The Urban Dictionary defines ‘shooting your shot’ as taking a brave step towards something and not waiting for an opportunity to come to you. You have probably heard this statement in reference to a guy having the guts to slide into a girl’s DM on Twitter or Instagram and using some cheesy pick up line. Today that’s not what I am talking about. I am talking about shooting your shot in your career and in your business so please stay with me.
Hewlett Packard wanted to find out why there were fewer women in their top management positions. They carried out a study. The findings have been quoted in several books and publications including Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. The finding was that “women working at HP applied for a promotion only when they believed they met 100 percent of the qualifications listed for the job. On the other hand, men were applying even when they met 60% of the job requirements”.
Years back when I was still a Brand Manager, there was an opening for a Senior Brand Manager in my business unit. At that time I was managing a cluster of four countries and the role that was being advertised was a regional role which involved managing 22 countries and having the cluster brand teams reporting into that role. I didn’t doubt my qualifications to do the job. I knew I would totally ace it as I met most of the requirements. I was hesitant to apply because the role required a relocation to a different country. I was in the middle of doing my MBA and wanted to start a family with my beloved husband who had just pivoted from teaching into the corporate world. According to me, it just wasn’t the right time to apply for this role based on the plans we had as a family. So I decided I would not apply.
When I mentioned this to my husband, his advice surprised me. He encouraged me to apply for the role and also let my employer know at this stage I was not able to relocate. I was really scared of doing this. I felt my inability to relocate automatically disqualified me. In my mind I was better off not even trying rather than try and be disappointed. How could my husband just think I could go around asking for a promotion and going on to ask for concessions to be made to suit my circumstances?
Whether its perception that we are not qualified enough which points to lack of confidence or its lacking courage to push ourselves forward and asking our employers to consider our unique circumstances, we have to acknowledge that some of the work that needs to happen in order for more women to be in senior positions starts with us as well. Yes the system might be tilted against women but there are still steps we can take at an individual level.
Inspite of my fear I put forward my name for the role. I was scared but I applied. I shot my shot and was transparent during the interview process to mention that because of family reasons I wasn’t able to relocate but I was very much interested in the role. I am sure you can guess what happened……drum roll…….. I got the job and I aced it too. When our circumstances changed we eventually relocated this time with our three children and my MBA.
“You alway miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t shoot“
Here is some advice
1. Take aim and shoot your shot.
2. Do it even when you are scared.
3. Have a trusted person to share your plans with. It can be your spouse, a friend, a mentor or a work colleague, as long as they have your best interests at heart and will hold you accountable.
4. Affirm yourself positively. I am always telling myself “you got this girl, you can do it girl….” Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. We tell ourselves things we would never say to our friends. Quit doing that. The same way you encourage your friends and cheer them on is the same way you should encourage yourself and be your own cheerleader.
5. Even if you miss the net, get the learnings and try again and again and again. Last month my young sister sent me a video of my nephew learning to walk. He was falling more than he was walking but he kept at it. Last week I got another video and our little boy is now walking. I bet in a few weeks he will be running. I don’t think my nephew ever thought walking isn’t for him just because he fell several times. He kept on trying. Learn from little children and keep trying until you get it. Success is for you too.
No more dribbling the ball. Just shoot your shot already. Let me know in the comments what you are doing next now that you know even at 60 percent you should still take aim and shoot.
Please connect with me on my social pages on Facebook and Instagram. It’s a vibrant community of working moms and entrepreneur moms who are thriving together, sharing ideas, growing together and succeeding together. Feel free to slide into my DM and ask for career advice or how to drive the growth of your business 😂😂😂😂.
https://www.facebook.com/mum in stilettos