Women in the 21st century, between a major potential…
Women’s potential has become a defining feature of the 21st century. Women represent the majority in the structure of the population and in the number of graduates of higher education. Their impact has exceeded the family environment a long time ago, becoming indisputable and important in all areas of life, especially when it comes to quality and sustainability. Women have proven to be responsible, fair, organized, communicative, and empathic, being able to unlock the creativity, involvement, and performance of the people in the teams they work with.
Theoretically, they would have every chance to dominate the planet, especially nowadays, when technology can help them to also perform in areas where physical force is needed, the only thing that made them more vulnerable than men in the past.
…and a very harsh reality
Unfortunately, this potential can be materialized only to a small extent, because most women live in disadvantaged, isolated areas. In these areas, three out of four people in the world are facing absolute poverty, living on less than a dollar a day, and only one out of three has access to the internet. These people are feeling powerless and have the belief that their only possibility is to accept their fate as it is, with resignation. In this extremely large segment of the population, women are deeply discriminated against, they do not have access to education, and information, not even as much as men have. From a very early age, they are exposed to traumatic experiences, because of which they cannot develop their self-confidence or self-respect. If some of them lose their hope for a better life, others don’t even dream that they could hope, they are not aware that their lives could be different. Under these circumstances, their beliefs become the most important barriers to a fulfilled life: “I’m not good enough,” “I’m alone,” and “I have no choice, that’s fate.” Very few manage to find the determination and energy to break these codes, but some do, by themselves or helped by others. It is extremely difficult, but not impossible.
Even in the case of people with a high standard of living, things do not look good. There are still some limiting mentalities here, even more, dangerous because they are insidious, and rarely openly manifested. Some women grow up and live in families or communities that still limit their chances of affirmation through attitudes or insinuating comments suggesting that they are inferior to men; others work in a discriminatory professional environment, where promotion is extremely difficult; a third category is dealing with both situations. However, in these environments, the chances of women’s assertion are much higher than in the disadvantaged environments we talked about previously. They have access to specialized information and support, have options, and can develop and take action to improve their situation. They can unlock their potential for success, as entrepreneurs or in corporations.
The power of the entrepreneurial mindset
Statistics show that, in recent years, women have set up three times more businesses than men, but their businesses do not develop. They also held managerial positions, but few managed to reach the upper levels of organizational structures. Because gender inequalities are still present in society, women, corporate employees, or entrepreneurs, obviously need to be more competent, stronger, and more resilient than men in order to stand out and be successful. An entrepreneurial mindset is useful when they want to launch and develop their own businesses, but also when, in positions of leadership in corporations, they take the risk of quick and bold decisions.
The entrepreneurial mindset is not just about creating companies, it is the catalyst for any new, innovative project that changes the order of things for the better.
Entrepreneurial mindset in action
The manifestation of the entrepreneurial mindset requires what Deepak Chopra recommends: a life lived with care and intention.
This means the continuous scrutiny of their environment and being aware of opportunities. It requires taking calculated risks and launching new projects. It needs entrepreneurial leadership with a clear, bold, and realistic vision that inspires all stakeholders, including investors, to join these projects. And last but not least, it requires flawless execution. In addition to knowledge, an excellent physical state, an optimistic outlook on life, concentration, and creativity, massive actions, and appropriate behaviors, are also needed for good relationships with others. Passion, confidence, and energy are essential throughout this journey. And maintaining energy and confidence requires that every success be observed, viewed with joy and gratitude, and used as a source of development. The human brain learns much more from positive things than from negative ones.
Therefore, to establish and spread the entrepreneurial mindset, it is necessary to look at things from a new, optimistic perspective, replacing pessimism, negativity, and inaction caused by three destructive myths of the contemporary world: “We don’t have enough (time, money, collaborators, skills, etc.)” “It takes more (no matter how much there is),” and “That’s the situation, it’s not up to us, we have no choice.” Statistically, it has been found that women are more influenced than men by these limiting beliefs, for the reasons I mentioned above. But they are also more willing, when they become aware of these reasons, to turn them into decisions on decisive actions that bring beneficial changes. More often than men, they use the services of coaches, mentors, consultants, and trainers and recommend them to the organizations they lead. As a result, things are progressing.
As leaders with an entrepreneurial mindset, women inspire new and great things and develop a climate of psychological safety, in which experiments and clever mistakes are encouraged, those from which they are continuously learning. Obviously, the activity is monitored and measured permanently, and operational mistakes, which can occur in predictable situations, are prevented and are not accepted because they can cost the organization dearly.
In the world of VUCA we live in, nothing can be achieved in isolation, but through partnerships, networks of organizations and people with common interests, and ecosystems. The attention is always directed toward the environment. Women with an entrepreneurial mindset join associations, participate in learning and personal development programs, and go to conferences. Thus, they learn new things and, in addition, develop clarity of thought, self-respect, and self-confidence, which are necessary for success and a fulfilled life. They also meet people with whom they can share experiences and with whom they can collaborate, on mutually beneficial terms.
This is a guest blog post written for us by Lavinia Rasca, Ph.D. , Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at ASEBUSS Business School and President of the Board at EXEC-EDU.