, not just for those, but for one main purpose and that is to allow ourselves the success that we have worked so hard to earn and the recognition that we fully deserve.