Numbers don’t lie. Women are a minority in the startup world. But things are changing. More and more people are investing in women. In fact, some of the most successful startup companies have female founders such as Canva and Matcha Maiden.
The challenge is sustaining this wave of change, keeping the conversation going, and making sure that it simply won’t be a conversation but a series of actions that will change the entrepreneurial landscape. A recent study showed female-led business have only grown by 3% over the past 20 years. It is not the kind of statistic that will encourage women.
While 30% of businesses in the world are owned by women (34% in Australia), we still have a long way to go to achieve the balance we are aiming for. We sat with Isaac Coonan, Director for REACH Australia, to discuss the state of women entrepreneurship and how we can empower more women to start their own businesses.
You have to come out of your shell and leave your comfort zone. You need to pitch your business to investors. Speak up and share your ideas with confidence. As female leaders, we need to empower women to participate in male-dominant entrepreneurial events so that the following year, the narrative changes. The event isn’t for males anymore but for female entrepreneurs as well.
Know Your Tribe
Connect with other entrepreneurs. Seek mentorship from experienced female startup founders. You have to know your community and engage them. Most female entrepreneurs feel lost and alone because they don’t know who to ask and how to proceed. It’s very important that you know your tribe. They are the like-minded people you need in your journey as an entrepreneur.
Own the Statistic
Things should not end with just knowing that there are less female-led businesses in the market. We should do something about it. If you are at that stage in your business where you can afford to gather women and create entrepreneurial events targeted for women, then do it. Take someone under your wing and mentor her so she can pay it forward later on.
Increase Awareness for Inclusiveness
While we can do whatever we can in our spheres of influence, we can also advocate for systemic change in our government and in big corporations. We should find a way to slowly change the entire ecosystem to make it more inclusive. We also need a mind shift in the way investors look at entrepreneurs—not based on gender, race, or religion but based on skills and ingenuity of ideas.
A lot of people still think that entrepreneurship is a man’s world. But that is absolutely not true. More and more women are stepping out of their comfort zones and starting their own businesses. We need to keep encouraging other women to pursue their startup dreams and empower them to speak up. We need to increase our tribes so that female entrepreneurs find kindred spirits who will support them in their journey.
Have you ever wondered why you sometimes find it difficult to make a decision or how you become aware of your actions and emotions? A lot of us do, and it’s great to discover how personality traits like indecisiveness and self-awareness are linked to our brain.
In our recent 3-part podcast, The Brain Deep Dive (link to podcast), we had the pleasure of learning from neuroscientist and counselor, Dr. Diane Garner. She helped us get into the nitty-gritty of the brain and its role in decision-making and self-awareness. Here are some of the valuable takeaways from the podcast.
Decision-making is Cognitive, Decisions are Emotional
Making a decision relies on the communication between the different parts of the brain. The brain works to take on new information and analyze how it fits our current knowledge and past experiences. While this is a cognitive task, the decisions we make are emotional. The orbitofrontal cortex part of the brain is responsible for this. There is an emotional response to a certain situation or information.
Indecisiveness is usually a result of a negative emotion. We find it hard to make a decision because we’re afraid of making a mistake. There’s this fear of regretting making the wrong decision.
Our decision-making patterns can also be affected by the way we were raised or how our parents or the people around us motivated and encouraged us to make a decision. If your decisions when you were young were not validated or had negative consequences, then you lose confidence in your ability to make a decision. That may contribute to your indecisiveness as an adult.
Tips to Improve Decision-Making
Researching or gathering more information can help us make a decision. Let’s say your girl friends invited you to a day trip out of town. Although you’re up for an adventure with them, you can’t say ‘Yes’ right away. You wanted to make sure first that you can get back in time for another engagement in the evening. What you can do is check your trusty calendar and organizer app, ask your friends about the itinerary, and research online the travel time and predicted weather on that day. This shall help you decide if you’ll join them or not.
When you’re struggling with indecision, it’s also a good idea to make a list of pros and cons and give yourself a deadline. You can’t just analyze your list forever. Time is precious, and so weigh up your options and make a decision.
Self-awareness is a Superpower
We naturally have routines and behavioral scripts running automatically, without pause. We make a decision or take an action without consciously thinking about how it may affect us. But with self-awareness, we experience that moment of pause. It’s sort of like a superpower that allows us to check if those automatic scripts or responses are appropriate for the situation. In order to have that pause, we need to learn how to regulate emotions.
Ways to Build Self-Awareness
One of the keys to building self-awareness is creating a connection with your body. See how your body responds to a certain situation. Because we experience emotions in our body before they become thoughts, when we feel off or react in a negative way, our heart rate or respiration level usually increases. So when you notice those things in your body, you’ll have the chance to pause before you do a certain action or decision.
Mindfulness is another important and effective way to develop self-awareness. Focus on the present moment. Be mindful of your thoughts and feelings. No matter how busy you are, make sure your find time to practice mindfulness. It will help you become more aware of your emotions, thoughts, and body, and therefore be better at making decisions.
The brain does work in mysterious ways. But one thing we’ve learned and proven is that it plays an essential role in decision-making and self-awareness. Take note of the tips we’ve mentioned to improve your decision-making skills and develop self-awareness.
CheeHoo may come in handy whenever you’re feeling indecisive. It’s an organizer, practical assistant, and social app that you can use to list your pros and cons or gather more information so you can be sure that you’re going to make the right decision.
Catch our #SplashofColour Brain Deep Dive podcast with Dr. Diane Harner on Spotify and iTunes or click below to see it on YouTube.
Spend less time caught up in the clutter and more focusing on what is truly important.