Although women are fantastically capable, we tend not to be self-promoters. We share our heartache, our grief and our moments of triumph with girlfriends. It’s in our nature to genuinely share the credit for a job well done with our team, colleagues and special friends. So, although we are so good at talking in groups, supporting each other through thick and thin, there are very few of us, certainly those in the 50 plus bracket, who feel entirely comfortable, stepping into the spotlight alone.
I do have to say that young women these days seem to be somewhat better equipped to do this. I am sure this is due, in no small part; to the way the school system does so much to encourage young people, both male and female alike, to make their voices heard. They get them out there at the front of the class for show and tell when they are tiny; this translates into being more confident standing in front of an audience and speaking about your topic. I applaud this method of introducing youngsters to public speaking. In my day, it was “sit down and shut up”. To be called out to speak in front of the class was a form of punishment!
When looking at things from a career perspective, one of the best exercises for women, if in Australia, is to undertake entering the Telstra Business Women’s Awards. I am sure there are equivalents in other countries too. Entering an award is not something that I would normally do. I feel uncomfortable with self-promotion and pushing myself forward.
However, I was nominated by someone I truly respected and purely for that reason; I accepted the nomination and went through the awards process. It was a wonderful learning experience. I was forced to take the time to evaluate my career to date. Time to reflect on my achievements, but more importantly the steps that I took to arrive at my present day position, and by doing so I learnt a lot more about myself. I was forced to stop and think. To think about me, not about others.
Everyone normally operates in automatic mode, travelling the same old road that they go down every day while their minds are thinking about other things – thinking about everything except the present. As a youngster, we usually can’t wait to grow up – that desperate need to be 16, 18 and finally the magical 21! After that, the years seem to vanish, and we wonder where the years have gone! How often do people say, “If I knew then, what I know now?”
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but living in the past or constantly making plans for the future, only serves to cheat ourselves of the pleasure of the present moment. So, instead of living in the land of “I could’ve, should’ve, would’ve” or “what if,” we must live in the present moment – making the most of it & enjoying life to the fullest!
I encourage everyone to consider who you may wish to nominate for an award and if, in Australia, the Telstra Business Women of the Year Awards are currently open. For me, the process was extremely rewarding, but it was not easy; in fact, I’d go so far as to say nerve-wracking! The icing on the cake was winning, but even if I hadn’t won, I would not have regretted the process I went through. It was the beginning of a much greater awareness of self. Best of all, I came into contact with a fabulous group of individual women who are all sisters, doing it for themselves!
Are you one of those women forging your own path? Perhaps you are just starting out, or maybe you are, as they say in Australia, well ‘down the track’; wherever you are in your journey, I’d love to hear any thoughts, observations or reflections you might like to share.
PS – you can also self nominate – so don’t hide your light under a bushel!