Moms–do you make this blunder that keeps you trapped in your career?

It’s a mistake I’ve made before – several times. I see others do it too, and since I’ve started life and business coaching, I’ve been able to see just how common it is for other moms like me.

No thanks. I'm not ready. Or qualified. Or worthy

“No thanks. I’m not ready yet.” I have said those exact words when my then-boss offered me a change of jobs that offered considerably more pay potential. What I was thinking though was more along the lines of, “Ack! There’s no way I can do that job. I have no experience, skills, or knowledge in that area.”

I’m not alone.

In her book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg points to research that shows women are less likely to accept an offer of a promotion because they feel they aren’t “ready“ or qualified. Men, it turns out, have no such compunction.

Women also tend to pull themselves out of the running in job competitions before they even apply if they feel they don’t have the exact specifications, education, and experience the employer is looking for. We think, “I only have nine and a half years of experience and not the ten they want. I’m unqualified. I won’t waste my time or theirs by applying.”

We don’t even give ourselves the chance.

But what’s behind this? It’s pretty simple. It’s fear.

Fear of failure – “I’ll never be able to do that job.”

Fear of upsetting people – “Can you believe she got that job with those qualifications?”

Imposter syndrome – “They must be offering me this job because so-and-so wasn’t available.”

Fear of dreaming – “I’m happy with the status quo.” This is different from being truly satisfied with what you have. This is a fear where the idea of you being more than who you currently are scares you—big time—and so you look away.

These seemingly little fears and quiet yet destructive voices inside our heads keep us trapped in the career we have instead of the one we could have.

I’ve been there. I’ve made this blunder many times and told myself all of those things above. And I bought it. But I’m totally calling myself on it now and I challenge other career-driven moms like me to do the same. Imagine just how far in our careers we can go if we choose to take that next step and put ourselves out there even when we’re scared. Especially when we’re scared.

“Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.”—William Arthur Ward

Don’t miss your sunrise. Make it the start of a glorious new day.

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