I flew First Class from the UK to the USA.
The cabin was FULL of men.
There were four women in total, including myself.
The other three were travelling with their husbands.
The rest of the First Class passengers were men, travelling alone.
When I realised this, I ran through some emotions.
Where all my sisters at?
(I’d had a couple of cheeky Bucks Fizzes by this point.)
(Ironically, not proud to admit that, but a little part of me went ‘ooh I’m doing something out of the ordinary here, flying alone First Class under my own steam’.)
Seriously. Where all my sisters at?
I didn’t manage to vet the intentions of all the male passengers (that might have looked a bit dodgy).
But I started eavesdropping, engaging in conversation and innocently finding out what they were travelling for.
(Especially easy in the queue for immigration when I got to Atlanta.)
Being sent by their company.
It got me thinking.
Maybe this was a one-off, isolated incident and the First Class cabin is usually full of well-paid, high-flying women being spoilt as they jet off on international business.
Assuming it wasn’t (and I’d love to hear from you if I’m wrong in that assumption) I wondered…
Are male-dominated businesses the ones that operate internationally?
Are jobs that require international travel dominated by men?
Are women travelling for business but flying in a different cabin?
On my connecting flight from Atlanta to Cancun I chatted to a fascinating British chap who lives and works in the US.
I told him what I had seen.
He told me of a statistic that women only apply for a job if they meet 100% of the requirements – whereas men will have a crack at it if even if they only meet 60%.
This Hewlett Packard report found that women didn’t apply for the same reasons as men – but the men who DID apply, despite not meeting the requirements, were aware that other factors would come in to play, and that they were still in with a chance.
Women tend to believe that unless they’re 100% perfect, they don’t have a chance.
Men are way more likely to speak up, talk about their skills and apply for a job, promotion – and probably a coveted foreign assignment too.
There is such an important lesson here.
Wherever you’re at, whatever you do, make sure you push yourself forward.
If you want something, DON’T list the reasons / excuses / arguments why you’re not good enough to do it or unlikely to get it.
Don’t point them out in an application, conversation or interview.
(Clearly, common sense applies here, I’m not suggesting you go all Catch Me If You Can and start pretending to be a doctor.)
Don’t even list them to yourself.
Instead, list the reasons why you’re exactly the right person for the job.
Then throw down your cards, get scrappy and put some effort into getting what you want.
You might meet 77% of the requirements.
You don’t apply because of the missing 23%.
And the prize goes to someone else who DID apply even though they met 64%!
The percentage doesn’t even factor the unlisted, conceptual requirements: personality, professionalism, likeability, relevant experience and commitment.
This also applies if you have your own business.
The client you want to win.
The course you want to create.
Are you waiting to have everything 100% perfect before you step up?
Screw that my friend.
If you want anything – clients, customers, gigs, interviews – ASK!
Make it clear that you are available, interested, eager AND qualified.
Don’t list your flaws, shortcomings and weaknesses.
Focus on your strengths.
Don’t write yourself off before the race even starts.
Do you fear being rejected?
Then look at it this way.
You put yourself forward for something.
You put energy, hope and time into it.
Maybe you don’t get the result that you wanted.
But you gain two vital things…
I guarantee you, everything you did to move yourself forward is a lesson well learned.
You will gain something from it, even if you don’t know what. I wrote about this here.
2. The Unexpected
Every step you take, every door you knock, every connection you make (no this isn’t a song) creates exponential shifts in the world around you – both seen and unseen.
It might be as fast and obvious as someone you spoke to recommending you to someone else.
Sometimes, it might not be fast and obvious.
That doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
Every time you move forward, the Universe takes a hundred steps on your behalf.
Dots are joined, plans made possible, paths cleared.
Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
You don’t know what will come from every opportunity you seize to do something different, fun, exciting or challenging.
Don’t decide for someone else that you’re not right for an opportunity.
Show your worth.
And I’ll see you in the First Class cabin.
The Energy Editor