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Who Says Leadership Is Reserved for Men?

Be seen, heard, and understood in a man’s world.

I will never forget the day I was thrown out of a client’s office for being ‘just a silly girl’. After all, what do women know about the property market? I was a bright and enthusiastic young woman in my 20s, selling software in London. I had just landed a meeting with a corporate real estate company, and I was excited to go and pitch my offering. I walked in to meet an older man who looked confused, refused to shake my hand, and looked behind me as he asked if I was alone and where the “sales guy” was. As I proceeded with my sales pitch, he became infuriated, stood up, and barked at me to get out!

There I was, standing in the pouring rain, crying and ashamed with an overriding feeling that I was not good enough. That experience deeply affected my confidence. Role models and authority figures can have a huge impact on us. We can carry the damage they inflict for many years, and it can be especially detrimental for a young woman carving out her career. That is why I wanted to ensure that no other young woman should have to experience bias and sexism to this extent. That experience, amongst many, has been one of the key drivers for me in creating WILD – Women in Leadership Deliver.

WILD is a platform for all women, both current and future leaders, to come together and share their knowledge and expertise. I work closely with women to find and use their voices, and I hear the same challenges over and over. Women at work in male-dominated sectors face the ‘double bind’, especially in meetings. Women get overlooked, discredited, and talked over. If they do speak up, they face being criticised in appraisals for being aggressive, bossy, or over-emotional. This stops women from speaking up at all and leaves them questioning, ‘What’s the point?’ 

One key tip to overcome this problem is the amplification method. If a woman goes to speak in a meeting, other women at the meeting address her by name, repeat her idea, and show support for the ideas presented. Other colleagues (male counterpartsincluded) then further build upon her idea. She feels that she is able to be heard and that her ideas are valid. It may seem like a small thing, but little biases can build up and lead to a huge discrepancy when it comes to gender inequality.

A business does not benefit from diversity if a woman is simply included, and not able to contribute effectively. Women can feel scared to speak up and feel that their ideas are not valid. Imposter syndrome and thoughts like ‘I’m not good enough’ or‘I’m not smart enough’ can start to set in. This results in feeling powerless, inadequate, and frustrated to say the least. It leads to you holding yourself back and not bringing your whole self to the workplace.

Whilst stereotypes are endemic – particularly the ‘think leader, think man’ stereotype – women can often be their own worst enemy. I frequently get asked on panels and podcasts, “What holds women back the most?” My response? Themselves! Women have been taught to picture themselves in a quiet space. There is subconscious confusion about the role we must play due to generational influence. Are we supposed to be the nurturer, the caregiver, the mother, and the homemaker? Or are we supposed to be a go-getter, a strong career-focused leader? We can be both.

We can bring together the powerful combination of both masculine and feminine energy with an understanding that it’s okay to be a nurturer and a go-getter at the same time. Women possess much power to inspire and influence. As a matter of fact, women make great leaders. It’s not that we are better than men, or men are better than women. It’s just that we have a different skill set – a complementary skill set.

Women are known to have high emotional intelligence and lead with empathy. Empathy is a key quality of a great leader. Thus, the solution is clear – leadership is not just for men, it’s for ALL of us together, side by side. I often say that we need to get out of our own way as we cansometimes get wrapped up in our feelings of not being good enough. We live in a society of comparison and a world of perfectionism due to social media. In reality, true satisfaction comes from building inner confidence so that we can contribute with conviction and without doubt.

Here are three powerful tips to become a leader in a male-dominated environment:

1. Get good at leadership skills, especially when it comes to presenting with confidence. 

We have all been in poor presentations and great ones. The great ones are memorable, and it drives credibility and respect. Being able to present well will take you far in your career and naturally demonstrates leadership.

2. Build your own women’s network. 

This can start with just three or four women. Include women from the company you work for and even external stakeholders, such as clients or potential clients. We crave community and belonging – especially in the UAE, where most of us are expats – so create a space for women to be heard. This can help you network and build bonds. You can become the leader and get to put essential skills into practice. I started with four women when I worked for a company, which then grew to 15. As a result, I was able to forge solid relationships to do business and make friends along the way. 

