“There are certain things that no one can teach us - we have to experience many situations for ourselves in order to better understand and to learn what it is to truly be alive”
The Business of Relationships is my new blog series about the two things that I am most passionate about; supporting people in business and enabling them to have fulfilling relationships both inside and outside of the work place. I hope that you find something in this Business of Relationships series that resonates…
Regardless of whether we work for ourselves, run a business or work for somebody else and want a fulfilling career, there are two key elements to be considered when it comes to being successful. The first are the practical elements of what we need to do and what we need to know about a job or running a business. That part is relatively easy. The second part and I believe the most important part of being successful and happy is the who we need to “be” and how that affects the relationship we have with our self.
One of my first big promotions in the corporate world was into a Senior Buyers role. I knew nothing about purchasing but the job role looked interesting when it was posted on the Vacancies Board. (Yes, we really did post job opportunities on a board in the offices pre-digital age). The role was in a new department being set up by a dynamic new leader who had been head hunted into the organisation. I was curious to know more.
I looked at the job description and figured that I only had about 6 of the 10 “desirables” so I made up a great story in my head that I didn’t really stand much of a chance of getting the job. While I was still trying to decide whether I should I apply – it was a waste of my time, it was a waste of their time and surely, I didn’t have the relevant experience - a trusted friend told me to just go for it. What was the worst thing that could happen? I might not get the job. Would anyone die? No.
When I did get the job, I was still rather surprised. But this is what I was told:
“I am not worried that you know nothing about purchasing. It’s a process, it’s just knowledge. I can teach you that. What I need is someone who can build relationships with people, influence, self-motivate, ask questions, be confident and passionate about what they are doing and you have that in bucketful’s.”
Women, we are told, are traditionally bad at talking themselves out of applying for jobs if they don’t believe they meet the criteria. The topic gets a frequent airing.
Indeed, internal research at Hewlett Packard revealed that women only applied for jobs if they met 100% of the criteria listed in the job posting. Contrarily, men were comfortable applying for the position if they met just 60% of the role requirements. The general assumption was that this was because women lack confidence in themselves.
However, was confidence really the issue? Hewlett Packard dug a little deeper. Over a thousand professional men and women were surveyed and asked, “If you decided not to apply for a job because you didn’t meet all the qualifications, why didn’t you apply?”
According to the findings, confidence in their own abilities or a lack thereof, was actually the least common reason men and women did not apply. Instead, the most common response, with 46.4% of men and 40.6% of women choosing it as their first reason was “I didn’t think I would get the job since I didn’t meet the qualifications and I didn’t want to waste my time and energy”.
In other words, women believed that they needed the relevant qualifications not to do the job well but to secure the position in the first place. It was not that they lacked confidence in their abilities but their perception of the hiring process held them back.
In my experience submitting that application was a Sliding Doors moment. That job significantly changed me and my relationship with myself and started to challenge what I believed about my own capabilities. The new leader became one of my most respected mentors and 22 years later still is. He saw something in me, that at the time, I couldn’t see in myself.
Of course we need to invest our time and energy wisely but if I had let that become the deciding factor of whether to apply for that role or not then my life would have been very different and you possibly wouldn’t have been reading this!
So if you are contemplating a new position or pitching for a new piece of business don’t worry about ticking someone else’s boxes, just make sure that you tick your own! Nothing is a waste of time if we use the experience wisely. Give it a shot.
If you need a bit of coaching to help you see in yourself what others can see or support in some area of your business, career or life then please get in touch. I would be delighted to help.
Denise Chilton is an Executive Business and Life coach, accomplished author, speaker and entrepreneur. She worked for in corporate banking for more than 15 years before launching her own coaching business in 2010. She has built a business working with women who want to make a change in their lives, empowering them to experience life to the full.
In 2017, she published her first book Suddenly Single: How to overcome heartbreak and find your way to a new happy ever after. Suddenly Single is a guide written partially from personal experience to help women to heal healthily after a significant relationship comes to an unexpected end.
Denise was also awarded ‘Mentor of the Year 2017’ by the Northern Power Women for her work with women in underrepresented industries like STEM.