Don’t wait for an invitation to sit at the table. Bring your own chair.
As I continue to coach women physicians, at all stages of the profession (from medical students to attendings), I am struck by a commonality. We tend to be highly professional, very caring and empathetic, highly dedicated and service oriented and yet... somewhat... diffident.
We are weighted down by societal and family expectations. How are we to show up? How are we to set boundaries and yet be likeable? How are we to be assertive and not come across as being aggressive or "too pushy"?
These seem to be challenges that many, if not all women physicians share. I recently had the pleasure of conducting three group coaching sessions for AMWA members about integrating emotional intelligence in our daily lives.
Over and over again, the theme was that self awareness of emotions was an area that needs improvement and that the strongest score was in the area of relationship management.
We get the message, both overtly and covertly, that expressing emotions at work is "unprofessional". So we dampen it until we find a safe space....or suppress it as much as we can. Over time, we get very good at numbing our feelings.... which is never a good idea!!!
I was reading an article written about a woman in a leadership position and loved what she said, which is quoted above. The ONLY way to change the culture, to encourage more women leadership and to embolden them is to encourage them to BRING their own chairs rather than waiting for a place at the table.
We need more women mentoring and coaching the future generations. We need to create spaces and forums where women can come together to share their experiences, to show others the benefits of doing the hard work of improving confidence, looking at the "imposter syndrome voice" firmly and saying to it..."I am good enough to belong at the table".
So I beseech you, do your part. We all can work on ourselves to be better and better every day and we can work on supporting other women in our sphere to bring forth their special mojo. We can rise together and change the world using beautiful, strong, feminine energy!!!