How Women Rise is an easy-to-read and useful map to finding your way through the maze of self-sabotage or self-defeat. It’s a helpful guide to helping you realise and change some of the habits that hold you back from rising.
The book does not ignore the fact that there are many external factors that can stand in your way, and it also does not fail to acknowledge that many of the habits are also found in men. It also explains and solves the problem of getting stuck, identifying where you are and what can help you move forward, as well as resisting change.
It identifies 12 habits that keep women from reaching their goals and comes up with ways to change them. Some are related but have different roots and have different consequences.
Habit 1: “Reluctance to Claim Your Achievements.”
The focus here is on keeping your head down and shrinking into yourself in order to avoid coming off as ‘obnoxious’. Among the solutions offered there’s the ‘art of self-promotion’, which entails being bold enough to sell yourself effectively.
Habit 2: “Expecting Others to Spontaneously Notice and Reward Your Contributions.”
This shows how this behaviour can be self-sabotaging and how your hard work can end up being overlooked. It’s better to take a proactive approach and take the responsibility of saying what it is you’re doing, accomplishing and where you’d like to be.
Habit 3: “Overvaluing Expertise.”
If you invest all your energies on mastering every detail of the job you have then you are really working hard to keep that job. This will not help you if you’re trying to position yourself for an opportunity for the next level.
Habit 4: “Building Rather Than Leveraging Relationships.”
While building relationships is great, it doesn’t mean leveraging relationships means you’re a self-serving person. This section helps you realise how leveraging works, how forming healthy win-win relationships will contribute to your professional success.
Habit 5: “Failing to Enlist Allies from Day One.”
When starting a new position, keeping your head down until you’ve mastered the details so that you’re fully prepared will not help you. It can help to reach out and connect with people – create allies. You’ll learn about the importance of allies, mentors, sponsors, and more.
Habit 6: “Putting Your Job before Your Career.”
If you’ve worked so hard to get to a certain position, only to find yourself stuck there for ages then you may be busy putting so many efforts in the position you have that you may have neglected to work on the position you want. Be aware of the loyalties you have that keep you from moving up and learn how to have a healthy self-interest.
Habit 7: “The Perfection Trap.”
This is about wanting to get every detail right and being hard on yourself because you don’t want to mess up. This section highlights the cost of perfectionism and how to rather, healthily, deliver excellent results by learning to do things such as delegating and taking measured risks.
Habit 8: “The Disease to Please.”
Here you’ll check your habit of wanting to be a nice and wonderful person in all circumstances and always make everyone around you feel good, which is impossible. You’ll learn about curing your chronic ‘pleasing disease’ and how to focus on your priorities.
Habit 9: “Minimizing.”
This habit is about making yourself smaller or taking a seat at the back just so that you can always acknowledge the existence of others. This will help break the habit of physically and metaphorically shrinking yourself, undermining your abilities, and believing that others are more deserving than you.
Habit 10: “Too Much.”
You may be called “too much”- too emotional, too intense, or too enthusiastic, and may end up getting into the habit of repressing your feelings. This section will guide you to finding value in your emotions, harnessing them, and making them work for you.
Habit 11: “Ruminating.”
The focus here is on clinging to the past and focusing on dissecting past mistakes. This leads to a lot of self-blame, agonizing over things that may have set you back have already passed. You’ll learn how to break free from this negative position and how to move on.
Habit 12: “Letting Your Radar Distract You.”
Your ability to notice a lot of things at once may be a strength but it has its downsides. Your focus may also be going to unhelpful distractions and have negative effects such as being hyper-aware of other people’s reactions that you may end up ruminating, shrinking, or being hard on yourself.
The above habits come with helpful tools to mitigate them. It’s a smooth read, nothing complicated or hard to follow. I’m pretty sure there will definitely be at least one habit that you associate with and this book will help you make a difference.
Goldsmith, M, Helgesen S. How Women Rise. 2018. Penguin Random House UK.