Tag Archives: Ambition

Please, Call Me Bossy

Powerful. Ambitious. Bossy. Raise your hand if you’ve been called these words. *Raises hand.* Now tell me, were you viewed in a positive or negative light when someone used these words to describe you? Let me guess…

This post is likely going to trigger some strong emotions, dear reader, but stick with me. Of late, I’ve had what feels like hundreds of conversations with talented, experienced lady friends, who are walking around their respective workplaces walking on eggshells. Many are struggling with confidence or are letting past descriptions dictate how they show up in current roles. I’ve heard “I need to take back my power but don’t want to come off as intimidating” or “I feel like my team needs direction but I don’t want to seem bossy” Insert eye roll here.

our deepest fearLadies, I’m here to tell you, you’re likely going to be too much for some and not enough for others. That’s life. My question to you is: “What words would you use to describe yourself when you’re at your best?” If it’s powerful or ambitious or honest, so be it. These are not dirty words that shouldn’t be spoken. Powerful women stand in their own sun, radiating light for all to see. Ambitious women strive for more and are hopefully bringing others along on their journey. Bossy women don’t take no for an answer. To me, these are all beneficial actions. Sure, there are bossy women who are bitches, ambitious women who sell others out. I hope that’s the minority of women AND we have the opportunity to rewrite this story.

Take a few colleagues who you trust and discuss these words. How are they received in your workplace? What can you do to help other women embrace their power, their ambition? Corporate cultures are hard: typically they’re well-defined by only by a subset of leadership. They’re big on collaboration and you’re definitely working in teams. So how do you bring your powerful, ambitious self to work without ruffling all of the feathers?

It’s a balancing act for sure. I’ve been told I’m too much: too extroverted, too talkative, too honest. So I’ve started having conversations about my big, bold, beautiful personality upfront. Let’s make some agreements on how we’re going to work together so we both claim our power, so I’ll know when to ease up so you can step up. It’s not a magic potion that works every time but it’s absolutely helped. I encourage you to give it a try.

The quote above is what sparked the idea for this post. It was read to me during a coaching class and immediately tears filled my eyes. I pride myself on being authentic, yet if I dim my light because I perceive that others can’t handle it, am I really being my true self? It certainly made me reflect and step fully in my power.

How Do You Define Success?

Lean In” and Sheryl Sandberg have permeated every news channel, major corporation and magazine cover during the last couple of months. The book has been wildly successful and Sandberg has led an army of mainly women in the charge for equality in the workplace. While her book is very helpful and it’s great companies want to aid women in the work/life balance struggle, “Lean In” is not a gospel for every woman out there.

The work/life balance is such a personal issue for men and women alike that no one prescribed way can be applied to everyone’s situation. In reality, it comes down to how you define success. Is is a c-suite office, a certain pay grade, or having happy, responsible children? I can’t answer that question for you and neither can Sheryl Sandberg. What we can do, as women fighting for a better tomorrow, is lift each other up rather than bring one another down.

acsuccessSuccess is one of those obscure topics like happiness. There’s the dictionary definition but that can’t possibly capture everyone’s feelings on these sometimes lofty out-of-reach ideas. A co-worker recently shared a Harvard Business Review (HRB) article that eloquently addressed the topic of success saying “You have to define what success means to you—understanding, of course, that your definition will evolve over time.” I experienced this epitome earlier in the week when I made the conscious decision to attend my fitness class instead of staying later at work. As a young professional, my career is top of mind, but since the start of 2014, my health has become a top priority too. Right now, being successful means taking time for myself, whether that is a yoga class or a manicure.

It is easy to define success right now as a single, young professional with no responsibility to anyone but myself. However, I know it will gradually become harder, when I add a significant other and children to the mix. That is why I enjoyed the HBR article so much; it is okay for your definition of success to change as your grow and figure out what you want from this life. I look at others my age and occasionally question their lack of ambition. But who am I to define success for them? I can’t want for others what they don’t want for themselves. We can’t define success for anyone else but ourselves.

I think that having a clear definition of success and sharing it with your board of directors is important. Of course,definesuccess you can change this definition whenever you need to, but keeping it top of mind will help you make tough decisions. If you define success as being home with your children by 6 p.m. three nights a week, write it on a post-it, share it with your team and make it happen! I doubt it will always be easy and sometimes you’ll have to sacrifice, but keeping your definition of success top of mind should help.

How do you define success? Please share your thoughts with me in the comments section!

 

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