Women at Work

Are you waiting for permission?

Wanting to try Blogging, but waiting to become an expert.

I’ve wanted to do something in the professional realm about work and careers for a long time now.  Coaching or consulting, I have always thought about how I can work with more people in a more effective way. Up until now hadn’t been able to come up with what that actually looked like.  Eventually it hit me that a blog would allow me to share my thoughts, which in turn may help a folk or two.  What took me the longest time though was to give myself permission to get started.

In my case, I was waiting until I became an ‘expert’.  Now who knows what that means or what the sign was that I was there?  Was it education, or experience or was it seniority?  In one way or another I had all of those things, but I still was waiting for the signal that I was good to go.  I even asked a friend/mentor of mine if she felt I was expert enough to put my thoughts into writing.  After looking at me like a crazy person for a smidge longer than was comfortable (incidentally not the first time she had given me that look), she told me that I was a natural and should go for it.

I have continued to seek out opinion after opinion about what people think about me starting the blog.  As you would expect, there have been a range of opinions and not all of them have been ‘go for it’.  My mother can’t understand why I wouldn’t be writing about something that everyone is interested in, like shoes.  Others give polite affirmations but it is clear that they either are not interested or don’t think it’s a grand plan.

I have been waiting for permission

What has become clear to me is that I have waited for some form of permission.  I have sought permission to produce a blog about careers, a topic I know a lot about.  Who I am waiting for permission from is one of life’s mysteries, as the only person who can grant it is the same person withholding it in the first place – me.

Girls, in particular, are taught to wait until they are called upon (of course after they have raised their hands).  This follows us through life and into our working worlds.  There are any number of studies about asking for permission. The one that most resonates with me is a Harvard Business Review study titled “Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs unless they are 100% Qualified” by Tara Sohia Mohr.  If you would ike to read the article, you can do so here.   Tara found that the women were less likely to apply for work without what they believed to be the requisite qualifications, as compared to their male counterparts.  Tara undertook her study after Hewlett Packard undertook a much quoted study that found:

“Women working at HP applied for a promotion only when they believed they met 100 percent of the qualifications listed for the job. Men were happy to apply when they thought they could meet 60 percent of the job requirements.”

More about that study here.

Tara found that girls were strongly socialised to follow rules in school, a habit that it seems I have not dropped.  So as a massive rule follower, when it came to starting a blog, I was seeking the rules of permission to kick-start it.  In my case, because I have a couple of amazingly supportive people around me, and a somewhat skewed belief that others want to hear what I have to say, I was able to get the ball rolling.

What was I waiting for, what are you waiting for?

I am loving putting together this blog, the creative process that goes into the writing and the look of my website.  I get disproportionately excited when I get a new subscriber. Though the blog is still very much in its inception stages, I have already found reward in the undertaking.  The fact that the creative process gives me so much pleasure has me kicking myself that I didn’t start earlier.

Waiting for permission ladies is a ‘hiding to nowhere’.  In many cases, you simply aren’t going to get it.  Holding yourself back or allowing others to hold you back because you are seeking sanction from someone makes no sense.  I can’t guarantee you success in your endeavours, but I will say that if you don’t ever start them, I can guarantee you will not succeed in them.

Photo by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash

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