As the saying goes: “Act like a lady. Think like a man. Work like a boss.” This is the statement that is supposed to represent the qualities and attributes of a successful female leader/entrepreneur/CEO. The first line of the quote is actually “Look like a girl.” I’m not a fan, so I left that part out. I wanted to take some time to explore this saying because when I first saw it, it spoke to me in more ways than one.
Let’s start with “Act like a lady”.
When I walk into a room of C-Level Executives to give a presentation or to discuss our product, I know that every step I take is being scrutinized. What I’m wearing, the strength of my handshake, my ability to maintain eye contact, my voice; they all matter. I get that, 100%. Because I’m a woman, I think the level with which these elements are analyzed is heightened, by women and men executives alike. I’ve learned something along the way (and I’ve heard it from a few people)… regardless of who you’re meeting with, they’re just people. They sleep, they require food and water for sustenance, they breathe and they happen to work somewhere that makes a decision as to whether or not your product is worthy of their time and energy. They’re just people. I don’t take looks personally and I certainly don’t let it sway the direction of my presentation. So yes, act like a lady, like a strong one but don’t lose sight of the fact that at the end of the day, everyone is just one person.
On to: “Think like a man.”
I’ve always been the individual who thought more like a man than a woman. How do I know this? Every single time a friend would fight with her significant other, she would either call on me to understand her partner’s point of view or completely avoid me because I would likely side with the man in her life. This obviously presents some difficulties (I have a harder time sympathizing, I look for solutions rather than wanting to talk about things and I tend to talk more than I listen). However, I’m a ‘cup half full’ kind of gal, which means I’ve always seen my ‘man thinking brain’ as an advantage in most situations. While I take my work personally and do get emotional from time to time, I’m pretty head strong about keeping myself in check with regards to my personal life. The ‘goings on’ from home rarely bleed into my work life.
I work in an office full of women, each different in their own way. Regardless, one resonating theme that comes up time and time again is “the guilt factor”. I, for the most part, am not one of those individuals. From time to time, of course I hate that I have to miss a school concert or that I choose work over a family dinner. The difference is that for me, it’s not about guilt, it’s about working toward something. That’s a choice I’ve made and now, I simply have to plough forward and get IT done.
Finally: “Work like a boss”.
I’m a mom of 2 beautiful boys and the wife of an incredibly supportive husband. Having said that, nothing ever stops me from taking a business trip or from working overtime. I’m not afraid to pour my energy into my work because I love it. I want to be clear: My love for work in no way translates to less affection for my home and family life. I believe that there is a way to balance it all out… never perfectly but somehow in one way or another.
My work ethic is directly in line with the fact that I feel that my company’s success is on my shoulders. That sounds so dramatic now that I write it down. Regardless, it’s the honest to goodness truth. Whether that means how I spend every minute of every day or how I lead the team, it all comes back to the same thing: I work like a boss would expect me to if they were hunched over my shoulder. That doesn’t mean there’s no time for laughter or light hearted conversation. BUT ~ working in a startup means that I earn every dollar and every single one of those dollars spent is my sales being spent. That means every dollar spent has to make absolute sense. Working like a boss means that I have to account for decisions made and decisions rendered, regardless of the outcome.
So there it is: Act like a lady. Think like a man. Work like a boss. Whether you agree or disagree with the statement, one thing is for sure: we’re all striving for the same thing ~ success. Act. Think. Work.