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The Three Hidden Barriers to Women's Success Uncovered

As a dedicated guide committed to empowering smart, conscious and high-achieving women, my primary purpose is to unleash the limitless potential within them and assist in materializing their wildest aspirations.

Coaching hundreds of women leaders, I've identified a recurring pattern that often hinders women from attaining their highest aspirations, and my aim is to shed light on this pattern, provide insights, and offer effective strategies to overcome these barriers.

In this blog post, I will explore the in-depth research on the "Expectations Gap," "Power Penalty," and "Self-Actualization Paradox" as major hurdles for women's achievements. Moreover, I will demonstrate how I assist women in surpassing these barriers and transforming their deepest aspirations into reality.

The Expectations Gap

Research (1) has consistently shown that women's potential is often hindered by what is known as the "Expectations Gap." Research and analysis consistently show that women often set their aspirations and expectations at levels approximately 50% lower than men with similar abilities and qualifications. The primary reason for this difference in expectations is mainly due to the ingrained gender stereotypes, societal norms, and cultural influence that women face from an early age.

This deeply entrenched belief system leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy, as women frequently hesitate to pursue equal levels of success as men, fearing that they are intrinsically less competent. The manifestation of this difference in expectations perpetuates a cycle that discourages women from believing in their own potential and hinders them from realizing their true capabilities.

The Power Penalty

Another barrier to women's success is known as the "Power Penalty." It refers to the unfortunate phenomenon where ambitious women who aim high are often unfairly judged as being less likable. This judgement occurs due to societal expectations that have socialized women to be modest and self-deprecating.

As a result, many women feel hesitant to appear proud or conceited, leading them to downplay their achievements and detach from their true aspirations. Consequently, they often set lower goals and settle for less than their genuine desires.

The widespread fear of being judged and the belief that failure is a dangerous risk prevent women from realizing their full potential.

This underscores the urgent need for increased awareness and support to overcome these barriers.

The Self-Actualization Paradox

However, women are now feeling a new impulse that goes beyond the traditional measures of success, the "Self-Actualization Impulse." Women don't just want to achieve success; they want to cultivate their higher potentials.

They have a burning desire to be seen, to cultivate relationships that promote growth, to create an abundant and fulfilling livelihood that aligns with their core values, to uncover their elevated purpose, to deepen their spiritual connection, to unleash their creativity, to foster body confidence and radiant well-being, and to have a meaningful impact on the world with their unique gifts.

Identifying and expressing their deepest desires can be challenging for individuals as these desires often lie beyond their current self-concepts and reference points.

Another problem is that women often have conflicting priorities with these higher potentials, which leads to significant inconsistencies. Women may find themselves stuck in their careers, relationships, or personal lives because they're not aligning with their true desires. They may feel unfulfilled, unhappy, and unconnected to their true purpose.

Let me give you a few examples of how your existing self-concepts may conflict with your higher potentials:

  • If you recognize yourself as someone who is naturally nurturing and caring, you might find it challenging to choose a career that demands assertiveness and leadership skills.

  • If you identify as an introvert, you might find it challenging to assert yourself and articulate your ideas in professional settings.

  • If you see yourself as a people-pleaser, you may find it difficult to set boundaries and prioritize your own needs, leading you to overcommit yourself and sacrifice your own well-being.

  • If you consider yourself a perfectionist, it can be difficult for you to take risks and accept failure as an important part of personal growth and achievement.

These are just a few examples of how your existing self-concept can conflict with your higher potential. It's important to note that every woman's journey is unique, and the specific conflicts will vary from person to person.

How to identify and overcome these barriers, allowing you to actualize your full potential.

As a guide committed to empowering women, my purpose is to assist you in bridging the divide between your present circumstances and your ultimate capabilities. I support you in reconnecting with what they truly want to actualize in life.

Here are some ways I help women overcome the Expectations Gap, Power Penalty, and Self-Actualization Paradox:

  1. Identify and confront limiting beliefs: Sometimes, without realizing it, we take on negative beliefs and societal stereotypes that hold us back from reaching our full potential. My role is to assist you in identifying internalized gender biases and societal expectations that impede your progress. Together, we will challenge these beliefs and cultivate empowering, growth-oriented mindsets that foster personal development and achievement.

  2. Building self-awareness and self-acceptance: We are often socialized to put others' needs before our own and ignore our own desires and feelings. I help you develop greater self-awareness and self-acceptance, so you can honor your own needs and desires and live a more authentic life.

  3. Naming your desires: I help you access your three Power Centers and articulate your deepest desires and identify their higher potentials. We work together to create a vision that aligns with your values, passions, and strengths.

  4. Cultivating a supportive community: We often lack support and encouragement in our personal and professional lives. I provide a safe and supportive space for you to explore your desires, fears, and aspirations. I surround you with a community of like-minded women who inspire and motivate each other to reach their full potential.

  5. Developing a growth-oriented mindset: I encourage you to embrace a growth-oriented mindset that focuses on learning, experimentation, and continuous improvement. This mindset helps you develop resilience, adaptability, and a willingness to take calculated risks.

To learn more about how my coaching approach that focuses on women can help you achieve great results in your personal and professional life, please schedule a discovery call with me. In this call, we will delve into your dreams and obstacles, and I will provide you with tailored strategies and tools to empower you in making them a reality.

Book your discovery call now and take the first step towards living the life you deserve!

(1) Correll, S. J. (2001). Gender and the career choice process: The role of biased self-assessments. American Journal of Sociology, 106(6), 1691-1730. This study found that women evaluate their skills and abilities lower than equally skilled men, and found evidence that gender stereotypes shape self-assessments.

Dweck, C. S. (2006). Is math a gift? Beliefs that put females at risk. In S. J. Ceci & W. M. Williams (Eds.), Why aren't more women in science? Top researchers debate the evidence (pp. 47–55). American Psychological Association. This chapter discusses research showing women hold lower beliefs about their math ability due to cultural stereotypes, leading them to avoid math/science career paths.

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