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It happens so often; women waiting for an invitation to show up as all they are meant to be and do.

And I wonder, why is that?

Those who know me would characterize me as strong,

confident,

outgoing,

bold,

energetic,

opinionated,

smart, and

assertive.

Truth be told, I am all of these things.

And yet, for almost my entire professional life I held myself back.

I was afraid to speak up in meetings and assert myself when I knew I could make a difference; at the first sign of resistance I would back down and stay quiet.

I rarely initiated projects or activities that would allow me to show my best work, I stayed within the lines.

I never once asked for a promotion…or a raise, in over 20 years; even though I knew I deserved it.

I never once negotiated a job offer, instead accepting the first offer and convincing myself that I should be grateful for the opportunity.

I looked at my supervisors and managers as the “authorities”, even when I knew that I had far more potential and talent than they knew what to do with.

I believed that I was too inexperienced and too unprepared to take the next step in my professional journey. I felt vulnerable, afraid and insecure…second guessing my ability to perform and produce. I kept telling myself that I wasn’t “ready”.

So I played it safe.

I did what I was told, and fulfilled every responsibility and expectation.

And I waited.

I waited to be noticed.

I waited to be rewarded.

I waited for an invitation to step up…an invitation to show up.

My mentor has always said that success comes to those who show up.

So I wonder, when we all want success, why is it that we often wait for an invitation?

Why would a woman who is strong, smart, confident, assertive…wait to be the powerful leader she is meant to be?

I wish the answer was simple, and while in some ways it is, in other ways it is not.

Is it fear? Yes.

Is it that we don’t believe that what we want is possible? Yes.

Is it not having the skills and tools for taking strategic action? Yes.

It is all of these and a few more thrown in.

But then there is a moment…a moment that you know the time has come.

A moment where the fear, insecurity, and discomfort of staying where you are is greater than the risk and uncertainty of showing up to be what you are truly ready to become.

And we have to seize it.

Is this your moment?

Consider this your invitation.

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