Late last year my mentor (Christina Guidotti) asked me to reflect on what I would need to be successful. This was at a critical time when I was establishing my thought leadership practice, was seriously short on income, and really long on things like ambiguity, uncertainty and the unknown.
When I actually wrote down all those factors that I correlate with success, I found I was already there! But what brings this into stark perspective, is that I was the person most surprised to find this out.
Sometimes as women we get so focused on perfectionism, feelings of inadequacy, the trials and tribulations of the journey, comparisons, expectations and obligations, and we forget to keep sight of the end goal, the big picture, what's important to us about the places we work, the places we live, and to ourselves.
In fact, there is some interesting science around now to back up what until recently has been purely theoretical.
Jill M Goldstien, PhD, Harvard Medical School, used MRI scans to compare male and female brains. One of the findings was that compared to men, women have larger volume in the frontal cortex which is involved in many of the higher cognitive functions such as language, judgment, planning, impulse control and conscientiousness.
Women also have larger volume in the limbic cortex which is concerned with emotional responses and the types of behaviour that these areas are involved in are impulse control and emotional intelligence.
On a positive note these areas contribute to a female brain’s key strengths of intuition, collaboration, self-control, empathy and some worry. On the negative side, this may explain why women have “busy” brains that won't stop worrying, assessing risk, seeing all the rough patches and comparing.
If we can simply let go of performing, perfecting, pleasing and proving, we will ultimately feel far more confident, capable and worthy of the leadership roles and opportunities that come our way. Neuroscience proves we have the capacity, and that in fact, some of these traits are highly desirable leadership qualities. So we simply need to head on out and claim what is rightfully ours, lean in, not lean out, and just get on with it.
Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #womeninleadership