Hope you’ve seen our new vision that says: ‘We aim to encourage women to succeed authentically’. It’s a great vision but what does succeeding authentically mean? The Oxford English Dictionary defines to succeed as ‘to bring one’s labours to a happy issue’ and authentic as ‘real, actual, genuine or trustworthy'. So does that mean if we don’t succeed authentically we are in some way ‘pretending’ or potentially being a bit of a ‘phoney’. Interesting, and difficult if you work in an organisation that places a premium on conformity at the expense of authenticity. But it’s not easy being a ‘phoney’, it takes huge energy to behave in ways that are out of step with your true values, priorities or style.
So what to do? I’ve now reached the age where I finally feel that I really don’t have to conform quite as much as I have in the past. And my goodness, it feels good! Along the way, with improved authenticity, has come the realisation that if I say what I think, quietly but firmly, backed up with evidence, most people listen. They may not agree but they listen, even all male audiences. I’ve also learned that it’s not about what I wear or don’t wear, high heels or flats, skirts or trousers, it’s about finding a style that works for me and reflects the person I am. I spent far too much time believing that the only way to succeed was to be much better than the men around me, better prepared, check the detail, work very hard – sound familiar??
Without realising it I’ve also tried to be a pseudo-man and to be honest, apart from being a runner who could beat most men over short distances in my youth, I wasn’t very good at it. And I never really felt ‘happy in my skin’ as I was trying to be something I wasn’t. My skin’s a much better fit now.
So, if you want to succeed authentically, work out who you are, what’s important to you, what you’re really good at and what you want to be. It takes courage to be yourself but to quote AA Milne of Winnie the Pooh fame ‘remember you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.’
"The views expressed in this blog are those of the author."