I am going to talk about something that I am sure a lot of us think about when we are alone in the shower or just about to go to sleep:
working woman guilt.

I once read a perfect line in the book “Forget Having It All” which sums up the struggle of every working woman.

Do you know what many working women and thus also driven female managers are tired of hearing?
Everyone expects them to work. In the first place, we expect this of ourselves. Sure, we want to thrive, both professionally and personally. It’s only natural.

But what sometimes gets on my nerves is that on the one hand, ‘they’ expect us to work like we don’t have a family.
Our bosses expect us to be on our toes all the time till 10 p.m.
On the other hand, ‘people’ advise us to tend to our family like we don’t have a job… How is that even possible?


This is hard to face

I’ve been in that situation (and regularly still are as a solo-entrepreneur), just like many other corporate female managers or business owners. You are not alone; there are a lot of us in the same boat juggling different roles and responsibilities and at the end of the day feeling that we are just not doing enough.
While we may be achieving accolades at work, putting in numerous hours of overtime just to shine out and achieve all the professional and managerial milestones, at the end of the day when we are alone, we lie there with guilt – making us question our life choices every day.

We feel guilty for not giving attention to our family and home the way we want to. We feel guilty for not having the energy to dress up for a nice night out with our partner, or for the singles amongst us, to go out on a romantic date. We feel guilty for spending that extra hour at work that could have been spent reading a story to our child or celebrating our parents’ anniversary. We feel guilty for shouting at our 5-year-old on that day we came home mentally and physically exhausted.

Trust me, I can feel you when you say that you know what the pressure of guilt is. So many female managers say that as they drop off their kids at day-care for 10-12 hours per day, they secretly envy the mother who does not have to put her kid in day-care and who takes her child home and spends hours listening to his stories. There is a constant struggle of balancing the work-life and becoming the wife and mum she wanted to be.

Many women feel guilty for working and guilty for not working. Many women leaders feel guilty for being the ambitious high-level contributor and valuable asset to their employer, building their career, while leaving them hardly any time with their family and friends. They’re stuck in a loop where nothing makes them feel better.


We’re not alone

But then, let’s pause and think – our partner spends equal hours at work, maybe spends even less time at home and yet we have never heard him say he is feeling guilty.

True or false?
I know male executives and entrepreneurs who feel ‘dad guilt’.

However, most women have more guilt that stems from enormous and unreal expectations that we have set for ourselves. And we are not alone – research done on more than 1000 Japanese men and women also showed that to compensate for this guilt women are more willing than men to sacrifice a significant amount of salary just to get a better work-life balance.[1]


There is another way!

You can work less and design your leadership career to spend more time with your family, while still being a high-level contributor. Also, as a (small) business owner you can do this!

Think about this: how much of your private time is being wasted working overtime because you’re being overly operational, fighting fires, and trying to catch up all the time?

Well, the truth is: you can’t catch up. You’ll have to stop being the workhorse of the team and get your team to perform.
And I guarantee you that you’ll gain between 5-10 hours per week. Or about 260 to 520 hours per year, year after year!

Not only do I know this first-hand, I see it all the time.
My greatest privilege is to spend my days helping smart female managers ‘step up’, create balance, and live the career and life they want, where they do get to have it all, instead of doing it all.

Want to discover how?
I’ve created a very special video masterclass that I urge you to watch right now.

When you do, you’ll be taking the first step to creating the leadership career and life you want.

And you’ll thank yourself for taking that step every single day!



[1] https://blogs.imf.org/2020/09/09/guilt-gender-and-an-inclusive-recovery-a-lesson-from-japan/

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