The Psychology of Successful Women Programme

shona rowan-photoWould you like to maximise your success in highly competitive and male-dominated environments?

As a performance consultant and speaker, I’ve spent the last 9 years working in high performance and male-dominated environments: financial services, professional services, oil and gas and engineering. I remember when I first moved to London from Perth Western Australia and started working as a trainer at 29 years of age, I felt extremely intimidated.  The majority of my delegates were always men and most were also much older than me. Not surprisingly, I have developed a huge passion for empowering women in the corporate space and helping firms at an organisational level to develop and retain their female talent.

Now every women is obviously different and so is every workplace; however, research shows there are common areas that many women find challenging or seek assistance with in the corporate arena including: self-confidence; speaking up in group situations; being visible; saying no; and how they feel about “self-promotion”. Ingredients that undoubtedly lead to increased success in highly competitive and results driven environments.

Spot check:
  • How do you feel about being visible, speaking up and promoting you and your team’s work?
  • How confident do you feel in male dominated environments? Or if you are one of the youngest people in the room?
  • Do you think your hard work should speak for itself or that people will just notice how hard working you are?
  • Do you often hold back or not speak up in meetings as you don’t want to ask a ‘silly’ question?
  • Do you make time for networking and building your brand – so you are known and visible?

So many amazing women I have met and worked with, have the false belief that their hard work will be enough to attract the success they deserve. They often work extremely long hours and are very intelligent people, but they often haven’t spent much time building their brand, building relationships/networking inside or outside their company, and most HATE the very idea of self-promotion. 

Action steps

For the next week, I encourage you to become aware of situations where you tend to play small or hold yourself back out of fear, self-doubt or perfectionist tendencies.  Also watch out for assuming that your hard work or success are “obvious”, that people “know” and that your work alone is enough to get you ahead. In this highly competitive environment we need to be known, seen, respected and self-confident, as well as hard working and intelligent.

Over the next 7 days, specifically watch out for unhelpful thought patterns such as:

  • Negative comparison
  • Personalisation
  • Negative mind reading
  • Catastrophic thinking
  • Perfectionistic thinking

Also take steps to ensure you share you/your team’s successes with others.  For example, when people ask you “How’s work?”, share something specific with them to raise their awareness, don’t just say “great” or “fine”, or assume they know.  (Research shows that men tend to be better at self-promotion than women).

Obviously when it comes to empowering women in the workplace, there are changes at an organisational level that also need to take place, but there are also practical things we can do immediately as women to ensure we lean in, step up and stand out as mentioned above. I really encourage you to reflect on where you might be playing small, step into your confidence and power and embrace your uniqueness.

If you would like to know more about my Psychology of Successful Women Programme or other workshops to empower women, please email [email protected]

To your success and happiness!

Author Bio

Shona Rowan is a trained Psychologist, Coach, NLP Practitioner and Ex-International Ballroom Dancing Champion. She started her consultancy 8 years ago which works with global companies across a range of sectors, to inspire, develop and retain their talent and maximise organisational performance.

Passionate about peak performance, diversity and equality, Shona is a popular speaker for the Shell, RBS, Citi Bank, Ashurst and Bird & Bird women’s networks and supports The Girls Network charity with free training events for disadvantaged girls.

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