In anticipation of International Women’s Day on March 8th, it becomes important to take a step back and appreciate the strides women have taken in business and in many areas of life. Women have begun to make up serious ground that has been lost over the years. We have been graced with many women entrepreneurs who’ve helped us build our careers, and guide us through these competitive waters. After the celebration of International Women’s Day has died down, we need to keep the momentum pressing forward! Below are some key components when it comes to climbing the corporate ladder as a successful business woman.
Where Business Women Need to Focus in 2019
Importance of Leadership
According to Fortune Magazine, 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. With the limited spots women have in leadership roles within these companies, the weight of their positions doubles. It becomes part of your role to help others around you reach their full potential. Take the time to look around and pull other women up along the way. It can be as simple as starting mentorship meetings to talk through common struggles women see in the workplace, how to angle promotion pitches, and even steps to take when looking to switch career paths. Nicole Faurot, partner at Marlowe Partners, states, “Women in senior roles who are able to advocate for other gritty and talented women by giving clear and concise feedback, as well as support at the key times in career paths, have been some of the best advocates and mentors I’ve seen. Men can also play this role and often do.”
Embracing Your Femininity
Many believe that if you are to be taken seriously in the world of business, you have to completely disregard your feminine side, and fully “man up.” There is a sense that showing femininity is a weakness, resulting in women ignoring this character trait or feeling ashamed of that side of them. This year however, it is time to fully embrace your female edge!
Michelle Lam, the CEO of online bra retailer True&Co. went through a similar struggle. She was unsure whether she should take on her business with her ‘soft side’. She decided to combine the traits, and in result, she saw great success. When asked about femininity, Michelle comments, “Femininity is strength. In a past life, I used to feel that it was not feminine to be strong and to be all out in my career and to go for gold, as it were. Now I realize they're two threads of the same thing: if you’re confident enough to be yourself and to show vulnerability, that makes you a real human being, which is a prerequisite for being a female human being. And I think softness and vulnerability is what creates connection to other people and what makes great things happen.”
Celebrating Your Wins
As one project flows into another, it may feel as if your hard work is going unnoticed. While you won’t receive celebration surrounding your accomplishments from your superiors at every turn, it doesn't mean you can’t shed some light on them yourself. You could focus on something small, like someone seeking out your professional advice on a project, or something larger like praising a completed task that consumed months of your blood, sweat, and tears. Giving yourself the appropriate acknowledgement can provide you with momentum to finish the greater tasks at hand. You are also reminded at how close you are to achieving the overall goal!
Network, Network, Network
Networking can be intimidating, especially for those business women who are introverts. However, it has been and will always be an important tool to help advance your career. As 2019 progresses, it’s important to network with a plan and purpose. Learning how to strategically say no to certain opportunities will allow your focus to be better concentrated on the correct areas. Figure out the direction you plan to take your career path in, and build from there. You never want to waste your energy on an area that won’t benefit you in the end, so it’s important to be selective!
Make this year, your year.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on any areas women should focus on this year! Please comment below and share your experiences and advice.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out my 14 Quotes to Celebrate Women’s History Month!