Why #TimesUp for the one person holding women back

Find out the one person who is most responsible for holding back most women’s career and business success – and discover seven ways you can finally stop self-sabotaging.

Over the last few months women all around the world have collectively been standing up for ourselves. From the Women’s March and fights for equal pay and to end maternity discrimination, to the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns.

But there’s one person who is STILL limiting the power, freedom and opportunities for many women; someone who needs to be publicly named and stopped.


And that’s ourselves.

In this article, our founder, Hannah Martin reveals some of the ways we are self-sabotaging our own career and business potential – and seven ways you can stop.

Why women are often our own worst enemy

As painful as it is to admit, the person who limits most women’s potential is us. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at these statistics:

Who needs organisations, laws and men to hold us back, when we appear to be doing such a fantastic job of capping our own earning, satisfaction and talent potential, according to these figures?

Seven ways you can stop sabotaging yourself right now

So what can we do to reverse these statistics and finally stop self-sabotaging ourselves? Here are seven suggestions that, from five years of empowering and advising women, I know work.

1) Believe you’re worth it

Channel some of your inner L’Oreal and recognise that you ARE worth it. Why on earth wouldn’t you be? And if not you, who IS deserving of the opportunity you want?

The brutal truth is that the people who succeed aren’t always the ones who are worth it. They’re just the ones who had the balls to go for it. So, actually that whole inner dialogue you have going on is pointless. It’s time to stop worrying and just start going for it.

2) You’re not until you are

It took me 18 months to pluck up the courage to start Talented Ladies Club. Why? Because I worried I wasn’t an entrepreneur (or maybe not ‘worthy’ enough – see above). And I was right; I wasn’t an entrepreneur until I got out of my own way and started my own business.

Then, slowly but surely I learned how to run a business. I became an entrepreneur. And you too will become whatever you aspire to be. But only if you actually start doing something.

3) See yourself as the finished article

Too often our focus is on what we don’t have. On what we are lacking. But the people who are walking away with the roles, money and opportunity you want have a totally different perspective. They visualise themselves as being the person they want to be. They already know what it feels like to get what they want – and this gives them an impressive advantage over you.

So stop thinking and feeling your way out of your dreams, and start imagining yourself as the finished article. Trust me, it will greatly increase your chances of actually getting it.

4) Be dogged

I’m often asked what my top success tip is, and it’s always the same: resilience. The people who are the most successful aren’t always the most talented. They don’t have better opportunities. They haven’t got bigger budgets behind them. They just didn’t give up.

When others lost their nerve, or just simply got fed up of the dull, repetitive hard work that is often behind great achievements, the dogged people soldiered on. And eventually were rewarded for their stubbornness. So be dogged – even through the dark days and long nights. It’s worth it.

5) Don’t be afraid of change

That said, simply flogging a dead horse isn’t going to take you anywhere special. So while you certainly need to be persistent, you also need to be perceptive and flexible enough to recognise when you need to make changes, and do it.

Be happy to go back to the drawing board if you have to. Be prepared to accept you’ve got something wrong. And be willing to learn lessons. If it helps, remind yourself of this: If nothing changes, nothing changes.

6) Learn from others

I’ve always invested in personal growth. From training as a psychotherapist to hiring a business coach, I know that paying to learn from others will supercharge my growth – and ultimate success. And trust me, investing in the right expertise saves you money in the long run. (It also saves you time and a LOT of frustration.)

So whatever it is you want to achieve, find someone or something who will help you get there and invest your trust, time, hope and, if needed, money in it.

7) Stop talking yourself out of it

Our final piece of advice is to be careful about the words you use to describe who you are and what you do. As we reveal in our popular article The Three Words You Should Never Use To Describe Your Work, the words you so careless drop into sentences aren’t just influencing the opinions of others, they’re brainwashing your own thoughts and feelings about yourself – and, ultimately, influencing the decisions you make and the actions you take (or don’t).

So let’s start talking ourselves up, not down.

Let’s call time on ourselves – and start owning our own space

Of course this isn’t an extensive list of advice that will help you get out of your own way – you may even have experience or advice I haven’t mentioned.

The point is that we need to start doing something. Because all the time we do nothing, nothing changes. Women continue to earn less, pay themselves less and put themselves forward for fewer opportunities.

So while we should call time on the external rules, organisations and people who bully women and keep us from owning the space we should be in, it’s just as important we fight against the one person we can start influencing right now to start getting what we want.

And that’s ourselves.

So, what positive steps forward are YOU going to make today?