I entered neurology at a time when less than five percent of neurologists were women. I knew very quickly to keep my head down, heels high, and stay laser focused. The truth of the matter was that most days I felt overwhelmed and lonely trying to keep up with the 80-90 hour weeks.
The fashion in our closets, the men we date, and our hairstyles have may have changed over the years. One situation has remained on course — for the majority of us working women in the United States isolation in leadership positions in the workplace remains. The number of women in senior leadership positions remains at 10-14% depending on the industry; a statistic has not shifted in 15 years.
Today, we are standing in the midst of the unprecedented movement about the role of women in the workplace. Rooted in the critical conversations around the #metoo and #timesup movements, the tide is shifting to help heal and empower women.
As you hear about this movement, have you been wondering how do I find my voice and learn to stand strong? The answer is that we must start by taking a pause and looking within. By bringing together brain science, psychology, and mindfulness-based techniques let's talk about a few steps I have learned in my career and from other powerful female leaders around the world.
SECRET SAUCE TO SUCCESS
Are there secrets to succeeding as a woman in a field where we are earning 72 cents on the dollar compared to our male colleagues? How do we maintain a personal life outside of our careers without feeling guilt and shame?
My journey to Orlando initiated an entrepreneurial endeavor to bring together brain health, integrative medicine and mindfulness. My international speaking and media career has now given me unprecedented access to the top female executives, athletes and performers across multiple industries. As a brain doctor and mindfulness teacher, I learned to pause, listen and observe.
1. Never, ever, ever apologize for being a woman.
You will inevitably encounter a few male colleagues, bosses, and clients who will belittle you about being a woman in a leadership role. Stand strong and understand that their judgments are not really about you. These people operate on an outdated and sexist code that women should not become professionals, leaders, or even have a voice.
The words used to describe successful women behind our backs and to our faces are “emotional, angry, aggressive, and bitch.” This abusive behavior is one of the reasons women are traumatized in the workforce. Hold your head up high, stand your ground, and never apologize for being a woman.
2. Don’t let anyone else determine your self-worth as a career woman.
You will meet supervisors and administrators who deem your worth according to financial numbers, client outcomes, and revenue generated. There is only one person who determines your self-worth, you. Let me repeat myself sister; only you determine your worthiness. When we take full accountability for our self-worth, we fuel our self-confidence, and we are less likely to fall into a victim mentality. Understand psychologically that there is a big difference between having self-confidence and being arrogant. How do you connect to your own sense of self-worth? Ask yourself, did you remain true to your morals, values, and work ethic?
3. Seek out and nurture relationships with female colleagues and mentors.
There is a pink elephant in the boardroom. It is okay to acknowledge that every stage of your life will be planned around your career. At times it will feel like your personal life comes secondary to graduate school, exams, training, and then your job. There are only a few hours a week to dedicate to dating, falling in love, planning a wedding, your marriage, deciding when or if to have children, giving birth, and taking care of elderly parents. At every one of these personal life stages, find another female colleague who can share her wisdom, knowledge, and advice.
"Use another sister’s recipe to create your unique life story. When you figure out what worked for your family, pass on that wisdom to another younger sister." #TimesUp - Dr. Romie Tweet This
4. Remember what inspired you to enter into in your career as a leader.
Numerous factors contribute to decreased job satisfaction and career burnout in female professionals. Our altruistic reasons for becoming leaders in our industries can quickly be lost battling mundane daily tasks at work, office politics, and chronic sleep deprivation.
Try this self-reflection technique I teach burnt-out professionals around the country:
1. As you drive into work every morning, remind yourself of the reasons that you went into your chosen career.
2. When you are driving home from work, review your day in your mind. What are you grateful for today in your job? Whose life did you touch today? What inspired you today?
5. Remember that you are not alone.
There will be these haunting moments that you feel all alone. The loneliness amplifies in the middle of challenges in balancing your personal life and career. Take a moment to pause, close your eyes. Remember the moments when all of your loved ones hugged you on your graduation, wedding day or last holiday.
If there is one thing I know for sure is that when we reach a deeper place in our #meditation practices, you realize that we are never truly alone. -Dr. RomieTweet This
I love you. I believe in you. You got this.
Your sister Romie