1. Be Prepared
Whether you're looking for the next promotion, or thinking about starting your own business or freelancing in something you love, the key to not feeling like a fraud is to be prepared. Know your market, or the area you'll be working in, even if it's something you're not familiar with. There's a wealth of information available on the internet, so undertake some research and ensure you know what's expected of you, and how you will demonstrate that you rock!
If you want to be good at something, particularly if it's a new skill, then you need to practice. Whether it's public speaking, when you're totally freaked out by talking to anything larger than a crowd of two, or getting to grips with new software, the key is to practice getting better at it. That way you'll build confidence that comes across to others as completely natural, even if you've spent many evenings going over the same speech or reading software manuals cover to cover.
Along the same lines as being prepared, planning involves looking at the longer term goals. Want to be CEO of the company by the time you're 35? Or want to take your business national (or even international?) Rather than thinking 'No Way!', work out what moves you need to make to get there. What experience do you need? What connections can you make and where can you find those connections? Then make a strategic plan with actions to take, rather than shelving it as impossible. You can style it up with pictures, and photos to make it a work of art too!
4. Be Grateful
When you're not getting anywhere as fast as you like, it can be tempting to focus on the negatives and things that are going wrong. However, scientific research highlights that gratitude can improve physical and psychological health, build better relationships and boost self esteem. All of which is going to turn that frown upside down, and make you more approachable and more memorable in interviews, networking events and the boardroom for all the right reasons.
5. Don't Compare Yourselves To Others
Comparing yourself to others can only end in tears. Women up and down the country compare themselves to famous women in the media, friends on social media, colleagues in the workplace, as well as female business owners with substantial incomes - and wonder why they're such failures. You are individual. You are unique and your experience is unique too. So drop the comparisons and focus on why you could make a fantastic leader, or develop a top selling brand.
6. Fake It Until You Make It
Some of the best and most successful business and career women started out with nothing. Try making yourself sound busier or more successful than you actually are. We're not recommending out and outlying, think more dressing like a boss, or talking about your successful company when actually you've only sold one product.
7. Take Time Out
When you're trying to climb to the top, or start up something new, it can be exhausting to make sure you read the right articles, get your social media feed buzzing and network with the right people. So make sure you take time out for you, to just have fun. Burn out is never going to help you create the career or business you want, so write down a list of things you love to do just for you and make sure you tick them off alongside your master plan for success.
8. Take Small Steps
Small steps go hand in hand with planning. You might have a long term goal to become a senior leader in your company within five years or if you are a business owner you may want to launch hundreds of products. Right now that may seem overwhelming when you're still taking minutes and only managing the office junior or designing your new website but this is just the stage you are at NOW! Break down your big goals into smaller milestones, to take regular, achievable steps. For example, pitch to go on a management course, take on the management of extra employees or start a new project in your business.
9. Listen To Others
When you're trying to create a business you love, or get ahead in your career, it can be tempting to put your blinkers on and go hell for leather for your goals, but actually it's really important to take time to listen to others. There will be people who have been where you are now who can give advice on pitfalls to avoid and where to put your time, effort or money. Equally, there will be people who don't even work in your field but can see the bigger picture, and can give you some philosophical wisdom. Take it on and use it to your advantage.
10. Find Inspiration
Finally, there is so much inspiration out there, so use it! From creating boards of your favourite female bosses on Pinterest, to finding similar people to follow on Instagram that have started small in business just like you. You can Google search brand influencers and sign up for their newsletter, or go all old fashioned and head to a face to face women in business event to meet like minded people. Talk to other women in your company who are leaders in their field, or if there are no women in your organisation in the role you want to be in, do your homework and contact other women in similar roles elsewhere and buy them a coffee. Being inspired by their stories will help you create your own.
So what are you waiting for? Permission is granted to go out there and be your greatest self!