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5 Simple Truths That Will Shatter the Glass Ceiling

We all groan when we hear the term “Glass Ceiling”.

You know, that really nauseating term that implies that no matter how high our heels are, we will only ever be able to go “so far” in life?

We all cringe over it for different reasons.

One woman may feel it reminds her of the upward climb that seems so futile.

Another shakes her head and is thinking, “Really? People are still saying that?” She’s the one that is rewriting the rules, instead of caving to the ones that the men wrote before her.

Which one are you?

Know your fate is not etched in stone. All you need is a little perspective to help you let those concerns go.

Here are 5 simple truths that will give you just the perspective you need, and shatter that glass ceiling once and for all:

  1. You don’t need to be perfect.
    You remember this a lot when you are at home.

    As a Mom you know Johnny’s veggies don’t need to be cut to the hundredth of an inch every time. Nobody’s going to notice if Suzie’s ballet costume is missing one or two rhinestones, and the world will not end if you bring store bought cupcakes to the teacher’s appreciation day meeting.

    But something different happens when you go out into the professional world. Paula Sellers, author and human rights activist, says that’s the biggest problem with us women, we believe we have to be perfect, at work, in leadership and in business. This perceived need to be perfect at work is impacting your career potential, and not in a good way.

    You have the strength that it takes to withstand the pinched toes in your heels. That means you have the strength to feel the pinch of letting go of your fears.

    I find women have two fears; 1) of not being perfect, 2) of being too successful.

    I tell my clients, if you feel you are shining too brightly and others are concerned, buy them a pair of sunglasses. Your bright light will never dim the light in others; it will only spark a way for them to find their own brilliance.

    In other words, get over your need to be perfect at work. And if you listen very closely, that sound you will hear is the sound that glass makes when it just starts to crack.

  2. You can handle the odds; they are currently rolling in your favor.
    The good news is women are holding up to be the best leaders for today’s workforce. Our natural style of collaboration and empathy is just what today’s workforce needs to be effective. Women are on the run and are running businesses from small to large.

    So for the first time, the odds are in your favor. So step into your power and activate the skills that come naturally to being a woman (skills learnable by men) to take a quantum leap in your career, in business, or in leadership.

    Given the door is open a bit wider, why not go through?

  3. You have less competition than you think.
    It’s exciting to see how many women are making the Forbes 500 list. It’s true that the numbers are slim and small, but mighty in quality. It is true that even though those numbers are increasing every year, most of the names on that list are men.

    There are many men who don’t make the list either. The odds are also stacked against every Olympic athlete that ever makes it to the podium. The odds are also stacked against any person that has put in a bid for the Nobel Prize.

    So what. They did it anyway.

    World famous Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov says he never thinks about the competition, he considers his greatest competition himself.

    Women are competitive by nature, and we spend a lot of time wondering and worrying about not only what the men are thinking, but what the other women are thinking and twittering about as well.

    If you want to live the kind of life that shatters the glass ceiling, you have to act like your competition doesn’t matter. Because it doesn’t.

    The only thing that matters is you doing your best every time, and your better than your best every other time after that. It doesn’t mean you need to be perfect, just that you keep striving to do your best, and better than your best, every single time.

  4. You ARE enough. 
    These are the words of Nancy Mills, interviewed in my upcoming book Running in High Heels: “You are enough…just as you are.”

    What Nancy wants you and every women waiting for the sound of glass breaking to know is that you, your truth, your goals, your vision, your…whatever it is, is enough.  When you remember that, and beat to that drum and that drum only, that’s when you’ll hear the glass crack a little bit more.

    You don’t live your life to be an Oscar winner or Pulitzer Prize winner, as to do so would be paralyzing. As an author I know how perfection can put the brakes on creative process. You have to live your life doing your very best.

    Such was the case for J.K. Rowling, who just…wrote because she had a story in her that needed to be written.  She didn’t write with the intention of creating a multi-million dollar brand. She had a vision, and did her very best to put it on paper for the entire world to see.

    Regardless of what your goal is, be true to it, and simply keep moving forward.

  5. It’s not only okay to break the rules, it’s a must.
    It’s a new day. We no longer have to wait to be invited to the table; the 21st century goddess claims her own seat. She knows that the sky is her limit, and she’s not afraid to stand tall in whatever shoes she puts on to get her there. She’s claiming that job, that partner, that promotion and running for it like it’s the last dress in her size on the Niemen’s annual sale rack.

Yes, the numbers can be daunting. It’s actually a good thing that there are so few women at the top right now. All that means is, there’s more room for you. If you truly want to shatter that ceiling, you need to tap into your inherent power to do so.

Like Mikhail Baryshnikov as the lights go down, you have only yourself to compete with. And, when you lead yourself to excellence, the rest will follow.

You don’t need to be perfect, you ARE enough.

You are a renegade.

You can and you will win any way that you want, because for you the glass ceiling doesn’t exist. For you? The sky’s the limit.

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Debora McLaughlin

Leadership expert Deborah McLaughin is the bestselling author of The Renegade Leader a. Debora’s penetrating conversations are found in Leadership Excellence, Yahoo Finance, CBS Money Watch, Boston Herald, Sirius Radio and she is a frequent guest panelist. As recipient of the 2013 Women of the Year Award by the National Association for Professional Women, she combines her successful career in IT sales, with an expertise in psychology and motivation with coaching to help her achieve unprecedented personal and professional results. Find more about Debora at www.therenegadeleader .com.