It was a privilege to be asked to share my thoughts on women in sales roles in this years International Women’s Day edition of Top Sales World Magazine, gracing the pages with some wonderful colleagues such as Tiffani Bova and Jill Konrath.
It’s also a time to reflect on what the day actually stands for – outside our default celebration of the suffragettes or those who have voiced their views, run their races and remained on buses.
With a 2017 global theme of #BeBoldForChange, International Women’s Day is a reminder of a more inclusive, gender equal world. First recognized as far back as 1909, it was a pivotal moment for women, especially when, years later in 1975, the women of Iceland went on strike for improved conditions and as a result, paved the way for the first female president in the world.
As a female leader in sales today, sitting alongside many other women at home and overseas who have also taken up the mantle of inspiring women in sales to get amongst it and make a difference, I could think of no better reason to celebrate this day than to share a few personal thoughts to help other women sales leaders, and aspiring female sales leaders, to continue to fight the good fight and as the newspaper clipping above reads, ‘men began to get the point’.
So as I sat, fingers itching to pound the keyboard, I took a moment to consider the context of what I was about to write.
Which woman in sales inspired ME? Who did I admire and respect?
And who would I like to consider as my role model in this time of change?
In this moment in time when a woman really can lead the world.
And so I closed my eyes and reflected….
Why does it always have to be somebody else?
Why does it have to be somebody we see on the news, in print, online, in history?
What is wrong with just ONE day a year to give OURSELVES permission to reflect on ways that we inspire ourselves and others?
On ways that we are deserving of our own respect?
In seeing that we are already role models to more people than we might even realise?
One day to give ourselves permission to pat ourselves on the back, take a bow and relish in the applause of a job well done.
And so, the keyboard beckoned and I reflected…
To inspire is to breathe life into something or someone
How inspirational am I then, as the mother of two loving, generous, smart, hardworking, funny, independent, healthy and family orientated children? To have literally breathed life into this world through them. To have experienced and endorsed the best, and the worst, of ‘child labour.’ I look at them as adults today, out there making change happen in their worlds, in their communities, in their lives, and as a working woman within the home, the office and on the road, I pat myself on the back for a joyfully tough job, done well.
And I remembered some more….
To respect is to deeply admire someone or something for their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
How respected am I in a career where I do what I love and help businesses and people every single day? This isn’t ‘work’ – I am ‘on assignment’. I won this gig based on my abilities, qualities and achievements and, yes, I own them, because my history shows me a path littered with little wins as much as big wins. As a single mum in a world dominated by alpha males, my biggest achievement was digging deep and finding those inner resources that saw me through a roller coaster of ‘finding me’, down the snakes of bullying, inequality, mysogeny and shame and up the ladders of reward, celebrations, fun and self-love, and for that I place my hand across my heart, lean forward and take a bow for a resilient job, done well!
And I remembered some more….
To model is an example of someone to follow or imitate.
How model worthy am I to have survived illness, bankruptcy, welfare and loss of our home, to come full circle within a short period of time – more purposeful than ever. Sitting in our new home talking to you today, or travelling the world with my husband speaking at events, or having a friendship base that is thicker than blood, or for being the best kind of ‘working woman’, I relish the applause for a life defining job, done well!
Because, just like selling, it’s about starting with ourselves and being inspired by who we are and what we have brought into this world in whatever way, shape or form we choose that to be.
It’s about starting with ourselves and respecting who we are, acknowledging the good, the bad and the downright lovable. It’s about starting with ourselves and being our own role model of imperfection and acceptance, acknowledging the humanness of authenticity, the grit in getting back on the horse when we take any kind of tumble – and god only knows in sales, there are many tumbles, and the strength and pride in being a woman!
So, for International Woman’s Day:
- Being Bold for Change is not just about being brave and fearless and daring.
- Being Bold for Change is about putting our hand down instead of raising it for permission.
- Being Bold for Change is about breaking the rules around what we think is right and wrong, the ‘done’ thing or the ‘not done’ thing, the daring thing or the scary thing.
- Being Bold for Change is about whispering first until your voice becomes heard and your words eventually affect change.
- Being Bold for Change is about every woman on every day of the year, owning the value they bring to the table, no matter the size and style of the table, and no matter who sits at that table – male or female.
So today is about you!
Pat yourself on the back, take your bow and relish in the applause you more than deserve for stepping up to be a leading Woman in Sales!
Be Bold, Brave and Brilliant
Bernadette McClelland is a Keynote Speaker whose message for businesses, sales teams and associations is based on mastering 'absolute certainty in an environment of absolute uncertainty'.
Her signature keynote 'ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY - FINDING YOUR BRAVE' is ideal for those environments looking for fearless leadership, shorter sales cycles and higher performance.
Her business, 3 Red Folders is a sales force development company headquartered in Melbourne, Australia designed to create sales centric cultures through sales strategy, process and psychology.
She is an award winning speaker, coach and author having proudly coached Harvard MBA students on their sales enablement curriculum, been the Master Asia Pacific coach for Anthony Robbins across twelve countries, authored five books on leadership and sales transformation, won a coveted Telstra award for Business Excellence, recognised as one of the Top 35 Most Influential Women In Sales globally and continually shares her ideas around behaviour, the brain and business growth on stages in the UK, Europe, Thailand, India, NZ, Australia and North America.
Image courtesy of David Cohen