My business has been growing year upon year. But it has never met its potential.
It was talking about this with my accountant this week, and the factors that are holding my business back. My accountant said: “you don’t have a penis”.
Now, my accountant is a woman ten years older than me, running her own accounting firm. So she knows the service industry, and she knows what’s it’s like to be great at her job but still get the pickings left over from mediocre men.
I was a bit crushing to hear – because it’s not something I can change.
I was also starting to believe that my gender didn’t matter that much – that society was changing, and the I was respected for what I do.
But her comment shunted me straight back into doubt.
Doubt that I can do this. Doubt that I can run a successful business as a sole female. Doubt that my clients and peers actually respect me and think I’m credible.
It made me angry.
Then I realised that I should only focus on what I can control.
I can’t control my gender. I can’t control other people’s biases.
All I can do is good work, educate people about good work, and keep training my staff to have integrity and grit.
I think this is what Angela Duckworth meant when she spoke about grit. Continuing on despite obstacles. Continuing on with what you can control, and not giving into those things you can’t control.
I don’t have a penis; but I do have grit.