In a career, there’s no guarantee you’ll make it without sacrificing what matters most. What you can do is create a roadmap that reduces uncertainty and puts you in control. You gain influence that lets you impact others. You gain confidence to follow your path successfully. You gain the knowhow to manage your career on your terms.
Embracing the authentic leader
As a coach starting out, I networked a lot in the financial services industry. My business school gave me access, plus they seemed to hire more coaches. The major struggles I heard from women in finance were that 1) They had no role models at the top and 2) They didn’t have a seat at the table. As a woman who spent two decades in the Beauty industry, both of these perspectives seemed foreign to me. While the proportion of men does increase the higher you go in Beauty, we have tons of high performing women at the top, and have for years. And second, with 70% or more women in most cosmetics companies, if we don’t have a seat at the table nothing can get done!
This observation drove a big realization: You can only truly lead when you fully embrace who you are. For years I had let the business school crowd define that beauty was “fun” and less serious than finance or consulting. Now I embrace the power in being a woman in cosmetics. We get to make key decisions every day and still be intuitive, curious, empathetic, and sometimes silly — all powerful attributes of successful leaders. Since 2008 I have had the incredible joy of watching hundreds of clients find their own authentic leader and enjoy confidence and calm as they work towards their goals.
Deciding to take the wheel is scary, but staying real through your career is something we all deserve. Here are a few tools I would love for you to try.
- Explore your underlying beliefs – What beliefs do you hold about the things that make you different or imperfect? Write these down. How do those beliefs impact the decisions you make? Are they limiting? Are they empowering? If you can carry a notebook for a week and write as they come up, do it. If you want to do it in one sitting, write at least 20 beliefs and their impact(s).
- Practice being your “whole” self – In my group sessions on leadership, one of the biggest things I hear is that participants can’t get angry at colleagues they really know and trust. Instead they give those colleagues the benefit of the doubt, which completely shifts the outcome of work conflicts. In this spirit, have just one lunch with a colleague instead of at your desk. Get to know each other.
- Surrender to the role – Most of us have a version of ourselves that lives in our head and another one, usually more authentic, that everyone sees. Others see our intelligence, effectiveness and beauty, even when we think they don’t. To check this out, ask a friend or two about the part of yourself they’d like to see more of. And the one they already see more of than you think. You may be surprised to find out that the very thing you are spending so much energy trying to prove is already out there, in plain sight!
Take it from a cosmetics coach — if these exercises resonate, you may be ready to take the plunge! I love this work and help guide people whether they hire me or not. If you or a friend want to learn more about how to take the next step, please reach out.
All my best,