What are some “B” words that come to your mind? Bold. Boss. Brave. Believer. These are just a few “B” words that come to mine. But these are words that describe women who aren’t afraid to take risks, go after what they want, and carve their paths in life and business. These are words we call ourselves and hear from our empowered sisters.
In a world where it’s still not easy being a woman, owning your “B” word can be a badge of honor. It shows that you’re not afraid to be who you are and are comfortable in your skin.
It is easier to be a female leader in today’s climate than in my early career, but many of the same principles still hold. If you are too assertive, too passionate, too opinionated – too outspoken, you’re at risk of being called the “B” word. And not the ones above.
We all know that if a male colleague is those things, he’s seen as having strong leadership qualities. There are exceptions to this rule, of course – there always are – but in general, it seems that women have to be careful not to come across as “too much.” Or do we?
I have found that being a woman in a leadership role in a male-dominated industry made me very susceptible to the “B” word. I was achieving success despite resistance and roadblocks and I was proud of my accomplishments. The best part, it was allowing me to inspire other women in leadership positions to do the same. I heard it more than once to my face, and it was undoubtedly said behind my back.
You have probably been called this at some point in your career. It can be hard to know how to respond when facing this situation. The best way to respond is to let it encourage you to continue being the Boisterous and Brilliant woman that you are.
You can spend your time fighting against the “B” word. Or you can spend your time being the best “B” word that you can be. It’s up to you. But if you choose the latter, you’ll be empowering yourself and other women in the process. You should be proud. The “B” word is not an insult, it is a badge of honor. It means that you are doing something right. It means that you are making a difference. It means that you are challenging the status quo and pushing boundaries.
But, you may be chomping at the bit, screaming this is not right. I wholeheartedly agree that the pressing question being addressed every day in the media, and in our hearts and minds, is will this mindset ever change, and what it will take? When will the day come when a woman can show the same strength, drive, and ambition as her male counterparts without being called negative names? When will we reach true equality?
I don’t have all the answers, but I am hopeful. We have made great strides in recent years, and I believe we will continue to do so. After all, we are the generation of women who refuse to be silenced. We are the generation of women unapologetically speaking our minds and fighting for what we believe.
In these situations, owning the “B” word can be empowering. It shows that you are confident and unafraid to be yourself. It also communicates to other women that they can be successful, even in male-dominated industries or leadership roles.
It’s essential to be a good role model for other women in the workplace and to set an example of what it means to be a successful non-apologetic female leader. Here are a few tips on how to do just that:
1. Be confident in your abilities.
2. Be assertive when necessary.
3. Be willing to take risks.
4. Be decisive.
5. Be a good communicator.
6. Be a team player.
7. Be flexible and adaptable.
8. Be knowledgeable about your industry and trends.
9. Be passionate about what you do.
10. Be committed to continuous learning.
As in the words of the infamous Carly Fiorina, “I’m not a bitch. I’m just better at business than you are.”
I will leave you with this thought. First and foremost, I am a Christian Business Leader, but that doesn’t mean I am immune to the world’s reality and how women in business are viewed. But, I am taught in His word that we are all equal in God’s eyes, and He has called us to be leaders with no gender being better or more equipped than the other. As Christian women, we should strive to be the best we can be in every aspect of our lives – including our careers.
One of my favorite Bible verses is Proverbs 31:25 – “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”
Be that woman. And, if that means we “ruffle some feathers” once in a while, then so be it. So, in the meantime, if someone calls you a “B” word, take it as a compliment and keep doing what you’re doing.