and other things NOT to say to yourself as a clinical and business leader
I am a girl, a woman in fact, and proud of it. I own a business. I like walking into meetings with my beautifully embroidered portfolio with my first initial etched in beautiful pink. I also have diapers in my well appointed bag, wipes in case there is a spill, and my trusty lavender oil just in case there is a smell that doesn’t suit me. I am a woman, an entrepreneur, a clinician, a business owner, a BOSS.
I didn’t always feel this confident about the pink etching on portfolio or my leather bound pink and yellow notebooks. In fact, earlier in my career, I hid these things, letting them stay in my home because I was focused on being taken seriously in my career. I was hard too. I was more prepared than anyone. I was quicker. I was focused on having well written reports and presented myself very well. Those things were all true and still are…I am just a much gentler version of my younger self because I embraced all of me and understand what matters most to and for me.
According to articles in both the Kaufman foundation and Entrepreneur magazine, women comprise 37% global business’ and there now exists an increased number of women led investor groups.
The challenges we face as women business owners, especially those in service led professions, such as applied behavior analysis, speech-language pathology, and education is flexibility. Work places that allow more remote work (and utilize technology) that my friends in corporate America find as a norm, more flexible schedules to accommodate us and our life changes, and key leadership positions in clinical organizations (ABA especially) that move organizations forward into 2016 and the needs of today’s employee. (Stay Tuned! @Momentum Autism Therapy Services is going to change a few things for us) The challenges don’t stop there and include obtaining funding when we want to open our own practices’. We are less likely to receive it in comparison to our male counterparts. AND let’s not forget the work-life balance we hear so much about.
Let’s face it, being a woman is complex and multi-faceted. WE manage ourselves, our business’, our families (parents, children), our client’s, treatment plans, and revenue. Women do a lot and manage a lot..some more than others. The battle scars can sometimes harden us and make us move away away from the things that make us smile in our meetings.
I write all of this to give my say…pink highlighters, answering the phone in my feminine voice, pondering thoughtfully with my head tilted does not add to nor negate my intellect nor effectiveness. In fact, it is Me…it is the me I now embrace. It is the me I am sad I left behind in many due process meetings and hearings for my client’s…it is the gentle “life is bigger than this” of myself that I pushed aside to prove that I deserved a seat at the table.
Discussions are not really what they are about from a surface perspective…the challenge of perception usually comes from within first. Certainly, not forgetting the reality that every person “at the table” may come with various perspectives and experiences (positive or negative) of people that look like me or have the same profession. I simply cannot focus on their perspective wholly because it doesn’t matter. Being confident in who I am moves aside all those thoughts of proving ME, but rather gives me the fortitude and language without emotion to address any challenges I may face. When I found this..embraced this…I shifted who I allowed to penetrate, enter, and stay around in my life professionally and personally.
Confidence. Yes you need that in this world of woman business owner. So the sea of whatever color you choose will no longer stay in the bag, but come to the surface…because you are YOU. In my world of juggling a new baby, a toddler, and various business and clients projects; I absolutely need my beautiful leather porfolio and my pen. It keeps me smiling and calm.
I like pink and yellow..and sometimes green. I like flowers in my office. I appreciate that I now have a bag packed with my portfolio and lavender oil…why? Because six plus hours of my day dedicated to other people cannot move forward if I don’t wholly allow myself to appear. I have learned that it allows everyone to talk about something else and get to know one another. It also allows relationships to develop because I am not “tripping on my title, my work, or that I just might be the smartest person in the room (lol)”….my pink leather portfolio has humanized me. And with relationship, there is a better response when I call in as consultant to discuss something that may be a bit harder.
Life is short, exhilarating, and challenging. I work thoughtfully, hard, and seriously on behalf of all my client’s and in this sea of working hard…I need to bring myself…my whole self. When I look up from data, reports, and assessments, I need to rest my eyes on something gentle that makes me smile and reminds me that my seat is there…no proving…I belong…pink and all.
Woman…powerful by any other name.
I am her.
And am now raising her…and I hope she embraces all of it.
~Landria Seals Green, MA., CCC-SLP, BCBA