“They would have me believe I’m too Black, too confrontational, I’m too tough and I’m too disrespectful for them,” she said to the crowd of Black women and girls. “But now, I know I’m simply a strong Black woman.”
~Maxine Waters, Black Girls Rock
How many of you felt empowered watching Maxine Waters speak these words, on Black Girls Rock 2017? I didn’t watch the episode; but when I saw her clip, I knew that I had to. Women, not just black women, but all women are stepping up to the table and as Rep. Maxine Waters says so eloquently, we are “Reclaiming Our Time.”
Tricia Hind wrote in, “How the Role of Women in the Workplace has Changed in the Workplace Over the Decades,” that evidence found in a 2007 study, indicates that companies with higher numbers of female board members perform better financially.
Ladies! Who would have thought that we would be invited to the table? I’ve always known we belonged there, but I’ve also known the fight it would take to get us there. Thank God for the women who fought for us and the women who are carrying the torch now.
Now that we are at the table, I believe some changes must be made.
Throughout my 13 years in the business world, I have noticed a great divide between who women truly are and who they represent at the “table.” What stops us from remaining authentic? Who told you that you couldn’t represent who you truly are?
It is time to break the cycle, that coaches women in leadership to believe that they should hide the characteristics that make them women and instead imitate the behavior of men.
1. Successful Women KNOW Who They Are
Take time to really get to know who you are. Learn that person. Don’t make the mistake of rushing to start your business or develop your brand without taking time to first know you.
Set aside time to pray and ask yourself some serious questions.
Ask yourself questions, such as:
- What are my strengths?
- Where do I need to improve?
- When I’m angry, what triggers that emotion?
- How do I want people to speak about me when I’m not around?
- Am I passionate about anything?
- What brings me joy?
- Do I desire to make an impact on this world?
- What behaviors are actual obstacles for you?
Take time to get to know YOU first, before requiring someone else to recognize what you bring to the table.
2. Successful Women have an Established Brand
How do people currently recognize you? How do you desire that they recognize you? Is there a difference between those two answers?
Our Brand should represent who we are and what we bring to the table. Your brand helps to “position” you in your specific field of expertise. When someone speaks your name, they should be able to know exactly who you are, what you bring to the table, and how you would be an asset to their business.
Establish your brand in such a way that it speaks for you long after you leave the table.
Check out this helpful article on building your brand: The Marketer’s Guide to Developing a Strong Corporate and Brand Identity.
3. Successful Women Refuse to Dim Their Light
Refuse to Dim Your Light.
Be committed to the person you’ve discovered and even more committed to the person you will continue to discover on your journey.
As you evolve, so will your brand.
Own who you are, even if others can’t handle your Light. I’m not saying don’t ever take constructive criticism. We all need to be groomed for the many tables that we will be invited to, but the “grooming” should never dim our light.