Career

Why it's time women unashamedly owned their successes

Tall poppies are blooming amazing and everyone needs to know it.

Kiwi women are good at owning things – shoes (they're half a size too small but hey, they were on sale), scented candles (but it's piña colada scent), cookbooks (you will throw that South American-themed BBQ one day) and cushions (but this one has tassels?) spring to mind.

We're also pretty good at owning our mistakes and bad calls, often the first to admit when we could have done something differently or made a better decision.

We're even good when it comes to 'owning it', you know, that thing we do to show pride or intent to take the sting out of being accused of doing something considered embarrassing or slightly dodgy.

But there's one thing that Kiwi women are completely shite at owning and that's their success, and quite frankly I'm over it.

The NEXT Woman of the Year awards recognise stellar women doing amazing things in their chosen fields. I've been to these awards eight times.

For eight years I have asked myself, 'What the hell have you been doing all your life?' as I've listened in awe to the extraordinary tales of what these Kiwi women have accomplished, yet I have been frustrated by the same thing.

Why can't these smart, driven, passionate, resilient women take a minute to bask in their glory? Why can't these kick-arse women 'own their success?'

When the winners take to the stage to give their acceptance speeches most often they begin with – "I can't quite believe that it's me standing here".

Those phrases are quickly backed up with "I don't do this alone, it's really my team," or "I want to pay tribute to my mum who made me the woman I am today." Even the statement, "I can't believe it's me when there are all these other amazing women in the room" has been known to make an appearance.

But girlfriend, it's not your team, your mum or the other women in the room getting the award, it's you – your hard work, your ideas, your sacrifices, your dreams, your blood, sweat and tears being honoured and you deserve it. So own it and say, "Hell yeah, I did a great job."

God knows, blokes do! I knew a guy who ran a small business in a small town, who won a small certificate in a small commercial contest. To celebrate, he went out and bought a brand-new European car and slapped a personalised plate on it proclaiming the number 1 and the word award. Ummmmm #ownedit, literally.

It seems I'm not the only one feeling agitated. At a recent Hollywood event, legendary television producer, screen-writer and author, Shonda Rhimes, who created Grey's Anatomy and Scandal, decided it was time to brag like our brothers.

She talked of how, when a male counterpart signed an amazing deal with Netflix he shouted his salary to the rooftops and appeared on the cover of the Hollywood Reporter yet when she made an arguably more impressive deal, she put her head down and worked. In her own words she admitted she hid and how could she inspire anyone if she was hiding?

Shonda, who was named by TIME on their 100 People Who Have Shaped the World list, took a deep breath and proclaimed, "I will not hide. I am going to brag, I am the highest paid showrunner in television."

She went on to ask people to embrace their "awesomeness" and to all become "difficult crazy bitches who need to go!"

Owning it is about honouring ourselves and acknowledging our unique tendencies, talents, skills, desires, fears and neuroses to create a life that is full of integrity and inspiration for others. Stick that on a number plate!

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