Your voice – Are you using it to inspire others?
Every year around International Women’s Day, women of all ages and backgrounds take part in empowering events all over the world. Events that aim to raise awareness, inspire women and celebrate progress.
It is important to remember that women wouldn’t have been able to do that 100 years ago because we didn’t have a voice!
It all changed thanks to the suffragettes’ bravery and the feminist movement 50 to 60 years later. The first gave women a voice, and later also the vote. The second gave us more equality and freedom of choice.
But sadly, 40 years on, women are still affected by prejudice, violence, discrimination or the gender pay gap at work.
If speaking up in a political context makes you feel uncomfortable, there are other ways to make a direct difference to women’s lives. (The saying ’behind every successful woman is a tribe of successful women who have her back’ springs to mind).
Inspire others by leaving your comfort zone
Every year on 8 March (International Women's Day), I remember the business events I used to host with my colleague and friend Mary.
Starting with only 10 women in 2006, our events grew year on year until we motivated and inspired audiences of over 120 women.
Neither of us had ever held events that size before! And, admittedly, we did have a few scary moments – usually about 2 weeks before the big date. It was typically when doubts about ticket sales or the threat of speakers cancelling reared their ugly heads.
Making the decision to go ahead invariably meant taking a big (financial) risk. And that took a bit of courage at the time.
Yet despite the challenges, somehow things always worked out. Every year we pushed ourselves a little more out of our comfort zone.
We did this either by inviting more prestigious speakers or trusting ourselves to present more challenging topics. Always wanting to engage women and inspire them to aim higher in business.
We did put a smile on women’s faces.
They told us how much it meant to them to receive such a powerful motivational boost. And to reconnect with that “I can do it” feeling that’s so easy to lose when you’re too busy or in the midst of a setback.
It put a spring in our step too, knowing that we were able to use our voice to inspire others!
How you can inspire others
You don’t have to hold an event to do inspire others.
- Your blog or social media will inspire others when you speak from your heart. Write about topics you feel truly passionate about!
- Speaking at networking events or taking the lead in business meetings could be great opportunities to make an impact.
- At home, you can be a role model for your daughters and help them grow into confident women.
- You can show your support for initiatives that help women in the workplace or
These are just a few ideas.
The thing is, we often underestimate how much our individual experiences matter in the bigger scheme of things.
So you may wish to look for opportunities to tell your story. Or, at least, how you’ve overcome a major challenge - whether in business or your personal life.
Tame the little voice that holds you back
Sometimes it’s hard to inspire others when we are all too aware that something holds us back.
Often it's that little voice in our heads that speaks to us in a critical and self-limiting way. Paying attention to it can stop us from both seeing and seizing the opportunities presented to us.
So there are times when we effectively sabotage ourselves. Fear takes hold and we tell ourselves that we are not worth listening to. Or that our message isn’t powerful enough to inspire others anyway.
As a self-employed woman you can even be at risk of creating your own pay gap! This may sound outrageous but it isn’t.
Time and time again I see women charge less for their service than a male colleague would. I’ve seen evidence of that when comparing suppliers’ offers. And also when helping owners of small companies compare proposals from their suppliers.
Money is an area where our lack of self-belief can let us down badly (it’s what prompted me a few years back to write a little e-book about it).
Appreciate your value
Appreciating your value is not just important for your own mindset and confidence, it's good for the health of your business.
It comes across in your blog too! Being confident and 'bold for change' encourages and inspires other women to follow in your footsteps.
So every time you share your message, believe in the value you add to your clients’ lives or business. And be proud of your voice, especially in your blog!
You will inspire your readers or listeners and give them the ‘you can do it’ feeling that's so powerful.
Just because you can.