Bellas Empower

Does Fear Hold you back?

by Deyanira Martinez

Have you been in a business meeting when all of sudden your boss asks an important question, and you immediately start to sweat? It is not a surprise that most men in this situation raise their hands and are ready to volunteer a response steadily and with confidence.

Women, on the other hand, want to know the subject in depth and be 100 percent sure of their answer before they proceed to raise their hands and express their opinions. If this is true, then it is easy to see why by the time most women say they are ready to take over a new job, or accept a promotion they have, in reality, been ready for years.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominicci/Freedigitalphotos.net
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominicci/Freedigitalphotos.net

So why, when there are so many smart and educated women all over the world, do we continue to hold ourselves back today? Why, in 2014, are women still accepting to earn seventy-seven cents per every dollar a man earns? Why are women taking on the roles of both the primary breadwinners and primary caregivers to their families, yet don’t have the courage to demand equal pay or pursue higher ranking positions? This inequality, and gender gap, is even wider in Latinas and women of color. From my experience, it seems we women tend to beat ourselves up for both the things we do and the things we don’t do, and for the things we say and the things we don’t have the courage to say. That is a lot of negative self-talk, and self-sabotage.   Here are some of the reasons, and helpful tips to combat this cycle of negative thinking:

1. The Good Girl Curse: We are raised, especially Latinas, to be good, polite, pretty, and obedient. We were told not to rock the boat, and have this need to be ‘liked,’ and ‘accepted.’ Unfortunately, we bring our ‘good girl’ mentality to the workplace.                  Tip: Accept that not everyone is going to like you, and as you move up the ladder the chances are that even less people will like you. Stop being a people pleaser.

 2. The Impostor Syndrome: When you become successful, you begin to have feelings of self-doubt. You feel like an impostor, and you are afraid that people will find out that you are not that smart or not as qualified as you should be for a position.                       Tip: Know that you deserve your success, you are smart and no one is waiting for you to fail.

3. The Weeds Of Fear: This is the root of so many problems – “Don’t let fear rule your life.”                                                                                                                                                Tip: Chica go for what you want, face your fears, and keep moving forward. Si se Puede!

4. The “I’m Sorry” Broken Record: Do not apologize! Most men do not apologize, instead they move into problem solving mode right away, sometimes without ever acknowledging that a mistake was made.                                                                                  Tip: Constant apologies will not resolve the problem, instead look for solutions.

5. Speak Up: Studies confirm that women do not speak up as much as they should, and usually avoid discussing confrontational issues.                                                                     Tip: Don’t wait to be given permission to voice your opinion, because in a room full of men, you might never have a chance. 

Amigas, stop holding yourself back by believing that you are insufficient, or incapable. This simply is not true! There are billions of dollars out there to be earned, thousands of high positions and recognition. There are people who have all of these things, so you can have them all too! We need to play this game like the boys do.

Don’t downplay your achievements; you have the latent, the vision, and the intelligence. Go for it!

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