Don’t assume you have missed the boat because of your age or missed out on opportunities because of your gender. It is never too late to begin again. Take a look at the national election for example.
There are two important leadership lessons for women to take away about this election so far. Age and gender inequities are still prevalent in society. We have come a long way, and we have more work to do individually and collectively to mitigate the biases and assumptions we all have around age and gender.
Age – Women over a certain age are not done making a difference. If you are telling yourself you are too old to apply for a new job, or ask for a raise or a promotion, or run a marathon, or learn to swim, or travel alone, or launch a business, or date, or move to a new city, or anything else, remember you are not. Why? We have a women running for President of the United States. She is 68 years old. She is not old. She has accumulated years of relevant experience. Remember you are not done until you say you are done! Age is irrelevant.
Gender – The democratic nominee for President is a woman. The glass ceiling has been broken and all little girls can grow up and imagine that they too can be president. She didn’t accomplish this by not playing with the boys. She has been criticized, mocked, and challenged in a way that a man probably would not have. She stands up, speaks up and shows up in the face of adversity. Living our lives sometimes requires us to dig deep and do things that maybe uncomfortable or unfamiliar. You cannot achieve without stepping out of your comfort zone. You need to find your courage, tenacity and self-assurance, and you too can break through the glass in front of you.
As Oprah would say, this is what I know to be true:
- Whatever your age, circumstance, religious preference, gender identity or profession, you have what it takes to be a successful human being.
- I learned that I am not too old, and to stop saying ‘I’m too old for that.’
- It is better to collaborate with other women then compete with each other. We will accomplish so much more when we lift each other.
- Build alliances with male colleagues and associates. We can and should not do this alone.
- Don’t give up.
- Take risks, even if you think they are not ‘age-appropriate’
- Build gender and age equality inside the organization and let society catch up.
Don’t wait for someone else to do it, you do it!
Sharon Blumberg is an accomplished psychological coach, facilitator of change, and coloring book artist. Her firm I’m Not Done Yet helps clients thrive through change and transition. This is especially relevant as they face continued challenges and opportunities. The firm’s coaching and training expertise provides clients with practical and relevant knowledge and tools. She also authors a blog entitled Who Stole My Estrogen?
Prior to launching her own firm, Sharon’s professional credentials include tenures at global organizations, i.e., IBM, Citigroup, Deloitte, and EY. Sharon has two masters in organizational and clinical psychology, a lot of post-graduate training/certifications; Sharon blends the techniques of psychology and coaching to enable her clients to thrive though all kinds of professional and personal changes and transitions.
Sharon believes that everyone has the ability and capacity to be relevant, resilient and remarkable.
Photo credit: The White House