Career Roadblocks: Professional Women Can Break Down Their Barriers
Take a moment to think about this: “Be Kind, for, Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Great Personal Battle”. This wise outlook was communicated to me ten years ago, and I’ve been attempting to live by it ever since. In honor of its wisdom, I’ve posed the following question to dozens of women in my network: What are the great personal battles you are fighting in your career? The candid answers I received were heart-piercing. Upon reading what these women struggle with on a daily basis, I felt overwhelmed for them. It inspired this article, which is designed to demonstrate how none of us are alone in our battles, and how taking baby steps might be the most practical route toward a remedy.
Where We Stand
Many of the barriers for career success that women face are almost exclusively female-specific. In asking yourself if any of the following challenges resonate with you, think about why these difficulties affect women more:
- The Impostor Syndrome, or, a tendency to frequently underestimate yourself, characterized by a fear of failure and an underlying sense that you’re out of your league. You’re chronically paranoid that someone will figure out who you “really” are. Your self-assessment is, of course, false, but you can’t seem to find the confidence to break out of your delusion. Many people deal with this, including me!
- Settling upon a level of compromise that you’re willing to accept at work in order to be fully engaged at home.
- Struggling to find a balance between work and making time to start a romantic relationship.
- Attempting to determine a growth path and goals when it’s not even clear to you what your possibilities are for career direction.
- Attempting to pursue your goals, which haven’t been clearly defined, and thus finding yourself at a perpetual crossroads, not knowing “what to be when you grow up”.
- Allowing your focus to be divided into too many directions.
Responses from the questioned women also revealed the two most common roadblocks to career success, neatly summarized here as:
1. “It’s hard to balance being a wife, a mother of two, and the time it takes to get out and network to make a name for myself.”
2. “The ability to show up strong everyday seems to be realistic for everyone else but me.”
These two roadblocks also have the built-in double curse of lack of time spent on oneself. Now of course, as an observational bystander, it’s easy for me to come up with applicable solutions for others in these predicaments. We can all say we ‘should’ do better, but seldom is success achieved in this manner. Real, substantive change begins within, and I have an effective technique to get you started.
Achieving Your Own Results
My challenge for you today involves two baby steps: First, reflect honestly and identify your own greatest barrier to career success. Then, write out three ways you can think of to navigate that barrier. This exercise certainly doesn’t imply that your roadblocks will magically dissolve overnight, but I promise you that life will get noticeably easier right away. Putting words to challenges and acknowledging small changes to help manage the boulders we shoulder are the first small steps in the process towards living a more integrated life. When practiced, baby steps turn into great strides. Want help? Reach out and we’ll do these steps together.
Try these two steps, and notice how the next steps begin to reveal themselves. Then, share with us your results.