and other ramblings of a small business owner
There’s something about Mary Portas that I really like. I think it’s the way she manages to combine being very straightforward and knowing her own mind with really caring about other people. I really admire that.
So when I stumbled across her book “Work Like a Woman” I grabbed myself a copy. With a title like that I really couldn’t resist. And I wasn’t disappointed. It’s an amazing book.
OK, it doesn’t quite fit my cirteria of books for small businesses. It’s probably more applicable for women wanting to make a career of working in larger businesses, but there is still plenty to take away from it.
The message that I’m taking away is to have the courage to be my authenitc self and not feel like I have to behave like an alpha male to be a success in business. A quote that really resonates with me is “So, the most valuable piece of advice I can give you is this: be wholly, unapologetically, wonderfully you – not who you think you need to be”. I love that! “Unapologetic” is one of my words so I really feel like this advice is for me.
The book tells the story of how Mary rose up in her career playing by the rules set by men, but then rebuilt her business on the values that she feels matters. The more “female” values, as it were, of collaboration, empathy, instinct and trust. It’s a really interesting read and does make you think about what the expectations are for a business woman.
It’s made me realise that however much of a staunch feminist I am, and however much I’ve adjusted the opinions that have been ingrained in me as a woman, I still feel the need to assert myself as “one of the lads” when in a male-dominated setting. Like behaving like myself would somehow make me a weak female. And heaven forbid admitting that I’m not up to working on occasion because my period pains are too bad!
I am making progress with this and attempting to embrace the changes I’m experiencing as a woman in her mid forties (uncontrollable rage and all). But I need to concentrate on being self aware as I re-enter the world of business networking. And most importantly allow myself to be myself.
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