Inner Obstacles

I’m embarking on a passion project to publish a book of interviews with successful women in any field (arts, business, STEM) which explore the peak moments and obstacles that have either contributed to or added challenge in their journey to success. Over the years as I personally navigated and watched other women navigate in a corporate environment, I observe both external and internal obstacles to succes.

Recently, I read the interviews in the Isthmus about the challenges faced by women in STEM around Madison (“It’s Still a Man’s World“).  I was especially struck by the comments of Kendra Kreutz who now runs her own engineering consulting firm:

“I have a natural tendency for leadership, and that has definitely made others nervous. And there are obstacles in myself, too. In a room full of men, how many times have I not spoken up because of all of the times before when my opinions were shut down?”  – Kendra Kreutz

The other day, I was working with a female database developer on my project team and she said virtually the same thing. Past experiences at other employers have left her mute, only this time she has a team that wants and needs to hear what she has to say.  Even as I begin reaching out to women for trial interviews, I had the experience of a successful business woman and friend initially exempt herself from being interviewed by me. When I finally asked her directly if she would be willing to do the interview she said, ” I thought I did not meet the criteria…”. And as I launch into this book project, I find myself bumping up against my own fears and inner obstacles.

Interesting isn’t it? How often do we (women) take ourselves out of the loop because we stayed quiet or assumed we didn’t meet the criteria? What would the corporate landscape look like if these inner obstacles were removed? Have you had any experiences like this lately?

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