"I've only got fifteen years experience, so I want to wait a few more years before I go consulting."
"I've only got twenty years experience in Finance so I can't really start my own new thing just yet."
"I've worked for five years in marketing, then three managing events and only one in my new gig managing events for creatives, so I'm not really qualified to be talking about being an expert."
And on and on it goes.
At almost every workshop I run, an overqualified woman proceeds to tell me she needs 'just a few more years', 'one more job', 'more experience', 'more education' before they give themselves permission to make steps towards the career and life they really want.
Honestly, it's upsetting.
To see high achievers who are articulate, intelligent, brave and resilient, completely undermine their own value in a professional setting - well, it pisses me off.
It upsets me to see so many articulate, brilliant women undermine themselves, every day.
And what really fires me up is this: they truly don't believe they deserve more money. A job they love. Or a life that actually suits them.
They want all these things of course - I mean, they've paid the entry fee to my workshop - but something is still stopping them from believing it.
The gendered pay gap sees women in Australia earning 83 cents to their male counterparts and USA women earning 74 cents for every $1 a man earns.
In fact, the average woman will earn approximately one million dollars less than her male counterpart in their lifetime.
Why? A bunch of reasons.
Women are the only sex that can birth babies, and you have to leave the office to do that.
Birthing a small watermelon takes a toll on a body physically and mentally, so you need recovery time to feel back to yourself again. Plus you have to keep them alive.
With women leaving the workforce to birth children, men are continuing with their careers to pay the bills. With the stigma around men taking paternity leave, which a ton don't, means a ton of fathers aren't taking a pay cut to hang with their newborn.
Roles for part time workers are rarely rewarded with large salaries. Recruiters report many women even volunteer to take a pay cut to be able to work flexibly.
You see, as the Harvard Business Review reports, "[women's] reticence is based on an accurate read of the social environment. Women get a nervous feeling about negotiating for higher pay because they are intuiting — correctly — that self-advocating for higher pay would present a socially difficult situation for them — more so than for men."
In reality that means women get called aggressive for asking for more, whereas men are more frequently rewarded for their assertiveness.
Our relationship to money affects how we see ourselves and our own value. And while it becomes expensive, earning less, it also becomes self perpetuating.
Given that women, statistically are earning less, should I therefore be at all surprised that so many women genuinely don't believe they deserve what they really want?
Almost every person in the professional development space I talk to says the same thing. How their clients are mind blowingly intelligent, articulate and talented - and the reason they're reaching out to professionals isn't to teach them how to suck eggs - it's to reassure them they're legit.
Accumulation of personal experiences is what makes you an expert.
Your experiences, your learnings, your highs, your lows, your insights, your research, your perspective and ultimately, believing you deserve a life you love is what makes you an expert in your field.
How to package up your accumulation of experience is what I teach at my workshops and the reason people find it so confronting is because often it's the first time they've been told they're experienced enough.
So, I'll get them to fill in a short form with these questions:
1. What are your 'qualifiers'? How will you define what makes you qualified? These can be years spent in the field + your personal experiences + mentoring your team at work + the combination of all of your different jobs in different industries and what perspective that gives you as a professional. How about the clients you've represented? The millions of dollars you've saved your organisation from being a superstar operator at work over the years?
2. What is your personal experience? What can you speak to with authority on from a place of experience? (For example, I can speak genuinely to anxiety and depression to help others as that's my personal experience. Sometimes our lowest points can be our strongest reasons to do what we do, after all).
3. What makes you memorable? What language is unique to you? Are you quirky? Bold? Nerdy? Own it - so others can love it, too. For example, I'm quirky. A bit of a wierdo. That's kind of my brand. The language I use every day is 'jam', 'mojo' and 'rockstars'. What's your version of this?
4. What pisses you off about your industry? Studies tell us women are more likely to advocate on the rights of others than themselves. So tell me, why are you considering consulting or doing your own thing? Get real with me right now. What made you buy the ticket to the workshop and step slightly closer to the career you really want?
And then I ask participants to say that to me in three sentences. The shift in self confidence I see in these individuals when they say this out loud, makes me realise I am doing Beysus' work, indeed.
There will never be a time you wake up and say 'I am ready. I'm qualified enough. I'm the best in my field'. That day will never come.
You will never be ready.
Your point of view, taste, approach, brand and insights are all the product of your experience. When you realise your experience is unique to you, you realise your own value.
And when you realise your own value, you have no competition.
If you accept your experience is accumulative, your perspective is unique to you and everything you ask for is a reflection of how you value yourself, ask yourself: do I deserve a life and career that I love?
And, am I really going to wait for someone to give me permission? Is it me who makes the decisions around here or not?