The statistics help, but are they necessary? Take the 4-minute mile for example--a once deemed impossible challenge for humans. Until it wasn’t. Two short months later, a second person ran the mile in under 4 minutes, too.
How did it happen? In 1954, Roger Bannister relentlessly visualized himself running the mile in 3:59 seconds until his body and mind were certain they could achieve it. He faced the limiting belief of the impossible by training himself to ignore the statistically improbable.
What if Women in STEM do the same thing? In 2019, women only represent only a quarter of the STEM workforce. According to the US Census, “in 1970, women made up 38% of all U.S. workers and 8% of STEM workers. By 2019, the STEM proportion had increased to 27% and women made up 48% of all workers.” These numbers feel grim. But are these statistics necessary?
As an executive coach working with Women in STEM, I’ve challenged my clients to reframe their thinking. Instead of envisioning a glass cap on their potential, I asked them to focus on a glass door. Imagine the team of people on the other side who are beckoning you to enter the room. Visualize pulling the handle. See yourself stepping forward. Watch yourself walking through the door. Are you ready to have a seat at the table?
In today’s market, companies are recognizing that to win in technology the top leaders need to listen to customer needs, bring creative ideas to the table, and collaborate with partners. These are the skills that are often perceived as “feminine” leadership traits. The Women in STEM initiatives in both the classroom and in companies have gained momentum for future generations to succeed. Yet, when the conversations continue to focus on negative statistics and “why aren’t we there, yet?” we accidentally foster the limiting belief that it’s hard for women in IT.
Now is the time to step through the glass door and ask, are these statistics even relevant? If you practice like Roger Bannister, you, too, can achieve what the body and mind are certain of.
Executive Mom Nest Founder, Marcy Stoudt is passionate about developing leaders, bringing teams together, and creating a work environment where people thrive. For the past 25 years, she has worked with hundreds of women and executives and has coached, taught, and inspired results through confidence and balance.