FACE IT! You’re a Woman
“A woman who knows what she brings to the table is not afraid to eat alone”
This week I have been thinking a lot about the fact some of my clients cannot seem to accept the fact they are women and they enter the workplace with a sense of feeling like they need to act like a man.
Their voice changes, they dress down and they become aggressive in meetings. In order for them to feel empowered and relevant, they seem to take on a male dominated ego.
I work hard to empower women, but this doesn’t mean you need to act like a man or especially a man with an ego!
What is it about the workplace that makes women feel like they cannot be themselves, or simply be a woman? We are almost conditioned to act a certain way just to be treated equal, what does equal even mean?
WOMEN OR MENWO (Woman acting like a male)?
Menwo are making it much harder for the rest of us. Regardless of their gender, they forget, or purposefully ignore the tools/assets they’ve been gifted by virtue of being born female. They often change themselves beyond recognition just to fit in… not realizing that by impersonating someone else, they are failing to use some pretty incredible assets they have naturally ingrained in them.
I worked with a client recently who was constantly snubbed by her next-door neighbor in the local coffee shop. She could not understand it. At a friend’s dinner party she approached her neighbor and asked her why she ignored her.
Her neighbor replied ‘Well you just look so serious, so unapproachable, your voice seemed different when you ordered your coffee and you just seemed to be more aggressive… you didn’t seem nice at all!’
My client could not believe it, she had not realized just how much she changed herself to be like a MENWO rather than a woman, just to fit in at work. She was dressing to impress in the wrong way!
Staying true to the fact you are a female does not mean you are showing a weakness or will be taken less seriously! Sure, we know as women we have to work harder in the workplace. BUT, we should never deny or be sorry for the fact we are a women. We have traits which come to us naturally in the workplace; empathy, compassion and a willingness to support others.
WHAT WOMEN WANT
I want to share a few ways on how you can FACE IT and be a woman in the workplace, but still feel empowered and confident - without an over inflated ego in site.
You can still be feminine, wear suits and no heels, but think about your posture. Stand strong with your shoulders relaxed and your chest high. Imagine your head is being pulled up towards the sky. Adopting this posture whilst seated and standing will change how others perceive your confidence. You will also feel more confident too - Try it!
Smiling is a great way of being open and professional. Practice your smile in the mirror, keep your chin high and smile with your eyes as well as your mouth. A sincere smile at a business meeting can go a long way. Smiling also releases feel-good hormones, boosting confidence and happy hormones. Just what you need when you are about to head into a boardroom of men!
3. Hand Shake
There is nothing worse than a WIMP handshake. It is actually a pet hate of mine and I hate to say it but women are often the worst culprits! You could be dressed in a bikini or as a giant hot dog, but I assure you a firm strong grip will make anyone take you seriously - No matter what you are wearing. Practice on your partner or on a friend. A good handshake can form the basis of a great business meeting.
4. Game Face
If like me, you show your emotions on your face it can be a pain in an important meeting or in a negotiation scenario. They might make an offer you are not satisfied with... and your eye twitches... damn you have shown your hand (or your twitching eye in this case)! Practice keeping a straight, but an open face in business meetings. Keeping your emotions in check will help you feel more confident and less vulnerable.
Short & Sweet
If you recognize yourself as a MENWO; maybe now is the time to do a little introspection and see if you are still being true to YOURSELF- not only will it help you feel more satisfied with yourself, but it will help other women be authentic in the boardroom too.
Can you imagine the positive implications being authentic and proud to be a woman would have in all aspects of your life? Your children and partner witness a stronger you or walking tall and proud into a room without fear of judgement.
When you realize being a woman is both powerful and exciting in a world where our voices are getting louder and finally being heard! You can be part of the movement. Speak up. Speak loud. Speak proud.