I’m here to tell you a delicious secret. No one is coming.
Not to tell you that you can. Not to tell you that you can’t. Not to fix it, fix you, tell you where, what, when, why, or how. But I know some part of your psyche is still waiting for that permission. No matter how powerful we are as women, there are certain ingrained scripts that catch us off guard when we’re stretching ourselves the most. They are insidious, and can really mess with our momentum, no matter how empowered we are -- or think we are.
HOW DO I KNOW THIS?
I’ve spent most of my life building businesses (the first when I was 8). And I’ve spent the last 5 years professionally guiding female founders, traveling the world speaking to thousands of women for the US State Department and my own organization, The Concordia Project. Some patterns have emerged.
Their impetus is so subtle, we can go a lifetime without even seeing them. Do you have that little inner critic always waiting to correct or judge you? Or is it a big critic? I like to think of mine as Inspector Javert from Les Miserables. He’s always looming over me, arms folded, just waiting for me to make the mistake he knows I’m going to make. After years of effort toward silencing him, I now happily have him wrapped in duct tape and locked in a closet.
There are cues we pick up throughout the course of our lives that practically code our DNA to want to be good girls. We want that gold star, and it means SO MUCH. If we are super-high achievers, multiply that by infinity.
And I’ve never been sure exactly what the reward is, aside from a crappy little sticky star, but we’ll pummel ourselves -- and each other -- to get it. Suddenly seeking approval becomes the undercurrent of everything we do, and sooner or later we have a moment where it stops us dead in our tracks. We want to do it right. Whatever that means. And so that big pitch deck becomes something far too daunting, and we suddenly need to organize the bookshelf; or we’re ready to unleash our ideas on the world, but can’t quite seem to publish that blog post.
So I’m here right now, in your face, to call bullshit on all of that. I’m reminding you that no one is, in fact, coming. You’re it. The final authority. Now what will you do with that knowledge, aside from give yourself a crappy little gold star that doesn’t mean anything?
Here’s what I do.
I have two Post-It Notes above my desk. They say:
1. Don't let anything FUCK with your momentum.
2. DO THE WORK.
Whenever I’m feeling stuck, I look up at them and remind myself that I’ve already created the strategy and the plan, so there isn’t any more mental analysis needed -- I simply need to execute. To do the work. And there’s a funny thing about that: Every time I surrender to my planning and task list, everything works out. So stop waiting for permission to make your dreams happen.
You’re the superhero you’ve been waiting for.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jennifer combines the Pecorino-salty sass and pepper-grinder curves of Sophia Loren with the boots, cuffs, and universe-rocking crash! bang! pow! of Wonder Woman. On any given day, she might be jetting across the International Dateline to remind teenage girls that they do, in fact, run the world, or white boarding and game-changing in a hastily crafted updo, somewhere in a closely guarded back room at the UN. She's got plans to shake up the planet, but you're on a need-to-know basis for now.
Find more of her brilliance at The Concordia Project.