I had the pleasure of joining The Girl’s Lounge at the Women in Product conference in San Jose yesterday. I left inspired and energized by the time spent coaching and speaking with nearly 100 women. The exposure to so many women made themes easy to identify and left me with a lot to think about on my drive home as the sun set last night.

I heard so many women start sentences with “if he can…” followed by “then I can too.”

Upon further reflection, I noticed that the majority of women using this framework were doing so as a way to justify behavior that they’d received feedback to change. Looking deeper, most behaviors mentioned were not representative of good leadership from anyone. The majority of women could see this, but they held to the idea that “if he can do it, why do I need to change.” It disturbed me to hear women making decisions to hold onto behaviors that disrupted their own leadership vision, casually noting that “he does it.” Repeatedly women turned away from their own wisdom of what it means to lead.

On the flip side, even at a conference that exemplified female leaders, several women I spoke with easily found reasons to identify why the achievement of the women who took the stage was professionally out of reach for them.

“She already had a success to lean on before taking the risk.”

“She is supported by a larger company.”

“She has a CS background and I don’t.”

“Her company has more female leadership.”

Where does this leave us?

Today’s wisdom is a two-part request for females to honor their own wisdom and see the possibility in front of us.

  1. Identify a behavior standing in your way. Commit to making a change, for you.
  2. Identify a woman whom you admire. What do you share with her?