Confession: Being a woman can SUCK sometimes. Royally suck. Like, “I want to flip my middle finger to the sky and yell curse words until I can’t breath anymore” suck. We not only have to deal with raging hormones once a month (seriously, why am I mad that the dishwasher isn’t loaded correctly?), but it’s also pretty damn expensive. Guys just have no idea how much bras, make-up, and getting your hair done costs (and if any fellas are reading this, let me tell you, it’s A LOT). But on top of all those semi-superficial reasons, some of us also have another battle we’re fighting that men cannot comprehend – and it’s highly more difficult to overcome.
Over the past few decades, we’ve made a giant leap in gaining equality in the job market – we have women starting their own businesses, running Fortune 500 companies, and hell, just simply setting up their own 401(k)s. However, as we’ve made gains in those areas, we’ve also lost in others. Working women are still being persecuted for not staying home with their children (sometimes by stay-at-home moms themselves), cooking and cleaning continue to be considered “womanly” chores (I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked to make a sandwich), and any type of emotion shown in the office is considered taboo. We’ve taken on additional responsibilities without giving up any others or changing the way we are perceived, and it’s creating an unbelievable amount of pressure and stress for our gender on a day-to-day basis.
In case you missed it (and if you have, seriously, read the news every once in a while), Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, wrote a book that has recently taken the nation by stormed called Lean In, and it addresses most of these issues. In the book, Sheryl pinpoints how we continually set ourselves up to sit in the back of the bus, and after reading it, I couldn’t help but share a piece of her message with you; therefore, I’ve included the top 4 pieces of inspiration I took from the book – 2 of which are below and 2 that I’ll include in my next blog (I got a little longwinded on some of these and didn’t want to wear you out). I hope her message impacts you as much as it did me.
1) We lack confidence and continually underestimate ourselves
“Despite being high achievers, even experts in their fields, women can’t seem to shake the sense that it is only a matter of time until they are found out for who they really are – imposters with limited skills or abilities.”
I’ll admit it – I’ve been in that boat. Back in high school, I was considered the resident “track star” for our county. I never lost a race until I reached regionals every year and medaled in 5 events at state throughout my 4 years. Yet, I can remember in an interview with the local newspaper my senior year, I stated that even though everyone thought I was great at running, I didn’t believe I was in comparison to the competition I knew was out there. Was I good for our small community? Sure. Statewide? Not so much. And at the time, I truly believed that. But you know what? I was just as good. In fact, I could have been fantastic. I still to this day think that if I had believed I had the immense talent that I did, believed that I had the ability to accomplish more than what I set for myself, I could have done exponentially better than I did. My goal was always to get to state, but it should have been to win it.