Successful women tend be perceived as scary more often than not. Successful women, as this articles’ definition, may be bad ass boss ladies, beautiful externally and/or internally, noticeably stable or self-assured, amazing moms, superwomen, or any women who seem to “have it all.”
I laugh every time I hire someone new at the salon. They legitimately always seem terrified of me. It is like I am this scary boss lady or something. I am not really. In my brain, I am one of the most amazing business owners and so easy to work for. Really! I am. The only expectations I have are that, as my employee, you try your best, hold yourself accountable, and continue to grow in business sense, as an artist, and as a woman and human in general. I am an owner who manages in a style where I will high five you or redirect you back on track. I will mentor. I do not micromanage and try to give my staff their own sense of ownership with their businesses behind their own chair.
But I am scary.
I meet women everyday who think I am intimidating and more-than-likely "bitchy" based on how I look and carry myself. I hear I come off in “some sort of way.” Most of the time it is in relation to seemingly being intimidating or threatening. Really? Again, in this brain of mine I am one of the most real, giving, and empathetic individuals. I am really stinking cool to hang out with and can hold a conversation about anything. And I too worry about my grays and stretchmarks and if my shoes match my outfit exactly right. I too worry if people "like me."
But I am scary.
I may look like I have it all. I am a business owner, lucrative hair stylist, mom who posts cute little family pictures on social media, a romantic partner of an amazing and financially fit man who washes and folds her laundry and brings me coffee in bed every morning. I am thin and take care of my looks. I can communicate and communicate well with very professional sounding verbiage. I exude confidence and empowerment. I hold myself to lofty expectations. I buy what I want when I want it. I take care of my needs and the needs of others. I look like I have it all.
Trust me when I say this... I do not have it all or all together in general. I too am a work in progress.
I cry- real tears. I rage clean and anxiously reorganize shelves when I am stressed. I freak out -when shit hits the fan and when my son puts his shoes on the wrong feet for the umpteenth million time. I get a zit here and there. I mess up. I trip. I over shop to fill voids. I drink too much sometimes. I self-sabotage.
I am not perfect. And I too am scared.
Despite my flaws, I do label myself as successful and I do exhibit traits of this article’s definition of a successful woman. Additionally, I am clearly aware of how I am perceived. But am I scary? No.
Let us think about this for a second. Who is the scariest woman you can conjure? Does she have snakes writhing from her head like Medusa? Does she have razor eyes and sharpened teeth? Is she going to claw your eyes out for looking at her the wrong way? Or is she in practical shoes, a messy bun. or a power suit? Is she like me dressed head to toe in SHEIN with bleach or hair color spots on her clothes and hair that has not been washed in a week?
Here is what I know is true. Successful, beautiful, confident women are scary but not because they may chew your head off or steal your man. They are scary because of the comparison we make of ourselves against them. We compare our looks to theirs, our success to theirs, and their poise against ours. We want to emulate their traits but are so fearful we never will that we turn to just hating them or feeling intimated by them.
That is a shame.
I am a real person. You are real person. All successful women are real people. We have flaws. We compare ourselves to others just like the rest of you. We have had to work hard to look good, feel good, succeed in what we do, and grow mentally, emotionally, physically, and academically. We have had to adopt traits and strengthen others. We have had to adapt and evolve. We have had to do some major soul searching and look at the scary shit within us that we would love to avoid.
We only seem scary because we exhibit traits you too want to have or strengthen. Your own fear is what makes us scary. The comparison between us is what makes us scary. So, is it that we are scary, or do you admire or envy us? Think about it! What if you had or strengthened the traits you already have of a successful woman? Would you think you were scary?
What I am trying to say is:
It has nothing to do with successful women and everything to do with how we perceive them.
“Intimidation” is a funny thing. Most of us have probably felt it, upon meeting someone who seems to have it so together—the job, the spouse, the home, the wardrobe, the sense of nonchalance about it all. That, for some reason, is when we tend to automatically think less of ourselves. We wonder what we could ever offer such a person, how we would even have a conversation with them without blurting out something dumb about their shoes or the photo they posted on Instagram. We want to ask them questions and buy the same shoes. You do not, however, because... Heaven forbids! But what if you were told that you are intimidating. How strange it is to imagine that you, with your flaws and insecurities and weird habits, could ever produce such a feeling in another human.
What does it really mean to be intimidating as a woman? Is it a compliment? An insult? Is it something we can control? And how best should we respond to the feeling that being intimidated by another woman produces in ourselves?
