Tell Me About Your Big Dream
By Audrey McGuckin, CEO, WOTW
I do a lot of coaching with women leaders, and the first thing we talk about is their career aspirations: “Tell me about your big dream. What you can imagine for your career plans in the next couple of years?” Often the answer sounds something like, “I'm not really sure. I haven't thought about it.”
I want to change that answer. I have spent three decades codifying what it takes for a woman leader to reach her big dream. Most women don’t give themselves permission to dream big. They lack confidence, or vision, or put constraints around themselves.
Simply put, women often don’t dream big enough.
As women, our hardwiring tends to have us see only our shortfalls and our gaps in our knowledge, as opposed to courageously diving in. We tend to undermine our ability in many aspects of our lives. It’s what’s been referred to as the confidence gap. There is an often-cited Hewlett Packard statistic that men apply for a job when they meet only 60 percent of the qualifications, while women often won’t apply for a job unless they are 100 percent qualified.
Sara Sophia Mohr, author of Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message, surveyed more than a thousand professionals. She found that qualifications or confidence weren’t the reason women didn’t apply, but rather they didn’t want to waste their own time. They wanted to put their energy into opportunities they believed they would be offered. What I have noticed firsthand is that when you have blistering clarity, you know where to put your energy.
I have a big dream of Women on Their Way being the first female founded unicorn out of St. Pete. And because I have such clarity on that dream, I don't think twice about getting up at 4:30 a.m. to start working toward that dream. The clarity around my big dream is fuel. It's not even motivation, as motivation is very fickle. Fuel is your purpose; it is what gives you the fire in your belly. I've always said, if you know what you want to do, that's half the battle. Because then you can take action from there.
In addition to lack of clarity, women can sometimes be blind to their own skills, talents and to the breadth of opportunities on their career path. For instance, I was in a coaching session with a Tax Manager and her boss asked her what she imagined for her career. She thought she could be a Director of Tax, but her boss saw her as the Chief Financial Officer in the next five to eight years. Often, it can take others to see in you what you don’t see in yourself.
Other constraints of pursuing our big dream may include scheduling constraints: having to be at work from nine to five, commitments in the home and with children, but I believe there are moments in everyone’s calendar that can be blocked out for an hour of deep thinking or personal development to work towards a big dream.
One of the things we teach in our Navigator Program is first to ask the question, “Who should be in my network?” The second is to understand that the answer depends on your big dream. When you have precise clarity on your big dream, and the direction of your career, then you can look to your network and ask, “Who in my existing network can support that big dream and who might be missing?”
What would have to be true for you to realize your big dream? What are you afraid of? What's holding you back?
If you’d like help naming your big dream, and expanding your network, attend The Women on Their Way Summit on August 24th, 2023. We have an incredible line-up of speakers.
Seating is limited so secure your ticket today
Thursday, August 24, 2023
8:30am - 2:30pm EST