Lack Confidence – And Show It
We’re all a little unsure of ourselves at times. Some days, we don’t wake up feeling like super woman.
Some days, we bite off more than we can chew. But there’s a difference between lacking confidence outwardly, and keeping it to yourself.
Have you ever met somebody who just seems so sure of themselves? They do things with such ease and confidence that you would be shaking in your boots to do? Like those people that go up on stage in front of 500 people and carry out a presentation or speech effortlessly, without even a single stutter? They’re nervous. They are not 100% confident in their ability to deliver that speech, despite their calm demeanour.
Fake it until you make it. Practice your “I know what I’m doing” attitude in the mirror – whether you are starting an internship or your on the first day at the job, or whether you’re trying to not make an ass out of yourself in front of your new boss. It’s a perfected attitude, and you need to know how to fake it so people can take you seriously and you can get ahead.
Use Language That Minimizes Your Contributions and Achievements
Which sentence sounds better, more professional, like it’s coming from somebody who you would respect and take seriously?:
“I’m not sure if I’m on the right track but I actually just thought I’d take a second to see whether this statement in the report is right? I just thought it happened differently.”
“I noticed that this statement in the report is mis-worded. It’s supposed to happen differently”.
I don’t know about you, but I think the first one is a statement from a person that is just begging you not to take them seriously. You “just” wanted to do something? Is it that minor? You “actually” thought? Is it a surprise that you were thinking and analyzing the report?
There are a lot of things wrong with the first statement, and it minimizes the person’s contributions. There is a great article on this on Huffington Post.
Let People Put Their Needs/Wants in Front of Your Own
A sure fire way to make sure nobody takes you seriously is to let people bulldoze you. Women, in general, get a lot of flack for behaviour that men are respected for. If a woman is direct and firm, she’s described as “bitchy”. If a man is direct and firm, he’s described as “smart” and “powerful”.
We’re all wading shoulder deep in gender stereotypes, so lets start rejecting them and standing up for ourselves.
You’re not a “bitch” if you tell somebody who cut in front of you in a line that they cut in front of you. You’re not being “catty” or “dramatic” if you stand up for yourself if somebody is attacking your idea at work.
On the same note, stop being everybody’s assistant. If you take on assistant type duties (making the coffee, taking your coworkers papers to be filed), you’re single handedly stunting your growth. Studies show that women are more likely to pick up the assistant type tasks, just because they see that it needs to get done and nobody else will do it. STOP. Somebody else will do it – if you don’t, there will be others.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t help people out, but don’t sequester yourself into a role that is not yours.
Don’t Protect Yourself
Here’s the thing. I’m a practical person. I love my boyfriend, but I have seen many, many couples divorce and split up. It’s sad, but it happens. Nobody gets married thinking Hey, if it doesn’t work out, there’s always divorce! but you’ll never meet a successful company that doesn’t have a contingency plan, and you should have one too.
As women, we have a duty to ourselves; we must protect ourselves. I believe that each member of a couple should have their own RRSP, own career (even if one of you has to put it on hold for a short while for children or dream chasing), own car (or method of transportation), and own emergency fund. You may not hold the same beliefs, and that is fine, but if you don’t, then find another way to protect yourself.
I’m simply saying that no matter how in love you are, and no matter how good things are going, protect yourselves. Nobody else is going to watch out for you if anything happens.
Ladies (and gents) – do you agree/disagree with any of these points? If so, why? Would you add/substract anything from this list?