Are you ruining your career? | Women's Agenda

Are you ruining your career?

Let me ask you a question that’ll help you identify what’s really stopping you from going after what you truly want; why do you hold yourself back?

Thinking about it?

Let me share some startling research that puts this in perspective .

Although female employees are 8% more likely than men to meet or exceed performance expectations, they tend not to apply for promotions.

Perhaps this is because women generally apply to jobs only where they believe they meet all the requirements in a posting, whereas men will throw their hat in the ring if they think they meet just 60% of the qualifications.

Sound familiar?

Even Ginni Rometty, IBM’s chief executive, said she initially rejected a promotion she’d been offered early in her career, for fear she was under-qualified.

But if you’re like anything me, the last thing you want to do is stand on the sidelines while someone who is less qualified becomes your new boss, wouldn’t you agree?

So why, given the opportunity to grab hold of success, do we still hear that little voice inside our heads telling us we’re not good enough.

And better yet, why do we listen? Even when it’s evident that we’re capable of achieving earth-shaking outcomes.

Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, suggests women should take a mindset of “I want to do that, and I’ll learn by doing it.”

Sounds simple enough, but this can be difficult to pull off when you’re plagued by fears and doubts about your own abilities.

For me personally, the shift only came when I was taught the emerging science of strengths. You know those things you like doing and that you’re good at because your brain has become hard-wired to think, feel and act in these ways.

When I stopped focusing on all my perceived weaknesses and failures, and started investing in more moments when I was really engaged, energised and enjoying what I was doing at work I finally shined in a way that felt authentic and enduring.

Letting go of all the fears about my weaknesses and not being good enough, and investing more in the moments where I was really engaged, energised and enjoying what I was doing at work, started as a way to preserve my sanity and just get some joy back into my days. But along the way something surprising occurred.

My performance skyrocketed, in a way that made people, stand up, take notice, and offer me thing I never would have dreamed were possible.

Suddenly I was able to create new roles that better suited my interests. I was given opportunities to travel the world. I was promoted to the top of my field. I was paid more money than my peers. I was given every Friday off to play with my children. And my dreams of further study were fully supported.

When I’d had eventually achieved all that I longed for I was even allowed to write the terms for my own exit.

Frighteningly, it’s estimated two-thirds of employees don’t even know what their strengths are. If you find yourself in this category a great place to start is the free strengths survey at Viame.org.

From there it’s simply a matter of finding out how you’re already using these in your work — I guarantee they’re hidden under your best moments. Then choosing to show up – at least once a day – and put your strengths to work so you can start having more of the career you dream of.

If you’d like a series of free training videos on how to do just this click here.

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