Not long ago, I met with one of the nation’s top marketing strategists. During our meeting I outlined my current business objective with her.
Equip one million women to empower themselves in the next five years
When I signed up for the session, it never occurred to me that the focus of my career was up for grabs. I just assumed that since this is my life’s purpose (and greatest passion), we would address the “how” question — not the “if.”
Here’s what she said: “You can never go to women first. You’re going to have to back into the market. You can’t be a speaker for women and make the kind of money you’re talking about.”
Here’s what I heard: “You must decide if you’re going to stay with your passion and stay committed to women and their issues, or if you’re going to make the money you say you want to make.”
Now, wait a minute. For the past 28 years, I have traversed the country, proselytizing the virtues of living on purpose, using every gift and talent you have, being passionate, and following one's heart in a career.I preach that if you do what you love, etc. etc. Did this mean that everything I’d taught all those years has been pure bullshit?
As I tried to digest her advice, I began to realize that at this point in my life, I can’t separate my “self” from my business because the latter was born out of the former. Now I was told I’d need to default to some cultural norm if I wanted profit commensurate with my passion?
The meeting ended. My rant began.
I paced and panted like some frustrated animal caged in by the very things that made my life so worth living. I railed about the injustice of it all because, in truth, there were more than a few things this woman was right about: Women do not get paid as much as men. Women listen to men, and men listen to men before either listen to women. And I know from too much personal experience that it is often assumed that I will accept lower wages just because I’m a woman (or is it because I’m not a man?).
By the time I returned home from this conference, I’d received three messages asking me to speak. All of them were women’s groups. None of them offered monetary compensation. Was this some message reinforcing this expert’s advice? Or was it a challenge for me to stand up for what I say I believe in?
Then I remembered two things:
There is an AND to every leadership conversation.
That AND is in bold when it relates to women.
Yes, we indeed earn 82 cents on a white man's dollar. AND what is ALSO true is that just because that’s the way it is, doesn’t mean that’s the way it will be.
Just because what I want to do hasn’t been done before
doesn’t mean I can't do it.
I also remembered who I am. While this woman may have been the market expert, I’m the expert on me. This wouldn’t be the first time that some professional held an opinion contrary to mine. It won’t be the last.
Passion or profit? I won’t have to make that choice unless I think I have to. I’ll keep you posted. I’ll follow my path, knowing I have a choice. I’ll also let you know (when I find out) if purpose can truly birth profit or if some market trend will determine my destiny.
PLEASE SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS in the comments below.
Are you ready to make a change? Are you willing to put aside your fears and work through your obstacles to realize your potential? Then schedule a 15-minute complimentary call with Nancy on our calendar .
Nancy D. Solomon, MA Psych is the CEO and Founder of The Leadership Incubator where she helps leaders identify, address and resolve people problems before they become profit problems so everyone can focus on what they were hired to do-- INNOVATE AND DRIVE GROWTH.
Known as The Impact Expert, she is a main stage speaker, expert trainer and veteran coach who helps leaders solve key issues related to leadership development, employee engagement, and advancing women.
Nancy has made a difference for such companies as Microsoft, Target, Acura, Westin, Nordstrom & ADP as well as with many passionate individuals.