When successful executive women talk about how women can join their ranks, they encourage them to keep their “feet on the gas pedal.” Like “Just say NO,” – it’s an easy thing to tell others to do and much more challenging to put into practice.
Women live in a world with many competing interests.
- Bosses, employees, significant others, children all clamor for attention.
- Parents, friends, and siblings often demand to be noticed.
- Diet, exercise, and health require adherence.
- Errands, home maintenance, and the kitchen cupboard need someone to oversee them.
- Clothing and hair involve upkeep.
- Local, national and professional news is a 24/7 proposition.
It’s easy to look at women who have ‘made it’ and give their luck all of the credit. Sheryl Sandberg gets criticized for her achievements at the same time she is lauded for them. Some women suggest that it’s easy for her to give advice when she doesn’t have to follow it herself. Executive women don’t face the challenges aspirants do.
But they did. Unless Mom or Dad owns the company and provides the executive title along with the first professional position, no one begins their career as an executive. Women have a long way to go before pay and power parity is achieved, but no one will get it whining about how tough it is to get. Executive women know they had hard choices to make and they made them. Often made with angst and sleepless nights, decisions always have consequences. It makes sense that women focus on the benefits of their decisions rather than the downside. Why look back at things you can’t change now?
Perhaps there is a benefit for women who are following in the footsteps of others to see that the climb up the ladder is not without challenges and hard choices. But after acknowledging that – it seems indulgent to belabor the point.
For pay and power parity to be within reach, women need to stay focused on those very objectives. Rather than complaining, they might look to focus more on promoting their abilities to help others achieve their critical objectives. Seeking out a sponsor who will introduce them into the networks where influence and connections will make the difference between being seen and remaining unseen. Once in the room with all the power and influence brokers, women should open the door and invite other women in to share the visibility and opportunity to make critical connections.
We need to stop talking about someone’s luck and talk instead about their focus.
Don’t blame luck.
Make some of your own.