I talk about this a lot. The slight disappointment I felt when I finally got my seat at the table.
I’d spent YEARS trying to get there.
For 5 years I was a Director leading Sales, Marketing and Sales Ops function at a start-up. Reporting to the CEO with no VP above me. I was the only woman on the Sr. Management team.
And they would not make me a VP. Trust me, I asked. Often.
After 5 years of this, my confidence was shot. I wasn’t sure I belonged at the table at all. And I had no idea how to gain the elusive powers that I apparently needed to get there.
I decided to leave the company and landed a VP role. Although I was full of imposter syndrome I was going t take my shot. And this is what I learned.
There was nothing all that special about my fellow execs.
Don’t get me wrong, they were good at what they did. They were smart. They worked hard. And most of them were great humans.
But they were no smarter, hard working or talented than I was.
In fact, I remember having a conversation with a C-level exec and I was floored by his reaction to what I was sharing, because I was teaching him things he had never thought about or realized before.
He was looking at me like I was the unicorn!
Once I’d joined this club, my network of execs expanded. Over the next few years I met, engaged with and formed relationships with tons of executives from Directors to CEOs.
And not one of them was the elusive unicorn I had once believed in. This really was it.
I posted about this topic on LinkedIn last week and over 40,000 people related to it. My post was viewed well around 4.5M times. Pretty wild.
But I’m not all that surprised…
Because many of us have been sold this same narrative for much of our lives. The narrative that says we aren’t the ones who belong at the table.
Sometimes this is direct, but many times it’s through the representation we see – the people at the table tend to be older, white, straight, cis men. And when that’s what we see for years and years, that’s what we assume the person who belongs at the table looks like.
I really want you to make this shift, because it’s absolutely critical in order to shed this self-doubt and imposter syndrome you’re walking around with…
The people at the table are no smarter than you
The people at the table don’t have any special powers
The people at the table don’t know what they’re doing half the time either
Maybe they’re there because of luck, or a connection, or because they leaned into their confidence and took their shot. There are a whole host of reasons someone may have that seat instead of you, but there’s a good chance it’s not because you’re not capable.
So the first step to getting a seat at the table is really just believing you deserve to be there. Allowing yourself to bring your great ideas forward without feeling intimidated.
It’s really hard to convince someone else you deserve a seat at the table if you don’t believe it yourself.
But… is that enough?
Time for the hard truth. I wish the answer was yes, but often it’s not. The truth is, not every person who wants to be an exec will be one. Otherwise, we’d have companies that were made up of 50% leadership.
So it’s not enough, but it is a prerequisite. When we talk about mindset being 80% of success, this is part of it. There’s still the other 20%.
The other 20% is really all about doing the right things and positioning yourself as a strategic leader. The key here is to be discerning without being judgemental. By that I mean, having the awareness to see where you’re strong and where you need to improve without beating yourself up.
The good news is that all of the skills you need to be at the table are learnable!
I’m living proof – I went from hearing “You’re not there yet. You’re just not strategic” to being a successful, high-functioning VP and then EVP.
Seeing so many women who feel stuck and unsure is the whole reason I launched this business. Many of you already know that my mission is to help 1,000 women become execs.
And with that, I’ve revamped my group program from an 8 week program to a 12 week program and will be officially relaunching it later this summer. The whole point of this program is to set you up to take your seat at the table.
Check out my offerings below if you want to learn more or DM me for more details. For all of you on my mailing list, I’m offering a $500 early bird discount if you choose to register early.
Until next time friends… ✌️💜