How to succeed without being one of the boys

Today, women make up almost half of the work force and yet we represent barely five percent of top earners. Usually, we blame it on men – those “old boy” networks that don’t welcome women into “the club.”

Not so fast. Turns out, it’s not men who are holding us back after all. The real obstacles to women advancing and winning in sales and business are the self-imposed blocks and barriers that prevent us from moving up.

We get ourselves stuck in these common traps and it is tough to get out. Being a successful businesswoman means discovering how to conquer your insecurities, transform your thinking, tailor your behavior and demand the kind of professional recognition you deserve. Blaming men keeps us exactly where we are. Moving forward and succeeding in business begins with self-awareness and a belief that your inherent traits are necessary in the workplace.

Set a higher bar: If you are the one creating the limitation, then maybe it is as simple as setting a higher bar and holding yourself to higher standards. Setting the bar higher will help you come closer to your goal, even if you do not necessarily accomplish the goal.

Watch your language: It is no secret in the world of self help and personal development that the way we use language plays an integral role in our ability to accomplish things. When you use words like “I can’t” or “that’s impossible,” you are using your language to create a limitation. Just remember, everything that is possible today was once seen as “impossible.”

Find examples of what is possible: Examples of what is possible are everywhere and usually seeing just one will set the wheels in motion. One of the best and most commonly cited instances of this is Roger Banister’s four-minute mile. Right after he achieved it, many other runners did too. That was a paradigm shift and a model for what’s possible. Finding examples of possibility will help shift your perception of what you can actually accomplish.
Listen to your intuition: A woman’s intuition is considered her sixth sense. Women tend to depend more on it than men do. Women have gut feelings, great antennas; an inner voice, a little nudge that says whether to move forward. We can sense things about people and predict if a potential customer is a good fit. Tapping into this gift of intuition provides tremendous value in sales and business.

Women today are increasingly using their natural inherent traits to succeed in the corporate world. While many men continue to use forcefulness, bullying and pressure tactics to negotiate what they want or need, women are using their natural abilities to collaborate, search for common interest and solve problems. These methods are often seen by men as a sign of weakness but they are producing high-quality results.

Many women believe that we are working in an era where it is all about getting closer to the customers, striking up new ventures and partnering with others. It is instinctual for women to work with these methods. Let go of the limiting beliefs and behaviors holding you back.

Those who succeed are willing to try, fail, and try again. You have heard the saying “no risk, no reward” and truly successful women embrace this idea whole-heartedly. In order to advance in any area of your life, you have to be willing to go out on a limb. But more than that, you must have the willpower to pick yourself up when you fall flat on your face, and continue with even more resolve. I found a perfect quote by Nancy Clark, “Honor your talents and act like a woman-a smart woman-who knows how to jump over business obstacles, even in heels.”

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