Provocative Question: What is the number one way that you have been able to find your power? Your voice?
See what your My Career Matters colleagues had to say!
For most, finding one’s voice and power is a process that does not have an end date – all women are working to better understand the relationship between their power and their voice. For some, the power and strength are found in communicating effectively and strategically, while others find that they best capture their power when they understand their own personality strengths and weaknesses in the workforce.
Mary Anne Wilson said, “Embracing who I’ve become in my career and being proud of myself is something I work on every day. Never letting that little doubt whisper in your ear is key.” This is quite significant as finding your power and your voice requires attention and perseverance in your career – it can be found from a mentor or from learning communications techniques, but your power will not magically appear one day (even though we all keep wishing for a fairy godmother). Dyan Van Fossen, Director of My Career Matters, captured a similar feeling, stating, “Finding my power has been a ‘career long’ process – but for me, it has been embracing my expertise skills and wisdom without blushing.”
When it comes to communicating effectively and strategically, Wilson described how she changed her email writing techniques, saying, “One step I’ve taken is to never lead an email with ‘I’m sorry.’ The statement alone portrays weakness and gives up power. When you consciously do this, you’ll find the words are just as meaningful, but you hold your head up just a bit higher when you hit send.” You shouldn’t feel that you must apologize for speaking – your words matter and should be heard by others. Don’t try to let others determine that you need to apologize for your words.
More so, in an interview with Adam Bryant from The New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/11/16/business/corner-office-women-executives-owning-their-voice.html), Dara Richardson-Heron described the importance of women understanding their words do not necessarily correlate with their voice and power. She said, “One of the things I see sometimes is that women mistake words for voice. They feel that because they have a seat at the table and they say something, that’s good. But it’s important for women to know that having a voice really means having a track record of success and accomplishments, so that people want to listen to what you have to say, because you’re saying something of value.” Having a spot at the table does not define your voice – you need to make sure that your voice has a clear and resounding tone, and that can be found through your experiences and history.
By understanding your personality, you can better use your strengths to find your voice and your power. Lisa Vezzetti said, “I found that going through assessments such as DiSC and Strengthfinders were extremely helpful for me in finding ‘my power’ by literally identifying and mapping some of them out for me. Once I understood better what my personality traits were, I could maximize or minimize them as needed.” To take your own Strengthfinders assessment – follow this link: https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/home/en-us/strengthsfinder.
Similarly, Allison Benczkowski said, “At a recent conference I heard the author, Sally Helgensen, speak about her book, How Women Rise (https://sallyhelgesen.com/sallysbooks/how-women-rise/). She shared 12 habits that women may engage in to the detriment of their power/voice/success. I bought the book from Amazon while I was in the meeting room! I’ve picked three of the habits that I personally want to focus on in 2019 and I’ve enlisted a few co-workers to hold me accountable to improving those habits.” This book helps women effectively act to find their voice and power within the workforce. By using these resources, it becomes easier to understand the best way to use the outreach of your personality.
Women find their power and their voice through various means and times, but it is crucial to find that voice to flourish your capabilities in the workforce and in your leadership. Let your voice and power influence others’ power and voice – you need to pass it along to others.