Ladies, we've been lied to. For years we've been told about this "glass ceiling," but I'm here to tell you it doesn't exist.
Now, don't get freaked out and all mad. By glass ceiling, I don't mean the gender wage gap isn't real. That is in no way a myth. However, I do believe the glass ceiling, the force women believe is holding them down, is 100% a myth.
Let's start by breaking down the term "glass ceiling." A ceiling, by design, is an obstruction not intended to be penetrated—there's no reason to break through it. Why would you want to? By using the word ceiling, we're jointly agreeing something is keeping us down, but what's the reason? If we aren't meant to tear it down, then why the negative connotation?
Similarly, the fact that the ceiling is referred to as glass insinuates that it's an invisible barrier; it's something we can't see, or even clearly define. Therefore, by buying into the myth of the glass ceiling, we are fighting invisible challenges that aren't meant to be won.
Now friends, let's not get discouraged. The force you feel holding you back is NOT a myth. It's a very real pressure to stay behind the scenes. But I believe we can look at this pressure from a totally different angle and find ourselves advancing further than we thought possible–and that's the exciting part!
A Journey, Not a Ladder
With sayings like "climbing the career ladder," it's no wonder we view our jobs and career advancement as a fight against gravity. Even if you're not fighting what is commonly considered the glass ceiling, you still might feel something pulling you back. But if we can step off the ladder for just a moment, we'll find ourselves on a journey of our own design.
Maybe your journey feels more like a maze, or a labyrinth; or maybe your path is messy and you feel like you're wearing heels in an obstacle course in a dark room. Either way, the whole point of a journey is to persevere through the obstacles and get to the other side. A maze is only a maze when we acknowledge there will be dead-ends created to steer us in the right direction. Mazes and paths exist to point us to a destination, not to keep us back.
A Change in Perspective
Given all this talk about mazes and journeys, what becomes clear is what's truly holding us back, and many times it happens to be the only thing we can control…ourselves. The discouragement we feel is often what we use as an excuse to allow obstacles, which are meant to be overcome, to stand in our way. When we embrace our own unique journey (which will inevitably have some obstacles along the way), we see the challenges we face become personal growth opportunities.
As we change our perspective, we can move forward and take an active role in facing the challenges in our lives. For many women, self-confidence could be the problem. For others, family obligations could interfere with career progression. Or, it could be feeling left out of the good ol' boys clubs or dealing with mean girls at work.
All of these obstacles are REAL. But you have the power to overcome them–ALL of them. Thats right, every single one. With the right mindset and a little creativity, you can find your power, identify solutions, and pave your own path to success.