Recently I watched a man and a woman addressing each other at a meeting. The man appeared confident. He sat comfortably upright, his fingertips gently meeting each other in a steeple gesture, and he spoke with a clear voice, occasionally scanning the faces of the other people around the table. He oozed confidence. The woman on the other side of the table looked timid. She rocked back and forth in her swivel chair, shoulders hunched, and cast furtive glances at her colleague. Her body language signaled distress. I found myself wanting to reach over to re-adjust her body.
After the meeting, I thought about this simple encounter. I thought about all the women I’ve met in the workplace who diminish their power by playing with their hair, fiddling with their jewelry, collapsing their chests and overly-nodding in agreement to everything being discussed. Women need to learn to claim their rightful place and their space in the workplace.
We have so many role models to draw upon. Take a look, for example, at photos of the American First Lady, Michelle Obama, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde and Dragons’ Den marketing entrepreneur, Arlene Dickinson. What is it that they have? Each of them radiates a palpable elegance, self-confidence and power.
So, what would you say if you took a look at yourself in the mirror? Would you say, “I am confident, I am powerful and I can kick ass?” Or would you critique every little blemish, every wrinkle you see reflected back and declare yourself not worthy? The choice is yours. Claim your space.