Want to Stop Gender Bias in Workers’ Comp? First, Stop Asking for Permission

In her upcoming book, motivational speaker and career coach Liz Lopez focuses on seven principles that can lead to a female corporate mindset that will shatter glass ceilings.
By: | August 13, 2020

Hard as it may be to admit, women working in predominantly male industries, such as insurance and workers’ compensation, might fall prey to subconscious social and gender bias in their day-to-day work. 

Liz Lopez, best-selling author and career and business coach, wants to change that subconscious bias. In a July 30 webinar hosted by the Alliance of Women in Workers’ Comp, Lopez talked at length on how industry females can learn to identify self-limiting thoughts and language and better utilize empowering thinking. 

To kick off the webinar, Lopez reflected on the launch of her own business as a career and business coach in 2007.

After her largest client retired in 2012, she made a decision to return to the corporate world. She quickly realized that her perception of work-life balance was different than others at her company, and she returned to doing what made her happy.

Lopez explained that permission to dominate — the permission to dominate yourself by eliminating self-imposed limits — is a belief system. In her book with the same title, Lopez highlights the seven permissions of this belief system: permission to fail, to succeed, to prosper, to to feel confidence, to be supported,  to take baby steps, and to walk away. 

In the webinar, Lopez highlighted four of those essential principles. 

1. Permission to Fail

Fear of failure is something that is not innate; it is learned through the social constructs and expectations surrounding us.

In the workplace, fear of failure derives from comparison of others, which can affect both women and men. 

Lopez asked webinar attendees to write down a list of things that they would do if they knew they would not fail; the list was long. 

2. Permission to Succeed

Successful women — and men — sometimes don’t divulge in the extent of their accomplishments or wealth. This isn’t out of fear of being seen as ostentatious, but rather a result of not wanting to be treated differently or give off too much of a ‘bulldog’ persona.

Lopez encouraged attendees to be successful without fear and not to focus on things that they have not yet achieved. A successful mindset comes from being proud of what’s already under your belt. 

Success is not defined by the caliber of an accomplishment, yet people often do not celebrate the little things. Why is it that we’re more likely to confide in a friend, spouse or significant other if we were reprimanded at work, versus if a colleague or boss complimented a job well done? 

Get comfortable with celebrating your wins, especially with those closest to you. When we celebrate our micro-wins, we make a habit of recognizing the value we bring to the world. Allow others to celebrate, too.

3. Permission to Prosper

Whether it’s simply watching a movie, taking a class or publishing your research, permission to prosper comes from taking the time to invest in yourself. 

Permission to prosper in the workplace comes from investing the time and resources into yourself. This will lead to confidence to finally go after that promotion, the big client you’ve been holding yourself back from, or taking your next career leap. 

Lopez had attendees write down one commitment to themselves to be completed by December 31. She encouraged everyone to leave it in a place where they would be reminded to do it. 

4. Permission to Feel Confidence

The way that we talk about ourselves becomes the way that we teach those around us to talk about us. If you treat yourself like the weak link on a team, that will be the way others begin to perceive you. 

By respecting and lifting yourself up, your value will become apparent to others. 

Make sure you take inventory of your conversations with yourself. How do you talk about yourself on a daily basis? We often are not our biggest supporters. When you negatively perceive others, you subject yourself to the same perception. 

When we engage in behaviors that break each other down, we begin to imagine that everyone else is talking about us in the same manner, even if that’s not the case.

Evidence Statement Formula

So do you have permission to dominate? Let’s do the math. 

Whenever you’re getting down on yourself or feeling invaluable, Lopez provided an equation to help visualize your worth:

1) As a result of working with

  • Me
  • My leadership contribution
  • My product

2) My clients/team

  • Learned.
  • Processed.
  • Experienced.
  • Transformed.

3) What are the results?

No matter your workplace setting, you are granted permission to dominate. It’s time to stop asking for it. &

Emily Spennato is a former staff writer with Risk & Insurance.

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