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Ladies' Launchpad / Kathy McShane

Updated 11:04 am, Sunday, February 9, 2014
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Have you ever been asked by people to tell them about your background? You jump right in and then all of a sudden you stop. You probably think you are bragging or taking too much of the limelight.

Women sometimes think that describing their successes and accomplishments is "not ladylike." It's time to park that way of thinking. If we're not comfortable about sharing what we've done and what we can do, who will? We can't expect people to know who we are unless we tell them. If we see ourselves as leaders, others will, too.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said, "You can't lead from the crowd." What she meant was that we have to get in touch with the value that we can bring, embrace it and stop selling ourselves short.

I have worked with many women that have refused to advocate for themselves and they end up being left behind, burnt out and bitter. What good does this do anyone? Many feel they are undervalued and undermined and often put up with situations that men would not. When asked what they have done about this, they say nothing. If you want to be valued and respected, you have to stand up for yourself and show others how you expect to be treated. It's OK to challenge the consensus. As women, we tend to want to "make nice" and not "rock the boat." There are some boats that needed to be rocked, and who better to do that than you? Your opinion may not be the popular one but you need to stand up for what you believe in.

One of the best ways to grow is to get out of your comfort zone. You need to embrace risk, be decisive when things are crazy, lay your reputation on the line and go for it. If you want to be bigger, then you have to think bigger. Otherwise, you will not be able to grow or improve your skill set.

Once you have done these things, don't feel badly about talking about your successes. If you don't tell people about your accomplishments, who will?

Kathy McShane can be reached at kmcshane@ladieswholaunch.com. .or ladieswholaunch.com.southwestct.