It’s a question I ask because I recently looked around at my inner circle of badass female friends and discovered that the women in each of these heterosexual couples were the breadwinners. Yes, they made more in their annual income than their male partners. Now, I know this is not common, especially with the variance of pay between men and women in the workforce, so I started to dig into why that was. Why was it that we were so capable of making it happen? How were we able to find ways to shrink the equity gap in our careers, while also being comfortable with our partners making less or in some cases, nothing at all?
Here’s what I realized. My generation of women (born between 1975-1979), if they were listening and paying attention to the feminist movement while getting their education and planning their future, while also being exposed to movies like Working Girl and Baby Boom - were taught that we were deserving of the same pay for our expertise and efforts as men were. We were taught to think in an equitable way. We were taught to lead, because that was the only way to get ahead. We were taught to take action for what we truly desire. We were groomed in a masculine mindset, told never to rely on a man, make it happen for ourselves, and eventually learned how to integrate it into our feminine power. It was not easy to master, but it is definitely possible.
In my own journey, I went to the extreme of focusing solely on my career and climbing the corporate ladder in order to earn my place and get paid equal, if not more, than my counterparts. I believed if I worked hard, got recognized for my efforts, and continuously showed my management team I was interested in growth and promotion, it would pay off. I also found ways to understand the financial compensation system within each firm and knew to be aware of any decreases in my earnings so I could do something about it.
See, when you become a leader in a firm, responsible for a team and their advancement, you learn the decision making system on how people get promoted and what results in a pay increase. In one company, this resulted in a promotion every six months, and when I decided to resign from this company, it resulted in them paying me more to stay a little longer through transitioning out.
You must learn how to leverage the system you are in to get ahead.
And trust me, as a female leader, I make sure my team is taken care of by each step I advance. If I don’t grow, they don’t grow.
*TIP: When you are in someone else's system of compensation, you MUST learn how this works if you want to get ahead, otherwise you will miss the window of opportunity for achieving more and maximizing the system you are in.
If you read my book Be A Badass, Six Tools to Up-Level Your Life, you know this lesson was learned when I hit a glass ceiling at 23. And it wasn’t a man who stopped me from progressing in my career at that company, it was another female leader who had shaped her style of leadership around the masculine methods and was so deep that she felt threatened by my capabilities. I did not stop my growth based on her limitations, I moved on to the next company that had the grace to accept my skill and continued to compensate me year after year as I grew. It was one of my core values at that time (growth).
Align with growth-based companies that value effort and respond when the request for more is made.
If you it doesn't happen in someone else's system, then build it yourself. Majority of the breadwinning women in my network, like me, eventually get to the executive level to build the system they are proud to be a part of, or decide to run their own company, so they can ensure compensation is managed in a way that is equitable and represents what they value.
Here’s what I know for sure now, as an owner of my own company, as someone who helps others increase their earning potential, as someone who believes in rewarding solid work ethics and skillset.
If you don’t ask for what you deserve,
you will never earn it.
(feel free to download this image and post it somewhere to remind you)
And you definitely won’t know what you are capable of earning if you are not clear on what it is you want to make. So when I assessed these amazing breadwinning women in my life, I saw one thing they had in common with me that got us to where we are and allows our partners to pursue their dreams as we fulfill ours. We each have a core belief that we are worth it, even if it gets messy to achieve it.
We are worth earning what we desire and what is happening next to us, is for them, not us. We pave our own way. We believe that we have the right to earn as much as we choose. We believe that in order to have the life and freedom to choose how we want our life to be, that we are capable of creating it from a place of self-love and self-worth. And of course, we believe we deserve it. That’s the mindset we stand in now, and I want you to remember it was believed, learned, then earned, because there was growth in each attempt. What we know for sure is that it is also not easy to stay the course. We each learned that we have the ability to try, may fall, and need to get back up again. And with each step we learned something new to leverage as we took the next step forward.
When it comes to sustainability at this place in our earning and the ability to provide for our families, consistent evaluation is happening. At each stage of growth, something else was potentially compromised, in order to truly figure out what matters most to make us feel as fulfilled as possible. There is a thought process around, “what is best for the whole AND what is best for me that works in that picture.” This displays resourcefulness. That is the second trait I have seen in each of these women. The ability to leverage all of their resources to make what they want happen.
If you are questioning why you are not earning at the level you desire, leverage these three tips to help you assess and jump into aligned action to step into your breadwinning stance:
These tips help you quickly assess what needs improvement and helps you get clarity on your next step to becoming the breadwinner of your household. I encourage you to stretch yourself and think bigger than you ever have before. I didn’t start earning 7 figures in my business until I started to think in 7 figures. Started to picture the life that I wanted and map out what I needed to earn to build it. I did the up front work, so I could reap the benefits on the back side. I am continuously stretching myself and finding ways to help you stretch yourself. Your money mindset matters. I share this because I am so proud of my female friends that focused on their worth, earn it, and continue to be resourceful in hitting their next level as they take care of their families and serve their communities. You have that within you too. I am here to encourage you to go after it!
If you are not clear on what you truly want to earn and what you need to do to achieve it, check out my Quantify Your Vision Exercise. It helps you get super clear on what you want, map out the tangibles, and understand what you would need to earn to achieve it. The greatest asset you sit on in order to earn your highest potential is the clarity around what you truly want, and what you need to do to achieve it.
Teaser for next article: Now, if you are in a heterosexual relationship, and the female breadwinner, you are going to need to choose wisely on who that man walking beside you is. That will be a topic in my next post, so we can dive into that a little bit. Let me tell you, it took me a while to get this right, and am so grateful to have the husband I have today. We, as breadwinners, are not hear to carry anyone, we are just standing in who we know we can be. The person on the receiving side of that better have a core value of reciprocity for the relationship to work. Make sure you subscribe to my email list to get access to the next post, you are going to love my perspective and journey around this topic.