I feel very privileged to have supported  thousands of women to step up and shine over the past ten years and no one is prouder of our achievements in and out of the boardroom than I.  I believe, hand on heart, there has never been a better time to be female.  We are at the peak of our emotional development, more in control of our lives than ever and peaking around every corner in the world of corporate and business.  But I am still troubled by our overwhelming and often disempowering need to be liked.  We rate likeability too highly and I fear it very rarely provides the return we expect in relation to what we sacrifice.

When we side step key decisions; stay quiet in the face of adversity; accept less; play the office martyr; allow the imposter syndrome to win; fail to speak up about gender parity, or simply continue to play the small and insignificant game for fear of being seen as too demanding or a bitch, in reality we are selling ourselves, our sisters and our daughters short.

We are worth so much more.  Our potential is limitless. The business world is bursting with talented, strong, resilient and creative women who are going unnoticed because they are prioritising being liked over being in the game and leading the revolution!

We must stop hiding. We must harness our courage and do the right thing.  Women with gumption have been admired throughout history so what have we to fear but our own misplaced insecurities and doubts.

This is a question of legacy.  We are still pioneers, with work to be done and unless we stand tall, speak up and think big, the world of work will hold little interest to those that come after us.  We are already feeling the effects of a leaking talent pipeline and seeing a generation of clever girls side stepping a career as they observe the lack of parity at the top and impossible work/life balance.

Time to dump the ‘little miss popular’ contest and do the right thing, regardless of any knee jerk reactions of those around us –  We cannot control everyone’s response to progress, you have a right to your opinion and your choices. Own them!  If you are doing the right thing, any dissonance with the status quo is only ever temporary.  In the long run professional respect and reward will be yours and surely this is what we want and deserve as opposed to being known simply as the nice girl who goes with the flow and never upsets anyone.  The eternal people pleaser is hardly a life model to pass on.

Be bold, be beautiful, be brave but most importantly be YOU. Because YOU are already perfect and enough just the way you are.

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