These days, no one wants to be seen as the person who always thinks they are right. Indeed, it was Socrates who said, "I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing."
However, in a world where we are all trying to discover the magic formula of how to get things right, it might be worth considering why women entrepreneurs should embrace this acronym: R.I.G.H.T.
"When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change"
Dr. Wayne Dyer
R - Responsive
We respond to what we perceive, based on our feelings and our judgements based on previous experiences. This is how we navigate our environment. How we respond can literally mean the difference between surviving, thriving or dying.
The good news is that women entrepreneurs often have a very proactive and intentional mindset that goes beyond just the business itself. As women, we understand the necessity of creating solutions - how do we find or create the key, when we find one door is closed. Or, if necessary, how do we create the new, open door?
Adversity often sparks creativity. And the world has never been so challenging for women in business. Before we engage our usual secret weapons of being intentional and initiative-taking, we first need to be creative in how we create space and time for self-care.
This will mean we have more energy to respond positively and with creativity to the challenges that bombard us on a daily basis. Then RESPONSIBILITY will become, as Deepak Chopra claims, “The Ability To Respond” (to create positive outcomes in the face of adversity).
We must pay attention to and hone how we respond to disappointments and challenges, as well as successes.
I - Inspirational
It seems that everyone in business today is positioning themselves as having an inspirational story. It's certainly true that most women I come across in business do have a compelling story, inducing both respect and admiration. But the words of most parents everywhere, DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO, simply do not cut it anymore in business.
Women entrepreneurs must be an example to those around them, with an understanding that people do not respond positively just because you say something is so. It's important for us both personally and professionally, to set high standards and hold ourselves accountable. We need to let our actions speak louder than our words - the first person we need to convince is ourselves.
Also, trusting ourselves to tell the truth in our stories - talking honestly (but not lengthily) our failures, our lows and focusing on the solutions we found to them provide more social proof about our authenticity than anything else.
This doesn't mean we should start every conversation with everything bad that has happened to us...rather than garnering sympathy, this is more likely to be a turn-off to our audience as they may feel they are being manipulated.
The best balance for this is allowing yourself to be vulnerable enough to show yourself as human, whilst emphasizing your empowerment by highlighting the solutions you have discovered or created.
"Sometimes you have to be kind to others not because they are nice, but because you are"
In neuromarketing research tests done by universities around America ,it has become clear that there were certain things which helped people respond better: kindness; gratitude - giving rather than receiving ("Do something nice")
There is such an emphasis on the need to be strong and not to be a doormat, that we can sometimes miss the trick of kindness. The term 'Kill Them With Kindness' might be a bit exaggerated, but maybe not so much. Kindness in tense business negotiations or interactions with 'difficult' people can sometimes work like a secret force shield against psycho-vampires. Kindness indicates self-trust, confidence in one's own self and authority (think about a mother being kind to her child).
Being gracious looks good, feels good and is more inviting, trust-inspiring and impressive than disagreeability or ungeniality.
And the biggest benefit of all, it grows your feeling that all is right in the world, which sends a signal that you are successful, positive and confident. Who wouldn't want to do business with a person like that?
H - heroic (sheroic)
As young girls, we are often trained to look for someone bigger, stronger or more capable to come and save us or take care of us. We often then grow up to find out that, in most cases, that is not the way the world operates. We start to understand that we will have to rescue ourselves (even if we do have lots of help doing it).
But, deep in our subconscious, there is still a little niggling voice saying, 'Please do it for me...please help me...please make the monsters under the bed go away'. I have seen this in myself and, more interestingly, in some of the strongest, most capable women I know.
It's something we don't often feel comfortable addressing and may even completely deny it. But until we acknowledge on a regular basis that we are absolute badass heroines, worthy of any Marvel Comic stories, we are not telling ourselves the whole truth about ourselves.
We find it easy to see in other women - our grandmothers, mothers, women leaders, poets, activists and friends. But let’s write a list of every time we did any of these things:
- Helped a friend or family member out of a fundamental problem or even existentially threatening situation
- Met an extreme challenge with courage and efficacy
- Felt less than, but still rose to the challenge anyway
- Put other people first over our own need or wants (not recommended as a daily activity)
- Supported, assisted or encouraged a complete stranger
- Went the extra mile to make the world a better place
What would you say about someone else who showed you that list? You would call them a (s)hero.
So, write that list and remind yourself every day that you are a (s)hero!
T - Thriving
" Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?"I dream things that never were and ask, 'Why not?""
Robert F. Kennedy.
In this new world of constant change, women entrepreneurs are often in a unique position to take advantage. We bring fresh perspectives and an enthusiasm for tackling conventional business situations that others might miss or avoid altogether due their traditional way-of-thinking about things. This flips the whole situation on its head and what once held us back could be the key to our success. We think outside of the restrictive 'This is the way we have always done things' box and approach things responsively, embracing the way things are now'. We acknowledge what we have to play with and get creative to produce positive outcomes in response to what could be.
It's time for us to embrace being R.I.G.H.T and know that that is not only okay, but completely RIGHT. That positive change is urgently needed in this world is not news to anyone. That you, as a woman entrepreneur could be the key to that change is something you might start to consider on a daily basis. To get something different, we have to do something different. And who better to undertake that kind of innovation as a woman?