2017 looks like a challenging year for women. The United States just elected a man as president whom many believe to be a misogynist, and many who expect the Trump administration to fiercely attack women’s rights. Throw in the standard discrimination that women are subjected to in the workforce, and the outlook can feel somewhat grim.
With that said, it’s important to keep things in perspective and maintain hope. Women are still paid less and given fewer opportunities in business than men, but one can argue that the issues of the pay gap and women’s rights in general are closer to the forefront of the national conversation than they have been in years. Now is the time for change and progress, and with that in mind, here are five worthwhile tips for career driven women during the year ahead.
1. If Money Is Your Motivation It Will Be Harder To Persevere
When women with career aspirations consider the business environments they’re entering, the focus is often on the wage gap, and with good reason. While this is an important problem to focus on from an activism standpoint, it won’t do you any good in the pursuit of success. My Domaine shared a terrific article interviewing seven successful female bosses on their top career tips. One boss, the co-founder of an online vintage resale market, relayed advice she received from one of the co-founders of Whole Foods: never do anything if the first goal is to make money. It may sound like a cliché, but the most important step on the road to success is to act out of genuine passion and interest.
2. Accept The Reality Of Failures
For a woman looking to make it in business—particularly in a year like this one—it can seem almost necessary to perform flawlessly. This is a nice goal, but it’s also unrealistic. Anyone looking to succeed in a busy career needs to accept the reality of the occasional failure or shortcoming. These things are going to happen, and what matters is your ability to move beyond them and learn from them.
3. Develop Leadership Skills
It’s no secret that business is a “man’s world,” and that makes it all the more necessary for career driven women to develop strong leadership skills. It can sometimes seem like such skills are either inherently present or not, but Menlo Coaching’s blog, aimed at teaching MBA applicants on how to present themselves, included some tips that are universally relevant. The idea was to draw upon previous experiences either leading a team or participating under someone else’s leadership. Honest reflection on these scenarios should enable you to identify working leadership qualities and in turn work to implement them in your own practice. Becoming a stronger leader is arguably the best way to counteract women’s disadvantages in business.
4. Learn How To Delegate Effectively
Leadership skills are important, but it’s also vital for women looking to succeed in business to learn not to try to do everything themselves. With more hurdles to overcome than the average man, women can develop tendencies to work a little too much or a little too hard in an effort to stand out. This is perfectly fine at a given point, but ideally you’ll also learn when and how to delegate tasks. This shows initiative, strategic thinking, and an ability to be in charge of others.
5. Take A Page Out Of FLOTUS’s Book
As we recently wrote, it was Michelle Obama who made “Yes we can” happen. Even though the Obamas are leaving office, it might be more important than ever to keep their iconic catchphrase in mind. Never doubt what you’re capable of relative to your pursuits and work hard to keep hope alive in 2017.