Women are natural born leaders. We see it everyday in the way that they show up for their friends, care for and keep their families running, make changes in their communities, serve in their churches, and find new ways to elevate themselves, regardless of their situation. So, when it comes to leadership roles across industries and opportunities, it’s mind-boggling to see how underrepresented women are.
In a recent article from Forbes.com, findings from the 2017 study done by LeanIn.org and Mckinsey & Company stated that, “Women continue to be underrepresented at the leadership level. White women make up only 18% of the C-suite [the group of titles tending to start with “C” for “Chief” – like chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO), chief operating officer (COO)], and women of color make up only 3%. And both groups of women earn three times as many degrees as their male counterparts.”
While there are many layers to what is holding women back in these levels of leadership – some of which have been placed there unfairly for generations – there is one important piece that a woman can begin to work on for herself: harnessing her own self-image as a leader.
There are so many resources and routines you can implement that can help harness the beautiful and brilliant leader that you are already are, while helping you to step out and own that role.
Content that Creates Confidence
We become what we surround ourselves with. From books and movies to podcasts and blogs, there is so much content out there in the world with the sole purpose of building strong leaders. The next time you find yourself consuming content online or purchasing a book from your local bookstore, challenge yourself to find options that will help propel you and your mindset forward. Find out what other leaders you look up to are consuming. Do they have a favorite podcast show or a documentary that was life-changing or affirming that they recommend? Dive in and you’ll notice the changes in your focus, drive, and confidence as a leader.
Finding a mentor that you can learn from and lean on when you are working towards your personal journey of growth is vital. If you’re not sure how to find a mentor, look for local leadership events and women-led organizations, online communities geared toward female leaders, and even in your place of work. When you begin to interact in more of these types of spaces, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who’s in a position you’d like to be in someday and see if they’d be willing to meet with you. Make sure you find a mentor that you can be yourself with while being vulnerable about your goals and feel a true connection with.
Strength in Your Corner
When is the last time you took inventory of your inner circle? It’s easy to have friendships that are there out of habit and less out of love as time moves on. Take inventory of who you keep in your life and who you let in. Is your circle linked together with women who are equally ready to embrace your role as a leader and the things you are passionate about? Do they cheer you on from the sidelines, and can you do the same for them? As you embrace the leading role you were meant to play, find other leaders that are not intimidated by this change and instead are there to cheer you on and help you grow.
Goal Getter Lists
Something most strong leaders have in common is they don’t shy away from setting goals, even the scary ones! Keep a record of the things you want to achieve and create lists to help you get there. Every time you find yourself daydreaming about what that next shift in your life can be, write it down and allow your brain to process the small steps you would need to take to see that come to fruition. If you want to be the CEO of your company one day, write it down. If you want to speak at a conference with an audience of one thousand attendees, write it down. Encourage yourself to stop playing small and lean into the big and scary goals.
Step Out Strong
Don’t wait until you’re ready to be a leader and definitely don’t wait until someone of authority gives you permission to lead. Strong leaders give themselves permission. When you read that women are natural born leaders, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean that claiming the role comes naturally. That part can take time and sometimes a shift in mindset. Curate your life to be surrounded by people, experiences, and things that remind you that you’re meant to step out and be the strong female lead of your own life.