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Globally, women account for 48.5% of the labour force. This number is not reflected in leadership roles – In the United States, only 22% of women are represented in Executive Committees, 15% in Europe and only 4% in Asia.

Numerous factors are playing into these numbers, and a lot of them are systemic and require policy changes, political involvement and a shift in social construct. It may take years – even decades – to finally break down. However, that doesn’t mean we cannot do anything on our own to work towards closing the leadership gap. Out of the many reasons for the leadership gap, there is one thing that we as women can control right now: our mindset.

Subconsciously or not, women around the world have been conditioned from childhood to believe that they are only to fulfil roles subservient to their male counterparts. How often do we see women relegated to assistants without any apparent dream to move further up in traditional media? Moreover, this mindset limits our dreams, ambitions and even capabilities. When we believe that there is a ceiling to what we can achieve, it hinders us from pursuing further education and learning the skills and talents that we need to go after leadership roles. It makes us believe that this is all we’re good for, and it’s unnatural to strive for more. This results in many women backing away when a challenge is presented, believing that these are signs to quit, rather than opportunities for growth.

As social psychologist, Dr Heidi Grant Halvorson, states, “Even if every external disadvantage to a woman rising to the top of an organisation is removed…we would still have to deal with the fact that through our mistaken beliefs about our abilities, we may be our own worst enemy“.

For women to start rising to leadership, it’s essential to break away from these limiting beliefs and adopt a growth mindset – one that encourages our ambition and confidence, and celebrates our gifts and talents.

These limiting beliefs have hounded women from the moment they were born into the world, so breaking away from them will not be an easy journey. However, you can take small steps, even today, to walk away from beliefs that only serve to limit us, and adopt a growth mindset.

Recognise The Beliefs That Limit You: We cannot begin to adopt a growth mindset without acknowledging that those limiting beliefs are within us, whether we are conscious of them or not. We have to recognise the problem before we can begin to solve it. If you are hesitant on expanding your business or pursuing a higher leadership role, ask yourself, what’s stopping you?

Dream Big

Limiting beliefs can be so debilitating to our growth that it even hinders our ability to dream. Think about your greatest dream and don’t follow it up with “Oh, that’s silly”, or “That’ll never happen”. Instead, think about how you’ll get there.

“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning” – Gloria Steinem.

Seek Out Challenges

You don’t have to immediately try to solve your company’s cash flow problem (although you always can), but it’s good to seek out small challenges everyday. It could be something as small as how to better organise our work station, or perhaps you can offer a better solution for an outdated company policy. Don’t wait for someone to ask; tackle the challenge head-on. This will help us to be more confident and collected when a more significant challenge presents itself.

Jump at Every Opportunity to Learn

Whether it’s a short tutorial, a podcast, or an intensive seminar that interests you, jump at the opportunity to learn. We are teaching ourselves that we are capable and deserving of growing, and an invaluable part of growth is learning.

Find Others Who Share the Same Growth Mindset

It would be difficult to develop a growth mindset if everyone around you doesn’t believe the same. Find colleagues, friends and even online groups that share the same beliefs or have similar goals to yours. These people can serve as your support system and provide guidance and advice when you find yourself falling back towards old limiting beliefs.  

The upcoming Connect2Grow Mentoring Circle event, this April 12, 2019, was created to help address our limiting beliefs and master a growth mindset to achieve professional and career growth.

The Rise and Lead Connect2Grow Mentoring Circle “Mastering Your Mindset For Personal and Career Growth”, has been designed to help you uncover the limiting patterns you’ve developed throughout life and learn the right strategies needed to overcome them, so you can stay focused and committed to achieving your professional and career success.

To find out more and reserve your tickets, head over to this page.

Ebere Akadiri

Ebere Akadiri

Ebere Akadiri is A Nigerian Food Entrepreneur who lives in The Hague. Her passion to inspire others to achieve their goals drove her to found Rise and Lead Women along with her co-founder, Poonam Barua. Their mission is to inspire women to take the lead in closing the gender gap in workplaces and in business.