Ever feel like your voice doesn’t matter?!
Here you are a smart, strong, beautiful young woman who graduated and is now working hard to make your way in the world. You are ambitious and have this fire in your heart to make the world a better place. You want your voice to be heard and have the capabilities to lead. Yet, on your rise to the top, you are having a hard time being taken seriously and being seen as more than a just pretty face. Sound familiar?
On my personal journey developing a career as a professional woman, I have been dealt many waves to de-stabalize me along my way; some involve criticism, some relate to unequal power dynamics. These waves can get me off my game, faking me out to believe I am unworthy or that my voice doesn’t matter.
For example, a while back, I was invited to a meeting of an organization where I knew a few people and it’s in my field of work. However, when I showed up, I realized they were selecting the leadership team for the next year. The position I was selected for was: secretary.
I said, “I’ll think about it.” The meeting left a bad taste in my mouth. You see, I was the only young woman in the room that night, and I had more education and experience than most in attendance. So why was I being considered for the secretary role?! There is nothing wrong with being a secretary, but I had offered to join the organization to help them out through my leadership expertise.
In the role they offered me, you don’t offer your opinion; rather, you just take notes and listen to everyone. I left the meeting feeling discouraged about my abilities, that having a prominent seat at the decision-making table and speaking my voice was a bad thing and not where I belong.
After reflection and talking it over with some friends, I decided to forego the position but stay connected with the leadership team. Instead, I found other opportunities where I was valued and could showcase my expertise.
When I think about it, I have encountered situations like this many times as a professional woman building her career. Being in my early thirties, I am still young but not inexperienced. I’ve worked hard to develop business and leadership savvy – to earn a prominent seat at the decision-making table and speak my voice with confidence; to do so is a good thing and where I belong.
Just because this organization saw me in the secretary role doesn’t mean I am not worthy of a leadership position, that my voice doesn’t matter, and that I shouldn’t be ambitious.
I am worthy. My voice does matter. I won’t give up on my professional dreams.
That event did remind me of my place in the world: as a woman, I am not alone in this experience. It reinforced in me my commitment to helping propel fellow women on their professional journeys.
We, as women, are so much more than a pretty face! Yes, we will have waves along the way but we will surf them together.
Your voice matters. You matter. Don’t ever forget that.