Two surprising traits for women to embrace to advance their careers
I recently interviewed one of my fabulous clients about a tumultuous period in her career where she was surprisingly made redundant just a few short weeks after taking a highly coveted executive level promotion.
You’d imagine she’d be gutted, agonising over how unfair it was, or that her confidence and self-esteem would be at their lowest ebb – all normal responses.
However, I’m delighted to say she’s had a different response and as a result was able to not only secure a new role within just a few weeks, but land a significant increase in responsibility and salary at the same time.
(The recording is up in The She-Suite® Club for Club members to listen to – and I highly recommend you do. Learn more about joining The Club here then book in a 15 min power call to find out if it’s right for you.)
I asked her what had helped her to be so successful in the face of adversity.
Without a pause she said “I was fearless and I was shameless” – two traits not typically associated with the feminine. But nevertheless they are traits we can and should embrace at any time in our career, and they’re particularly useful when we’re on a mission or a cause.
Not be misconstrued as recklessness or a disregard for ethical considerations, and when tempered with empathy, integrity, and ethical decision-making, being fearless and shameless can ensure that your life, career and leadership journey is full of highlights and moments of delivering huge impact.
“I had an amazingly successful career by playing small” – said no-one ever.
Here’s are five ways these traits will help you tackle this next phase of your career –
- FEARLESSNESS IN TAKING RISKS
According to the 2019 KPMG Women’s Leadership Study: Risk, Resilience, Reward: Mastering the Three R’s, just 43%of women are open to taking bigger risks to further their careers. When you are fearless you are more easily able step out of your comfort zone and take calculated risks. Instead of waiting for opportunities to come your way, if you’re fearless you create opportunities, you pursue new out of the box opportunities, embrace challenges, and try innovative approaches. By taking risks, you can demonstrate your initiative, resilience, and adaptability, which are highly valued in the professional world. Fearlessness encourages you to seize opportunities that others might shy away from, meaning you get to advance your career more rapidly.
- CONFIDENCE & ASSERTIVENESS
Fearlessness and shamelessness often goes hand in hand with confidence and assertiveness. Women who are unafraid to speak up, voice their opinions, ask for what they need in order to be successful and assert themselves are more likely to be recognised and respected. You can more effectively communicate your ideas, advocate for yourself and others, and negotiate for better positions, salaries, resources and opportunities. Confidence and assertiveness are essential in leadership roles, and fearlessness in particular cultivates these qualities, helping others to more easily see your readiness for advancement.
- OVERCOMING IMPOSTER SYNDROME
Being sporadically fearless helps to combat imposter syndrome—that insidious feeling of being inadequate or undeserving of success. Many women struggle with self-doubt and worry that they will be exposed as frauds despite a track record that says the opposite. By embracing fearlessness, you can overcome these insecurities, believe in your abilities, and pursue career opportunities with conviction. This mindset shift empowers you to own and showcase your own awesome, and pursue promotions without being held back by self-doubt.
- CHALLENGING STEREOTYPES & BIAS
Shamelessness, in this context, refers to not being ashamed of your ambitions, achievements, or choices and not being ashamed to courageously ask for help. Women have historically faced societal expectations and narrow stereotyped norms that discourage us from pursuing ambitious careers or displaying ambition. By embracing a degree shamelessness, we can challenge these stereotypes and biases. By being a little shameless you can more confidently pursue career goals, celebrate your achievements, and demand equal opportunities without feeling the need to conform to traditional gender roles or expectations. Plus you’ll be a role model to others following in your foot steps.
- RESILIENCE IN THE FACE OF SETBACKS
Fearlessness and shamelessness can help us all develop resilience and bounce back from setbacks or failures. In a competitive professional environment, setbacks are inevitable, and fear of failure or shame can stop us from taking risks. However, by embracing fearlessness and shamelessness, you can view setbacks as learning experiences, adapt quickly, and persist in the face of adversity. This resilience is key to career growth and can lead to new opportunities and breakthroughs.
Back to my client – she was fearless in her thinking about herself, her abilities and what else might be possible. She threw herself at opportunities, was courageous in exploring new ideas and approaching people. She was shameless in her outreach to senior level decision makers in the organisation and reminding them, not just of the value she had previously delivered, but also offering her help in this difficult time with a raft of redundancies. She was fearless in sticking to her guns and not accepting a lower level position. She was shameless in asking for her worth and not settling for second best.
WHERE MIGHT YOU BECOME MORE FEARLESS AND SHAMELESS?
- Confidently introducing yourself to decision makers or industry leaders
- Applying for a role two (or three) pay grades above your current level
- Being more clear about asking for what you need to be successful in your role
- Asking for a raise more frequently
- Putting yourself forward for plum assignments
- Suggesting ideas for innovative solutions
- Or even asking for funding to join us on the August Women of Impact Retreat? 🏝️☀️🤣
You serve no-one by playing small, least of all yourself. So pull on your big girl’s pants and embrace some fearlessness and shamelessness and let’s see what’s possible for you.
YOUR THOUGHTS? Drop me a note and let me know – how has being fearless and shameless helped you?
Springboard into something better.