We women, by nature, tend to be pleasers. We want everyone to be happy with us. Believe me, successful women are no different. Almost all the high earners I’ve interviewed confessed to a “little girl inside me who wants to be liked.”
Yet these women were continually required to make difficult, even painful, decisions that often had negative consequences for other people. The secret to their success: they had to toughen up.
‘Toughening up’ does not mean we have to harden our hearts, numb our senses, or act like men. The women I interviewed taught me four techniques for becoming strong, effective leaders without compromising their feminine nature.
1. Aim to be respected rather than liked. “I tried to be nice rather than stand by my convictions,” said one woman who quickly learned, “You can’t always be liked, but you can definitely be respected.” The recognition that earning respect was more important than gaining approval was, for most, a “watershed moment.”
2. Reframe obstacles. “I can’t see a challenge or problems,” said one high earner. “They don’t exist for me. Everything is an opportunity to make it work.” I heard almost the exact words from virtually every successful woman. “I can’t hear ‘no,” exclaimed a woman who refused to use the word ‘problem’ or even ‘obstacle.’ “A Growth opportunity is a better word,” she told me.
3. Take decisive action without second guessing. Analysis paralysis is a dangerous sink hole on the road to success. These women disciplined themselves to take action without obsessing or vacillating. As one explained, “Be decisive and stand by your decisions, without wavering. If it’s right, it’s right. If not, then make a new decision. It’s not the decision, it’s what you put behind the decision, not second guessing.”
4. Focus on possibilities—Underearners tend to be preoccupied with doors that are closed, fears of inadequacy or the need to be perfect. High earners are always looking for windows of opportunity, how to best serve others and become their most authentic self.
How do you get beyond that “little girl inside who wants to be liked”? Leave me a comment below.
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