Shared Leadership for the Future
The older we get the faster time passes. Do you remember when you were little and Christmas was a few weeks away? Every minute of every day passed so slowly you thought the moment of Santa's arrival would never come. But, then you grew up. You decided to become a woman in business, or even a woman entrepreneur, and now the hours, days and weeks seem to blur. What no one is telling you is that business is all about urgency! Every second counts...every minute may mean the difference between success and failure. Business, all business, is about urgency....
As I walked around Castle Island yesterday, I was in awe of the Kite Surfers skimming the 40 degree waves of the South Boston shoreline. Immediately I thought about how similar the rush of that sport is to starting a business as a first time woman entrepreneur. Let me explain:
As a business coach, I spend a lot of time encouraging my clients to rely on their gut when making decisions. However, it is just as important for women entrepreneurs to believe that they were born with brains that are perfect for excelling in entrepreneurship too.
There is a business networking group in every town, city and state in America. Women in business and women entrepreneurs no longer feel left out of the business conversation as, in most cases, women outnumber men at most networking events. However, showing up at networking events doesn't guarantee women entre into the business conversations that matter. The old boys club is alive and well and women who are serious about their business must take the next step to really be included.
Successful entrepreneurs are proactive not reactive. In case you don't understand the difference, the difference is making decisions before the roof falls off and you have nowhere to turn. I know from experience that women entrepreneurs have the guts to take action quickly and brutally if necessary.
In business, and life, it doesn't take long to learn that it isn't always what you say that matters, it is what is heard. Women in business need to pay attention to this more than men because every word we say is dissected differently due to our sex. If you don't believe me that read on.
Is it a myth that women entrepreneurs become more hysterical in face of failure than their male counterparts? I found a reference online that says "Google Books shows 42,700 hits for hysterical woman and 2,820 hits for hysterical man", but perhaps the reference is to which sex is funnier. In any case, as a business coach working with both male and female entrepreneurs my advice is 3 steps we all learned as children: Stop, Drop and Roll.
I love being able to start a blog with a famous quote - this one attributed to Thomas Paine, political activist and philosopher, in the 18th century. Lead, follow or get out of the way is my advice for women in business.
Extra Extra Read All About It a new study released by The Graduate Center, City University of New York, states, Dads earn way more money than men without kids! But, wait a minute what about women in business? The study reports Moms make less than Dads (surprise surprise), but also make more than childless women. Really? Hmmm...please explain.. Well, the truth is women who have children, perhaps by planning, earned much more than childless women during their years leading up to having children. Are you lost yet?
Studies like the one I am referring to only perpetuate stereotypes about men and women. Just in case the millennials haven't figured out that there are stereotypes that they will eventually fall into, case studies are released to say progress is all around us, but male and female stereotypes pretty much stay the same.
Entrepreneurship is my favorite topic - to talk about, to read about, to think about, and to write about. I get excited every time I hear about a startup business and especially enthused to learn that it is a woman-owned business. For some reason, that I can only attribute to a mutant gene gone wild, I am obsessed with dissecting small businesses and discovering the dark horse. As I turn the pages of Zero to One, written by Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal, I understand even more the importance of daring to be different.
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