Recently, two articles written by women caught my attention. One was by Jillian Berman, writing for the the Huff Post Politics page and the other was by Forté Foundation executive director, Elissa Ellis Sangster in the Financial Times.
Ms. Berman’s article focused on the “stunning absence of women at the top of companies that make and market products to women.” Ms. Sangster’s article highlighted the importance of self-confidence in a woman’s path to the C-suite (CEO, CFO, COO, CIO, etc) and boardroom. From my perspective and experience, their concerns have a common factor—aside from gender inequality—that needs to be addressed. The basis of solutions is in the development of consciousness.
Most of us are aware that the percentage of women hired at the top of tech and finance companies is small, but Ms. Berman points out the ironic fact that this is also the case in industries that provide products just for women. She says, “The Huffington Post and Catalyst, an organization aimed at boosting women in business, looked at 19 of the largest companies that cater in large part to women; just one company, Avon, has a board of directors that’s majority women.”
The non-profit organization Catalyst’s website explains that it studies women and men across job levels, functions, and geographies to learn about barriers to women’s career advancement and the individual and organizational strategies that lead to success. Their reports explain the obstacles and opportunities for organizations and women internationally. Catalyst provides a compilation of Practices that are models for change.
Change begins within!
While there is an abundance of great advice and information for women who wish to advance in a career, the fundamental of progress and achievement is actually the development of our consciousness. Before we can be conscious of anything, we must be conscious. The degree of consciousness that is lively at the base of our thought will determine the profundity and power of our thoughts, just as an ocean can rise in higher waves then a pond. Today it is understood that we are using a small percentage of our mental capacity—unfolding more of our mental potential is a necessary preparation for powerful thought, action, and accomplishment.
Published studies on the TM program, an effortless, secular, natural, scientifically validated program for the development of full potential, show benefits relevant to career including:
improved job performance,
improved work relationships
decreased tension on the job
decreased trait anxiety in executives
increased psychological calmness in executives
improved sleep quality
increased contribution of managers to the organization
decreased stress and improved vitality of managers
increased intelligence, energy and creativity
All these above-listed results of practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique enable a woman to perform better and be competitive in the job marketplace. With competence, she will enjoy competition, not be intimidated by it. However, a woman’s confidence may matter as much as her competence, according to a recent study by Thomson Reuters. The research showed that U.S. female executives might outperform their male counterparts in certain skill sets, but that most of these women think that men self-promote and network better.
While an MBA is not a prerequisite to become a chief executive, statistics show that it is a significant advantage for women to have the degree. However, Ms. Sangster reports that “Women tend to shy away from business school for a number of reasons, which sometimes include a lack of confidence about succeeding on the entrance exam and in analytical coursework or getting into the school they want.”
Self-doubt can be our biggest obstacle. Fortunately, published research studies show that TM practice increases self-esteem and self-confidence—women experience increase in strength of self-concept, enabling them to forge ahead to achieve educational and career goals.
More than ever before, a large percentage of women starting up the corporate ladder have skills and information. To be able to most successfully apply their practical knowledge, they also must know how to daily and systematically draw intelligence, creativity and organizing power from their inner unbounded consciousness. Welcome to the C-suite, ladies!