Career Advice

THE ENEMY WITHIN – THE INTERNAL GLASS CEILING

For the longest time, we regarded the ‘glass ceiling’ as an unfortunate by product of women climbing up the corporate ladder. At some point, we assumed, we were going to face some resistance – a member of the boys’ club who was more well-connected than we were, a more suitable candidate who did not have to take a couple of months every few years to have children, and on and on. And these assumptions, among others, amount to giving in to an internal glass ceiling, which is infinitely more damaging than the external challenges. Smashing the internal glass ceiling is important to allow us to flourish and deal with the external one. How do we do that?

The Impostor syndrome

All of us have felt this at one time or other. In the presence of equally highly accomplished people, have you ever felt like a fraud or as if your own accomplishments cannot measure up to other people’s? While some people are just good at self-marketing, some of us grew up in a society that expected us to underplay who we were, and to prefer other people bragging on our behalf than extolling our own virtues. Realize that you are as competent as everyone else, get used to speaking up and offering your professional opinion. Catch that negative self-talk before it manifests itself in your behavior.

Work on self-talk

The words, internal and external, that we use affect how we communicate and the level of competence that we bring to an assignment. Self-talk is determined by the labels that we have long held and the internal dialogue that we dwell on. Do not allow critics to get you down – learn the objectivity of separating criticism which is meant to hurt you and that which is meant to help you. Identify which self- talk empowers you and which makes you shrink. And then consistently choose to overturn that narrative.

Internal barriers

What holds you back from putting yourself up for that promotion or for that opportunity? And what is the worst that can happen if you do choose to go for it? The rejection we fear before we even reach for our dreams in most cases doesn’t materialize. And if it does, turn it into a lesson by asking for feedback that could turn your next ask into a positive result.

TIPS

  • Continuously working on identifying and strengthening your inner values and goals to counteract the impostor syndrome
  • Work on your self-talk by choosing empowering, reaffirming words
  • Cultivate the ability to identify constructive and destructive criticism, ignoring the latter
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