You Were Born With Wings…

The subject line of this short post is the beginning of a quote by the poet Rumi.  The full quote is:

“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?”

But just yesterday I asked a woman who owns her business what resources or education she would find most helpful to her as she thinks about growing her business.  She said, “I want to grow, I want to make more money, but I just can’t right now.  That would take time away from my son, and I just won’t do that.”

Her belief?  That it’s an either or choice.  That one comes at the expense of the other.

The combination of Rumi’s inspirational quote and my friend’s sad self-limiting belief reminded me of Sheryl Sandberg’s TED talk – it’s worth listening to, not just once but as many times as it takes to truly absorb the support and encouragement she offers.

Sandberg is talking about female executives – the messages they tell themselves, how they underestimate their own abilities, how they slide into self-doubt, and consequently lean back instead of leaning in.

I’ve seen the same behavior in female entrepreneurs.  Thinking small instead of thinking big.  Believing that growing your business equates to sacrificing your personal life.  Worrying that making our desires and expectations clear will make us less likeable.

These are just a few of the ways women pull back.  How we crawl through life instead of using our wings.

The facts tell us clearly that women run smaller businesses than men, and self-employed women earn only 55% of what self-employed men earn.  Ouch!

Read my report about Why Women Run Smaller Businesses Than Men. 

Then let me know what you think and how you experience your world of being a female business owner.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  

And remember, you were born with wings!

3 thoughts on “You Were Born With Wings…

  1. jan hill

    I have experienced many employees that have vilified me for expecting them to honor their commitment to come to work, be on time, give great service, AND have Plan B if they have a sick child or family obligation. So many want the guaranteed pay, benefits, education; yet be their own boss. Women business owners study the genders, generations, market trends to grow the staff and their companies to be told ” I need to be me” or “my family ALWAYS comes first”. It seems to me that everyone feels entitled to be the boss or a stakeholder the minute they walk in the door. Women business owners are considered mean and tyrannical simply for asking for what they pay for. I find it humorous how many of my women friends and business owners support male owned businesses instead of woman owned businesses, yet market their businesses to women. I love men, but I support and advocate for women in business.

    1. Anne-Marie Kantengwa

      Hello Darcie. Thank you very much for sharing with us your thoughts, knowledge and experience on female business owners on problematical context, doubts and constraints women executives are facing and how conciliate both: being a performant business female and succeed in her family life. In my opinion, it is necessary to try to clarify some aspects, making personal choices, keeping business objectives and vision. It will be not easy but female businesses, if they want to grow and achieve, must also try to overcome from fears of being a change in their society. The experience in my country shows that a big part of business women are going to micro finance facilities and stay thinking smaller businesses instead to thinking bigger, but had been one of major key factors of economic development, helping Rwanda to overcome from aches.. . Only few of them become successful female entrepreneurs and some more advice and encouragements are needed to help them grow and beat fears. I like the poetic ” You were born with wings”, it give more hope and ambition and it should symbolize that we connect to other business women and learn more for better performance. The last news you posted in the Journal about your trip in Rwanda contributing in education and empowerment of business women showed a valuable commitment and along your journey in north countryside, you captured very well some spirit of the country : a strong resilience and belief, new gender sensitivity, women working hard, even making crops in volcanic stones! In addition you discovered beautiful landscapes, hills and mountains( and Gorillas!) which should attract more visitors and discoverers… I thank you again for letting us sharing your ideas, advices and encouragements. Regards. Anne-Marie Kantengwa

      1. Darcie Harris

        Hello Anne Marie, I am late in discovering your post, and apologize for my delayed reply. Your thoughts are deep and show a depth of understanding of both women and business. I very much agree that a key point for women is to “overcome fears.” And though women in Rwanda may be starting small, I believe as time goes by and healing continues they will most definitely grow! Especially with great role models like you. I miss Rwanda very much. The country and friends I made there have touched me deeply and I very much hope to return soon! I hope you will let me know if any of your professional associations or women’s groups want a speaker or trainer, as that would bring me back! In the meantime, I so look forward to seeing you when you are here in the U.S. this summer. Many blessings to you, take care, d


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *