The One Habit That’s Preventing You from Being an Influential Female Leader

written by Akanke Adefunmi.

At one point or another we have all been guilty of this One Habit. And, a lot of us truly believe it. But, what if I told you that some simple shifts to your life could send you forward in the direction of impact, influence, and female leadership? I assume you’re listening…

Step One: Acknowledge The Habit

Recently, I’ve been doing market research for a new program I’m creating that helps emerging and established leaders, and entrepreneurs rise up to their next level. The goal? To help them create impact, have influence and become powerful female leaders. One of the first things I ask in my research group is always, “What is one of your biggest stressors?” And the second is, “What would stop you from saying ‘Yes’ to a program that will help you achieve your next-level career goals?”

Would you believe that 100% of my study group cited lack of time as a reason for stress and them not reaching their goals? Well, they did, saying one of the following phrases:

“I don’t have the time.”

“I have too much going on.”

“There just isn’t enough time.”

“I don’t think I could find the time.”

“I don’t want another thing on my plate.”

The habit I’m talking about is the habit of being busy.

How is saying you’re busy or being busy a habit you ask? Well, a habit is a behavior you do automatically. You don’t even have to think about doing it… it just kind of happens, like brushing your teeth every morning or pouring a glass of wine every night after a long day of work. Filling up every waking moment of your day with tasks and to do’s is also a habit.

It’s easy to fill your day with the habit of filling your day… with work, family, friends, community, church, podcasts, social media, books, TV, laundry, etc. It’s easy to fill every minute with something you think is an important to do. For example, saying “yes” to being on the committee when it has little or nothing to do with your next-level goals. Or, saying “yes” when you really want to say “no”.

Part of the problem is that we live in a culture that’s constantly giving us messages that we should be doing more, having more, and being more. Consequently we’re working longer hours, sleeping less, getting sicker, feeling more disconnected, and are unable to bring our best selves to our work because we are spread too thin.

I once worked with a woman whose habit of being busy was so prevalent that when she found herself with nothing to do and nothing on her calendar, she was filled with guilt, anxiety, and worry. She told herself that she was lazy, selfish, and that her business would fail. This anxiety and negative self-talk subsided when she filled that time with something… anything. She was stuck in the habit of being busy.

How often have you taken a few days off, maybe an afternoon or a few hours only to find yourself feeling guilty about it? Do you say loving or not so loving things to yourself? Guess what? You’re not alone. Millions of women are struggling with this habit, the addition to being busy.

Step Two: Make a Choice

I know this sounds super simple but at the end of the day having enough time comes down to a choice. What we choose to think, say or do in any given situation determines whether we’ll have the time, give away the time, or abandon it entirely.

This is good news! Because while you may not be able to control time, you can control your thoughts, attitudes, how you make decisions, the actions you take, and how you respond to circumstances – thus giving you the power to more effectively use the time you have. I would go as far as to say that the power of choice is a superpower – a superpower that can send you on countless detours, away from the very things you long for, or lead you straight into the impactful career and meaningful life you want.

Step Three: Set Boundaries

How are you when it comes to maintaining your personal boundaries? Are your boundaries so rigid that there’s no room for creativity, collaboration, or possibility? Or are they so loosy-goosy that you find yourself buried underneath a pile of to do’s, obligations, and commitments? Maybe you’re someplace in the middle.  

One of the things I’ve discovered in my years of work helping female leaders is that a lack of empowering boundaries is a major contributor to the “there’s no time” mantra.

Empowering boundaries help you to not only make effective use of your time, they also put you in a position to have more impact, increase your influence, and step into, grow, and maintain your leadership.

Here’s what I know to be true, in order to show up as female leaders in our businesses, the workplace and life, we must accept, express and empower ourselves with clear, empowering, and effective boundaries.

In my upcoming class, BOSS Boundaries for Performance, Productivity, Confidence, and Calm I’ll share how you can begin to set clear boundaries that support your career path, keep your business humming, give you free weekends for fun – and keep yourself emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy!

Ready to learn some helpful boundaries and become a female leader? Join me for my upcoming course, “BOSS Boundaries for Performance, Productivity, Confidence, and Calm” June 11th, 13th, and 22nd.


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