Sharon Melnick, PhD, answers the question—why a woman needs to stay in her power—with a very simple answer, “When a woman is in her power, she raises everyone around her.” Dr. Sharon is a business psychologist who founded the virtual coaching initiative “Next Level Leader,” through which 92% of mid-career women of color and white women participants gain challenging and high paying next level roles in weeks, not months or years, even during COVID. Her methods have transformed 40,000 clients and trainees at more than 50 Fortune 500 companies, and she has presented at women’s leadership conferences around the world—including events at the White House and the United Nations.
Her drive for change came during her research at Harvard Medical School where she learned about intergenerational cycles and how you bring your childhood experiences into your adult life, both in parenting and the workplace. If we don’t feel seen and heard as children, we often don’t use our voices as adults, and our amazing ideas are cut off. Instead of contributing and using our power for good, our power starts to leak and we focus on things we can’t control. We may internalize the way others see us—as not enough or not ready for that promotion—and we get demoralized, frustrated, even depressed when we feel disrespected. That’s why Dr. Sharon says, “The very first thing that’s important for a woman to get to that next level is to get in her power and stay in her power.”
From Pigeon Holed to Promoted
Dr. Sharon gave the presentation based on her new e-book, From Pigeon Holed to Promoted, at the 15th annual National Diversity Women’s Business Leadership Conference a few weeks ago. She said that we need to redefine power away from the negative power over model most of us have experienced. Instead, a woman finds her power at the intersection of three skill sets:
Resilience is her ability to stay centered and not get derailed by distractions—being able to stay connected to her bigger purpose and the contribution she’s here to make.
Confidence is her ability to own her own view of herself and create the perception that is needed for the outcome she wants. It gives her the courage to take risks and go for it knowing that she stands for something that is for the good of all.
Influence is gained by aligning your skills and experience with that of the company’s goals when you ask for that next level promotion. That alignment helps you use the momentum of the company to propel you to the next level. In her presentation, Dr. Sharon compared it to being swept along by the current of a swift stream, as opposed to trying to get momentum from standing still. In this conversation she told a story of a client of hers who used this technique after years of trying to get a plum assignment from her manager. Once she showed how her ideas would help make him look good to his higher-up, she got all she asked for, which resulted in an Extra $100,000 in her pocket and a promotion in four months.
The Importance of a Woman Staying in Her Power
When a woman is in her power, Dr. Sharon says, “We have to be impeccable for our 50%, we have to influence the culture, be a role model and ask for objectivity, and be one of the people who brings it up on your team to require inclusivity.” The key is to focus on the 50% that you can control and not be distracted by the 50% beyond your control. In these times when every woman is doing two or three full time jobs while working at home and homeschooling, it’s important to find space for a calm moment to visualize those big picture ideas and when you can ask yourself, “What do I want?” She says that it’s not all about you; it’s about bringing everyone along with you, adding, “Every woman in her power is a change agent. Just by that transparency—just by sharing your story—just by sharing your vision about how the culture could be for all of us, you raise everyone around you.”
Listen to this conversation for more ideas about why a woman needs to stay in her power. Check out Sharon’s website for more about her on line coaching programs, her blog, speeches, and her book From Stress to Success. And look up more information about National Diversity Women’s Business Leadership Conference where both she and Dr. Nancy contributed valuable information to help lift women up to the next level together.