The Challenges of Powerhouse Women

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Smashing Ceilings: The Challenges of Powerhouse Women in Business. For many years, I have been coaching women in various businesses and at different levels on their career ladders. During this time, a few things have really struck me as particularly problematic for women hoping to reach the very top of their chosen industries. I see a growing number of women achieving their goals and entering boardrooms, yet these women juggle challenges that stretch far beyond their professional realm without enough support.

The journey to the top often comes at a price to their private lives, and while they are still very much a minority in terms of holding power on a global level, it is essential to acknowledge and support the delicate balancing act required to reach these lofty positions, which have until recently always been the domain of a few powerful men.

In this article, I’m going to delve into the multifaceted problems they encounter and explore the strategies we can employ to empower and help create harmony in both spheres of their lives.

Gender Bias and Imposter Syndrome

Firstly, we need to look at workplace culture regarding gender bias. Many of the C-suite women I have encountered hold extremely high qualifications in both academic and workplace achievements, yet they often find themselves having to work twice as hard to prove their worth and credibility. This constant battle against stereotypes and preconceived notions can take a toll on their mental and emotional well-being, leading to feelings of imposter syndrome and corrosive self-doubt.

I believe that in order to combat this, it’s imperative to foster a positive cultural change within companies, constantly addressing discrimination, harassment, and workplace climate. Empowerment and good leadership truly reside within the potential to work on the internal transformation of these women as they deal with bias.

It’s equally important that men are also educated to improve their understanding and challenge their own perceptions of women. Gender bias may cause an organization to lose the values and assets that women bring to the workplace when they are in leadership positions. When women operate from their feminine energy of nurture and intuition, and perhaps less competitively or aggressively, it becomes obvious that we must promote a culture of respect and inclusion. A learning environment where the voices of all are heard can raise the overall trust, confidence, and productivity of both individuals and teams. Mentorship programmes are particularly effective when they include group active listening sessions that foster receptivity between genders. Good leadership and career progression should be attainable by all who wish to achieve it!

Self-Care for Peak Performance

Another subject that comes up time and again and is one of the first things to be overlooked is self-care. In the competitive world that high-achieving women inhabit, it can seem that there are just not enough hours in the day to prioritise themselves. I always emphasise to my clients that they cannot bring their best selves to the job if they are not feeling good both physically and mentally. It should be a cornerstone of personal and professional success. Yet, crazy hours, deadlines, and external pressures, such as lack of sleep with younger children or emotional tolls like divorce or menopausal symptoms, can regularly inhibit optimal well-being.

As a result, rather than a long trajectory to success, these problems can quickly lead to burnout and exhaustion.

It becomes crucial to brainstorm how each individual can implement strategies such as boundary-setting, time management techniques, and prioritising self-care activities to help them strike the all-important balance between their professional responsibilities and personal well-being. Helping powerhouse women understand the value of upholding the principles of wellness makes the end game much more achievable and the journey to get there much more enjoyable!

All-Important Relationships Outside Work

In addition to the challenges they face in the boardroom, we must remember that these incredible high-achieving women could be struggling to maintain their personal relationships.

To address these challenges and create more peace and harmony in their lives, I believe it’s crucial to restructure priorities and redefine success on their own individual terms. This involves shifting away from the traditional notion of “having it all” and embracing a more holistic approach to fulfilment. I encourage all high achievers to identify their personal core values. Re-evaluating how these may have changed with time really helps to set realistic goals, and acknowledging their achievements to themselves, their partners, and their families is vital. All too often, I have seen high achievers feeling lonely because they have not taken the time to share all the little steps along the way. Involving those in close relationships, communicating needs, and setting boundaries together, such as no phones at dinner or in bed, or asking for extra time to sleep or work late without feeling guilty, really helps build foundational support with loved ones.

Feminine Energy

It is vitally important that these extraordinary women are encouraged to tap into their feminine energy, which can unlock a wealth of creativity, intuition, and resilience. When we highly value masculine traits such as strong competitiveness, assertiveness, and linear thinking, which all have their place in business, embracing more feminine qualities can be a revolutionary act of self-expression and empowerment. I believe that encouraging practices such as mindfulness, nurturing, subtlety, vulnerability, and creative expression can help cultivate a sense of inner peace and balance both at work and at home. Space to think, breathe, create, and problem-solve happens more effectively and strategically when one is not in a place of reactivity. Authenticity towards feminine energy traits brings a more interesting and diverse dynamic to the boardroom too!

Bring in the Joy!

There’s an unparalleled joy and excitement that permeates our work when we’re operating at a high level and making a tangible difference in the world. This is the underlying ambition of every high-achieving powerhouse woman. Whether she is leading groundbreaking projects, driving innovative solutions, or inspiring others to reach new heights, the sense of purpose and fulfilment that comes from knowing she is making a difference is the driver. When she has a sense of true joy, there is no ceiling! Increased productivity, creativity, and engagement in the boardroom and at home are indicative of improved physical and mental health. Research has shown in many studies that people who experience more joy and positivity are more emotionally resilient and less likely to be negatively affected by the physical effects of stress. Regular positivity has been shown to lower inflammation, cortisol levels, and even blood pressure. Building a workplace culture where joy is prioritized helps everyone to flourish.

Conclusion

By supporting and empowering strong female leadership, we unlock the individual talents and contributions of these incredible women and pave the way for a more equitable, inclusive, and prosperous future for generations to come. Women bring fresh perspectives, and opening the boardroom to more women allows for a new approach that may help navigate the world to a better place. By investing in their well-being and empowerment, we are investing in a brighter and more promising tomorrow for all.

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