Why many ambitious, entrepreneurial women feel held back by themselves
Much of my work is focused around helping women to achieve their highest vision for themselves both personally and professionally. So many women, including those conceiving, founding and running their own businesses, have a strong sense of ambition and a vision but when it comes to actioning change or ‘up levelling’ they become overwhelmed and frozen in knowing where to start.
We as women, often play small at work, shy away from taking on new challenges or when we do engage with them…spend much of our time fearful of being ‘found out’. If you are a business founder, you’ll have probably said the phrase ‘fake it till you make it’. This is reinforcing your own belief (and yours only) that you don’t know what you’re doing. Eliminate this from your dialogue.
As women, we can be ashamed of ambition
For me, the work always begins with identifying the internal narrative we each have and highlighting the limiting thoughts and belief systems that are holding us back. I call this our ‘life script’. There are some underlying entrenched belief systems that hold women back. Some are entirely personal and derived from their specific experiences, and others are more generalised and are things that I see all women having to challenge.
One key limiting belief is the idea that women have a natural inclination toward family and parenting and that men are organically inclined to work. As such many of the women that I work with adopt this approach (either consciously or unconsciously) that they need to make a choice between family OR work and that as mothers, family needs to remain our primary focus.
This comes at a significant cost to our careers because we end up feeling ashamed of our ambition and uncertain of how we are going to navigate the need in us to be both mothers and successful entrepreneurs. I should point out as well that these beliefs and thoughts exist way before even having children. We are often censoring our choices and making decisions based on what we think we will ‘need’ to do, long before those pressures manifest in reality and this pays a significant cost to our careers.
What is your life script?
My clients and I spend a lot of time considering why as women we have this pervasive sense of shame around our core needs…our passions, ambitions and our strivings to be all that we can be. We are even ashamed of basic needs like time to ourselves, or nurturing hobbies. Much of our healing and thriving comes when we take a step back and begin to notice the part that we’re playing in our own lives (that is, to make the unconscious conscious).
Life scripts are not something that were introduced to me during my clinical training, but actually a concept I’ve discovered since I embarked on my own journey of self-healing, and that insight has facilitated the most incredible transformational shifts for me and for all of the clients that I’ve come to work with. During our childhood years we form a ‘script’, the basis of which informs all of our decisions and choices. I grew up believing that I had to work all the hours god sent in order to have a shot at being successful.
I thought that all marriages were hard-work and volatile. I deemed that my core value as a woman was based on how I looked and my age. These ‘core’ beliefs framed everything I did in my life, from the jobs I applied for to the relationships I pursued. Through my work I came to understand that these beliefs were rooted in a ‘script’ that had been formed by me many years earlier. I spent time considering where these beliefs about myself came from and began to challenge them. This was the key to unlocking my own full potential and it’s the focus of my work with my clients today.
Unlocking your potential
Our lives are a manifestation of who we believe ourselves to be and what we think that we are capable of. In other words, we seek out the people and experiences that align with who we believe we are. But, when we spend time unpicking some of those limiting views we have of ourselves and begin to nurture a more supportive and compassionate narrative within, things begin to shift.
We are all at our best when we’re being championed and supported from the side lines and we have to learn how to provide this for ourselves. Starting with considering our ‘stories’ and the tone with which we speak to ourselves can alone create massive transformation. The road to success is paved with losses, failings and mistakes, but when we begin to view those experiences as opportunities to learn and to grow, as opposed to chalking them up as perceived character defects, we can shake off the shackles of shame and really see what we’re capable of.
Ask yourself….what would I do if I wasn’t’ held back by fear? Then it’s about living that life.