The one who uses her weaknesses to shine
We all hear a lot of crazy stories from all over the world showing how hard it is to be a women entrepreneur in tech. We all try to support each other and give tips in order to get over those hard situations we sometimes have to face.
Here I decided to make a little contribution and share my experience.
Since I studied literature, history, philosophy and foreign languages while being an actress, no wonder why some people do not take me seriously when I'm presenting my company ThereSheGoes, a tech company involving an international team with some men with more experience than me. But the CEO is a woman in her 30's who has no background in tech or business.
To find a way to get some credibility, I decided to use my experience when I was studying acting. I was young and of course very unsecure. Some reasons for this insecurity are the fact that I was taller than everyone else (French people are not famous for being as tall as Duchies let's face it) and also, I had big feet.
One day, my teacher told me to highlight what I was ashamed of in order to assume my complex.
In my case, that meant wearing high heels, so I'm even taller, and shiny shoes, so it catches people's attention.
That was the best advise ever!
This had an immediate impact. And a positive one. People started to compliment me about how tall I am, and elegant with my new own style.
I started to find my own personality, my own way to deal with criticism. And that helped me a lot to grow. I decided then to apply this advice again, 15 years later.
I haven't studied in a business school or in a "Grande Ecole" and am more into literature than into numbers.
Why hiding it after all?
For instance, the first time I had to work on the projections for my company, I did not use Excel because I thought it was overrated and not that relevant… Or let's be honest, I just didn't want to use it.
So, I calculated everything on my cell phone, and put my results on 7 different Word documents. My business partner almost got a heart attack when he saw it.
He spent two days to explain to me how to put that information in an excel document. He took the time to teach me without jugging me. I learned a lot (obviously) and we had a great time.
Some people must think that is something I should hide.
Instead, I decided to highlight this episode because I don't see my lack of knowledge in this story.
I see two co-founders working as a team, completing each other's. I see my capacity to put my ego on the side, admit I don't know something. It also shows I can learn fast and apply quickly what I recently learned. I don't think that is something I should be ashamed of but instead something I should be proud of.
Like many women, I tend to underestimate myself. I had to try a new way to change that and get some confidence.
Even Sheryl Sandberg, author of the best-selling book Lean in and COO of Facebook mentioned it in her book: "Women have to conquer their fear; Think less, act more; Dare offering new ideas; Don't worry if they're shot down, just go back at it and offer new ones."
However she sees also the limits of those advises: It's not by telling women to have more confidence that they will get it.
Hence my suggestion:
Shall we try highlighting our weaknesses?
What if those weaknesses are in fact our strength?
That could be a first way for us to get more confident….
Cheers to us rocking the world!