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Growth and comfort do not coexist
How I Got Here
It’s no secret, I’m in job search mode, full effect. Lately, I’ve been stepping up the networking, especially searching for and reaching out to contacts globally, given my desire for a global career.
A kindred German spirit mentions to me recently that I should look in the Global Digital Women organization. I paraphrase: “With your cultural background and your experience working with German companies, you bring a unique global integration expertise between Europe and North America”. Plus, digital is my jam. So I obviously look into it.
Global Digital Women (GDW) is a German-based international organization dedicated to make the world more digital and female. They provide women in digital networking opportunities to bring pioneers like me and specifically our careers more visibility and empowerment. All in a global context. I’m. Eating. It. Up.
I’m so into this mission, I want to be part of it. I research and read all about it, find and follow all the accounts on social media channels and sign up for all the communications. I even write GDW’s Founder and CEO, Tijen Onaran to find out about her plans for the organization’s expansion in the US, especially in my geo. Maybe she’ll call me!
A couple days go by. I wake up to a message from Germany. Again, I paraphrase: “Hey Caroline, we like your work. We think you should apply to our Digital Female Leadership Awards (DFLA) for the Global Hero category!”
I’d read up on this award business a few days earlier. In an effort to bring more awareness to the global female digital talent pool, with DFLA, GDW is putting on a program to bring more prominence to the stories of women in digital everywhere. The initiative culminates in an award ceremony later this year.
Now here I go with the voices…
Really? Me? No way, not me. This is a real fancy recognition program they are putting on. They probably just need more applicants…
Wait. Non Caro, arrête ça immédiatement.
Think about it… I got all kinds of awards at IBM. My work since then IS award-worthy! It’s not only a demonstration of who I am but also of what I can do digitally!
I witness and am aware that at the first sign of recognition, I immediately go to that negative head space. Anyone else like this?
Wow, look at this remarkable jury. Yaaaaasssss, the award ceremony is in Munich in December and everyone is invited!!! I’ll take any excuse to go to Munich… And this time, I can experience the Christmas markets! Oh, and the application process is right up my alley – writing about my favorite topics: leadership and my digital career. Oh sh*t, it’s due in 2 days…
But I can totally do this. It’s too good a networking opportunity to pass up, and that’s what I need to be doing right now. And this organization is 100% aligned with my philosophy and what I have been practicing for my whole career; in fact it’s what The Voices Collection and Collective Thoughts are about!
Besides, what’s the worst that’s going to happen?
I reprioritize everything and submit my application on time.
About a week later, I wake up to another email from Germany; the DFLA team announcing: “The online voting for #dfla18 just started!”
Wait! There is a vote? For an audience award?! WTF?!
One I had deliberately overlooked in my research the previous week, I gather that everyone who submits in any of the 10 other award categories is automatically included in the audience award category, where the public chooses the award recipient, by voting for their Digital Hero…
For the love of Pete, I wasn’t expecting this… I thought only about a dozen distinguished jury members were going to see what I submitted. Now, everything I wrote is out for everyone to see… And the whole world is, literally, judging me.
I witness and am aware that at the first sign of exposure, I immediately feel scared. Anyone else like this?
OMG. There are 400 hundred women from 17 countries in this roster… Clearly they didn’t need more applicants. Would you look at these amazing women! Wait, some are IBMers! OMG… What are people gonna think?
Oh here we go, this thing is being promoted all over Twitter and LinkedIn. What did I get myself into? I thought I was going to be able to do this on the down-low…
I feel anxious.
Going For It
Later that day, I confide my feelings in my mentor and dear friend Diana: “Caroline, are you crazy? You have to go for it. This is exactly what you have been preparing for! Ask your network for help! Just be you, be authentic.” Ugh, I despise self-promotion.
I witness and am aware that at the first sign of my realization of this need to ask for help, I immediately cringe. Anyone else like this?
But deep down, I know she is right. I’ve come this far, I can’t back down. I’ve been preaching about leadership and career and experiences and digital this and that and entrepreneurship and asking for what you deserve and all the things for a while. My voice has inspired others. I should always be the first it inspires.
I already know I can’t do it alone. This is that time I get to practice asking for help. Ugh, it’s so hard…
But I am proud of myself: my career, my experiences and what I have accomplished and created during my sabbatical so far. It’s not only an amazing opportunity for me, but it’s also advancing a cause I really believe in. It’s so much bigger than than this application, than me. #beglobal #bedigital
And perhaps I can continue to inspire others in sharing this journey! And hopefully my dream job is somewhere in here…
I am out of my comfort zone.
Asking for Help
Please vote for me by using this link. It literally takes 5 seconds.
And if you have already voted and you read this or anything else I publish between now and the end of the voting period on August 14th: Merci! Thank you! Danke schön!
Please consider sharing with your networks… We can all use a little more digital, global, and female leadership in our lives!
I witness and am aware that I am asking for help. Maybe it isn’t that hard in practice…
Yet, I can’t help now but wonder: in a world where I believe we are more alike than different, am I the only one of these women with these voices?