To mark International Women’s Day OD ran a series of events, including another of their successful panel discussions, this year entitled, Successful women in the workplace.
Having attended the session back in 2016 I was keen to hear what a different range of women had to say, and pick up more tips. Interestingly, the two tips that Louise shared in her comments back in 2016 came up, so go back and read them!
I have written a lot of notes about all the different experiences that these inspirational women have had, many more than I can fit in here. So here are the key points that I am taking away from today and will reflect on.
NB whilst this event was about women in the workplace much of what I note below is applicable to everyone.
Authenticity: Learn how to work the way that you work best
Some of the women spoke about spending years not being themselves to fit in to a workplace or focus on their career. Things like toning down accents, playing up their femininity, forgetting their hobbies etc. And every single one of them said that they were not happy and satisfied until they started to be authentically them, and learned how to work the way that they work best.
Identify your brand, be clear about it, and don’t apologise for it. What people say about you when you leave the room is your brand. It’s what is memorable about you. For some people this is a physical thing such as bright red lipstick, big necklaces, or an infectious smile. For others it is a professional attitude, an ability to bring people together, or calm demeanour. It works with the authenticity, not against it.
Enjoy who you are, what you do, and the people around you. Not just in work. Take time to enjoy yourself outside work, your family and your hobbies are important for your mental health and your ability to know who you are.
Control the controllable
Women are held to very high standards, and often hold ourselves to much higher standards than we hold other people. We are individuals and we can control the pressure we put on ourselves, and can choose to ignore those ridiculously high standards society has imposed. To this, I would add that you cannot control other people or events, but you can control how you respond to them.
What really struck me is that every member of the panel really showed their pride in themselves and their achievements. This was good to see. Women are often taught to keep their heads down, work hard, and get on with it. We need to talk more about our successes without downplaying our role in them.
Feel free to come and chat to me or send me an email if you want to hear even more about the event.