I had a totally other topic planned. But after today I couldn’t get my mind on anything else. Today was ducking amazing. (Yes my phone now autocorrects every f bomb to this so why not? ) There wasn’t a ‘oh my god I won the lottery’ or ‘oh my goodness something amazing just happened’ kind of day. It was just a day that clicked. Don’t you love those?
Where to even begin. I got a very unique opportunity to be part of 8 females chosen within my company to be part of this newly formed group. It has to stay under wraps so no need to go into details but what it allows us to do is get more personalized executive interaction. All under the framework of finding the female voice in the workplace. I didn’t think it was a topic I was particularly jazzed about, but being hand picked for this was such an honor.
I went into the first meeting where we were speaking with one of the top female executives in the firm not really knowing what to expect. In the span of that hour, I broke down every wall I had built since starting the job. I spoke up more than I ever had since being there. I have never felt more passionate than I did when I left. And overall, I have never had more to process.
She started from the beginning of her life sharing stories about how she got to where she is today. The discussion quickly grew to all of us sharing those insecurities we had with showing up in the workplace. This has never been something I thought was a big battle for me. I thought I had always let the authentic Alex command a room. But since being at this job, I realized I hadn’t. I couldn’t pinpoint it though. Why did I struggle to see my own gift and that power? Why did I shut down in this setting unlike how I normally had shown up in my past? What I kept seeing was this cowering high school Alex I had once been.
Excuse me as I continue to jump around and make no sense at all…
Today during my final presentation I felt on fire. I dug being up and commanding a room. I loved walking away from that presentation feeling proud and determined to keep that momentum up. I went right from that to this meeting. My mind though was still on that presentation. I was baffled at how great it felt because it was the first time I let others see oh shoot, now that is the business Alex that knows how to work a room. Rather than the behind a desk, head down, do what she is told associate. In this meeting though, I let my guard down and really explained how I felt like the ‘work’ Alex wasn’t a true picture of who I was. I mean I keep telling you all that I rarely mention running and just didn’t know how to display my hard work. Hilarious since I can’t stop talking about it 24/7 here. I am a shell of a person at work sometimes while all I really want to do is be that presenter Alex, with confidence, with poise and with a genuine sense of self.
Transitioning to a professional setting is tough. Especially in a role with many superiors and with an environment of great talent. What I know about myself, is that my fall back tends to be that shut down mentality. With that, I lose who I am at my core. I struggle to claim that self voice.
A big point that we talked about is how females tend to claim their successes and achievements as due to luck while males own their triumphs. Lean In by Sherlyn Sandberg speaks directly to how females can gain workplace empowerment and will be a focal point of many of these meetings. Sounds feminist right? Wrong. It is all about not pointing the fingers at men but pointing the fingers back at ourselves, what we can do to claim our power by choosing to show up.
I could go on. Obviously. The video below is who spoke to us, who I am so amazed I get to work with. I walked away from our conversation wanting to show those around at work who I really am. To be continued of course…