Written by Jane Goldner Tuesday, September 11 2012
It is time for another chat. I believe this makes our fourth, and there are many more to come. So far, we have discussed:
Today, we are going to begin the discussion about the key to successfully integrating your multiple roles, defining your core. Just like an organization has a mission, vision and values, so should you in order to focus your time, energy and resources. The result will allow you to stand in your power and to live the right life. Before we get to the core, you need to understand the importance of standing in your power.
What does it mean to “stand in your power”?
Standing in your power is knowing who you are and what is important to you so you can make good choices and trade-offs; the decisions between “yeses” and “nos.” In spite of what anyone may tell you, nobody has it all. Everybody has to make choices. One of the fabulous successful senior leaders whom I interviewed for my upcoming book, “Women Driven to Success,” said it in a very interesting way, “You can have it all, just not every day.” The best choices come from clarifying your personal core. By the way, if your individual core is aligned with the core of your workplace, that is powerful. It allows you to bring passion and purpose to work. So, you have to know your core in order to make good decisions for you.
Why is it important for you or any woman to stand in your power in order to be successful?
Women, especially women driven to success, need to stand in their power so they can live the right life and negotiate based on that right life. Many women are still trying to be everything to everybody and sacrificing their own needs, wants and wishes and, often, their health. One woman in our workshop had been recently divorced. Her son asked her what she wanted for dinner; did she like fish? She responded that she didn’t know. All these years, she had been catering to her family and never thought about even the basic answer to what foods she liked. Furthermore, women need to stand in their power so they can change the statistics that indicate:
- If women off-ramp for 2 years, they have 18 percent less earning power; 3 years – 37 percent less earning power.
- In many companies, women are typically 50 percent of front-line management. That number drops to 6 percent at the senior executive level.
- Only 6.7 percent of Fortune 500 top wage earners are female.
- One study indicated that two-thirds of male senior leaders have children; one-third of female senior leaders have children.
- Another study indicated that women are doing twice the amount of housework and three times the amount of child-rearing.
Women need to see the workplace circumstances as they are, not as they wish them to be, and change the dynamics from both the individual and the organizational perspectives. The answers for changing the situation for each individual woman come from her core and knowing what can she control and influence in her organization.
What are the benefits to standing in your power?
Standing in your power allows you to move from being reactive to being proactive, which translates into shifting from wishing for things to happen to visioning and taking action on what you want to happen. That allows you to be focused, not frustrated. You move from staying in your comfort zone and avoiding risk to being comfortable being uncomfortable and managing risk. The bottom line is rather than being a victim of others' expectations of you, you create desirable and realistic expectations of yourself.
What are the consequences of not standing in your power?
Perhaps the biggest consequence is not living the right life. I can’t imagine being at the end, wondering if I should have done my life differently. We all have things we would have done differently, given the chance to do it over again. I’m talking about major choices that impacted the life journey we took. Again, standing in our power is making the right choices for us and acknowledging the trade-offs and being okay about that.
More specifically, women who don’t stand in their power tend to overextend their time and resources to accommodate and acquiesce to others’ demands, whether it be the boss, significant other, children, friends, other family members or community activities. The result is that these women live their lives according to other’s expectations, not their own. They become everything to everybody except themselves. They diffuse their power. Some work examples of this behavior include:
- Always saying “yes” when her plate is already overflowing and not asking for help establishing priorities.
- Not delegating because it takes too long to explain to someone else how to do the task or not wanting to bother someone else or believing that she is the only one who can do it right.
- Continuing to perfect something. Another one of the fabulous women I interviewed said, “When it is right and 80 percent good, I go with it. Spending the next 20 percent of my time making it more perfect is a waste of my time and not necessary.”
Some home examples include:
- I’m the wife, it’s my role…
- I’m the mother, it’s my role…
My husband is the better cook, so he prepares dinners. He does not like to stand at the sink and wash dishes, so I do that. When my husband and sons needed something ironed, they learned to iron. I did not come out of the womb holding an iron!
After defining their core, women have to develop the skills of delegation, negotiation and constructive confrontation for all parts of their lives, not just work. A spouse, for example, should be a significant partner. I once read that a female CEO convinced her husband that when their young daughter called “Mommy” in the middle of the night, the child really meant “parent of either sex.”
Next: The first step in building your toolkit to stand in your power – Defining your Core.
Jane S. Goldner, Ph.D. brings her 30 years of internal and external corporate experience and her advanced degrees in counseling and human resource development to coach and counsel high-potential and women leaders through keynote presentations, workshops and one-on-one coaching. A focus of her practice is to help women integrate their multiple roles and define leadership success for themselves.
Her two new books: Women Driven to Success and RoadMap to Success with Deepak Chopra and Ken Blanchard are due out in Fall 2012. Follow Jane