Women have made rapid strides in leadership roles during the last few decades, but much needs to be done. Some time back, Financial Times reported that women hold fewer than 5% of CEO positions in the United States and Europe. It is also distressing to note that more than 2 million women left the workforce in 2020 alone after the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite making up 50.8% of the population and 58.2% of the civil labor force in the United States, women are largely absent from upper-level leadership positions in the American workforce.
Several factors are responsible for this reality. In fact, women are burdened with the task of looking after their homes and also working in an office, which often leaves them feeling tired, disempowered, and unmotivated. Looking back, the term ‘Glass Ceiling’ was coined by Marilyn Loden. It is a colloquial term denoting the invisible barrier that prevents women from achieving their goals or elevating professional success.
Efforts are being made to smash the glass ceiling in the workplace, but a section of women are still hiding and holding back, hesitating, and allowing situations, beliefs, and circumstances to overpower them. The shattering outer and inner glass ceiling is critical for progress. Here are some ways to shatter your own glass ceiling that may be holding you back from achieving your cherished goals.
Release & Redefine
Take time off your daily schedule and think about any behavior or belief that may be holding you back from what you want to do or achieve. When you identify what is blocking your progress, write it on a piece of paper and burn it – it will give you respite from those burdens and release your feelings. Subsequently, refine what you want to do. Come up with a new belief, thought, story, or behavior that you would want to adopt.
Let go of the ‘Good Girl’ Mentality
When they are growing up, parents, society, media, and even some influencers keep telling girls to be ‘good girls’. It is essential to break free from such programmed “good girl” messages. You can do this by taking more risks, asserting your ideas, and expressing yourself convincingly. Breaking free from all that you are expected to do is crucial for following what your heart tells you.
Use your Voice
According to a survey of 1,100 adults in the United States, 45% of women business leaders stated that it was difficult for women to speak up in virtual meetings. One in five women respondents said they have felt ignored or overlooked by colleagues during video calls. This does not happen only in business and the virtual world but in all spheres of everyday life. Women often do not own their full power or utilize their voice because they fear judgment or risking their reputation. You can do away with this inhibition by taking imperfect action and leaning into the uncomfortable. Use your voice, until it becomes a habit. Do not worry about what you sound like or who is judging you.
Find a Mentor or Coach
All successful individuals, whether they are Olympians, actors, actresses, or business leaders, have one thing in common: they have coaches and mentors to support, guide, and hold them accountable. It is possible that there will be personal blind spots, but a third party can help you shift and show you the different ways of looking at things that you may have never thought about before.
Ask for What you Desire
Do you ask yourself what you want? Or do you ask for help and support? In fact, asking requires vulnerability and getting over the fear of rejection. Therefore, you need to be clear about asking what do you need and want? Then, start taking action because every time you take some action, your confidence boosts. Remember, if you do not ask, the answer is always no.
Know your Worth
A study by KPMG found that 75% of female executives across industries have experienced imposter syndrome at some point or the other in their careers. Imposter syndrome entails persistent feelings of inadequacy, chronic self-doubt, and feeling like a phony despite past and current accomplishments and successes. You can eliminate imposter syndrome by celebrating yourself. The first step is to recount and own all of your past achievements, successes, and accomplishments. Promote yourself, connect with someone new and or send that email. It does not matter how you do it; it just matters that you do it.
In addition, find a strong support system because your environment can make or break you. It can keep you stagnant and stuck. We are truly the product of our environment. Breaking the glass ceiling and finding an environment that challenges you will change your life for the better. Research different online groups; ask mentors, friends, and people who have what you want. Every action you take will define the legacy that you leave for the generations to come.
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