Let us look at a few of the traits of a successful woman. How can we all adopt or strengthen these traits? I am not perfect- I still have work to do! Let us change our perception and remove the scary Halloween mask on this woman.
She Has a Clear Purpose
A successful woman is not working towards just any old thing. Whether it is to help those less fortunate, empower others around her, or provide a service that makes someone’s life easier or more beautiful, a successful woman knows why exactly she is doing it. Given her success, she has faced countless difficulties and struggles along the way but having a concrete idea and knowing the "big why" for doing what she does gives her the strength to keep pushing and to continue to overcome other obstacles that are bound to step in the way. She is a global thinker and sees the bigger picture.
It takes some soul searching and deep diving into the abyss to find your purpose. Successful women have done the work. Perhaps some of their purposes came easy, but most had to put the work in to discover it. We envy the resiliency and perseverance it takes to find out our life’s purpose. That is scary- not the person.
I knew at an incredibly early age I wanted to make people look beautiful. Little did I know back then that my purpose would evolve. My purpose now is to grow people and to empower them. I create external beauty, but I generate inner beauty as well. I can offer even the smallest moments of self-love and confidence for my guests or team members. I allow people to see their selves in a new perspective. I build careers and the next generation of bad ass boss ladies.
That is my bold statement. That is my "big why". That is my purpose.
She Knows Exactly What She Wants to Achieve
Some people only have vague ideas of what success looks like to them. Is success the common idea including grand wealth, frequent travels to beaches, designer everything, being a corporate CEO, and owning enormous homes? We tend to believe this is the definition of success, whether we feel fulfilled by it or not. A successful woman has a clear idea of where she wants to get to and what her own success looks like. She is not aiming for some vague goal in the distance. A successful woman knows what success looks like to her. She does not base it off someone else's idea of success is should be for her. She also knows success evolves and changes. She is fluid and resilient. She is resourceful and courageous.
I wanted to be the best and most well-known stylist in my area. I was clear on that. I achieved it. I wanted a successful business with employees who value me as much as I value them. I have multiple. I wanted to pass my knowledge of inner personal work, the beauty industry, and business ownership on. I am yelling it loud and proud. And guess what? People listen. I wanted a lucrative business. Well... We are projected to do a half a million dollars this year and have been profitable since day one. Heck yes!
These were not vague goals. I knew the destination of where I wanted to be. I made damn sure I found that map or created my own paths.
A dream + strategy = anything is possible.
But trust me... This is not my final destination.
She Sets Small Goals
These so-called scary women are called “successful” for a reason. If they are actors, they are not the type to settle for just a supporting role and a Hallmark Movie. They shoot for the moon: they imagine themselves winning an Oscar. Successful women never stop climbing; they are always striving for more. They do this by understanding the big picture and then setting small goals over a period to achieve the big picture. This allows them to persevere and avoid being "stuck in a rut." They are able to celebrate the small victories along the way. They can link goals to rewards. Willpower only takes us so far…the key to transforming your life into something you are passionate and enthusiastic about takes a shift in mindset about what your real purpose is, and effective goal setting. And while this might sound like a mighty task to undertake and well, intimidating to do in general, it has been easier to do than I could have ever imagined.
It all comes down to one thing:
You... need to take the reins in creating the life you have always dreamt of having.
You have that vision. You have that purpose for which you must live. That big old hairy goal of yours needs to be broken down into little bite-size pieces. With each goal met; success is had. Celebrate even the smallest of goals. Buy yourself that iced coffee. Reward yourself for the medium-size goals. Buy the damn shoes. We do not have to wait to reach our final destination to relish in our victory.
She Continues to Learn
No matter how high her position might be, how many years of expertise she has under her belt, she strives to gather all the continuing education she can gets her hands on. One of the factors that separate a successful woman from an unsuccessful one is that she is willing to adopt new strategies that work, rather than closing her mind up and sticking to outdated ideas. Opening your eyes to new things may seem scary, right? As society constantly changes its mind about what is effective and what is not, a successful woman is able to be nimble and quickly understand what works best for her and those around her. She always tries to gain new skills and learn new things. She becomes more flexible and adaptable to any situation. She evolves- repeatedly. Many people’s perceptions of one who evolves further than themselves may be deemed threatening.
I never stop learning. I am always hungry for more. I am constantly working on myself and pushing for my own evolution. I have adapted to change. Many of you know, I love all things self-care and self-help. I have outgrown people. I have learned to set boundaries. I have learned who I am and how to remain authentic. That is real damn scary to some people. But that is scary... not me.
