IT’S TIME FOR WOMEN TO STEP FORWARD

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK

KINDNESS, TO YOURSELF

I’ve been holding corporate video workshops with mixed groups of women and men for quite a few years now and I’ve seen a sad pattern reveal itself.

When I set up the video camera, men often step forward, and women take a step back. The men aren’t really bothered about their looks, what their hair looks like or if their teeth are straight when filming, they just do their thing. Women cling to the walls and pray they won’t be asked to speak.

They have the same qualifications. Often the same title, same experience, same expertise. Yet, the men step forward, the women don’t. And this really saddens me.

One of the most important things I share when teaching clients camera confidence is, that it’s not actually about them, it’s about their knowledge and how they can support other people by sharing their expertise.

When you get stuck on your looks, when you hide from showing up and allow for your ego to take control of you, telling you that you’re not good enough, you’re not pretty enough, you’re not articulate enough – well, you’re feeding from the traditional expectations of women throughout history – that they’re not supposed to take up space unless they’re pretty, funny or rule like a devil in Prada.

We need more women to show up. We need more women to claim their rightful space, we need more female experts to be at the helm. Look where we’re at and who got us here. We need you to be brave enough to step forward.

It also happens that women feel ashamed of taking up too much screen time. “I don’t want to impose myself on my audience by being in their face every day, they’ll get fed up with seeing me!”

Most often, when you’re in a field of specific expertise, people don’t care what you look like, they just want to learn from you, and if they see you too much, and they’re not interested, they’ll just unfollow you. That’s fine, you probably weren’t for them anyway. There are many more people out there who need you and will resonate with you, so don’t worry about losing one or two.

A client who was feeling a bit overwhelmed by doing my 10-day Visibility Quest, expressed that she felt what Brene Brown calls “Shame Hangover”. She felt she’d been putting herself out there, really hard, every day, and she wasn’t used to it. She was feeling vulnerable and just wanted to go into hiding.

Of course this is normal when you first go out there, especially if you’re the face of your brand. It’s personal, it’s pressure, it’s scary! But you’re not actually there for your sake, you’re there to support someone else. And you’re not standing half naked in a bar gobbling down margaritas, selling fake happy pills, you’re doing an amazing job and someone actually needs you!

So our job ladies, as business owners, as experts, as mothers, as mentors – as women, is to set a brave example. To be you. Just the way you are. And go out there.

Step up and share your expertise. Lead the way for our daughters, to not just desire, but expect to be a natural part of management, advisory and decision making in our society.

Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to flourish, just the way you are. Show that you’re great and share your passion, and both your inside and your outside will become beautiful.

Trends are short, but I know that this year’s video trend is to be authentic and passionate, to share your expertise and to be a thought leader – and more than anything:

Be You.

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek #kindnessShame

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