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The Four-Letter Word Holding Women Back At Work - And How To Overcome It

by Shade Zahraj

Risk-taking has become an important skill in the business world. Studies show that men and women who take risks are more successful in their careers. Yet, according to KPMG's latest Women's Leadership Study, only 43% of women are willing to take the bigger risks associated with career advancement.

The author’s research indicates that early in their careers, women are more likely to take risks, but become less open to it as they gain experience and self-confidence. KPMG's study confirmed this with only 37% of women with 15-plus years of experience willing to take risks, and that women are less likely to talk about their accomplishments, ask for a higher salary, or to volunteer for assignments that would increase their visibility. According to a 2019 study, risk-related gender differences are the result of socialization, similar to other gender differences, and comes down to the four-letter word ‘fear’.

Today’s business environment is based on a fake-it-'til-you-make-it ethos, which is an attitude most women do not easily conform to. This fear hampers women from doing the necessary things that lead to career advancement.

The author suggests that there are 3 Mindset Shifts to Overcome Fear of Failure:

1. Every risk has the potential of failure, so get used to it.

Failure is a part of life. However, no great success was ever achieved without failure. Thomas Edison tried thousands of times to create a lightbulb but never gave up. Ditch the self-defeatist mindset; learn how to bounce back and move on.

2. Welcome it, and take the emotion out of it.

Women have been socially conditioned to seek validation and approval. This must be unlearned by realizing that no one is perfect, and that if something does not work out, do not react like it is your fault. Not every idea will be successful.

3. Take enlightened risks.

Take calculated risks that you have thought through and researched. Don’t take chances just for the sake of it…. Do your homework.

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