It seems the trend of ‘girl boss’ is everywhere now-a-days and I’m okay with it 😉 (I am the guilty owner of a mug that reads, “Just a Girl Boss Building Her Empire.”) Anything that inspires women to be empowered is a message that the world could use a little more of. However, I have also found that being a girl boss isn’t as easy as owning some memorabilia or walking over-confidently through a local mall. Being a girl boss actually means that you have some challenges that are different from being a “guy-boss!” And, guess what, the sooner you embrace what it means to truly be a Girl Boss (which I’ve found can best be summed up through five truths)… the more unstoppable you will become:
Truth #1: You Can’t (Nor Should You Want) to Do It Like a Man
Somewhere between the feminist movement and the girl boss trend, we empowered ourselves just enough to get ahead, but not enough to stop thinking we have to do it like a man. Guess what? “Wearing the pants” (like a man) is never going to feel right for women, the fit will always feel slightly off! It’s OK to pave your own path as a strong woman. Even if there aren’t many female examples in your particular field, don’t feel the need to copy how the men in those same roles are doing it. You can’t lead like a man because you aren’t supposed to! Think about it this way: when an intimating male boss plays hard ball, they might be feared but also respected. However, when a woman takes the same approach, she is often coined “a bitch” and her aggressiveness isn’t always taken as seriously. I know I am being stereotypical, but it’s to make a point – create your own version of strength as a woman. Choose effective, yet different, tactics to get what you want. Embrace who you are, not who you think you should be based on how a man does the same job. The gender issues will become less of the focal point when you own who you are and celebrate your differences. Plus, once you shed the falsity that you have to lead like a man, you can focus more on what a great leaders and bosses possess instead of what gender you are.
Truth #2 There is Strength in Being Vulnerable
Vulnerability makes you human, it makes you humble and it keeps you authentic – all of these traits are assets. How do you balance your strength and vulnerability as a woman? It doesn’t mean you should carry a Kleenex box around everywhere you go, but it doesn’t mean that you should ever be afraid to ever show your vulnerable side. The reality is, vulnerability gets a bad reputation because it can make people uncomfortable (especially when it is seen as being a “loose cannon”). Vulnerability, when used to emphasize with others, can actually make you a powerhouse because you are utilizing an extremely under-utilized emotional skill-set. In fact, the right combination of strength and vulnerability is a super power that not many men tap into! People love people who are “the real deal” and girl bosses have the unique quality of marrying both being strong / in charge with their femininity, while also being vulnerable + compassionate. When you learn how to be the right combination of both of these things, the people you serve will follow you anywhere and root for your success.
Truth #3 Challenges are a Given
If you like the idea of being a girl boss, you have to like the idea of a good challenge because statistically you are in for an uphill climb! Get ready for the word “challenge” to become your new best friend and don’t think of challenges as a threat. Why? You are going to be seeing A LOT of them and these challenges aren’t your enemy at all. Your biggest enemy when it comes to the challenges you’ll face is yourself. Stop making excuses of why you can’t rise above them or why your gender effects your ability to succeed. Instead, tackle the things you can control that are standing in your way. Ironically, you will face many challenges not just because you are a girl boss, but because you are a boss – gender isn’t always the issue here, ladies.
Truth #4 A Girl with Power Needs…. Girl Power
Being a girl boss is great, but it can also get pretty lonely at the top. Having a group of female mentors is crucial. This group will be a place where you can gain wisdom, strategize ideas and even voice frustrations in a safe place. If you are a girl boss, but lack the power of other strong women, you need more girl power! Every leader goes through many seasons of pain, especially during growth phases, and a healthy support system of other women who “get it” can act as an endless supply of encouragement and wisdom.
Truth #5 You Will Often Feel Like an Outsider
At some point or another, you will find yourself in a conversation with another woman who craves simplicity or an easy life. I promise you, as a girl boss, you will feel like a loner at many times. I have been there time and time again. As these awesome gals talk about all the problems they are having with the landscapers or a shopping budget, you will begin to find that you have less and less in common with the way they talk “shop.” Learn this lesson sooner rather than later: there is absolutely nothing wrong with what they want AND what you want – even if your desires are on opposite ends of the spectrum. If you are a girl boss, you will also find that it takes some men a while to warm up to the idea that you are their equal in business. Sadly, sometimes you will feel like you are a complete outsider, not being able to relate to some women and not really always able to relate to men. It’s OK to be different. It’s OK to be your own person. Some women and men alike will never understand you and that is OK. While you may feel like an outsider, focus on becoming the person you want to be. The ones who get “you” can turn into great lifelong friends. The ones that don’t get …no biggie…it’s better than you not getting to truly be yourself!
The world needs more girl bosses. I hope you are encouraged and take these 5 truths with you to lean into truly being the girl boss you were always meant to be!
What is your experience with being a girl boss? What do you see? What do you do? How do you lean into who you were meant to be?