Recently, during an engagement with one of our @Predixa’s clients, I was chatting confidentially to one of their new mothers who expressed how, since having a baby, she has lost her self-confidence at work.
A star performer in her previous job within the insurance sales arena; she regularly smashed her targets and was on first-name terms with her then CEO. She told me that now she struggles to find the ‘mojo’ that drove her to such success and provided her with the enjoyment and self-fulfilment in her former role.
I told her that this is not unusual.
One of the most common unconscious biases women face from colleagues after returning to work from maternity leave is that as a mother, you cannot possibly be as committed to the job, because your priority will always be to put your baby first. Overlay an entirely understandable personal belief that you might not be able to do it anyway - also known as #ImposterSyndrome - and it’s little wonder that so many new mothers leave the workforce.
So what to do?
Firstly, take time to get to know yourself again. Grab a piece of paper and write down all your past achievements, when you ‘nailed it’ through hard work and talent. Recognise that prior to that event, you may have been equally filled with apprehension, but through the lens of hindsight can now put the experience into perspective and repeat it with confidence.
Secondly, be respectful of the fact that if you have been out of the office for a while, your days have been very different and centred on the needs of the little one. But much like a ‘muscle memory’, skills will soon return when you analyse your past achievements.
Thirdly, recognise the power of the support group. This lady spoke enthusiastically about meeting a group of professional ladies who inspired her to ‘get back out there’. In research from www.leanin.org, 86% of women said that they found that the support and mentoring networks of friends, neighbours and co-workers made a positive impact on their lives.
With so much focus on #GenderEquality and #WomensEmpowerment, it would be a mistake to think that women returning to the workplace have it easy in reaching their potential, forgetting that the internal voices can often #SelfSabotage the best of intentions.
What techniques have you used to win the internal battles self-sabotaging your career?