Finding The Courage To Break Through The Glass Ceiling
We’ve all seen the stats: women comprise 47% of the workforce but only 6.2% of CEO roles. Even in 2023, we have work to do to level the playing field, narrow the gender gap, and transform the glass ceilings we bump up against into the floors we can stand on and lead from.
For far too long in my career, I didn’t believe I could be a part of this change. I was that girl in the cubicle who knew I was made for more, but instead sat idle, waiting for confidence to magically appear and take action on my dreams.
And when that confidence never came, I finally took a step toward being a part of this change by mustering the courage to give notice at my stable job.
While there is no magic fairy dust that will give you the confidence to ask for a promotion at work, quit your job, or start your dream business, you do have the power to choose courage and take the next step toward it.
Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned along this journey, it’s that courage is something you choose. Confidence is something you earn.
When you take consistent action and focus on progress over perfection, little by little, that confidence will grow.
While I go into greater detail on this in my book, Two Weeks Notice, I want to share three courageous steps you can take right now to help you move from feeling stuck to breaking through that glass ceiling — because a life of your wildest dreams is waiting for you on the other side.
Courage is something you choose. Confidence is something you earn.
Step One: Drop Your Security Mindset
A security mindset limits your ability to think beyond your comfort zone and blocks your ambition. It can trick you into believing that you have enough and shouldn’t desire more. But if you’re willing to push past your immediate need for security, comfort, and certainty, you open the doors to a path of possibility. The next time you feel those fears creeping in and trying to keep you safe, repeat this mantra: “What’s keeping me safe is keeping me stuck.” Remember, it’s okay for your fear to have a voice, but it does not get a vote when it comes to taking the next step toward your dreams.
Step Two: Increase Your Capacity For Zero
When I first started out, I felt like I was trying to build a skyscraper without blueprints. There were years of embarrassing failures and crippling self-doubt. But of course, there were, right!? I had never built a business before. I had to learn to put my ego aside and be willing to start from zero.
Zero audience. Zero revenue. Zero confidence.
Sometimes you have to be willing to start from scratch, to start from zero, to break free from what’s holding you back and keeping you stuck. That’s when the magic starts to happen. I call this concept increasing your capacity for zero.
It requires finding — or choosing to have — the courage to mess up, learn, iterate, and ultimately fail your way forward. You have to push yourself to do something different every day that will increase your capacity for zero.
Go live on social media even when you have zero people watching.
Reach out to someone doing what you want to do and ask questions with zero guarantee they’ll reply.
Look at your calendar and mark the day you’ll give your two weeks’ notice, even if you have zero clue how you’ll make it work.
Doing something each day to increase your capacity for zero, even if it feels small, will create momentum and bring you closer to your dreams.
Step Three: Set Boundaries That Support Your Goals
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned after more than a decade in business is that if you don’t set personal and professional boundaries and take control of your life, someone or something else will.
I’ve found that it’s helpful to start with a list of what I call your non-negotiables. These are things that align with your values and principles and clearly define what you will — and will not — allow in your life.
Things like, I will not work on the weekends. I will get eight hours of sleep a night. I will allow “no” to be a complete sentence. Spend the next 10-15 minutes defining your non-negotiables and make a plan to turn them into concrete boundaries. And here’s the critical part of this step — you must summon the courage to enforce your boundaries when needed, trusting they’ll bring you one step closer to success.
Anytime you’re feeling stuck, come back to these three simple steps. When you put them into action, you’ll begin to see limitless potential where you once saw limitations.
And remember: You can become proof that it’s possible. Possible to find professional autonomy, independence, and success far beyond what the corporate glass ceiling allows. All it takes is choosing a little courage.