Being vulnerable

images-2Women are praised when they do a good job from the time they are young.  We are the harshest judges of our own abilities.  As young women we take on challenges and like everyone sometimes we succeed at them and other times we don’t.  When we don’t we take that as a sign that perhaps that isn’t our thing.  Whereas young men take not succeeding as a challenge to get it right.

Women are building new companies daily.  Watching them start with an idea and then grow that company into something bigger over time is very similar to watching a young girl master a challenge.  We work at mastering the goals and at the same time being very methodical in the approach.  At one point when women start to build a company that is hitting it out of the ball park their attitudes change because internally they know they own it, they are hitting the high notes and they are top of their game.

Men are quite the opposite.  They are not about self-control.  They continue to move forward and believe that eventually they will figure it out and master whatever they need to master.  They never believe that maybe that they could be out of their league.

Perfect example of women not believing in themselves is the small percentage of women that apply to analyst positions in the investment world.  Why?  They don’t think they would get the job because perhaps they don’t see themselves as qualified.  Guess what, not only are they qualified but they are no less qualified then all the men that believe that they should and will get that job. It is purely a mindset.

Women need to be women.  Authentic in who they are as they build their businesses.  Being vulnerable is ok.  Being able to fake it as you make it is even better.  Men do it daily.  Perhaps it comes from the very early years on how we are all raised and praised.  Bottom line is women need to be confident that they will learn as they move forward and get better as they move forward and it doesn’t have to be perfect from day one.  Be confident that we can tackle anything and be ourselves at the same time is a lesson that we should be teaching our daughters from early on.  It will make a big difference as they move forward.  Let’s give that confidence card to the next generation of women by showing them the strength of our own successes and failures.

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    I think about this a lot and on this topic, while I think really important, we are on opposite sides of the cause and effect.I don’t see this as a gender related topic though I see your point of view. I see this as behavioral piece of society that when embraced will change perceptions in general cross the very essence of culture.This epitomizes my thoughts best.

    1. Gotham Gal

      It stems from behavior

  2. lynnerae

    Confidence (or lack) of is at the core of so many of the conversations I have with fellow women founders, investors and executives. It may be hard to “fake it ’til you make it”, but that is a skill that needs to be learned. I know this video has been around awhile, but I came across it again last weekend, and it is a great tool for empowering your own behavior. I used this (power posing) at a workshop I attended this week, and the outcome was impressive — I hope others in this community find it useful as well:

  3. Donna Brewington White

    I chuckled because the last person who told me to “fake til I make it” was this guy by the name of Fred Wilson. 🙂 I took his advice and with some twists and turns and bumps in the road, I feel well on my way!The first person who ever gave me this advice was the president of the firm that gave me my first recruiting job. His wife has gone on to create one of the top staffing companies in the world.But the thing is, even though I am no longer faking it — I mean, I am REALLY REALLY good at what I do — I still feel as though I am faking it. Every single day I feel as though I am making it up as I go. I am always surprised to discover how good I am at what I do. I never take it for granted. It would be so much easier if I could just take this for granted and move on.Thanks for the post, Joanne. So many times you have given language to my experiences. Your words matter.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Thanks Donna. Too many women have the imposter syndrome. Myself included

  4. JLM

    .I doubt I have ever read anything as shallow as your unfounded characterization of male conduct.Both women and men are complex.To suggest that you have an insight into how men think or act is offensive. The inelegant simplicity of your insight compounds it. As offensive as it would be if I were to make such generalizations about …………………. women.Sure, I had a mother, two sisters, a wife, and a daughter. I have worked professionally with tons of women — I no more understand them than I speak Mandarin Chinese.There is way more potential for my mastering Mandarin Chinese than understanding women in the manner you generalize about men.Quite a surprise as you are usually brilliantly insightful. Swing and a miss on this one.Hhhhhhhappy Father’s Day!JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Erin

      Alright you two. Now this would be a great time to be better acquainted with Carl Jung, who’s widely considered the world authority on differences between the masculine and feminine principles, or at least their Western incarnations. Unfortunately I’m not as acquainted as I wish I was, so I’m not going to be much help, and while personally I find personality types a much more compelling explanation for our differences, there are some remarkable differences between the genders that will most probably affect how we invest and run businesses. I think in really broad brush strokes, the takeaway from Jung is that we reach our highest feminine and masculine expressions through self-observation and integration through some kind of mindfulness practice or set of psychological exercises. For example, when I’m provoked, I like to come back to the breath, and the sensations in my body, which we sometimes forget about when we feel misunderstood.