#BalanceforBetter – Three Lessons from International Women’s Day

On International Women’s Day, the #WomenofWye broke away from the office for empowering sessions at local tech incubator and educational community, 1871. Each workshop, led by female entrepreneurs or experts in their field, addressed prominent topics and issues affecting women in the workplace, tips to overcome them and personal stories of how they’re working toward balance for better in the world. Below, we’ve broken down a few takeaways and lessons learned.

#1 – Strategies to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Perfectionists, natural geniuses, super-humans, soloists or experts—this one’s for you.

At this workshop, Psychotherapist Susan Wortman defined imposter syndrome as a pattern of behavior where people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud. The imposter syndrome affects many people – in  fact, research from 2011 suggests approximately 70 percent of people will experience at least one episode like this in their lives. These moments of uncertainty and self-doubt are common in the workplace, but their long-term prevalence can have grave impacts on your feelings of self-worth. As cheesy as it sounds, confidence in the workplace is really key. Having confidence in your abilities will ultimately alleviate feelings of self-doubt, decrease your stress and improve your overall happiness.

Wortman shared her strategies to chip away at the imposter syndrome and we took note.

  • Define what success/failure means to YOU – don’t define what success/failure means to someone else.
  • Record and recall moments of success by keeping a daily journal or positivity folder in your inbox. The more you see your accomplishments, the more you can find a pattern of your skills and start believing in yourself.
  • Set realistic goals. If you’re just starting out in your career, don’t compare yourself to the CEO or other coworkers – they undoubtedly have more experience than you. Setting realistic goals means there’s a reasonable chance you’ll actually achieve them.

#2 – Investing 101

Investing is confusing. How much should I save/spend/invest, and which methods are right for me? Is it possible to close the #genderwealthgap through investing? These are the questions we explored in Investing 101, led by entrepreneur, philanthropist and hedge fund and angel investor Amy Rosenow. In just 60 minutes, Rosenow broke down the different ways to invest, how to make investing goals (and keep them!) and what you should have accomplished before you try your luck on Robinhood or contact a financial planner.

Here are a few tips to get started with investing and rules to follow, according to Rosenow:

  • Make goals and write them down. If you want to go on a two-week trip to Thailand next year, how much do you need to save by the time your plane takes off? Use that number and work backwards so your saving goals drive your spending. Write down those goals, so each time you go back to them (which should be at least yearly) you can level-set and adjust if needed.
  • Consider the 50/30/20 method. 50 percent of your monthly income should go to needs (think rent, groceries, doctor appointments), 30 percent to wants (eating out, fueling your coffee habit, those new shoes you’ve been eyeing) and, finally, save 20 percent for the future (your next vacation, first house, children’s education, etc.).
  • Follow the Rule of 100 – or 110 if you’re a woman. This rule states individuals should hold a percentage of stocks equal to 100 minus their age. However, because women tend to live longer and generally get paid less, they should increase that starting number to 110.
  • Start TODAY. The best time to start investing is yesterday, but today is a great second choice! You can start small, but simply starting is key.

For more tips from Rosenow, check out her Investing 101 presentation and additional resources here.

#3 – Persistence Pays  

As the media landscape changes – i.e. traditional advertising is a thing of the past – entrepreneurs like Jen Poyant and Jen Sabella are leading the charge. After working for years as journalists and radio producers, both women quit their jobs, built their own media organizations and are now producing a wealth of empowering, diverse content. During the panel, “The Jens” explored the concept of balance on a structural and personal level, and shared their insights on the intersection of culture, gender and equality.

Our main takeaway from the panel: persistence pays. Putting in the long hours, dedication and effort upfront will help you get to where you’re headed – and get there much faster.