You Have Entered The Room; Now Claim Your Seat At The Table

Positive Attitude is like a New Super Power” ~ ABE

As I reflect on International Women’s Day under the theme “EachforEqual”, I am marveled by the level of progress women leaders all over the world have made in advancing their careers and personal agendas, while influencing a wide cross section of people through the power of their voices. We have really stepped it up a notch so kudos to woman-power and our continued progress. Even closer to home, we have our first government administration that carries eight (8) dynamic, powerful and impactful women bosses, including our very own Hon. Prime Minister and Governor General.  

Yet, despite all this progress, most boardrooms today are still dominated by the opposite sex. It’s no wonder there is so much buzz recently about gender equality and women empowerment rights. All I know is that the time has come for us to see more women leaders in the boardroom! As a business leader myself, I firmly believe that this change is within our power to make. Our progress will be determined by how much commitment and time we invest in both our professional and personal development and more importantly, how we as women support each other.

Last International Women’s Day, I had the extreme pleasure of attending the HERSTORY Forum held right here in Barbados where a distinguished panel that included a group of six strong, fierce, determined, charismatic, dynamic, “badass” women leaders all in their own respective fields shared their personal stories. The energy in the room was surreal and I was truly energized and inspired to be around so many impressive women leaders. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was right where I belonged!  My attendance at this event was clearly the motivation needed to take action and start publishing the career development articles on my Personal Blog now available at www.lifelessonsbyabe.com, some of which were later published in the Barbados Business Authority.

More recently, my team asked me what was the most important message I would want to share with women thinking about advancing their careers. I hesitated initially, but only because I know they love to limit me to a specific word count knowing that this is a topic that I am extremely passionate about. With over 20+ years as a seasoned career professional with regional experience and always at the forefront of change in both my current and previous roles, I have acquired a wealth of knowledge, skills and technical expertise that has essentially influenced my leadership style and career advancement. That being said, the people development element of leadership continues to be where my passion truly lies.

Therefore allow me to begin sharing my perspective by being frank! There is no “easy” and “sustainable” path to success. If anyone has told you otherwise believe me, that was surely a myth. Success requires a commitment to continuous growth achieved  through new learnings and guess what, growth is uncomfortable. For us women leaders to continue breaking new glass ceilings, we must get used to being uncomfortable, while adopting a can-do attitude with greater self awareness.

There are a few valuable life lessons however, that I am happy to share that can help to make your career journey a more rewarding and successful one as we move rigorously to claim our seats at the table. 

If you are truly serious about building a fulfilling and rewarding career, start by getting your attitude in check. “A Positive Attitude is like a new Super Power”. It gets you in rooms, can get you a seat at the table and if you are consistent, can keep you there. Sadly, this is one of the most challenging personal traits for some female professionals to adopt. Both our rise to success and sluggish growth at times is affected by poor attitudes and unguarded emotions, which is manifested in our performance; adversely influencing the perception of key decision makers. I even shedder to mention the “I have arrived” mentally that appears to get switched on so easily when some women reach a certain level or status quo; many times earning the rest of us ladies some really undesirable titles. In her book, Michelle Obama reminds us that “when you have worked hard and done well and walked through that door of opportunity, do not slam it shut behind you. Reach back and give others the same chances that helped you to succeed”. I look forward to the day when this becomes the new operating standard for women leaders.

As another important career tip, do yourself a favor, accept the promotion to “CEO of Your Life”.  If you are to continue lobbying for a seat at the table, you must be prepared to pause and come up with a career game plan that ties in with your passions. Once you have identified where you want to be in two years, five years or even 10 years, go about executing that plan with the highest degree of discipline that causes you to stand out amongst your peers. But remember remain flexible and know that if the chosen path comes without obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere. 

Let’s not play around with this topic anymore! We all know that as women leaders and professionals we have to put in way more effort to prove our worth. But remember, daily “Gratitude is a Must” as gratitude shifts our mindset and fuels our hunger for success. It is therefore important that we remain truly thankful for all new opportunities presented. The aim is never to be exploited, but to gain an understanding that there is value in delayed gratification.

Ladies, if we are to claim our seats at the table, the best advice I can offer to all my fellow female professionals is that you must be prepared to “Get Up. Get Dressed and Show Up”.  But do this daily with a positive attitude, a growth mindset and filled with sufficient passion that exudes confidence, self-belief and excellence in everything you do.  Remembering that, consistency breeds results; results bring success and success delivers rewards.

Happy International Women’s Day! #EachforEqual

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