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Women: Their Own Worst Enemy?

Women: Their Own Worst Enemy Sometimes!

It's been said that women can be their own worst enemies when it comes to competition in business and careers. That statement begs such questions as what does that mean? Where does that notion come from? When does that apply?

Once you pass the outrage at such a statement, it gives pause to some serious thought about how such a comment would even materialize in the first place.

As a child of the '60s, I was smack dab in the middle of the women's (r)evolution and the flood of women rushing into the workplace. Raising two kids as a single parent and working two jobs to support them didn't leave a lot of time for burning bras and rioting. However, as a woman who had to work, I frequently experienced prejudice and harassment in the workplace like most others did, making it easy to understand why all the uproar.

It was a time when the highest role a woman had was as a secretary to a male president. We're not talking about the '30's either but rather only less than 30 years ago. Well, at the risk of inciting more outrage, we've come a long way, baby. But not without plenty of clawing, scratching, climbing, and ceiling smashing.

Women today are choosing and succeeding in careers in every field, from astronauts to auto engineers, brain surgeons to basketball stars, race car drivers to jet fighter pilots. Pick one, any one, and go girl! Some nine million women-owned businesses in contribute more than $2.3 trillion to the national economy (so far) making us the fastest-growing segment of business owners in the United States.

Now that women are finally accelerating at such rapid speed, one would think that there is a great support system and incredible unity among these underdogs. And there is, for the most part, if you look in the right places. However, swirling below that visceral tide of support lurks a nefarious breed of sharks just waiting to rip you apart.

The mission of ROAD & TRAVEL Magazine is and always has been to support and encourage women in pursuit of their dreams no matter what they are, no matter what it takes. If you can dream it, you can have it. In fact, RTM was founded specifically to empower women through education and resources, and in protest to the negative treatment received at dealerships, not to mention in the work place.

While we continue our mission to encourage women and girls never to use or accept that self-defeating four-letter word can't, we don't want to create false illusions that pursuing your dreams is a bed of roses. In fact, entering any new venture should not be taken lightly because if it is, you'll be eaten alive by your own kind.

As women continue to climb the ladders of success or venture out to start their own businesses, they often unknowingly leave behind peers who experience jealousy, envy, or resentment. With those negative feelings comes loss of friendships or unfriendly treatment. It's not only sad but can sometimes prove to have an adverse effect on your own goals. But only if you let it. As unpleasant as this can be at times, you must learn to overcome it in order to continue your pursuit.

Not long ago, Los Angeles magazine ran a cover story called "Lonely At The Top." The cover featured a professional, well-dressed business woman. The article profiled many distinguished and successful business men and women in a variety of industries.

Their success stories and climb to the top were all somewhat similar. What each discovered along the way, as well as when they reached the top, was how lonely it was. The pursuit of their dreams, attaining their goals, and reaping the rewards of their success was not without cost. For most, it was hard to keep friends who were not equally successful, due to jealousy or insecurity. For others, making new friends was difficult because it was hard to tell who was sincere or who was pretending to be sincere for access to money or contacts.

Women today who pursue their goals in business are experiencing similar patterns, making the road to success even more difficult. Some men find successful women threatening or intimidating, leaving many dynamic women successful and single. Some women experience professional or personal jealousy toward their peers, leaving friendships or business relationships in shambles. This kind of reaction to your success by a colleague (in or outside of your company) can sometimes lead to attempts to ruin your personal or professional reputation due to their inability to control their emotions and maintain a professional code of conduct.

There are those who will even jeopardize or sacrifice their own reputation or the reputation of the company for which they work due to the lack of integrity and courage to pursue their own dreams. If you pay close enough attention, body language and facial expressions serve as an excellent barometer of how people really feel about you. If what they say and how they're saying it is not congruent, you may have a problem. Remember what you heard as a kid? It's not what you say, it's what you do. Actions speak louder than words.

While these are always very difficult people to deal with, especially since they're usually quite masterful at hiding this devious side of themselves making it difficult to prove their depths of deception and undermining, it's not impossible to move around them. But you must never let them stop you because their mission is to destroy your dreams and goals. You can't let them win.

The goal here is not to scare you, but rather to prepare you. Never get mad, get successful. Instead of anger, use that fire to fuel your passion to work harder and reach further. There's no sweeter revenge than the sweet smell of success. And you don't even have to lift a finger or waste an ounce of energy on the perpertrator.

When you find yourself faced with a solid wall in the way of your dream, then go over it, around it, or get a damn shovel and go under it. There will be plenty of walls, plenty of challenges, and plenty of people who will be there to build them. Many of them, women. Welcome and then defeat the challenges as they come. They will make you stronger, smarter, faster, and a far superior player at the game of life. Keep in mind, that although uninvited and unwelcomed, adversaries keep us from becoming complacent. They keep us sharp.

The ugly truth is that, yes, some women can be their own worst enemy. However, I can say from many years of experience and with a great certainty that most women can and will provide the best support system that you'll ever find. Don't be afraid to seek out that support.

Just remain vigilant that, although far and few between, there are always a few who will run interference but if you keep your eye on the goal, ultimately, it'll be you who scores the touchdown. And they will disappear into darkness.

Here are some important tips to remember along your path to success:

  • Always pursue your dreams with vigor and passion but be aware and alert at all times.
  • Stop at nothing. Never let anyone do or say anything that will prevent or stop you from attaining your goals, whether professionally, academically, or athletically.
  • Surround yourself with supportive and encouraging family and friends who will serve as your net when things get tough. And they will.
  • Remain humble with your success.
  • Network, network, network with your colleagues and others in the industry you want to be in. Join women's organizations that have common interests for support.
  • Every decision you make shapes your destiny. Decide well and there will never be limitations.
  • Stay focused on your dreams and never let anything stop you from reaching them.
  • Have courage in the face of adversity because there will be plenty.
  • Stand up for what you believe in. Faith in yourself is a key ingredient to your success.
  • Surround yourself with supportive family and friends.
  • Always maintain your honor and integrity.
  • Don't dwell on mistakes. Consider them a learning experience then move on.
  • Welcome every new challenge as an opportunity to grow.
  • Know that when you're confused, it simply means you're about to have a breakthrough.
  • Never stop yourself from asking any question.
  • Be good to yourself in mind, body and spirt. You'll need all your strengths.
  • Never forget that nothing is impossible.
  • And, most of all, never lose your sense of humor. It's your best weapon against naysayers and insanity.

Now go out there and kick some serious butt and do it with unbridled passion and spirited pride.

Inspired by and dedicated to (among others) L.L.--Thank you.

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