What does it look like to be a woman in tech today? See which problems still persist as well as the biggest benefits to pursuing
Learn to Deserve: Why You Are Worthy of Success
Learn what you can do to change this career-hampering mentality today.
Women have traditionally felt the need to convince themselves they deserve something.
In order to succeed, you need to believe you deserve it — yet many women struggle with this mentality today. While men have had a centuries-long head start growing comfortable winning the bread and bringing home the bacon, it doesn’t come so easy for everyone.
And yet, feeling as though you aren’t enough can really hamstring a career, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of underachievement. If you find yourself wrestling with these thoughts to any degree, here’s what you can do to reverse course.
The dangers of not deserving
If you can’t convince yourself that you deserve success, how are you going to convince bosses, hiring managers or anyone else? These are the major risks you run when you feel guilty about pursuing success.
Have you ever felt like you’re not qualified, smart or skilled enough to have come as far as you have in your career? If so, you may have been experiencing imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is a common false belief held, curiously enough, by high achievers. Michelle Obama, Maya Angelou and Tina Fey have all gone on record saying they’ve wrestled with feelings of unworthiness throughout their objectively impressive careers.
Women, and women in tech especially, are vulnerable to the snares of imposter syndrome. Working in male dominated fields can make it easy to feel like an outsider. Environments in which the face of success doesn’t necessarily resemble yours can be a difficult perception to shake and spill over into job performance.
Lower pay and fewer promotions
The guilt associated with feeling undeserving can make it difficult to go full steam ahead in advocating for yourself and your career. Why pursue that pay raise or put your name up for a promotion if it’s only going to make you feel worse?
As it stands, women are already at a disadvantage in this department. Women still earn less than men, and only 58 percent feel comfortable asking for a raise (compared to 74 percent of men). That hesitancy can be extremely costly, amounting to almost one million fewer dollars over the course of a career.
There are a lot of factors at play contributing to these statistics, but certainly one that’s within every woman’s power to tackle is overcoming feelings of being unworthy to pursue these important career-growth activities in the first place.
How to get comfortable deserving success
It’s hard to feel worthy of pursuing self-improvement when you don’t believe that you deserve to get better. It’s a hard mentality to shake, but author and life coach Kimberly Fulcher has suggestions on what women can do to break the cycle.
TikTok has also picked up 3.9%, which for their size, is a significant lift.
“Self-care is not selfish,” Fulcher writes. In fact, it’s self-neglect that is actually selfish. When you neglect your own needs, you deny the world the best version of you — but the best you is the one who can help your friends, family and colleagues the most. Fulcher recommends focusing on the basics of sound body and mind:
- Sleep: get at least seven to eight hours.
- Hydration: aim for 12 cups of water a day.
- Nourishment: focus on quality, nutrient-dense foods.
- Stress relief: exercise, mediate, journal, garden — whatever works for you.
2. Be someone you can count on
When life gets busy, who do you bail on first? Yourself or others? While it’s important to keep your commitments and help other people, if the scales tip too far away from keeping commitments to yourself, that could be a symptom of “unreservedness”.
“Every time you break a commitment to yourself, what you’re really doing is showing yourself, through your own inaction, that you don’t matter,” writes Fulcher. To remedy this, be mindful of your commitments so you can identify when you may be overextending. Treat your “you time” as just another cant-miss appointment with a boss, colleague or friend and protect it the same way you would for others. Over time, these actions can help reshape your thinking.
3. Stand up for yourself
For Fulcher, when you don’t feel deserving, your fallback mode of being becomes that of an “earner.” That can be troubling, as an earner operates from the insecure position of needing external validation to feel worthy. That can manifest in three different ways:
- The pleaser: You’ll say yes to anything, even when you can’t or don’t want to.
- The performer: You chase overachievement in the pursuit of money, accolades or material goods.
- The doormat: This one is just as bad as it sounds — You let people treat you poorly.
“Start by catching yourself in the act of playing the earner, writes Fulcher. “What and who triggers the earner response in you? What are you afraid of? What are you trying to prove? If you feel drained or bad about yourself after you’re with a specific person or in a certain place, you need to think twice about being with that person or in that place… Speak up. Stand up. Stop accepting less than you deserve.”
It may not be easy to start making these shifts in self-perception, but even small steps toward the goal can pay dividends. As you work toward feeling comfortable deserving success, you might actually find yourself achieving it. More doors will open, confidence breeds confidence — And that’s when the real fun begins.
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