How Being Brave & Being Decisive Could Transform Your Career Prospects

Being brave is often the hardest thing for women who are used to giving in to others’ will. When women have courage and make decisions that they stick to, they often find that people treat them with respect. Certainty is attractive. So next time you’re offered an opportunity you should TAKE IT. And if you aren’t sure you can do it, you can work it out later on. NB. Men are very good at this.

If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.”
— Sheryl Sandberg

It’s worth remembering that it’s the things that scare us that are usually the ones worth pursuing. If it’s within our comfort zone it won’t move us forward. To find out how you can succeed, read the following report “Calling Women over 40! Why You Are Stuck In Your Career And What you Can Do About It” by Claudia Crawley & Ghazala Faizi.

Gender stereotypes come into play from early childhood and by the time women are in a career, these stereotypes become self-fulfilling prophecies where men are expected to be ambitious but women are penalised if they are. Men are expected to get leadership positions and earn more and women are expected to be led and earn less. When women are assertive or decisive they are called ‘bossy’ or ‘aggressive’ whereas men are praised for such behaviour.

Kathy Caprino, a US Career Coach notes that most women and some men find it difficult to promote their own abilities and speak up about their achievements and contributions in a positive way. This deeply rooted resistance and hesitancy costs them dearly and yet when women do behave in a competent and assertive way, they often experience critical feedback and reaction.

Caprino further argues that many women, despite being the main breadwinner, hesitate to invest in themselves to further their career as they feel they have to defer to their partner/husband to make the decision for them. They feel guilty spending on themselves and not on their children, parents, home, etc. She says she was shocked at the numbers of women who wanted to join career programs but did not in the end make the commitment. This is completely different to the men who approach her who say ‘yes’ quickly to working together.

Why do women lack the confidence, the power and the authority to make their own decisions about their own growth? Caprino exhorts women,“When it comes to personal and professional development (or anything in life for that matter), you need to make yourself the highest authority of your life, not your spouse, your sister, your boss, your partner”. 

The government has just appointed the economist and policy expert Dr Ros Altmann CBE as business champion for older workers. Did you know that there are currently around 2.9m people aged between 50 and 65 (state pension age) out of work in the UK? These workers are expected to become key to filling workforce recruitment needs as demographic predictions show there will be 700,000 fewer people aged 16-49 in the UK labour market over the next decade but 3.7m more people aged between 50 and state pension age. So now is the right time for women over 40 to be brave and decisive. You have never been more needed in the economy.

Women need to take more risks in the career decisions they make as not taking risks comes at a heavy cost. What used to be a career ladder is now more of a labyrinth where women have to find out what the unwritten rules of the organization are. You will need to show resilience and persistence as the journey through the jungle gym is anything but smooth for most women. Coaching can help women deal with this journey, mastering mindset issues and enabling women to take on challenges and stretch themselves.

Planning your career may seem a daunting and difficult task, but you don’t need to do it alone. Claudia Crawley and I are running a two day immersive workshop in September for women like you, over 40, ambitious and determined to do the high level work you know you are eminently capable of.

Find out more, click here.

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