Becoming an orchid
Today marks 1 year for me in my current job. I don’t celebrate work anniversaries (lol) but it’s a small milestone and that I find myself grateful for, and has me reflecting on the small wins, and the big failures along the way. Here’s a few random thoughts on some of the challenges and coping mechanisms.
- I have gained a heightened awareness for the challenges of being a woman in a leadership role. I have had experiences where I do feel as though I have had to work harder to be “taken seriously” by the media, by people in other leadership roles in the community, by people I work with, than if I were a male in the same role. If I compare myself to some of my male peers, I definitely have had to work harder than other males have in the same role to achieve the same results in some areas. Not entirely by virtue of my being a woman, but I think there is an element of ladies having to do twice the tricks to garner the same reaction or respect, and not just from men. It’s complex because I feel that I don’t have to work as hard to achieve results in different areas, and it does not have anything to do with my or their gender, it is because I am better at those things. So by the same token, I do feel I have to just buck up and get better at those things at which I have more work to do. But I think an awareness of what gender bias is and looks like, is helpful so you can navigate it and call it out. And also, be sure to call yourself out, if you just need be better at something. My view is it’s a messy mix of both. Whichever way you slice it, is a challenge I embrace even if I stumble often and rather ungracefully at times.
- Tips for better public speaking: Preparation, practise, preparation. Important point to note: Practise spelt with an “s” makes the word a verb instead of a noun, which makes it an action that requires you to actually get off your butt and actually enact.
- Keep laser sharp focus on what’s important, and remind yourself often. You think you’ll know what to do until you are in a position where your decision affects someone’s livelihood, tests their trust, or pits one group of nice peoples interests against another group of equally nice people. The right thing is usually never the easy thing, and being unpopular is just part of the job description. Make peace with it early, and stay focused on what’s important. For me those things are: maintaining fulfilling relationships with my family, and delivering on company Vision, core purpose and values. I also like to turn up every now and again. Ya know?
- Lastly, (one more cliché for this long list of clichés), embrace that you are a work in progress. One of the reasons I was most excited for this job was the opportunity to really challenge myself (check!), to be out of my comfort zone (check! Check!)) and blossom into the fuckin’ most prized orchid in all the land, after which I could check it off my list and pursue my true passion to become a travel writer (work in progress). The point I'm trying to make is, we are always so afraid of failing, being humiliated, doing a bad job and being ridiculed, but we forget that we are imperfect beings. Fearing failure is an admission that you are supposed to be perfect, which is ridiculous. Sucking at something doesn't make you a failure, it makes you human. So rather than being afraid of failure, instead, just own the fact that you are average at something, big deal, that makes you pretty much on par with the rest of the world. If you embrace it, you can move on to working on it, and progressing. So go ahead, own your averageness, work at it, and then become an orchid.