I’ve been quoted a couple of different places in the past month or so, and it’s been an honor to be included in these lists. (I’ve also written previously on this blog about my own women in leadership issues.) MarketHER and Radius pulled a few spectacular quotes from my somewhat irreverent answers, namely, “Own the bitch,” and “Be honest & self-confident, get ahead, and ignore what they call you. Because eventually they’ll call you ‘boss.'”
Own the bitch.
Both of those are pithy ways of saying, “It’s going to be frustrating sometimes, but keep going.”
It’s going to be frustrating when you’re stuck in a catch-22 of being told you’re too aggressive and not aggressive enough at the same time, which happened to me in a performance review.
It’s going to be frustrating when you need to speak out at a meeting, still shaking and knowing that people aren’t going to like what you have to say.
It’s going to be frustrating when you get penalized for doing the exact same things the men around you are doing and saying.
It’s going to be frustrating when senior men shush you. It’s going to be frustrating when you don’t get listened to. It’s going to be frustrating when other women don’t support you out of a mistaken assumption that there are only a few places available in leadership for women, making you the competition.
It’s going to be frustrating when you try to vent to your friends or family and they dismiss you because they just don’t get it.
Be honest & self-confident, get ahead, and ignore what they call you. Because eventually they’ll call you ‘boss.’
A year ago, many of us used, “Nevertheless, she persisted,” as a rallying cry. I bought notebooks for the women in my office that had that phrase printed on them. I bought a t-shirt. I used that quote as a mantra while struggling to be recognized as an equal–and a leader–at work.
Fundamentally, that’s what being a woman leader means to me. It means that we persist.
We persist through frustration. We persist through adversity. We persist through double standards. We persist through being the only woman in the room. We persist when others don’t listen to us. We persist in standing out and speaking up EVEN WHEN OTHER PEOPLE DON’T LIKE IT.
And sometimes we go home and cry. Sometimes we walk out of meetings beating ourselves up for both talking too much and not talking enough at the same time, since people seem cranky no matter which we choose. Sometimes it just seems like it’s all too much to carry, since we’re likely also carrying more of a burden at home as well. It’s exhausting.
But we persist. And in persisting, we lead.