Insight from Women Leaders: Ignore Limiting Messages

Insight from Women Leaders: Ignore Limiting Messages

What do female Baby Boomer, Gen X and Millennial leaders have in common? Resiliency. 

Resiliency is described as the spirit of flexibility, elasticity—a suppleness that allows for quick recovery. When faced with challenges, the women shared stories of how they sprung back from situations without surrendering or quitting. Again, across the generations we heard statements like, “I don’t get stuck in a world of what I can’t. I focus on what I can” and, “I believe strongly that the world is how you envision it. When someone tells me I can’t do something, it gives me more of a reason to figure out how to do it.”

When we asked our interviewees what kind of limiting messages might they have received, one women leader stated, “I just ignored them. I would not take it too personally.” We were quite surprised that very few interviewees expressed being given limiting messages that made a negative impact on their way of thinking or being. And, when they did hear these messages, it was typically in adulthood. These women leaders expressed that their response was to either 1) ignore these messages and continue on their leadership journey or 2) listen to the negativity, and then choose to work harder to prove the message giver wrong.  The following are examples of both responses:

“Limiting messages are more like challenges to figure out, a puzzle to solve.” “I received limiting messages and I simply ignored them.”

“Several people said, ‘you’re stupid to do this, they’re (new employment company) not going to be around in five years,’ but taking that job was the best thing I ever did. That was in 1994. I have been there 20 years now.”

“Probably because of my intelligence, I have often figured out a way to go around whatever obstacle was created, whatever limit was put on me.”

“I have received limiting messages, but I was not raised to embrace them. I was raised to reject them and move on.  I don’t waste time with them.”

What other traits do female Baby Boomer, Gen Y, and Millennial leaders share?  Find out in Align Leadership’s Free Whitepaper: Women Leaders Across the Generations