We met for drinks, when she sheepishly admitted, “I think I’m afraid of success. I can see little ways I’m holding myself back.”
“What are you scared of?” I asked
“I’m afraid people will want more of me than I can give them. I’m so busy now, I’m afraid I’ll have no time for myself. I’m scared it will all be too much.”
At that moment, I knew she was describing an often misunderstood struggle unique to women. She wasn’t afraid of success. She was afraid of power.
There’s a critical difference. Success is the outcome we desire to achieve (the good stuff). Power is what it takes to achieve it (the scary stuff).
By nature, we women are all about relationships. We want everyone to like us.
Success, however, requires rocking the boat, speaking our truth, setting strong boundaries. What scares us is the consequences of ruffling feathers, ‘making’ people mad or unhappy.
As I learned from successful women, the key to claiming our power lies is shifting in our thinking. And the shift sounds like this: In the world of work, I’d rather be respected than liked.
“I tried to be nice rather than stand by my convictions,” a successful woman once told me. “But I learned you can’t always be liked, but you can definitely be respected.”
As I conveyed these thoughts to my friend, she nodded her head and smiled knowingly. Then I raised my wine glass as she lifted hers.
“To your success,” I toasted.
“To our power,” she replied.
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