Only dead fish go with the flow!

The recent Wonder Woman movie is a rage, both at the box office, and critic ratings. It has, in fact, gone on to become DC’s highest grossing movie. Kudos Gal Gadot! What struck me the most about the movie is the fact that Diana returns, finally, to a home, satisfied in knowing the truth of who she is.

And the key word here is satisfied ! How many of us are truly content with who we are?  Being comfortable in your own skin, ironically, is very uncomfortable. And, unfortunately women end up having the maximum amount of self doubt. The mind of a woman dressing up for work, for college, or even for a morning run, is less potpourri, more pandemonium. Can I carry off this shade of lipstick? Does the back of my blouse seem low? Is a sleeveless top appropriate for class? Will the shorts ride up during the run? If Wonder Woman questioned her outfit this much, she’d be fighting crime in a Teletubby suit!

And, this is just the tip of the iceberg. If we compiled all the doubts women have about themselves into a book, we’d have a new record for the ‘lengthiest book written in history’.

While I have nothing against being self doubting Thomasinas, since self doubt is very good for the soul and makes all of us better (and more humble) human beings; in the corporate world, being tentative is a strict no–no. As a consequence of this, women often assume that it’s outrageous to ask for a raise, double promotion, scholarship or volunteer for the challenging assignment or the next role. And we hesitate to ask for support from family, friends – because God forbid, ‘meri wajah se kisiko taklif hogi’ (I will be a cause of worry for someone close). All this ends up holding us back, and we end up boxing ourselves in a tight corner all of our own making!

Tentativeness gets seen as not only a lack of confidence but also as an inability to raise the bar, to accept challenges at work and deliver desired results!

To be fair – there have been some stray glimmers of hope in recent times. Not enough to make a revolution happen, but enough to get me excited. Increasingly around me I see for example, so many single women who are leading life on their own terms. They have CHOSEN not to get married not because they didn’t have opportunities but because they preferred either a solitary, self dependent life-style , or had selected a satisfying career which gave them complete fulfilment or they chose to focus on other pursuits beyond the normal ‘college-marriage -2.5 kids’ routine. One of our highest performing sales heads is a single woman from a fairly traditional background who starts her day by saying “hum jahan se khade hotein hain line wahin se shuru hoti hai” She has worked in the most difficult of markets, with extremely challenging clients in highly stressful environments and delivered stellar results. Some of the markets which she regularly visits have starkly retrograde views on women and there she goes with a  song and a whistle on her lips,confidently and nonchalantly!

However to convert these aberrations into a fast paced change, women need to fight their inner demons and become their own versions of Wonder Woman. The world deserves to see you in your full glory. The one who is comfortable in her own skin, will kick the s#!t out of biases, claim what is rightfully hers and enjoy a big piece of the cake – with both hands!

As a parting note, I would like to share this very moving speech from Theodore Roosevelt, titled ‘The Man in the Arena’. Tip – feel free to read it as ‘The Woman in the Arena’.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the (wo)man who points out how the strong (wo)man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the (wo)man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends (her)himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if (s)he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that (her) his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”