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“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” - Richard Branson
One of my greatest strengths is embracing the role of life-long-learner. I am constantly learning just for the joy of it but also for the sake of my clients. It is a major investment I make in terms of time and money. In my book Gutsy Women Win, I write about a model called The Bigger Game™” where investment is a piece on the game board. I write about investing in you.
The Investment piece is the place on the game board where we really ante up. This is where we start investing in the most critical and valuable asset of our bigger game: ourselves. The Bigger Game Player. The Game Changer. Remember, a bigger game is one that stretches you to be your very best. You need to develop new capabilities, learn new skills, and expand your capacity to live with intention, which is simply to be determined to act in a certain way. I have a caveat here. Women have a tendency to feel that they must be fully prepared and 100 percent confidently knowledgeable about all aspects of something before they move forward or say “yes” to anything that may be a stretch for them.
Claire Shipman is a reporter for ABC News, and Katty Kay is the anchor of BBC World News America. In two decades of covering American politics, these two women have interviewed some of the most influential women in the country. They were surprised to discover the extent to which these women suffered from self-doubt. They write about this discovery in The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know.
When the authors were looking at a 2003 study in which female students rated themselves significantly below male students on scientific competencies, they said: “We were reminded of something Hewlett-Packard discovered several years ago, when it was trying to figure out how to get more women into top management positions. A review of personnel records found that women working at HP applied for a promotion only when they believed they met 100 percent of the qualifications listed for the job. Men were happy to apply when they thought they could meet 60 percent of the job requirements.”
Right here, right now, I encourage you to begin whatever you want to begin without being 100 percent qualified. Write all your self-doubts on one piece of paper—or two or three—and tear it up or burn it immediately. Feel the gulp and do it anyway. Get gutsy and get going. If you are 100 percent qualified and experienced and have no need to step into the investment piece, this is not a bigger game for you. It is quite simply the same old game.
You need to ask yourself these questions:
- What do I need to start doing? For one of my bigger games, the women’s conference, I had to start learning how to fundraise and how to ask large organizations for $10,000 at a time. I needed to start talking about my game and asking for funding. I also find that many women simply need to start making time for themselves.
- What do I need to stop doing? Many people find that when they define the game they decide to play next, they need to stop doing what is not working for them. This may be letting go of some volunteer work, pulling out of certain relationships that are no longer serving them, or even leaving their current work situation for the sake of their game. Remember that for everything you are saying “yes” to, you are saying “no” to something else.
- What do I need to learn? A coaching client of mine decided to start taking business courses so she could acquire enough knowledge to start her own business; she knew she needed to leave her corporate job where she’d hit the proverbial glass ceiling. Another client had to learn presentation skills after she was promoted into a position that required her to present to the executives of her company and to key clients.
- What assumptions and beliefs do I need to change? One of the major beliefs I had to change was that “I can do it by myself, I don’t need help.” Changing that one belief alone has changed my life and let me find other people who want to help and who have the skills and strengths I don’t. I now believe asking for help is a strength and not a weakness. Besides that, I find people are waiting to be asked. They are waiting for an invitation to play. They may share the same vision or a vision similar to mine, but they don’t have any idea of where to begin to make their vision a reality. And besides, it's much more fun to do it with others.