2. Be authentic.

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” It’s true. Always strive to improve but don’t waste your time attempting to be someone else. Take the time to truly understand your core values – what makes you tick – and honor those values in the choices you make and the way you conduct yourself.

3. Build a support network and use it.

It truly takes a village, and you are not alone. Many of the men I worked with had wives who managed the responsibilities related to their home life. As a single mom of two daughters, I did not have that luxury. Utilize the resources available to you, including LinkedIn groups, professional associations, alumni groups, clubs, Parent Teacher Associations, friends and neighbors. Find the common ground between you and others in your business, your family or your village. If I could give one piece of advice to my younger self, it would be to make the time to invest in relationships.

One piece of advice to my younger self – make the time to invest in relationships.

4. Believe in yourself.

If you don’t, who will? Don’t allow someone else to make you feel “less than.” Own your power. Create affirmations that you say and read daily to boost your confidence, remind you of your greatness and encourage you to do your best.

5. Find your voice.

Men often dominate the conversation. The solution to gain more airtime is not to become louder, more aggressive or belligerent. The solution is to find ways to add value, build relationships and create opportunities to speak outside of the meeting room. Then, enlist the support of a few trusted colleagues to bring you into the discussion. Also, be sure to communicate your career aspirations to your manager and those higher up. Men often get promoted over women simply because women don’t express their interest in being promoted or taking on more responsibility. Don’t wait for someone to ask you.

6. Trust your intuition.

Men tend to be data driven and often ignore other aspects when making decisions. Gather the data, and then trust your gut. People drive success – data doesn’t.

7. Know your value and own it.

Do your homework on this. Again, don’t wait for someone else to do it for you. Pull information from career guides and professional associations. Refer to your job description and performance reviews. Determine how you rate as compared to top performers in your company or profession. If you need additional skills or expertise, put plans in place to attain them. Meet with your manager and discuss next steps to be promoted or otherwise recognized – and rewarded – for your current performance.

As women, we have the ability, the desire and the potential to contribute more and to make a real difference in the world. Remember, it begins and ends with you. You hold the power. Choose you, and invest in yourself. You won’t be disappointed.