To celebrate International Women’s Day 2017 we get some tips from Cassandra Stavrou, PROPERCORN’S founder, on kick starting business success, inspiration and being confident.
Theresa May, Angela Merkel, Michelle Obama; the tides of female leadership are changing. Women in power are inspiring more women into business than ever before but we’ve still got a long way to go. The reality is, women in the UK remain half as likely as men to start their own business and just 7% of CEOs in the FTSE 100 are female.
So, what’s stopping us? For the majority, it’s a lack of confidence, paired with a fear of failure, that’s stunting our success.
Even those at the top of their game have a crisis of confidence from time to time. Cassandra Stavrou started PROPERCORN aged 27, with her friend Ryan Kohn with no experience in the food industry. But after 5 years of setbacks and successes, she’s running the UK’s fastest growing popcorn brand and selling her award-winning product in 14 countries. Here, Cassandra shares some simple steps towards kick-starting your confidence.
Ready yourself for resilience
It can be difficult to command respect when you’re starting out or changing industries further down the line. As a young woman, with no proven track record, it was difficult to get people to take me seriously. Doubt can be your biggest demon but if you’re passionate and focused enough about what you’re trying to achieve, you’ll win over the skeptics.
Become a fearless fraudster
All too often, people will shy away from a new challenge because they don’t believe they have the perfect skill set at the outset. Fake it until you make it- there’s no shame in learning on the job.
Support others to support yourself
Helping friends and colleagues who might be struggling at work can also help you. Have a go at mentoring or take on a more pastoral role in your team and you’ll get a well-deserved confidence boost from sharing in their successes.
Define your purpose
What’s your ambition for the year ahead? Have a 1, 5 and 10-year plan- it doesn’t matter if you don’t achieve everything in this time but it will make you accountable and drive career momentum and progression.
The British have a terrible habit of over-apologising, for fear of causing offence. There are plenty of humble but unapologetic, female role models out there, so take their assertive lead and only say sorry when you’re really in the wrong.
Remember, it’s only a job
It’s important to get some perspective at times. Don’t beat yourself up after setbacks, pick yourself up– you’ll only learn from your mistakes and be stronger for the bad days.
Be confidently curious
Ask questions and hunt for inspiration in unexpected places. It’s fresh thinking and ideas that will give you the confidence to speak up in the workplace or even inspire a totally new venture.
Take a compliment
If someone gives you positive feedback, embrace it and build on it. Being self-deprecating won’t get you anywhere but taking the compliment, identifying what it is that has set you apart and playing to this skill set will put you head in business.
Go for the big win
Crucially, strive confidently to be recognised as a successful person rather than a successful woman – I love the idea of the recognition being gender blind.
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Images © Propercorn