Yes You Can

February 5th, 2022

I spoke with a woman in her early thirties and another in her early forties today.  Their ask was the same – can I do it?  It took us 15-20 minutes to get to that specific question primarily because the question hides itself in fear.  Fear of failure, fear of embarrassment and fear of letting someone/thing down.  Both of these amazing, FIERCE women are superstars who run circles around their male peers.  Their male peers continue to fail up while the women ensure they are 150% ready for each step in their career progression.  It is madness but valid and very common.

It is important to note here, that I do not know one man who would struggle with the question – can I do it.  While I don’t know one woman (me included) who hasn’t struggled with this question at least a dozen times.

It’s on us, women, to acknowledge that we have this underlying fear and face it head on with courage.  Courage to acknowledge the fear, awareness that we alone can choose how to react to the fear and ultimately, conscious action to suffocate the fear of its needed oxygen.  What if we can’t do that?  Can’t?  We face down fears for our families, friends, communities every day.  We absolutely can harness our proven strength to eliminate fear in our professional lives and we must because it’s holding us back individually and our society back collectively.

I can’t stress enough how at the senior levels of corporate America women are worried about ensuring their contribution is worthy of a promotion while men are worried about why they haven’t been promoted after twelve months. 

What can we do? 

  1.  We can reach out to our network – like my two colleagues did today.  Acknowledge the fear and face it down with your support system. 
  2. We can take stock of how prepared we are for the next role, new company, new industry, new responsibilities by reviewing just how far we’ve come.  You are not giving yourself enough credit for how valuable you are.  Write it down, make a list, the good and the bad, go back a decade. Not just professional milestones, personal as well.  For me, living through a corporate bankruptcy at 25 and father’s five-year battle with cancer in my early 30s has hardened my backbone more than any individual success.
  3. We can suffocate the fear – do whatever it takes, for me that’s exercise, reading about people who’ve done “it” even when they were afraid and/or maybe failed.  No matter what, the world is going to continue to spin.  You will have learned a mountain about yourself and you will be better for it no matter what happens.

Yes, you can do it.

  • ABM