Bold Beautiful and Everything in Between
This article is about the reality of entrepreneurship for women CEOs.
What if I told you that the glitz and glam of IG and Facebook when it comes to launching and growing a seven-figure business is not always instantly beautiful? What if I told you that in order to unapologetically step into your purpose that boldness was indeed a prerequisite. Boldness to say no to the things that no longer serve you and yes to your purpose.
Women continue to lag behind men in business leadership positions, even though the world is changing. Women are still fighting their way to the top, and they face a variety of obstacles that many of their male CEO colleagues are unaware of. These problems are stopping many women from achieving their dream of becoming a company leader. The challenges that women entrepreneurs face have a different hue to what their make counterparts usually face.
One thing’s for sure and that women CEOs are defying social expectations. Times are changing but itIt can be unsettling for some women entrepreneurs to discuss business with predominantly male executives. In this case, women can feel obligated to adopt a stereotypically “male” business attitude: competitive, hostile, and sometimes harsh. Effective female CEOs, on the other hand, agree that staying true to yourself and discovering your voice are the keys to challenging preconceived notions.
Many female CEOs will at some point find themselves in a male-dominated industry or environment that refuses to acknowledge their leadership position. This can be expressed in varying forms. Their ideas or decision could be taken lightly or bypassed. Or they could simply be treated noticeably different compared to their male peers and counterparts. In some cases, women CEO’s have been teased or spoken to inappropriately. Times are changing especially now that there are increasingly more female leaders and CEOs. But these unfortunate incidents still occur.
A huge part of being bold is learning to own your accomplishments. You have worked hard, shed blood, sweat, and tears over your work. You deserve to be proud and unapologetic about your achievements. Regrettably, many women unconsciously undervalue their own importance as a result of the communal, harmony-creating qualities cultivated in young girls. You do not have to instigate discord or create challenges to own your accomplishments. And it’s not only with your accomplishments that you need to be bold. Be assertive and confident in the value of your ideas and decisions. Your ideas are great. Your ideas are important. They should be heard and acknowledged. Your decisions are valid. They come with authority. They are important.
One thing you should not be thinking is that since this is about your journey, your pursuit of success and fulfillment, that you should be doing this on your own. Huge misconception. Since a good support network is important for business growth, it’s no wonder that the majority of women entrepreneurs observed that a lack of available advisors and mentors restricts their career growth and advancement in their success journey. Finding and choosing the right support network or group is not an easy decision but thankfully there are a lot of resources in the internet. Finding the right mentor(s) will greatly impact, not just your career, but your life in general. Once you find the support group or network, be bold enough to ask for what you need from them, the guidance and help in direction, Ask questions and for advice when the need arises. Be clear about what you need or ask about. You never know who has the capability and willingness to help. Women supporting other women is such an empowering environment to be in.
An important aspect and a challenge for many that I’d like to touch on is for us women entrepreneurs who have families, for us who are with kids to take care of. Being a parent and an entrepreneur means having dual responsibilities to our businesses and our families. It is a challenge that we have to bravely take on everyday – having time for both without burning ourselves out. Women CEOs have a slight advantage to women who are working for others, we manage and decide on our schedules and workload. So it really is all up to mad time management skills. Easy for others, but quite a struggle for many. You have to be discerning, intuitive, and committed to planning your daily schedule and be flexible enough to adjust when hiccups and urgent matters arise. A challenge, but possible.
Do not be afraid to keep moving forward. The challenges I’ve discussed are not there to break you but to strengthen you. That’s why I keep calling them challenges instead of problems, hindrances, or difficulties. Challenges are called challenges because that’s what they do: they challenge you. They challenge you to be stronger, to keep fighting for your goals, to keep pressing on, and to keep believing in yourself. What should you do then? Rise to the challenge.