Today, I was sitting and talking to my husband about the saying “you have some big shoes to fill”. During the conversation, I came to the revelation that the phrase is such a ridiculous statement. Yes, I understand metaphorically what the popular saying means, but the use of the phrase, even metaphorically, puts women in a bad position in corporate America. How? Here is how.
Often, as women, we are often moving into positions previously held by men. People expect us to essentially become the men or at least operate like the men that came before us. People are looking for us to “fill someone else’s shoes”
Let me share some facts at you. Did you know:
Now considering all of that, what does the use of the phrase suggest to us as women internally and what does it subliminally suggest to our male counterparts. It suggests that we must be like the male professional to do a job that is equally as phenomenal as what the male predecessor, of the role we aspire to attain, has done.
That is why many of us fail. Trying to be someone we are not. You can’t be someone you are not. You can masquerade as someone else for a while, even wear their shoes for a day or two, but eventually, you will have to take them off. I don’t know if you have ever physically tried to fill someone else’s shoes after they have worn them for a while, but I have, and I can tell you, even if they are the right size, they don’t fit. The shoes have taken on the shape of their owner’s foot. You can’t fill them. Something will always be just a little off, just a little strange.
As women, we have to lean into who we are, we have stop trying to “fill his shoes” and start to decide which of our own shoes we are going to wear. Acting like someone else never ends well. You are no longer authentic, and you lose yourself. It’s just not worth it. The moment I stopped ACTING like the person corporate America wanted me to be and started BEING the person I am, inside of corporate America, my career skyrocketed.
The reality is, there is only one of you. Very uniquely made, right down to the size and shape of your foot. So don’t try to wear someone else’s shoes. Choose your own and rock them like only you can.
No matter the shoe…be you. If they don’t like the shoes you’re in, you might be in the wrong place.