The Confidence Factor for Women: Have We Lost Hope?

A personal story

I was in a deep conversation with a trusted friend of mine recently as I was discussing some of the challenges that women face in their perspective of leadership. As I was talking, I mentioned case after case of the valuable women who I have worked with in the past before developing the Confidence Factor for Women in Leadership and how they have all gone back to old habits.

They have gone back to doubting themselves, discounting their services, begging and bargaining instead of asking, remaining inconsistent in the market and playing small. I can admit my previous failures as a leader because I did not know their full personal and professional backgrounds as I stood with confidence in the front of the room teaching them how to earn MILLIONS each year by leveraging their skillset, and giving them the full roadmap as well.

In retrospect, I had the mentality that “if I could do it, everyone else can,” especially as a woman. I insisted that my determination and proven results as a leader who has traveled the world and trained some of the best executives, every woman can ASK for the same opportunities.

But I was wrong!

They did not have the confidence to ask for it.

My friend reminded me that there are people around the world who have lost hope and settling is better than failing. In moment of utter shock as I listened in disbelief: lost hope. As the conversation continued, I reminded myself that some women see the glass ceiling, while others view it as unbreakable layers of solid concrete. Many women are submerged in fear and surrounded by professional dream killers that will never allow them to think they could every earn (at minimum) $1M in their lifetime. For most, that dream does not represent reality.

On the other hand, women are losing hope with the tremendous hurdles that one must fight to get there. Along my own journey, there was a time before the recession when I sounded defeated in every meeting. After 6 whole years of objections, I realized that my outlook on success was my problem. I did not see the promise of the reality that I could build my first commercial real estate development. So many times, I wanted to go back to flipping homes just to avoid the continued rejection, but my instinct kept reminding me that I was “playing small.”

Today, we have several women who are committed to reading books on leadership by some of the most powerful women in the world. Ivanka Trump wants to teach Working Women how to balance, says a woman who inherited wealth, married wealth and had access to a powerful Rolodex of connections & opportunities from a young age. Mika Brzezinski talks about Know Your Value with every platform she has, as the daughter of political royalty. Sheryl Sandberg advises working women to Lean In, as the widow of one the most successful CEO’s ever. All with ivy league credentials and powerful male leaders to broker their success. (and the list continues)

Do they really represent the leadership journey for professional women?

  • So what about Sue, who lives rural Colorado with a double masters degree and has the potential to be a multi-million dollar entrepreneur, but her parents were both teachers and did not have a powerful contact list to get her started?
  • What about Ann who works at a bank for the last 10 years and has been Leaning In but her male colleagues have been surpassing her to the csuite, while her employer advises her about the 3 times she left early to attend a parent teacher conference as a justification? As a result, Ann stops asking and stops dreaming. She settles for telling her story through the eyes of struggle and never moves up the ladder.
  • What about Judy, who has an invention that she wants to bring to market but lacks access to funding to obtain all of the patents, trademarks and copyrights to pitch to investors? So she goes back to her $50,000 secure unionized government “job,” that lacks growth potential.

All of the women in these examples are losing hope and settling. They view the ceiling above as cement, not as glass, and do not have the energy to keep pounding it with a sledge hammer. They would rather allow other women to move forward while they step aside so they do not hold up progress for the collective of all women.

The truth is women lose hope and confidence when they are trying to fight for the basic human right to be viewed as equal in the market. The fight is tiring, but someone needs to be the voice of those who are not the daughters of royalty, the elite or the wives of the 1%. A real leader is relentless about opening the minds of people who feel victimized by stereotypical beliefs and would rather settle than fight. The act of asking is part of the fight.

I want to remind you that you should NEVER lose hope.

It will happen. Women cannot give up because they are tired of fighting to shatter the ceiling. The progress you cannot see is the glass is shattering on the other side. We are opening up more dialogue and conversation about women at the top, but you must be in the room. The Confidence Factor for Women is dedicated to giving women the best tools to shatter the elements above, seen and unseen. Women are making historic headway in politics to bring a voice to the injustice of the struggle(s) for equality for women.

Women are working tirelessly to remind you to keep pushing. Success is not just for the lucky few, it is for all of us. Never step aside to let others get ahead of you. Yes, women work harder. Yes women earn less…. but women also fight with the least consistency. Never settle!

I want to remind you that you should NEVER lose hope.

It will happen. Women cannot give up because their are tired of fighting to shatter the ceiling. The progress you cannot see is the glass is shattering on the other side. We are opening up more dialogue and conversation about women at the top, but you must be in the room. The Confidence Factor for Women is dedicated to giving women the best tools to shatter the elements above, seen and unseen. Women are making historic headway in politics to bring a voice to the injustice of the struggle(s) for equality for women.

Women are working tirelessly to remind you to keep pushing. Success is not just for the lucky few, it is for all of us. Never step aside to let others get ahead of you. Yes, women work harder. Yes women earn less…. but women also fight with the least consistency. Never settle!

Never lose hope.

______________

I will see you at the top!

To learn more about joining the Confidence Factor for Women in Leadership movement for exceptional leaders, visit www.theconfidencefactorforwomen.com

Carol Sankar is a business advisor for high level executives, service based visionaries and a leadership expert who is committed to assisting passionate, high-achieving leaders simplify their lives while increasing revenue by becoming productive, not working harder.Carol has been featured in Madame Noire, LearnVest, The Steve Harvey TV Show, CNNMoney.com, TEDx, Daily Worth, Entrepreneur Magazine and Essence Magazine. For details, visit www.carolsankar.com