Janet Walkow Christine Jacobs

Finding Fault With Ourselves

Dr. Jennifer Lawless

Women, even at the highest levels of professional accomplishment, are significantly less likely than men to demonstrate ambition to run for elective office. –Women are less likely than men to be recruited to run for office. –Women are less likely than men to consider themselves “qualified” to run for office. –Women are less likely than men to express a willingness to run for a future office.”  Dr. Jennifer Lawless provided details in her excellent book: It Takes a Candidate.

This phenomenon holds true in politics, business and many other arenas.  As a rule, we do not push for promotions or stretch assignments as we are concerned about our qualifications.  If we cannot check all of the boxes on a job application, we deem ourselves “not yet ready’.

Some Inspiration

Cecile Richards

I am in awe of Cecile Richards, the dynamic crusader for women’s health who leads Planned Parenthood.  She is the daughter of former Texas Governor Ann Richards and she credits her mom with this excellent bit of advice:

My mom used to say that as women we keep thinking we’re going to be perfect…Our kids are going to be the exact right age [to go for a job].  We’re going to have the right suit.  We will have gotten the exact degree we need.  And the job will be the one that is just at our level and not too much more.  Or we think someone is going to come to us and say “I’ve looked at your resume, I’ve looked at all the things you’ve done, and I think you are the perfect person for this opportunity.” But it doesn’t happen

Gov. Ann Richards

So she always said to me, “If a new opportunity comes, you just have to take it.” I think in my day-to-day life I try to channel a little bit of Ann in that.  I think my

Gov. Ann Richards

failures are when I don’t  just say, Look, I can’t get 100 but if I could probably get in the high 80’s, so that’s enough to just go—whether it is meeting with the administration or testifying or going on TV”         [From www.thenation.com March 7 issue]

Think about this.  I have seen many women be passed over for positions that went to less qualified men because they did not go all out for the job.  Sure sometimes the decision maker goes with the male candidate “just because” but it is also due to this position that unless we feel 100%, we hold back.

Stop Doing This

Channel Ann Richards.  Stick this quote on your bathroom mirror or inside your desk drawer or wherever you will see it for private inspiration.  Put yourself out there.  You will be rewarded and you will know that you tried.

Christine Jacobs is an experienced corporate executive and a co-founder of Leading Women. Read her full bio.

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