I wanted to share something with you in the hope that it will be helpful to some of the daughters who are involved with Daughters in Charge. I’m in my 40s, and I’ve been working in my family’s business all my adult life. I work with my older siblings (two brothers and a sister); we operate a small chain of hardware stores that has been very successful. My role has been to provide training and development for our managers, but I’ve never really felt that I’ve lived up to my potential. Only recently have I realized why.
I am gay, something that my siblings know, along with a few employees. I have been in a relationship for many years. To my surprise, my state now allows gay marriages…and I’m getting married in June – something I never thought I’d do. As I’m starting to appreciate how my life will change (including access to benefits!) I’m also reflecting on how being gay has affected me at work. I know I have felt inhibited from asserting myself as a leader.
I’m not there yet…but as I anticipate the months and years ahead, and become the primary breadwinner for my family, and finally feel like I fit in, I’ll also start feeling more empowered and stronger than I ever have before within our family business. I am ready to be a more confident and visible leader.
I’m excited about my new life, the new roles I’m taking on at home and at work, and I hope that other gay women in family businesses, particularly those who are older, can start to feel freed up, too.
Thanks so much for your story. I’m thrilled that you are feeling so excited and joyful, and that you are ready for the new opportunities ahead.
You’re really addressing the issue of what it means to feel “authentic” at work. I know that’s a buzzword now, but there is something to be said for letting go of anxieties and concerns which stand in our way. A young coaching client recently told me that she feels “a weight has been lifted off my shoulders” because she realizes now that she was going down a path in her family’s business that didn’t fit her interests and skills. Your situation, while quite different in many ways, also speaks to the freedom that comes with appreciating and asserting your true self.
I’d be interested in hearing from those of you have also experienced a similar kind of “aha” moment…a time when you have come to a level of self-awareness that allows you to shift direction in a very positive and fulfilling way. Just leave a comment below or send me an email here.