By Nancy Fredericks
Nancy Fredericks pens Women Lead Change's "Mindful Mondays" column, appearing the second Monday of every month. Fredericks is a preeminent Business Executive Strategist, Author and Thought Leader. Corporations like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Adobe, Allergan and Transamerica have retained her to optimize individual and organizational performance. You can find her at www.thrivewithnancy.com. The views of Nancy Frederick's blogs represent her own and not necessarily the views of Women Lead Change.
What is a crucial mindset executive women judge necessary for their success?
KPMG reveals that 95 percent of executive women say being resilient has become more important as they advance in their careers and rise through the ranks.
Do you agree?
Perhaps you’re already resilient, so this doesn’t represent an improvement aspect for you, but it isn’t accurate for many of the executive women I’ve coached. Could this be true for you too?
Let me share with you four areas that cut your legs out from under your promotion opportunities and in no way demonstrate the well-respected executive attribute of resiliency:
First…Confidence or Self-doubt. Research by KPMG reveals that 1 out of 4 executive women count this as an issue. The results are not surprising as I repeatedly encounter such an undermining mindset when coaching women executives in response to business situations.
Overcoming Tactic? Realistically, it always rests in your mind. Women ostensibly acknowledge high praise for their efforts only to later question or focus exclusively on the “what coulda, shoulda, woulda” have been handled better. You have to decide you’re better than good enough. No one can provide it to you. Accolades won’t turn it around—only you can choose to have it add value to your career by receiving and believing! Some say practice until it becomes a reality.
Second… Perfection. Chaos and turbulence are all around executives. I often aid women clients stuck in the tumultuous aftermath where they’ve remained stalled too long while beating themselves up for every perceived professional misdeed. This response does not have them seemingly at the top of their game. Somehow women measure themselves against the standard of perfection, yet not one executive, senior leader, or our male counterparts, ever achieves faultlessness themselves. No one can! So why is this ever your target?
Overcoming Tactic: Have RESET phrases in your back pocket to return you immediately to executive equilibrium. Try out:
- “Not my finest hour.” Do you hear how this isn’t saying every one of your hours is terrible?
- “Oh well, not what I intended to do, but it is what I did—now what do I do?”
- “Oh, I didn’t know this was what it would look like on my way to my career future—and it is.”
Can you see all of the phrases move you through? Take this concept to heart. Make it your own by generating RESET phrases that work for you and yank you promptly out of stuck.
Third… Taking It Personally. Women often feel damaged by business criticism directed at them even though that wasn’t the intention. Just because someone rejects your ideas or your project out of hand doesn’t mean they are speaking of you. It may simply be that they know the client better or have a direction they believe would be more effective. A negative response to one of your projects isn’t anyone saying: “You’re stupid.” Or “Have dumb ideas.” Or “Bring nothing to the table.”
Overcoming Tactic: Generate a mantra for occasions that will disconnect you emotionally from the censure. Would something similar to this work for you?
- “It’s not me. It’s an issue outside of me. How can I facilitate this project to be something I want to own?”
And then you receive and believe this message you send yourself. Can you envision a more powerful, positive outcome for your career when you choose this attitude as your response?
Fourth… Imposter Syndrome: It matters little how high or low your position is in your company. This attitude dogs women’s careers. A KPMG study brings this home when they found that 75 percent of executive women report having personally experienced imposter syndrome at certain points in their careers. While 74 percent don’t believe their male counterparts encounter feelings of self-doubt as much as women.
Wow! That’s huge! Why? Because research tells us that confidence has almost as much to do with receiving a promotion as your skill sets.
Overcoming Tactic: When your confidence dips, take on:
- A simple approach to building confidence is the habit of looking directly into your eyes in the mirror every night while reminding yourself of all you did well throughout the day. We must proactively remember our wins as research attests that we humans retain negative occurrences more and far longer than our good deeds.
- Strategically tap into Amy Cuddy’s Wonder Woman Pose—hips, shoulders back, chest out, head lifted, and feet apart in a power stance. Fine-tuning this technique will boost your self-assurance and only take minutes to put you in a leadership state. To listen to her YouTube Ted Talk, click: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7dWsJ-mEyI
- The following exercise is one I assign my clients. Consider adopting it yourself. Close your eyes, reminding yourself of a leader you know personally and respect. Then, envision this admired executive of yours in action. How does your leader shake hands? Where are their eyes looking? What is their stature… you know, their head and shoulders? Let the essence of this leader slip into your being. Are you noticing a significant difference between your envisioned leader’s presence and yours? This new awareness is the power you give away every day in every situation. I’m not suggesting you ever imitate someone else—that’s not what the exercise is all about. The intention is to offer you a sensory experience that will distinguish what it feels like to own your executive presence from the inside out. As you enter an important meeting with your boss, client, or senior leaders where your stature shrinks, consciously assume your confident leadership self-presence.
You’ve read from research how crucial a resilient response is in today’s executive. Ask yourself if you recognize any of the four unwelcome strongholds of the mind undermining your perspective. If you see bits and pieces of these four impacting you, there is a chance others are not perceiving you as the high-potential executive you aspire to be. Which harmful attitude are you planning on transforming moving forward?
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