As women, we often settle for a smaller dream. I’m the first to admit that there are times when I’ve played it small in my business. And I’ve seen many other women do the same. Why? For all women, this is tough conditioning to overcome. Proof of this is everywhere, from the distorted Barbies girls play with to the billion-dollar weight loss industry constantly hammering women with messages to be thinner (aka smaller.) These messages of size affect more than just our waistlines. 
Society is essentially telling women to take up as little space as possible, a disempowering message on all levels. Whether you consciously realize it or not, we do it because we’re afraid of playing a bigger game. As humans, our brains have evolved to come up with stories for why we can’t do the things that make us fearful or uncomfortable. The good news is that it’s possible to find the courage to overcome that little voice inside us that wants to keep us “safe.” That's how we grow, and find success. Being able to recognize what’s holding you back is the first step. 

Here’s 5 Ways Women Sabotage Their Success:

Saying we “don’t care” about things that we REALLY care about. Whether it’s money, losing weight, success, or anything else, women often deny that they desire anything. Why? Part of our conditioning from a young age is to downplay our own desires whether that’s for sexual desire or a dream to build a big business. Young girls are told they are pretty and young boys are asked what they want to be when they grow up. As a result, we learn that our value comes from our appearances. 
How do we fix it? Start recognizing that it’s safe to want money, success, and power. In addition, many women are afraid of disappointing themselves if they set a goal that they don’t believe they can achieve.
If you don’t give yourself the license to dream big, you’re limiting how much that dream can grow.
If you want it, say that you want it. Recognizing your goals helps you achieve them.

1. Not recognizing our worth.

We all struggle with our inner critic striving for perfectionism. Perfectionist thinking hampers our natural creativity and hinders our progress. However, our flaws, quirky patterns, and signature styles all make us who we are and more interesting to other people.  Instead of making us less worthy, they increase our value. Learning to quiet our inner voice and replacing it with love and kindness helps you express yourself creatively in a way that is uniquely yours. 

2. Thinking we can “do it all.”

As women, we do a lot. I’m an artist, sell my art online, teach online art classes, host a podcast, volunteer within my community, and I’m writing a book and the list goes on from there. I’m constantly getting asked, “how do I find time to do it all?” Here’s the thing. You can’t “find” time. You can’t “manage” time, or even “make” time. We are all responsible for managing our priorities and focus to be more productive. 

3. Choose carefully what needs to be in your life.

Establish a morning routine (and stick to it every day). Exercise. Turn off your phone. Batch your work. You can’t do it all, but you can do what is most important to you. We all have the same amount of time. In the end, you manage your priorities, not your time.

4. We wait for the “right time.”

The truth is, there’s no “right time.” And you’ll never feel ready. It’s kind of like investing. It’s always better to get in on any investment early and there’s really no better investment than yourself. I wasn’t ready when I left the “safety” of my paycheck at a hedge fund to start my art career. Now that I’m fully in my business, looking back, there have been tons of milestones where I’ve done things before I was ready. Some of them worked out, and some of them didn’t. Failure is a right of passage on the way to success. You need to be willing to fail to take that leap of faith. 

5.  Thinking we don’t need anyone else.

Chances are if your big dream doesn’t include other people, your dream is too small. You’ll need help along the way in the form of investing in team members, career development, coaching, and spending time building relationships. Motivational speaker James Rohn said, “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” I live by this motto by investing in masterminds and nurturing relationships with other women who are building businesses because other people expand the way I think and it keeps me from backsliding into limited thinking and small dreams.
The biggest difference between successful people and everyone else? Successful people are willing to do things that most people aren’t. That’s it. They take that risk even when they don’t feel ready and push themselves out of their comfort zone. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn’t. You can do this too. Dig deep, find the courage to push through your doubts, and above all, dream big.


Miriam Schulman