I happen to work in an organisation that employs a very large number of talented women.

And I also have the honour of regularly coaching brilliant women who reach out to me when they run into confidence related issues.

Both of these circumstances mean I get to hear the reasons that women don’t think they’re ready to take their next career step.

All. Of. The. Blooming. Time.

While I can say that I’ve become very familiar with these conversations, I can’t tell you that I like them.

In fact, they break my heart. 

There are so many women out there with stacks to offer. And the fact that they put limits on themselves is disappointing – to say the least.

So today, I’m digging into three common reasons women share for not making their next career step and offering up some home truths to counter this thinking.

What’s stopping you from taking your next career step?

Reason one: I don’t have enough experience

We’ve all heard about this one before. Women won’t apply for a new role unless they meet every single requirement in the position description. Their male colleagues, on the other hand, will throw their hat into the ring without even thinking about what’s needed to fulfil the role.

But despite us all knowing about this phenomenon, it stills happens. Each and every day of the week.

For so many reasons, women down-play their experience. They seem to forget that many job skills are transferrable, and they tend to focus on the things they think they can’t do or haven’t yet done. 

The truth is – if you can tick every box on the job description, you shouldn’t be applying for the role. It’s likely that the job will underutilise your skills and abilities. Think about it. Your role needs to provide you with an opportunity to stretch and grow – or you’ll be bored in approximately two and a half seconds. 

Reason two: I have family caring commitments

Sometimes women will talk about their children. Other times they will raise an elderly relative. Or someone else in their lives who needs their care. Regardless, there is definitely a common thought process that says, ‘I can’t take my next career step and fulfil my caring duties’. 

The truth is – as long as the role can be completed within the same number of work hours as your current job, there’s no reason to suggest that a new role will impact your family commitments. And chances are you will be more satisfied AND better remunerated, which is likely to make you an even better carer for those who need you.

Reason three: I need more education

I hear these words out of women’s mouths so often, I wrote a whole post on the topic. You can read it here. It seems that many women believe that education unpins both confidence and competence.

The truth is – learning is only one element that underpins confidence. And more than anything else, it is taking action that builds women’s confidence. Doing things – sometimes in baby steps – prepares us for roles far better than studying does.

Is something holding you back from making your next career step? Feel free to share in the comments section below.



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