3. Put your hand up. 

If you don’t ask, you won’t get it. Never be afraid to ask for a promotion or pay rise and the steps needed to get you there. Using your voice will make you feel empowered. Your boss will also respect you. Leaders don’t shy away, they put their hand up. The world needs women to speak up and speak out. It’s time to claim your personal power, own and use your voice, and become the leader you have always dreamed of being so that you can smash the glass ceiling.

I am launching an exclusive group coaching programme called Speak UP, Speak OUT, which starts on the November 6. Thispowerful programme will feature with other women from the WILD tribe, ensuring that you learn the skills to own and use your voice, present with impact, shine with confidence, and step up as a leader ready for an amazing 2022.

Learn more about Emma Burdett and her work empowering women through WILD @emmaeburdett.

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Unlocking Prosperity: Three Fundamental Money Principles for Abundant Living

Wealth Unveiled: Prosperity Principles

Money affects every part of our lives. It can bring joy and security, but it can also bring stress and worry. As women, we tend to have a different relationships with money. One thing is certain though: We all want to live a life of abundance and prosperity. Here are some “Money Principles” are not just theoretical concepts, but practical guidelines that can and should be applied in our daily lives to manage our finances effectively. Let’s create a positive relationship with money.

Understanding the dynamics of money and how it works is the first step towards achieving financial prosperity. Firstly, money, in itself, is not the end goal, but a means to an end. It is a tool that can provide us with the resources we need to live a fulfilling life. However, without the right knowledge and understanding, money mismanaged can be a huge blow to our dreams and sustainability. Therefore, it is crucial to learn and understand these fundamental money principles.

The Importance of Money Principles

Money principles serve as a guide for our financial decisions and actions. It’s about creating a framework for managing our finances effectively and responsibly and help us make informed decisions that align with our financial goals and values.

Its imperative we develop a healthy relationship with money. Instead of viewing money as a source of stress or worry, we can see it as a tool without our emotional involvement. Once we remove anger, fear, lack and other negative feelings from the equation, a shift is created in our energy field. This shift in perspective can have a profound impact on our financial well-being and overall quality of life. It can help us overcome financial challenges, achieve our financial goals, and live a life of abundance and prosperity.

The Three Fundamental Money Principles

Principle 1: Spend Less Than You Earn

This may seem like an obvious principle, but it is one that many people struggle with. As of today, we are an out-and-out consumer-driven society. This is an easy trap for anyone to fall into leading to overspending and living beyond their means. This is how one gets sucked into financial stress and debt, hindering our ability to live a life of abundance. It is therefore crucial to develop the discipline to spend less than we earn and live within our means.

The first step to implementing this principle is to create a budget. This involves tracking your income and expenses and setting limits for your spending. It may require making sacrifices and cutting back on unnecessary expenses, but it is crucial for living within your means and avoiding debt. A budget not only helps us control our spending but also gives us a clear picture of our financial situation, enabling us to make informed financial decisions.

Another important aspect of this principle is to save and invest wisely. By setting aside a portion of your income for savings and investments, you are not only preparing for the future but also creating a safety net for unexpected expenses. This can also help you achieve long-term financial goals, such as buying a house or retiring comfortably. Think about building wealth over time.

Principle 2: Give Generously

What goes out must come in! True prosperity is not just about accumulating wealth, but also about sharing it and using it to improve the lives of others. We are not talking about just giving to charity, but also being generous with our time, talents, and resources. It encourages us to share what we have with others and use our resources to make a positive impact in the world.

Giving generously not only benefits others but also brings blessings and abundance into our own lives. It helps us cultivate a mindset of abundance and gratitude, and reminds us that we have more than enough to share with others. By giving generously, we also contribute to creating a more just and equitable society, which ultimately benefits everyone. Give that tip to your hairdresser, sponsor a kid, help out a local charity in UAE.

Principle 3: Seek Wisdom and Guidance

The final fundamental money principle is to seek wisdom and guidance when it comes to managing our finances. This can involve seeking advice from financial experts in the UAE, reading books and articles on personal finance, or even seeking guidance from religious or spiritual leaders. This principle encourages us to continuously learn and grow in our understanding of money and financial management.

When we learn from the experiences and knowledge of others it also helps us stay accountable and motivated in our financial journey.

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