Women face many barriers to success. They are frequently portrayed as back-biting, gossipy, and overly emotional by the media (after-all, calm, rational, smart women growing business empire’s don’t make for good TV!). When combined with the pervading perspective that business is neutral and impersonal (read: emotionless), women often find themselves fighting an uphill battle to achieve success in business.
This has created an environment where all too often, women shy away from helping each other grow or actively showing support for each other, often in a subconscious attempt to create individual success. Stephanie Scheller is the founder of Grow Disrupt and has carved quite a reputation for herself in the business world while actively surrounding herself with both male and female high-performing entrepreneurs so we asked her to share her tips for helping women overcome this inherent bias to create stronger growth together.
Recognise that this isn’t a zero-sum game!
In a zero-sum game, each participant’s gain or loss is balanced by another participant’s gain or loss. Therefore, for one individual to win, another participant must lose. Business is not a zero-sum game. Although there are fewer women showcased at the top levels of business, this doesn’t mean that there are only so many spots for women to take leading roles. When women can internalise the realisation that there are as many opportunities to win as there players in the game, it ceases to be a competition and internal fighting dissipates.
Get comfortable promoting yourself!
Women are substantially less likely to put themselves forward in a business environment. Too often they think “If I work hard enough, someone will notice me.”
It doesn’t work.
While women tend to sit back, work hard and wait for the effort to be noticed, men have been found to be more likely to nominate themselves for opportunities. Like building any other muscle, it’s not comfortable to promote oneself the first time, or the second time. It’s a skill built over time, but the only way to build this skill set and start to receive the deserved recognition is to start doing it in small increments. The comfort will come, as will the ability to take larger steps forward.
Frequently review success
Previous successes are regularly downplayed in business. It’s time to stop doing this. While it’s not healthy to obsess over the past and stop making any strides forward, it’s important to take time to review the successes that have created the present. Taking time daily to write down 3 successes from the past 24-hours, or celebrate the wins that have accumulated over time drastically improves confidence, which supports the self-promotion muscle discussed above.
Build confidence with “no”
One of the hidden advantages of using “No” when an opportunity doesn’t serve to create growth is that it allows women to lean into their energy advantage. The energy advantage is that space that high-performers thrive in where they only do the things they love, that bring them energy. Most entrepreneurs are great at the things that fall inside their energy advantage and operating inside the energy advantage creates a space where the businesswoman plays inside her zone of genius and finds herself excelling at everything she puts her hand to, further building the confidence muscle to support Tip #2.
Actively look for women to promote
Simply taking the time to find other female high-performers in business, call them and publicly support them shifts perspective. As women-in-business look for other women-in-business to support, they will find that there are a lot of opportunities to grow & achieve.
The truth of the matter is that when one female entrepreneur or businesswoman succeeds in business, every woman grows and we all benefit from the exposure and the recognition that women do belong at the table.