What It Means to Say “Count Me In”
Sheryl Sandberg challenged women to “lean in” over seven years ago, igniting a revolution of female empowerment in the workplace. Now it is time to take “leaning in ” one-step further; it’s time to say “count me in ” through actively educating, participating and advocating on behalf of yourself and others in your workplace, your community and beyond. I meet so many incredibly intelligent, accomplished women from across the country making a tangible difference everyday because they have demanded to be counted in by their peers.
Here is how they do it.
Knowledge is power. It is the most effective tool to wield in any scenario, but especially when advancing yourself in the workplace. Want that raise? An emotional appeal coupled with “I deserve it” won’t always woo over your employer. Do your research and bring them cold, hard data that reflects the most up to date industry standards and what cost of living looks like in your area.
Interested in a promotion or a new, higher-level career? While your traditional work experience often speaks for itself, don’t underestimate the power of adding new skill sets that separate you from the pack. It might sound daunting, but with the vast array of free or affordable classes and certifications available online, you can refresh both your resume and your career path in one fell swoop.
Women, regardless of where they are in life, need to be active participants in order to get the most out of it. But, whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a nurse practitioner or a mother of 5, being active and fully engaged 24/7 is much easier said than done. This could be for a multitude of reasons, especially since women have been subjected to patronization, exclusion, etc. by their predominantly male environments since the dawn of time.
Like Rome, confidence isn’t built in day, but with enough practice it becomes the key to participation. Small steps like offering input without second guessing yourself in tomorrow’s staff meeting, cold calling a potential investor, or offering to take the lead on your child’s PTA fundraiser can help build the confidence to participate into a second-nature habit. Practicing participation makes perfect, and eventually makes counting yourself into the conversation much more natural.
Put simply, you are your own best advocate. Women often think their work speaks for itself, or that their boss already is fully aware of what you are accomplishing and how hard you are working. In a perfect world this should be the case. But the truth is, people are too busy balancing their own work, relationships and lives to notice. No one will ever be more invested in your success than you and, at the end of the day, it’s on you to forge your own path to success. Women have a tendency to be more humble in their achievements, but don’t be afraid to make your late hours spent, new accounts landed, managerial accomplishments, etc. known; there’s no guarantee anyone else will do it for you.
That being said, lead by example and advocate for other women the way you wish someone could for you. Lifting other women in your workplace or communities up only reaps positive benefits. Give kudos where and when due, and you will see a catalyst-like effect that makes both you and the women around you feel empowered to say “count me in”!
Sarah Chamberlain is the President and Founder of Women2Women National Conversations Tour. Sarah will join us for WLK’s Annual Business & Leadership Conference on May 20, 2020 to host an engaging, informative and educational panel discussion on issues that are important to women.
Featured photo: Panelist Emily M. Dickens – Corporate Secretary & Chief of Staff for Society for Human Resource Management at a 2019 Women2Women Conversation in Greensboro, NC