Everyone has a habit they are trying to "make stick" at work. For example, you want to stop apologizing for colleagues for things that aren't your fault. You want to get to inbox zero. You want to take your lunch hour every day. And inevitably, you don't do it.
I want to start by saying that I personally hate habits. I am way too much of a Rebel (according to my Rubin Tendency -- yes, I did a quiz to figure out that I'm a "rebel"). I love not doing what I'm "supposed to" and seeing if I can "get away with it." I always want you to question whether you really need to build a new habit, or whether you just feel like you "should."
With that said, my favorite way to make a habit stick is to make it as easy as possible to follow through. Our ego is often tempted by making a habit hard to master, so we can feel like we conquered a big obstacle when we finally figure it out.
But how about setting up your life so that following through with this habit is easy? What systems can you set up to make it easy to get to inbox zero? To make it easy to take a full lunch hour?
I challenge you to brainstorm for 10 minutes, right now, about how to set up your life to easily make the new habit a reality. Put alarms on your phone. Create a "busy" time on your calendar. Get your spouse, friends, and colleagues on board. Set everything up the night before. Etc. etc.
There are no dragons to slay. There is no hill to climb. This isn't a grand tale of conquering your demons. This new habit is easy for you, and you will set up your life so it can glide right in.
Many of the women I talk to who feel powerless at work are actually giving away their power willingly. We often think that we "can't" ask for what we want at work. We believe we'll be denied and fired. But this fear is exactly what keeps us from getting what we want. After all, if you don't try to go for it, you will surely fail.
Instead, you can reclaim your power by actually trying to get what you want from your job (and yes, this works even if your employer is yourself). This is integral for you to feel your sense of personal power.
Ask yourself, what am I yearning for more than anything at my job? Get clear on the one thing that would make you happier now.
There are many ways to get what you want: getting a raise, asking for more time off (even if unpaid), volunteering for an additional project to build your skills, or even (gasp!) quitting.
But for now, I want to leave you with a simple step: imagine what it would feel like to have your wish to be granted. Imagine yourself getting a call saying your wish was approved. Where are you? What are you wearing? Who is with you?
For example, before I quit my last job, I imagined the relief I would feel after I quit. I imagined myself telling my husband I quit, and the hug he would give me. I imagined him telling him he's proud of me.
The first step to reclaiming your power at work is simply to remember that you are a powerful woman with powerful desires, and that those desires can be granted. Your imagination and visioning is integral to that reclaiming.
Before you create your strategy for asking for what you want, remember to sit with your desire, and to imagine the outcome.
I realized recently how much of a habit I have in making myself smaller in order not to seem like a "show off." During days when I look really good, I try to "mess up" part of my look since I can't handle it. I slump my shoulders. I have a confused look on my face in public so that I don't look like "I have it all together." (WTF?)
Not every woman does what I do to seem "less good at things," but many of us take actions to self-sabotage our success.
For women, looking really good physically, or being really successful professionally, can feel dangerous. In the past, I have wanted not to call attention to myself because I associated "looking good" and "doing good" with others feeling resentful and angry at me. I associated it with danger.
Do you relate?
This month, my goal is to undo some of this self-sabotage, and I'm starting with how I show up in public. When I go out in the city, I want to walk around with my head held high. I want to look assured and like "I know where I'm going." Because I do know where I'm going. So it's time to look like it.
I'll let you know how it goes.