They mean well. But, your friends (and sometimes) your advisors can lead you astray.
I am working with a brilliant, accomplished, amazing woman to help her land an executive role in tech. She reached out to four well-regarded colleagues who all convinced her to forget VP of Tech roles because she is a woman. “Your chances of landing an executive role as a woman are slim to none,” said one of her advisors. I beg to differ. In fact, my client is what we call a Quadruple Unicorn.
Technical (coder, product manager, and infrastructure genius)
Diverse “minority” candidate
She is what Silicon Valley needs and quite frankly, with all of the controversy swimming in the waters in the valley around sexism, the leadership answer to many company’s dreams.
Why do we listen to such advice? It confirms our inner critic that says that we are not enough. We aren’t big enough for these important roles. We should just play it safe and get a job doing whatever we were already doing. That job is for them. Not for you.
We forget all that we’ve done. In fact, when I ask my clients, “Tell me about a time you messed up and learned from it,” they jump right to a list of things. Yet when I ask, “What is your superpower?” Crickets. Want to quiet the inner critic? I have a hack for you. Try this and see if it helps when your inner critic begins to whisper silly things:
Make a list.
I call it your badass list. Make a list of all of the times you felt amazing! Incredible! You did something so cool. You helped someone and they thanked you. Make this list now. Right this very minute. Email me your list (email@example.com). I want to hear it. In fact, I am going to post it on my LinkedIn profile (with or without your name, you tell me) so we can all see what a badass you are!
(Photo by Marco Secchi)