As International Women’s Day approaches, there’s one f-word that I can’t get out of my head and it’s not what you might think. As individuals, as professionals and as women it’s important that we stand up for ourselves if we want to have the equality we are fighting so hard for. And I don’t mean in the protesting kind of way - although that can be effective in its own right. I’m talking about making ourselves heard in the workplace, in the community and in our networks. I’m tired of hearing the stereotype that seems to afflict so many women: the fear of failure. So no, this blog isn’t about feminism but rather the fear that is keeping us from realizing our potential as women and becoming equal with men. If we could shut off the negative thoughts that feed this emotion, we could open a world of opportunity for ourselves. This is why it’s time to let your fear of failure go:
First of all, no one cares. This may sound a bit harsh but let me explain. Everyone in the world is so worried about themselves they aren’t paying much attention (or even know) if you apply for a new job, promotion, etc. until you get it. So why waste your time considering what “they” might think or assuming everyone is judging you. The only opinions that matter are the ones from people who know you and care about you and they’re going to support you no matter what.
Second, if you sit back waiting for someone to “find you”, you’re never going to get any closer to the job or promotion you want. When I started my first job at my current company there was one particular team I wanted to be on. I was lucky to have not only a great advocate, but someone who encouraged me to put myself out there and say “I want this job”. Things may have turned out much differently had I not been clear and confident about the job I wanted. We can’t sit back and wait for someone to do the work for us or there’s a good chance the job will go to someone else. Sallie Krawcheck makes this point in her book stating that part of the reason we are still fighting the gender pay gap is we don’t put our names forward for promotions when men do.
Lastly, you have the skills to get the job done so now it’s just a matter of finding the confidence. There is no failure when you successfully earn the job you were meant to have. So why build up the fear in your head when you really have nothing to lose?? We women are competent, diverse thinkers with strong work ethics. Any company is lucky to hire us. One definition of failing is to “cease functioning” and let’s be real, if you don’t get that job or promotion your life isn’t over. So put your best foot forward, work hard, and it’ll all work out like it’s supposed to.
Do you fear failure? How do you deal with it? Let me know in the comments below!