In the fields of business and technology, women often feel like they’re the minority. This trend is definitely changing (check out this special report on the 100 Most Powerful Women) but in the meantime, what can you, as a woman in a male-dominated field, do to really stand out and be a successful player?
Here are 5 ways that you can tap into your female advantage and really soar in your career or business.
1. Ask for what you want.
Have you ever been in a car with a man who was lost, but wouldn’t stop to ask for directions? As women, we have the ability to keep our egos quiet long enough to ask for advice.
If you’re new to business or having a technical tangle, there’s absolutely no shame in asking someone to help you figure it all out. Get a mentor, hire a coach, work with a consultant, but don’t go it alone. We women don’t do well when we’re frustrated, so don’t try to "be a man" and figure it all out yourself. There are people out there who want to help you, so ask, and then let them.
2. Collaborate, tend and befriend.
Do you see other women as competition? If you’re walking around with your elbows out, trying to keep yourself safe from others in your field, it’s time to stop. Women pulling each other down is a myth, and every person who operates within that world is only working to solidify this pattern.
As women, we are the most social, collaborative creatures out there. We rock social media, we tend and befriend, and we can use our “good girl” skills to our advantage. Business takes place between people, not faceless corporations, so smile and be open to better collaborations between you and your peers or "competitors."
3. Nurture yourself first.
This is a big one: women are great nurturers. We take care of everyone from our kids to our husbands and parents. But if you really want to succeed in life, you need to take care of yourself first. That means carving out some quality me-time every day, even if it seems selfish. When you are well taken care of instead of running around on empty, you can give from a much better place. This type of giving will be what sets you apart, and helps you go further. But you need to give to yourself first.
4. Bring the fun like it's nobody’s business.
Girls just wanna have fun, right? Yes! Don’t turn off your fun side when you go into business mode, because your enthusiastic, giggly self can truly be an advantage.
Just having one woman in an all-male team can turn the driest project into a party, and help everyone do their best work faster. I’m not saying you need to stop being productive here, but what I am suggesting is that you not turn off your fun side just because you’re going into a work situation.
5. Use your sensitivity -- it’s your biggest asset.
Have you ever held back the tears, or pushed down your anger at work or in a business situation, for fear of being labeled as too "emotional" or hysterical? You hereby have my permission to let your sensitivity out, because it truly is a female advantage that should not be ignored.
As women, we’re super tapped into our emotions, and contrary to popular belief, that’s actually what businesses need to thrive today. For too long now, businesses have been cut off from the human emotions that used to drive our actions and decision-making processes. The missing key? Empathy. Women have it in spades, and when we’re not afraid to tap into our sensitive empathic side, we can change the course of an industry for the better.
It’s time for all of us women to reclaim our female advantage. What one of these tips do you plan to take on as a personal experiment for the next week?
Nathalie Lussier got her Bachelors in Software Engineering then promptly turned down a “stable” job on Wall Street to start her own online business. She’s a sought after digital strategist who teaches people how to get techy with their business. Get your Free Website Checkup at http://GetTechyNow.com.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.