Sitting through an annual awards ceremony as achievements of multi-million dollar businesses were being recognized, it hit me. It finally became clear why my boss was up there and I was watching from the sidelines.
What separated him from me was not smarts, know-how or motivation. What had him being serenaded in applause was his willingness to step into his brilliance. He knew what he did best and let go of the rest.
For years my worth was dependent on the recognition of others for my good work. I poured my heart and soul into my j-o-b. I was the right hand, building the business from the ground up to over seven figures. Yet, I still waited for my pat on the back.
Those moments of recognition fueled me to keep going. Expecting that one day I was going to be discovered and swept off my feet into a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The truth was, I didn't own my value. I didn't see my brilliance through my own eyes. I waited for others to see it within me.
When my daughter was born, I looked into her eyes and I made a decision. I had enough. No was longer was I willing to watch as successful entrepreneurs soared to new highs. It was my time. It was up to me to pave the way of possibility and opportunity for her.
The truth was, the only thing separating those successful entrepreneurs from me, was my willingness to step into my power and own my brilliance.
As Bonnie Marcus said in her book the Politics of Promotion: How High-Achieving Women Get Ahead and Stay Ahead"Our hesitancy to take credit for our accomplishments results in a loss of power and influence."
I knew that understanding who I was was a critical to step to owning my brilliance. What I didn't realize was this journey of rediscovery would not only transition me from employee to entrepreneur, but it would equip me with the self-awareness that I had been lacking.
How long have you been walking around with your gifts still inside you, just waiting to be unleashed? There are dreams to be experienced yet few people fearless enough to chase them.
There's nothing I want more than to remove the shackles of limitations that we as women tend to put on ourselves. How about you, are you ready to shatter your glass ceiling and step into your brilliance?
Here's five easy steps to help you uncover who you are, own your value and unleash your brilliance to the world.
1. Who Are You Really?
Let's peel back the layers and uncover how you fascinate the world in your own way. It's time to stop trying to be more or less of this or that -- just be more of yourself.
If you were asked to define yourself what would you say? I bet your answers would consist of things like business owner, mother, wife, sister. This is because women tend to judge themselves through the eyes of others. Attaching labels based on who you are to others, not who you really are yourself.
What makes you unique? What qualities do you have that feel natural and uplifting? What are your strengths?
Answer the question, "Who am I?" Repeat this. Twelve times. Using a different word each time. Remember no labels, just qualities or characteristics. Write freely without thinking too much.
2. Your Why
What is your why?
It's what you stand for. What you believe in.
Sometimes it's easier to think about it from the opposite side. What are you against? What breaks your heart in the world?
Your why is your bigger mission. It's more than earning a good living. It's what you have the ability to do with that money.
Deeply understanding your why will move you past short-term challenges and procrastination as you gain focus and clarity on your bigger mission. It will become your driving force that keeps you going. Your commitment to a cause.
3. What Do People Come to You for Help With?
Explore your past experiences to see how you naturally put your strengths to use. Most people don't recognize their own strengths as being special because it comes so easily to them.
Think back over the last year and reflect on what people came to you for help with. Your advice. Sense of humor. Ability to cheer them up. Perhaps you kept them accountable. Maybe you got things done. Maybe you were a great listener or the opposite, a great talker and the life of the party.
Finish this sentence.
People often come to me for help with...
4. Your Fabulous Power Posse
Let's explore your power posse. This one was inspired by Oprah. Think of your biggest supporters, closest friends, partner, clients, mentors or family members. Those who have believed in you or held you in high regard. They respect and appreciate who you are.
Step one, make a list of three to five people closest to you.
Step two, send them an email about what you think makes them great. In return ask them to share 1-2 paragraphs about what they think is great and unique about you.
Save your responses in a "I'm Brilliant" file. Reference it often.
5. Your Background
It's easy to underestimate the value of your background and how it impacts what and how you do what you do. It goes beyond your obvious training or education. It's your life experience. It's the skills you've acquired and worked at developing over the years. It's your common sense that isn't so common to others.
Finish the sentences below.
I have learned or been formally educated on...
My previous jobs developed my ability to...
My biggest life lesson(s) were my best gift(s) because I...
Start today and embrace your brilliance. There is nothing more liberating than to fully appreciate who you are. Because you are incredible, just the way you are.
Want to dig a little deeper? I've got you covered. Get Your Free Workbook: 10 Simple Steps to Unleash Your Genius here.