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The Stories Keeping Women Leaders Stuck

May 24, 20237 min read

I talk to a lot of smart women and it seems like everybody is in this really interesting stage of questioning everything. It seems we can safely call it, as of May 24, 2023 - a post pandemic world. I'm finding that now, more than ever, so many of the smart women I talk to are in this space of "Who am I? What am I doing with my life? Am I supposed to be here? How did I wind up here?"

And if you're in that stage, I want you to think about a couple of things I want you to be aware of as you start evaluating the answers to those questions. There's a few stories you might be telling yourself that simply are not true.

You Are Not Alone

We tell ourselves that we are alone. You're not alone. Obviously, this is happening in a lot of places to a lot of women. I don't know what it was that happened in 2020 that made us start evaluating every single choice we've made in our lives... but we're doing it. From our careers, to our businesses, to our marriages, to our children, to where we live - it feels like we are starting to question all of it.

The number of people who picked up and decided to live in RV, or the people who relocated because they realized that they were no longer location specific, or the people who left careers and started businesses, or the people who finally left the career that they hated and moved on to do something else - is astounding.

You Are Free to Reinvent Yourself - As Many Times As You Want

We tell ourselves that we can't change our minds. We can. I want to encourage you to think about is that you can reinvent yourself as often, as many times as you want - and as completely as you need to. No questions ask.

I know we live in a society that tells us that we should pick a career at the age of 18, and we should do it until we die. And I find that advice to be terribly stupid, and I find it to be terribly outdated.

We live in a world where technology is moving so fast that there are career choices now that didn't exist even five years ago. So, the idea that you wouldn't change your career, or change your life, or change your plan is crazy.

But, we are taught that if we continue to change our mind and make different choices, we appear flaky or inconsistent or not reliable - and that's not true.

I remember being told when I was young that it wasn't attractive to employers if I didn't stay somewhere. You should just stay in a job you hate so that someone else will hire you for a job you hate just as much. That is just insane. And it's even worse when we start businesses because we're like, oh shit, I built this thing and I don't like it. I don't like running it. It's just way too much.

And then we start to question everything. But you are free to reinvent yourself, your business, your life as many times as you want. The only one who gets a say in it - is you.

You Can Remove The Golden Handcuffs

You know why so many women don't reinvent themselves? Golden Handcuffs. Their successful, but they're not happy. They're making a ton of money in their business, or in their career and they feel stuck.

It's a very real thing that so many of us experience - you literally feel captive to your own success. And then we start to think that we have to stay somewhere where we aren't happy because we've built this amazing business or climbed up to this amazing career and now there is no going back - or there are no other options. And that's not true.

The rules around success in society are made up. When it comes to what success looks like, there are no rules. You get to decide what it looks like. You are free to remove your golden handcuffs anytime you want. There are other options available to you.

Figure Out What You Actually Want

It took me years to realize that my success journey before I left the corporate world was simply me doing what everyone else told me to do. I did not stop and think about who I was or what I wanted to do. I just did what I was told. I was told that if I followed these specific paths or these specific steps, that I would amass some amount of success. And I did.

But there is no blueprint for success. It looks different for everyone - and we all value different things. We have different goals, different things that motivate us, different values, and we don't all want to be business owners that make millions of dollars.

If that's what you want - game on. I know you have what it takes. But if you're perfectly happy making $100k a year working part time and spending massive amounts of time with your family, then that's just as impressive as someone else's 7-figure business goals.

Success to you might be money, time, a title, freedom... or a combination of all of the above. All of them are available to you, but you really have define your own version of success. Because you will never be happy with someone else's.

For the longest time, my version of success was more money. I believed wholeheartedly that more money meant I would find more success. What I've realized having grown my businesses to a certain dollar amount, and then burning them down and starting over, was that it's really not the money. Yes, money affords conveniences. Yes, I understand the amount of privilege I have when I make that statement, but making more and more money did not create any more happiness or fulfillment in my work or in my life.

I've discovered that I really value freedom. I value the freedom of choice, the freedom to work as much as I want to work, work where I want to work, travel anywhere I want and however I want and still be able to work, and work with the kind of clients I actually enjoy.

So for me, my definition of success changed from "I want to make a lot of money" to "I want to have a lot of freedom".

I also want to make a lot of money, but I want to do that in a way that feels good to me, not in the way that society says that I have to.

Take some time to really discover what it is that defines your success - and don't be surprised if it changes and evolves as you continue to grow.

Wrapping Up

When we spin ourselves up in crazy story about what's available to us, what success should look like according to society, and believing that we are stuck on the path we've already built ourselves... it keeps us stuck.

It keeps us unhappy. It keeps us in businesses that we hate. It keeps us in relationships that aren't healthy. It keeps us living in communities that we don't feel supported in. It keeps us serving clients that we don't want to serve. And none of that is okay.

I encourage you to look inside. Look inside for the story. Look inside for the answers. Look inside for the inspiration because it's all inside of you. We are building a community of wildly powerful women who get to decide exactly who we want to be every single day inside of Be in the Room. And you are welcome here.

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Ryann Dowdy

Ryann Dowdy is a community builder and expert in sales. She's built multiple 7-figure businesses of her own - and helped hundreds of women successfully build the 6 and 7-figure businesses of their dreams. Women have been drawn to her programs not only for her incredible expertise, but also for the community and connection opportunities they find themselves missing in their everyday lives. Today, as founder of Be in the Room, Ryann's mission is to create a space for women to come together and be fearlessly themselves while empowering the next generation of female leaders.

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