Shadé Zahrai is an award-winning leadership strategist and director of Influenceo Global who specialists in equipping professional women to progress their careers by challenging their inner critic and shifting thoughts of self doubt.
The 32-year-old Melbourne-based coach left her senior corporate position of ten years to pursue her passion of empowering women to become more confident and capable at work.
While there are a number of practical ways to become successful in the workplace, Shadé said career progression starts by being mentally competent in your self worth and the goals you want to achieve.
Speaking to FEMAIL, Shadé said the ‘biggest blocker that holds women back from career development is themselves’, as according to research women are often less likely to take risks, speak up during meetings or ask for what they want than men.
Shadé has also become a viral sensation on TikTok by sharing her knowledge in more than 100 short videos that have been viewed by thousands.
Shadé Zahrai (pictured) is an award-winning leadership strategist and director of Influenceo Global who specialists in equipping professional women to progress their careers
Speaking to FEMAIL, Shadé said the ‘biggest blocker that holds women back from career development is themselves’, as according to research women are often less likely to take risks
While success and climbing the ranks is desired by many employees, Shadé said this is often difficult for some, particularly professional women to achieve simply because personal inflictions of self doubt and excuses intrude that end up delaying action.
As these mental factors are usually quite dominating, the physical actions needed to achieve goals become stagnant, as the individual’s ‘inner critic’ is too overpowering.
‘A lot of women experience an inner critic that holds them back and can often sabotage their advancement – it’s the voice in their heads that’s telling them they’re “not good enough”, “not experienced enough” or “not ready” to advance,’ Shadé said.
Shadé said for a lot of women, success arises from the ability to push through these ‘deeply seeded thoughts of self doubt’ that occur through years of social conditioning.
THE BIGGEST MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE THAT JEOPARDISE THEIR SUCCESS
Not speaking up and voicing your opinion during meetings or at work
Not asking for what you want and avoid asking for a promotion
Focusing on what weaknesses are rather than strengths and skills
Telling yourself ‘I can’t, ‘I won’t or ‘maybe another time’ rather than ‘I will’
Lacking self confidence and clarity of what you want to achieve
Not controlling anxious feelings
Avoid seeking help from others
Never taking action and stepping out of your comfort zone
‘When you look at research, a lot of the self doubt women have is developed within the first seven years of their lives,’ she said, adding how external influences from the media, friends, family and personal experiences impact the way young girls perceive themselves, which often persists through to adulthood.
‘In my experience of working with and coaching women, these doubts usually stem from a lack of self worth or confidence – which occurs in women of all ages from students through to those in senior roles,’ she said.
‘These feelings can also manifest into imposter syndrome and is interestingly most common in high performing women.’
Imposter syndrome is known as the persistent inability to believe that your success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of your own efforts or skills.
Shadé explained this inner critic is a ‘pattern of destructive thought’ that can be overcome through a simple four-step process.
HOW TO SILENCE YOUR ‘INNER CRITIC’
1. Be aware of your negative thoughts
2. Question it
3. Deactivate it
4. Replace these thoughts with realistic phrases like ‘I can’ or ‘I will’
WHAT IS IMPOSTER SYNDROME?
Imposter syndrome is known as the persistent inability to believe that your success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of your own efforts or skills
This condition correlates to feelings of self doubt, a lack of confidence and self worth
It’s essential to overcome this as well as the ‘inner critic’ in order to take action in your career by asking for what you want and speaking up
‘Remind yourself of your value, your strengths and what you’re good at rather than focusing on your weaknesses or what we may lack,’ Shadé said
She said first you need to be aware of your negative thoughts in your head, then question it and learn to deactivate these considerations by breaking the thought pattern, and finally replace the thoughts with realistic phrases.
‘Remind yourself of your value, your strengths and what you’re good at rather than focusing on your weaknesses or what you may lack,’ she said.
Once this inner critic is silenced or controlled, the individual can work towards achieving their career goals.
‘You don’t have to know everything, you just have to accept it, believe in yourself and go for it.’
‘Remind yourself of your value, your strengths and what you’re good at rather than focusing on your weaknesses or what we may lack,’ she said
When feeling anxious at work, a similar tactic can also be used to ‘reframe’ nerves with excitement.
‘When you perceive a task or situation as an exciting opportunity rather than a crisis, you are far more likely to perform to your level of ability because your body responds to what you’re telling it,’ she said.
This can be applied to the workplace by changing your perception of certain situations and become excited rather than anxious, stress or worried.
Once this inner critic is silenced or controlled, the individual can work towards achieving their career goals
Some of the biggest mistakes people make that prevent them from climbing up the workplace ladder or receiving a promotion correlates to a number of factors, such as simply not asking for what you want or going unspoken during meetings.
Shadé said in workplaces where women are the minority, they often fear failure and don’t take risks because of this, which can lead to going unheard.
It’s important to be upfront with what you want as this can fast-track career progression and start conversations.
‘People need to feel empowered to speak up,’ Shadé said, and so it’s essential to take ownership if your position in order to move forward.
When applying for new positions, she also said a lot of women often don’t apply for jobs unless they have 100 per cent of the pre-requisites, as they may feel as if they are not qualified enough for opportunities.
On the other hand, men usually apply for jobs even if they only have 60 per cent of the skills and abilities needed for the job.
Shadé said in workplaces where women are the minority, they often fear failure and don’t take risks because of this, which can lead to going unheard
Despite what many may think, Shadé said happiness is truly the core to success and not the other way around
Despite what many may think, Shadé said happiness is truly the key to success and not the other way around.
‘Work has to be performed with the right attitude – and this is always with a spirit of service to humanity in alignment with your values, talents and strengths,’ Shadé said.
While many focus on achieving goals, such as getting a higher salary or a more prestigious job title, some often forget to consider how their value and skills contribute to the service of others.
‘Many come to realise they aren’t happy even after achieving their goals or great success,’ Shadé said.
In many cases to achieve both success and happiness, it’s important to consider how your role is contributing to benefit others in order to feel a sense of fulfilment.