It took my mom about 8 decades to find her voice. She was shy, married young, and always lived in my Dad’s shadow. But when he passed away over twenty years ago, she found her own strength and gradually her own voice. Now in her nineties, I am both pleased and amused when she tells me how she stands up for herself and voices her opinion in the nursing home where she now resides.
My mother’s generation took a back seat to their husbands. It was common to let the man rule the roost, pay the bills. The wife did a lot of the invisible work running the household, raising the children, and supporting their spouses. That, of course, was my role model. Yet I rejected it at an early age.
Have you found your own voice? How comfortable are you speaking up in meetings, stating your opinion with confidence? If not, what holds you back? Don’t wait decades to step into your own personal power.
Perhaps you work in an organization that makes it difficult for women to be assertive. If this is the case, observe the workplace dynamics to get a better understanding of what is the most acceptable communication style in your organization. Observe women who have made it to leadership positions and use them as a role model. How do they speak up and when? Do they do so with confidence? Mirror their communication style and make it your own.
Perhaps your own limiting beliefs about the way women should behave in the workplace prevent you from taking center stage when appropriate.
Here are some important questions to ask yourself:
- Do you appropriately assert yourself?
- What is the reaction when you speak up?
- Do you hesitate to offer your opinion?
- What holds you back?
- Do you try to speak up but lack the confidence to do so with conviction?
Ask for feedback about the way you’re perceived in the workplace from a trusted colleague, coach, or mentor. Use this information to practice finding your voice and confidence.
You don’t want to wait until you’re 90!