Thanks to Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why, Jo-Anne Reynolds, CEO at SpikeBee and renowned entrepreneur and fellow dyslexic, Richard Branson for motivating me to write this article. I am starting off by explaining My Why, in terms of why I am writing this article. The simple answer is I have wanted to do this for many years. The more complicated reason has to do with the fact I have been holding myself back from doing so, admittedly because I was afraid to do so. After years of soul searching and talking to numerous other women from around the globe, I believe my fear is due to a phenomenon many women are plagued with called the “Imposter Syndrome”.
The “Imposter Syndrome” was coined and researched in the 1970’s by Oberlin College psychology professor Pauline Rose Clance; and if you read more about this phenomenon as I have, it explains why it has taken me over thirty years to write this article. However, my article and future ones are not going to focus on the “Imposter Syndrome” concept, but is instead going to provide you with insight relating to what I have been thinking about all these years, as both a woman, wife, mother of three, professional high technology executive, mentor, coach and now entrepreneur.
Recently I have been thinking about what I will call “retooling” or “recrafting” myself professionally, namely because I have reached a point in my career where I was not feeling authentic in terms of leveraging what I am really good at. It turns out, my greatest strength, according to Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath is being positive. Unfortunately, the majority of my professional career has not allowed me to fully exercise this strength until recently when I was given the opportunity to do so.
The opportunity to capitalize on my greatest strength presented itself at an unlikely place, a male dominated software company in the Northeast. The challenge in front of me was to turn around a sales team who had not met their sales goal in 11 months. The secondary goal was to act as a bridge between this team and the marketing team. Fast forward in time six weeks later, and I can tell you in under six weeks, I was able to turn this team around, bridge the sales and marketing teams, and have the sales team hit and exceed their sales goal number for the first time all year.
How did I do this? Was it a miracle or a repeatable model? The answer is multi-dimensional, but boils down to while I was helping myself to focus on what was my greatest strength – “Positivity”, I was in turn able to have a team of a dozen people “believe” they could achieve what was an illusive goal for them all year. This achievement has inspired me to want to do this for other teams, and individuals. More importantly, it has provided me with the direction I was soul searching for, and now am monomanically directed to being able to make a great living from doing this type of work, even though it does not seem like work to me…which is the best part.
Do you know what your top five strengths are, and are you leveraging them yet? If you do, ask yourself why you are not utilizing them yet?