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Raise your hand if you’ve ever experienced a real punch to the gut.
Yes, your hand is probably in the air. I know that my hand is in the air.
After all, there are very few people in the world who haven’t experienced a setback or something that’s made them pause and reflect.
Let me tell you a little about what that punch was like for me.
For 25 years, I have been devoted to managing risk and making money in a major corporation. During that time, I defined success as helping clients prosper in a highly competitive industry.
And I was highly competent in my job.
But being a woman in my career field meant that I always needed to be ready to defend myself and my position. Every day I was faced with challenges that I didn’t see my male counterparts experiencing. As I sit here and reflect, there were two challenges - two punches to the gut - that were instrumental in developing me as a female leader in the corporate world:
My first challenge - or punch to the gut - occurred three hours after my return from maternity leave. After jumping on a national call, I was asked a question to which I did not know the answer. While you would think an “I don’t know, but let me get back to you…” would be just fine - I was told that my inability to answer the question was completely unacceptable.
The second gut punch happened when a major job opportunity became available. All three of my male peers were encouraged to throw their names into the mix. I, on the other hand, who was also qualified for the position, heard no such encouragement and was asked the question, “Who is going to follow you?” No one believed that I could lead.
These experiences were big punches - like Muhammad Ali punches - and they left me feeling overwhelmed with many of the questions - questions I am sure you have asked yourself at one time or another.
● Why did I give all of myself to work?
● Why didn’t I spend more time with my family?
● Why is this happening to me?
I didn’t know who I was anymore, and on top of that, my self-confidence was down the drain.
Yes, my confidence was practically non-existent.
But the story doesn’t end there - although it easily could have.
I got my confidence back - and picked myself up from these heavy duty blows.
I started working with a business coach who helped me regain my confidence.
My coach advised me to go back to the basics: social support from my friends, exercise in the form of Pilates, and listening to my hero and the King of Country - George Strait.
Eventually, I began to feel like my old self again, and confidence started to show itself.
My career took off - and in new directions - and I had never felt better. I was leading teams, mediating conflict resolutions, and working with high-profile clients.
I was back!
The turning point of my career was when a female colleague of mine from Ecuador said, “Don’t give up on me, Brenda. I want to be successful - will you teach me your confidence?”.
It was that simple question and need for help that inspired me to start Strait on Track and I have never looked back.
Because as women, we can do hard things.
● You can recover from setbacks and the false opinions of others.
● You can get back on track and recover from hard times.
● You can go into every challenging situation with the knowledge that you are fully capable of accomplishing anything thrown your way.
And it’s my job to make sure you are:
● Believe in yourself
● Know your purpose
● Capable of getting through difficult situations
● Crushing your goals
I’ll say it again…You CAN do hard things!
And you can do them well! As women, we are faced with choices every single day. We can choose how we want to feel and present ourselves. It takes hard work to change our inner thoughts, but that is what I am here for.
I am here to tell you that you need to dig in, face failure, pick yourself back up, and try again. Starting today you can choose confidence.
You can choose yourself.
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