She Trusts Herself
In short, she is confident. If something goes wrong in her company, family, or in life, she trusts herself enough that she can find a workable solution. This may not have come naturally to some women. Maybe growing up, they were shy about presenting their skills and sharing their abilities. Maybe self-doubt plagued her. But through the years, she has learned how to be more confident and trust herself. She is constantly trying to refine her skills. That is why she tends not to fear challenges. She adapts and evolves. As daunting as some challenges are, she also knows that it is a chance for her to grow and assess her skills. She does not easily get discouraged by failure, because she knows she can always improve. When one does not exhibit fear, that person may be perceived as that mythical creature with snakes as hair.
Confidence is only scary because many do not know where to find it. Confidence lies in each one of us. It is scary to go on that hike in the deep, dark forest of our soul to find it. We all want confidence, and we especially want what we do not have. When we see someone else have something we want and do not have, we label it as unfair. We pass off our own emotions of lacking self-confidence as disliking the individual that does.
I am not scary. I am, though, confident as hell.
She Can Navigate Stressful Situations... Calmly
As a successful woman, she is bound to face situations that will test her emotionally and mentally. Finances might not be guaranteed, or sales are slowing down. She may be losing it on her kids and arguing with her partner. Her Google Calendar is a disaster. Does she have time to pee? In these moments, it is easy for others to get caught up in their anxiety about what might happen and what might not. They start jumping to the worst-case scenario and become crippled in the anxiety. But a successful woman knows how to stay calm and keep her focus on finding a solution. As a leader, she knows that if she starts losing it, her members at work or in her family will begin to worry too. That is why she needs to be strong for others, that way she can manage them effectively.
Most are scared during stressful or chaotic situations. We all have survival mechanisms to survive. Even I am scared, but I choose not to sit in that emotion long. We can choose fight or flight... or shut down. When we witness someone come bursting through the flames unscathed, we cower. It is not that they are scary. It is, however, that we are intimidated by them. Those are two different things.
Do it. Ditch it. Or... Delegate it.
She Aims High
She would not be where she is without aiming high. Others might be aiming for modest goals, but a successful woman has some big, hairy dreams. She might first start out with providing the best value in her neighborhood. Then she slowly branches out to her city, state, country, then the world. She has big visions for what kind of life she wants to live and what result she wants to accomplish. While other people might be afraid to set goals too large, because they are afraid or they might fall short, a successful woman goes for it without second guessing. It might even scare her still, but she acts despite the fear and tries her best to make her goals a reality. Fear of the unknown does not deter her.
I can see why someone who may “take over the world” may be perceived as scary. But holy shit, imagine if you would become the Robin to that Batman.
I did not always know I that I wanted a full salon or to make a million dollars. I just wanted to survive. I survived alright. The year of working alone, bringing in under one-hundred thousand dollars and maying multiple mortgages and household bills, I just wanted to survive. I set a goal to hire one person and to strive for two-hundred thousand. We did it. And my business keeps growing. I now want to be a millionaire. I want my stylists to be six-figure earners. I want to step away from behind the chair and still make the money I do now. This is my big, hairy goal... for now.
She Sets Boundaries and Can Voice Opinion
Oh, boundaries. There are going to be times when she is going to have to assert her position and stance about a certain topic. Women are not typically labeled as an influential or a commanding voice in any room, but a successful woman is not afraid to call someone out for an ineffective policy or mandate if she knows a better alternative. She has learned to eloquently voice opinions without fear of backlash or dislike. She has learned the importance of setting boundaries as they are important to stay within her own authenticity. People on the other side of her boundary line tend to not like that place much.
You are bitch if you say no. You are disliked if you do not rule with the majority. Untrue. You must stay true to your authentic self and tend to your own needs and desires. At times, that is too much for others to manage so they mislabel you as scary. If you do not feel like something is right, speak up. How can you create change silent?
Being a people pleaser does not mean sacrifice yourself.
What I know is true here is be prepared to lose people when you set boundaries. I have one quote that has stuck with me that I want you to read over and over again,
I would rather have 4 quarters than 100 pennies.
What does that mean for you?
They Tap into Their Personal Power
Successful women take responsibility for their lives and tap into their personal power. They do not let insecurities get the better of them. I know, it can be difficult in the best of times to not dwell on your insecurities. I have insecurities like everyone else. I and successful people know that overcoming insecurities starts with embracing your strengths. We all have amazing strengths, even if we are not always cognitive of them. This is where you start to really tap into your personal power. It is a process that takes time, but the more you work at it, the stronger you will feel — and the more it will help you. You see, we all have an incredible amount of power and potential within us, but most of us never tap into it. We become dragged down by self-doubt and limiting beliefs. We stop doing what brings us true happiness.
