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Navigating today’s challenges: Your personal journey of leadership

Here at SOAR Leadership, we believe that you are already a leader. Your job title may not make it ‘official’ but we think it is about much more than a role description. It is about who you are. The women we speak to are all already leading in their own unique ways.

Within that leadership, each day brings a distinctive set of challenges as you navigate your whole life – professionally and personally. From confronting gender biases to balancing your commitments, how you recognise and address these day-to-day hurdles is crucial for your growth and success. In this article, we’ll explore some of the personal challenges that women leaders commonly face and offer strategies for overcoming them.

1. Balancing Priorities:

One of the most significant challenges we often face is finding the balance between professional ambitions and personal responsibilities. From juggling deadlines to attending family commitments, the constant tug-of-war between work and home life can be overwhelming. Learning to prioritise tasks, set boundaries, and delegate when necessary are essential skills that we seem to be expected to know but often aren’t taught along the way. Managing your time and energy and how to have those conversations about boundaries and delegation are part of the SOAR: Take Flight and Lead journey because we know how vital this part is to all areas of life feeling good.

2. Self-Doubt and Confidence:

Many of us grapple with self-doubt and can lack confidence in our abilities from time to time – you’re very much not alone if you find yourself wrestling with those feelings of imposter syndrome and uncertainty! It doesn’t just hold us back, it can also be exhausting as we expend so much time and energy worrying and second-guessing (or third-guessing….. or fourth!) Building self-confidence involves recognising and celebrating our own strengths, not waiting for others to notice. It can also include seeking advice from trusted mentors, and getting aware of dealing with our internal negative self-talk.

3. Managing Expectations and People Pleasing:

The pressure to meet others’ expectations or to make sure that everyone else is happy ahead of you, whether that is colleagues, managers, clients or family members, can feel intense. We too often believe that we have to meet everyone else’s needs ahead of our own but this just leads us down the slippery slope towards unhappiness, exhaustion and even burnout. Having a clear vision and priorities, communicating boundaries, and practising self-compassion are crucial for managing these pressures effectively.

4. Navigating Office Politics:

Office politics can present a significant challenge for women leaders, particularly in male-dominated environments. Both of us have experience with those types of environments and understand how difficult it can feel to speak up and advocate yourself and others. We believe that finding your personal authentic power is key and being able to bring your inner Queen where needed can support you to step up and negotiate whatever the office may bring. In fact, Experimenting with Queen is one of the most fun parts of our programme!

5. Overcoming Perfectionism:

Perfectionism is a major roadblock for so many women. Too many of us have grown up being praised for being the ‘good girl’ who does what she’s told and gets it all right. The fear of failure or criticism that results from this can paralyze us, and hold us back from taking risks or seizing growth opportunities. Embracing imperfection, bringing deep self-compassion, embracing experimentation, and viewing setbacks as learning experiences are key strategies for overcoming perfectionism and embracing their authentic selves. In every SOAR workshop, we invite you to pick some experiments to play with – not homework or required activities – experiments and play. We believe you learn best when you can get it wrong and have fun seeing what happens!

We know that the women we speak to face a myriad of challenges as they strive to achieve their professional and personal goals. By acknowledging and addressing issues such as balancing priorities, building confidence, managing expectations, navigating office politics, and overcoming perfectionism, you can cultivate resilience and thrive in all areas of your life. This is why we designed SOAR – to support you to be your most authentic self and lead in a way that truly works for you.