Are you hamster-wheeling your way to career success?

You are not alone.

Most women work really hard, going above and beyond every day, focusing on finishing their super long to-do-lists.

This is how we’ve been raised: girls, more than boys, get assigned daily tasks to do at home, which they should finish diligently and quietly. They are rewarded by good grades at school for completing the homework perfectly. They are conditioned not to get in the way of other people. They are taught to self-sacrifice and to put aside their own needs in favour of other people’s needs. They cannot draw attention to what they have done or achieved, or they’ll be shamed as immodest and selfish.

From the birth onwards, women are taught not to take up space.

These societal expectations to quietly get on with it and not focus on ourselves, are further reinforced by our hormonal make-up. Large quantities of oestrogen make us give all of our attention to those in need of our support: our children, first and foremost.

I believe most women recognise the patterns described above.

We must focus on others.

We cannot take up space.

Our needs come last.

And while serving others is great for sustaining communities, these autopilot patterns don’t help women get promoted.

In fact…

This attitude of “get-the-job-done-quietly-and-perfectly and don’t-ask-for-reward” works against moving up in business.

Because organisations promote leaders, not mere executors.

We admire and promote people who speak up, not people who do their jobs quietly.

We expect big and bold from our leaders, not mere execution of tedious daily tasks.

So if you recognise your own approach to work as “quiet hamster-wheeling” and if you want to move up in your career, you are going to need to change your ways.

Putting your needs last and not asking for what you want is part of the Inner Glass Ceiling that holds women back – as my work coaching hundreds of women leaders and managers in the last decade has proven.

(Just observe if your husband/partner/brother shares same patterns and attitude as you… Interesting, isn’t it?)

Here is my advice to you:

Give yourself permission to dream big and bold.

Take action. Execute.

Then share your wins far and wide.

Use your voice to self-promote.

Advocate for yourself and your team.

In short:

Take. Up. Space.

The Chinese proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

What are you going to plant this week, my friend?