So, if you are tired of living in frustration, dreaming but never achieving, and of living in self-doubt, instead of fearing this person, you could befriend and learn from them. True empowerment needs to come from within. They tapped into their personal power. Let them help you find your key.
Honestly, it took a whole lot for me to recognize my strengths. I still am blind to them at times. I need to be reminded in therapy, by my business coach, or others surrounding me. That is okay, Fear overshadows our strengths. I still feel fear. When I do, I know I need to ask for help finding my light again,
Write your strengths down. Read them when you need to pull one out in the face of fear.
Amazing Books to read to help with your journey! Click here!
She Develops Valuable & Meaningful Relationships
As a leader, she knows her success does not rely solely on her skills and determination. She relies on a group of people to achieve something big together. To do that, she forms good relationships with everyone she works with- including her family core, teammates, friends, and network acquaintances. Although she may often speak her mind, she also understands the value of really listening to what others have to say. This way, she engages her members in deep and meaningful conversations to get to know each other better and work more effectively together.
I value each person I meet. You never know who you may come across that will teach you a lesson or say something to you that you will carry with you for all of eternity. Meaningful relationships are scary only because you must show vulnerability. Vulnerability takes courage. The opposite of courage is fear. Fear is scary. Again, it is not the person who is scary.
I dare you to do more work and research regarding vulnerability. It has done wonders for my relationships and for my own soul.
A successful woman knows it takes more than just numbers and finances. It takes being a catalyst for self-growth in all who surround you. It takes emulating authenticity and exhibiting vulnerability.
You get what you put out.
She Puts in the Hours
People may look at certain figures and think that they were merely overnight successes. While, yes, it may have taken a night for them to be recognized, especially with the age of the internet, a successful woman knows that it is all a lie. There is no such thing as true overnight success. The reality is that overnight successes are built on the back of hours, days, months of arduous work. She needed to learn how to do something, to gain new skills, grow as a person. The work involved in success is what is scary and daunting.
We tend not to see the "backend stuff". It looks so easy on the surface. Some may also think that some fairy godmother came down, waved her little wand, and poof- magic (success) occurred for this person. Not true.
Each one of us have the same opportunities. The same tools are available to each one of us. We must take action to promote change. Work is involved.
She Dares to Face Difficulty
When others are faced with difficulties and challenges, it becomes much easier to back down and return to a comfortable life. Others might want to be rich but are not willing to put in the hours or work to get there. Successful women tend to have grit and perseverance. Grit is the ability to push through the pain, embarrassment, and frustrations to achieve success. A successful woman can push through the layer of doubts that others tend to have about her. She is resilient.
What the pandemic has shown us is that we must be flexible and resilient- to remain fluid and brave. We had to quickly adapt in a scary world. Many of us were afraid to lose income or our businesses in general. We were afraid to be locked up with family. We were afraid of all of the unknowns. And of course, we were afraid of getting sick.
We had to push through for our kids. We could not show them our fear.
We had to practice many more health and safety measures that were daunting and time consuming.
We had to manage money and take a real good look at our finances. (As a society, money is still taboo and one of the most uncomfortable things to talk about or even look at.)
We had to adapt our business to the "new normal." We had to work from home when we were used to being in offices. We had to utilize new technology that was unfamiliar to most.
We had to make giant changes.
It is scary when we face challenges and difficulties. It is scary jumping feet first off the cliff of the unknown. It not that successful women are not scared. Trust me, I was. Successful women can face them, challenge the challenges, devise plans, redirect plans, and adjust.
Its fucking hard to do that. But again, it is not the woman that is scary, it is the circumstance and the comparison of your life, being, and self against her.
We do not want to be labeled scary. We are very much trying to empower, bring light the dangers of complacency and comparison, and bring the world together. It really does hurt my soul so much when I hear someone thinks I am scary. I want all people to know their strengths, to realize how utterly amazing they are, and how the world benefits from them being here. I want to love people and feel loved by them.
We all have the ability for greatness and success. There is no magic wand to receive it. It takes work. The work is a scary journey. Trust me when I say this, as a successful woman, I would love to be given the opportunity to travel that journey with you. Many of us successful women did not have a passenger on the road trip. Many of us had the annoying and pesky back seat driver trying to distract us from the road with the negativity and self doubt.
Do not think of me as scary. Think of me and all other successful women as inspirations and aspire to put the work in as we have. We are still doing the work. Join us in it. See that we are not ones to be scared of.
Attract what you expect. Reflect what you desire. Become what you respect. Mirror what you desire.