By Sharn Khaira, Business and Mindset Mentor, Asian Female Entrepreneur Collective
As a woman in business, whether you’re a business owner, entrepreneur or hardworking employee, you’ve likely faced a number of obstacles to get where you are today.
Often based on your gender or for women of colour, your ethnicity.
In this modern age, as we work towards a culture of equal opportunities for all, it’s safe to say that these challenges shouldn’t be an issue, but sadly for so many women and women of colour in particular, they still are.
The key to breaking through these barriers and coming out the other side is maintaining your confidence and facing each challenge with your head held high and belief in yourself and your capabilities.
Easier said than done right? Well, if you feel like your confidence has taken a knock of late then I’ve put together my top tips for building it back up to full strength and beyond, so you can get back to ruling the workplace.
Change your inner monologue
Most of us have a little voice in our head often reiterating who you are, what you can do and often most frustratingly, what you can’t do. As it’s in your head, it’s coming from you and as such, it’s easy to believe, however, it’s also easy to retrain – as those negative thoughts have the power to shape your life if you buy into it. Replace those negative thoughts with belief, positive affirmations, tell yourself everyday what you can do and close off thoughts of what you can’t.
Take more risks
Often it’s not the fear of rejection we’re afraid of but how that rejection will make us feel, perhaps it’s the confirmation you’ve always feared that you are not worthy in some way. However, that’s not the case at all. At the end of the day, rejection is a natural part of life, you need to take those risks if you want to get in your business, career and any other aspect of your life.
Ask any successful businesswoman and I’m sure she’ll be able to reel off countless rejections, I know I can.
Expand your inner circle
This is all about seizing the opportunity to connect with people outside your current social and professional circle. Like-minded people who will often have influence, insights and networks that you don’t. The more people who know why you are, what you want and what you can offer, the more people who can help you get there. Never underestimate the impact of your relationships and how they can help you to expand your thinking and give you that extra bit of courage to take that leap into the next adventure. Also, when you’re feeling down, don’t forget other women have been there, so talk about your experiences, often that’s all it takes.
Let go of the guilt
As women in business, we’re held back by societal expectations, which can lead to feelings of guilt, this can be a particular issue for women of colour who are still held up to a certain cultural expectation.
You can become bogged down by thoughts like ‘I should be at home with the kids’ or ‘I should have dinner on the table’. Lay all those ‘shoulds’ to one side and ask yourself what is it that you want to be doing? Everyone will be better off in the long run if you’re striving for your goals and just think what a great example you’ll be setting for the little ones.
Own your worth
Believe in who you are and what you offer. Many women worry about sounding arrogant or boastful when ‘bigging’ themselves up but how else will people know what you have to offer. So, the next time you talk about what you do, talk about it in a powerful way that shows people you know the value of what you bring to the table.
It’s very easy to become a ‘yes’ woman, to nod along, smile politely and just go along with what’s being said. By doing this, you’re selling yourself short. Again, it’s fear that holds us back, fear of disapproval. You need to be able to express your opinion with confidence, pride and a belief in it. Pushing back is not about being pushy, it’s simply owning your right to an opinion.
Finally, some top tips you can implement straight away that will help build your own confidence, but also show others in the workplace that you’re not a pushover. Say no, it’s that simple. Don’t be afraid to disagree or to say no to something, your career is not about making other people happy, it’s about making yourself happy, so stand up for yourself.
Furthermore, ask for what you want, at the end of the day, if you don’t ask you don’t get, it’s that simple!
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