I love that start of a new year and, as you may remember from last year’s column, I don’t “do” resolutions. Instead, I prefer to focus on celebrating achievements. The other part of the New Year thought, is carving out a new plan – fail to plan, plan to fail! And this year it’s a new decades, too. The excitement!
At the start of anything new, I think there comes a feeling of anything is possible. My favourite saying is “it’s only impossible until it is done”, and a new year always feels this way to me.
So, what could be possible for you this year? It may be a wellbeing plan, a fun plan, or a career plan. If it is a career plan, let me share with you the common “problems” I hear from women looking to progress to senior leadership:
- Having to choose between career progression and time with family
- Feeling overlooked by men who shout louder than them.
- Telling them selves they’re not good enough for the role.
Which “problem” is holding you back?
1. Women are still the main caregivers. Over a week, a woman will spend nine hours more on childcare and housework than her male counterpart. That is not how much we spend entirely, but how much more we typically do. Over a year, that’s an extra three months of work… I dont want to give up being a caregiver, I love being a mum but if I am going to have a career, too, then I will need support from my partner. 50/50 time is here. We can also be our own worst enemies – we have high expectations; we take on too much, and say “yes” way more than is needed. Then we wonder why we feel exhausted!
2. Find your own voice. You don’t need to shout to be heard but you do need to take a seat at the table. If you don’t, no one else will. Reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In would be a great place to start. You can also feel inspired by a Scottish woman now living in Australia, Lucy Foster. Lucy knew she wanted to progress to CEO from her current role, but she also had two young girls and didn’t want to be in the office full time. When the CEO Job became available, she put an advert on Linkedin asking for a job share. What a genius idea. No surprise that when she found the right candidate, the interview panel couldn’t argue with having a combined knowledge, wisdom and experience which now spanned 50 years! They are now the first joint CEO I know of, and they are going from strength to strength. I would encourage you to all find your own path; don’t keep asking for the same thing and expect it to work.
3. This ties back into our previous columns on self-regard and Imposter Syndrome. Many of us literally are holding ourselves back by not believing in ourselves, and if we don’t it is harder for those around us to believe in our ability too. But don’t do this alone – find people to help. Who, in work, will take a seat at the table for you when you are not there? What is your voice? How can you make an impact this year? And lastly, surround yourself with positive people and dial down your inner critic.
Make a positive decision right now to move if forward this year, a new year and new decade and time to take that step forward.