An associate reluctantly confesses it’s much easier for her to push her husband’s agenda; a good friend confides that she does not have the courage to drastically change her hair, and I sit on my words at times, convinced that some things are better left unsaid. Despite the feminist and womanist movements, women still struggle with the courage to be bold.
In Women Don’t Ask, Negotiation and the Gender Divide, authors Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, write about how women often limit their own progress because they fear speaking up. Consider these alarming statistics cited in the book:
By not negotiating a first salary, an individual stands to lose more than $500,000 by age 60—and men are more than four times as likely as women to negotiate a first salary. In one study, eight times as many men as women graduating with master’s degrees from Carnegie Mellon negotiated their salaries. The men who negotiated were able to increase their starting salaries by an average of 7.4 percent, or about $4,000. In the same study, men’s starting salaries were about $4,000 higher than the women’s on average, suggesting that the gender gap between men and women might have been closed if more of the women had negotiated their starting salaries.
As I wrestle with notions of how my own fear and self doubt have limited me, I am reminded of recent accomplishments which would have been impossible without first pushing beyond a comfort zone. Who am I to imagine a life beyond the confines of the practical? How can I not? Brian Tracy said, “to get what you’ve never had, you must do what you’ve never done.” As we celebrate the achievements of great women this month, let’s remember that our own potential is limitless.
What separates us from them? The firm belief in ourselves and the will to see possibilities where others see obstacles. The path to a life of boldness may be arduous at times, but the alternative is rather dismal.
Here’s what I am doing to live more boldly (it is a daily walk!):
1. Even when I do not want to speak, I push myself.
2. Pursue my passions, one step at a time.
3. Pushing past others thoughts of me informed by race, class and gender.
4. If I want to learn something, I just do! Who says education stops after you get that degree?
5. Prayer. I ask God to guide my path.
Wisdom from Dr. Wayne Dyer, “How God Tells You It’s Time for a Change.”
Latest posts by Emelda De Coteau (see all)