Most of us have heard the glass ceiling adage in which one can see the place they want to reach but is stuck at a certain level due to a “glass ceiling” impeding them. It is true that there are many glass ceilings, (often ending in the suffix ism), that can be imposed to limit our upward mobility: ageism, sexism and racism. Though it is very unfortunate that those ignorant isms still exist and are limiting the ascension of some talented individuals, it is more so unfortunate when we limit our own progress with our self-imposed “glass ceilings”.
In this age of our society, we are taught now more so than ever how important it is to be our own loudest cheerleader. Even though we know how much that practice contributes to us striving forward to greatness, we insist on being our own worst critics. Talking ourselves out of taking new chances, because there is a good chance that we will fail at them. Stifling thoughts of creating new things, because we are sure the work will not be good enough. Taking stock in the disheartening, negative rhetoric from those around us, because they are sometimes our superiors. These are ways that we impose our own glass ceilings.
Self-imposed glass ceilings can hinder us both as individuals and as collective organizations. In organizations, self-imposed glass ceilings often take the forms of stifled creativity and less risk taking. When an organization is continually getting the message from their consumers that their products or services are not needed due to any number of reasons, their unfortunate response can be to simply stop trying.
So how do we break through our self-imposed glass ceilings? We break through our glass ceilings by throwing STONES.
- Stake your claim – Stand up for yourself. You matter! Be confident in the choice you are about to make and go out there and get it. Find mentors and other visionaries that will help you on your road to success.
- Take necessary risks – It takes courage to make a difference. The only way to make change is to be bold and take a chance on yourself.
- Own your achievement – Take responsibility for your own success. No one can do it for you. You have to take ownership of your goals, visions, and dreams.
- Note external interferences – Be aware of your surroundings. They can come in the shape of people, media and your environment. Then make the necessary changes to minimize those interferences.
- Execute your plan – Set Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, & Time-bound [SMART] goals and then start working towards those goals. Set yourself benchmarks to reach and check-in with yourself from time to time.
- Setbacks are opportunities for learning – It’s OK to make mistakes. Mistakes are necessary for success. Use those mistakes to help change your game plan.
Our professional lives can come with many challenges imposed by others that we all have to overcome in order to continue to reach our goals. When we impose our own glass ceilings, we too are contributing to the challenges of meeting our goals.
Take Action: Don’t let glass ceilings keep you from achieving your goal. Break through those barriers – whether imposed internally or externally – and take charge of your future by throwing STONES.