One thing you may not know about me is that I am such a sucker for women empowerment. I mean being a women in this century is one of the most beautiful things, but it can also be quiet challenging.
I believe that women have so much potential. We can achieve a lot more than we think we can. The beauty of being a woman is that we are powerful, yet have a soft side as well. So when we put our minds to doing something, we can actually succeed while still being compassionate. We are generally considerate of people and how they feel.
If this is the case… if we really can succeed in everything we do…why aren’t more women in leadership roles? Why aren’t there more women in the man’s world, like engineering for example?
The truth is that since women empowerment was previously not considered a “thing” in the past…we are still catching up. The good thing is that the number of successful women (in any industry) is rising because of the vast options we have now. However, I feel that there are still a few kinks to straighten out. This is where the importance of women empowerment comes in.
I am always looking for different sources centered around this topic. Be it podcasts, books, TED talks or even music. I try to surround myself with these motivational sources at all times. Not all days are the same, some I am motivated but other days I am just so insecure and doubtful of my potential.
So having these sources with me helps remind me of how great I am and that I have the potential to do even bigger things. They make me feel connected to the great women (who I might not get the chance to ever meet) out there.
So here are a few TED talks that have taught me valuable lessons and helped me out of my slumps when I go through self-doubt.
I am generally a confident person….when I ABSOLUTELY have to be. Most people don’t believe that I am a shy introvert. It is just that, when it comes to presentations, interviews (see how I prepare) and interacting with management, I put my best foot forward and give it my best because I know that I have to (for my career).
But since I am more comfortable keeping to myself, it can sometimes be difficult to pull myself out of this state when I have to do certain things (like meeting new people). During these times, I benefited a lot from Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on how our body language may shape who we are.
When I first read the title, I thought “Gasp! Really?”. Of course we are all different, and our confidence level is basically based on our personalities. But I mean, if I can increase or improve my confidence simple by changing my body language, my posture…I’d really like to try that out!
So I did…
And I am not saying that I am now the type of person to get up on the desk and make announcements (for whatever reason), but I am definitely more open to new things. I can speak to people I previously couldn’t, smile a little bit more and (this is a big one) WEAR BRIGHTER COLORS now.
I had this irrational fear of actually being seen and being judged. I was not comfortable with wearing heels and I stuck to black, white and grey clothing. But even as I write this, I am in a pink jacket…Gasp!
Amy gives tips on the little changes that you could make to your body language which can drastically improve your confidence. This includes the superwoman pose or simply sitting upright.
She also highlights how women are generally more likely to lack confidence. We shrink ourselves, make ourselves smaller. We hunch, avoid eye contact or cross our ankles…basically take up less space. Whilst men are more confident, they sort of puff out their chests and generally take up as much space as they possibly can.
She even share statistics of how these changes can improve your confidence.
Although I am not completely confident…I am still a little afraid of people seeing that I am taking selfies on the road (that’s why most of my pictures are indoors), I am definitely more open. So again, catch Amy’s talk here.
We are lucky to be women living in the world we’re in. We have more opportunities, have rights and therefore potential to be more. However, even with this being true, we still don’t have a lot of women in top management roles.
Sheryl Sandberg addresses this in her TED talk about why we have too few women leaders. She gives statistics that show that in a given industry, less than 20 % of women are in leadership roles. This is partly due to the difficult choices that women are faced with. But she stress that there are ways that we could change this. Her main points are:
Sit at the table
Make your partner a real partner
Don’t leave before you leave
Women systematically undermine their abilities. This is also linked to the lack of confidence. Women need to tell themselves that they can do it, they can achieve more and to reach for more opportunities. She also touches on how we should aim for equality not only in the work place but in your home as well. I feel that with these points we will move towards having more women leaders.
But what does it take to be a great leader?
Roselinde Torres’ TED talk delves into what it takes to be a great leader. What I got from her talk is that the current leadership training is based on outdated leadership models. If you want to be a great leader in the 21st century it will take the following:
Anticipating change, being proactive
Connecting and developing relationships with different kinds of people
Can you dare to be different..can you take risks
Although there is so much women empowerment, statistics show that 50 % of middle management is women. However, this number decreases dramatically when you go up leadership roles.
Susan Colantuona’s talk looks into what is holding women back in the career advice you probably didn’t get.
She has found that the cause for this the missing 33%. In order to move up into leadership, the 3 characteristics that they look for are:
Greatness in you
Greatness in others
Business strategic and financial acumen
The missing 33 % the third characteristic. Business strategic and financial acumen is double weighted and is key to being promoted to higher leadership roles. Your ability to look at the business and anticipate where it is going as well as the challenges it might face is key.
What really shocked was that this advice is not given to women. It is considered as being obvious.
This is my favorite. You might know parts of it from he Beyonce song Flawless (another women empowerment inspiration of mine)
The talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on we should all be feminists.
She has been told that feminists are unhappy, non-African,dislike lipgloss, hate men…and the list goes on. She speaks about gender roles and how we are forced into them regardless of our personality.
People don’t see it. It is so ingrained in our minds.
From this talk I gather that if we recognize this and actively empower ourselves, we will achieve our greatness. I am sometimes driven by the need to prove people wrong. Just because they think I won’t make it…I will worker herder than ever, and give it my best.
These TED talks help me keep my visions and goals clear, and they remind me that I can become more. There are so many sources out there that can empower you when you are feeling down. What do you use when you’re in a slump?
The 5 TED Talks
- Amy Cuddy: Your body language can shape who you are
- Sheryl Snadberg: Why we have too few women leaders
- Roselinde Torres: What it takes to be a great leader
- Susan Colantuona: The career advice you probably didn’t get
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: We should all be feminists