I used to be a IT management consultant but it is my experience as a cyclist that has taught me how to excel in a male-dominated environment.
Especially in the cycling world, a woman could feel easily intimidated. But for a decade, I have been cycling as the only female in cycling groups around the world and have received the respect by my male peers and was seen as an equal.
My recent world record cycling as the first female in history one of the toughest cycling challenges in the world is another proof for me that self-confidence and self-belief are the most important factors to excel in any type of environment.
Five points have helped me to be more self-confident:
1. Be yourself. Being yourself is the foundation for self-confidence. Being real not only amplifies your natural strengths and emphasizes authenticity, it stands for understanding, accepting and appreciating your strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. No one is perfect so instead of chasing some superficial image, let’s look within ourselves and create the best version of ourselves, with all we got – because we got more than we think we have! (This is such an important message that the R stands for real and is the first pillar of the RAD potential.)
2. Give YOUR best. If you live to your best ability, you feel in sync with yourself because you know that you do it to your best ability. It makes you aware of your own capabilities and you will naturally stop when you become unproductive or ineffective (i.e. lack of energy, sleep). For example, you stop working beyond your capacity (i.e. no working until mid-night) which helps you to stay mentally and physically healthy.
3. Focus on yourself. Comparing yourself with others destroys your self-confidence. If you look hard enough you could always find someone who is seemingly more important, more beautiful or more whatever than you. But who cares!? The only person you know and have 100% control over is you and the only thing you have to compare is how you are now and who you want to be.
4. Stay true to your morals. Oh, it is sometimes so easy just to stay quiet and stay out of discussions or arguments. Pick your fight, they say, right?! But if it affects your own morals, it is your duty to speak up and voice your opinion. Stay true to yourself and don’t accept any statements or actions that truly affect your deepest principles.
5. You are an equal. There is a reason you are sitting at the table in the room or are part of the organization. You are one of them! Being a minority does not mean you have less rights. Thus, if you have something to say and believe in something, voice it. You are an invaluable contribution to your environment!
Go out there. Be yourself. And live to your RAD potential! (RAD potential? Learn more here)