Many years ago, at a critical moment in my career, I received some powerful advice from a colleague: Just say yes.
We had worked together for a few years and had become friends and trusted sounding boards for each other. So, he knew me well.
I had been offered the chance to take on additional responsibility. I hesitated. I made a list of pros and cons. I found lots of reasons I believed I wasn’t qualified. Yet my deliberations stopped in their tracks when my friend said he wouldn’t hesitate if the role were offered to him. What? We had a similar level of experience. It tipped the scales to yes.
Looking back, I know that my reaction was typical. A LinkedIn Gender Insights Report found that women are more selective than men when considering jobs, less likely to apply for ‘stretch roles,’ and actually apply for 20% fewer jobs than men do.
My aha moment has stuck with me because that “yes” changed my career trajectory. The experience, visibility and contacts I gained set me up for more senior leadership roles down the road. “Yes” also led me to GXO — to a new role, a new industry, a new team with phenomenal women at every level and a new culture that truly lives its values.
Recently, “yes” won again. I was helping a friend’s daughter prepare for an interview. On paper, she was underqualified. I told her to focus on the experience she had, not the experience she lacked. She didn’t get the job, but she made such a positive impression that the interviewer recommended her for another role that she did land.
“Good things happen when you go for it.” That was the message splashed across a pillow my mom gave me many years ago. I admit it sat in a closet. Yet every time I saw it, it made me smile. I realize now that it wasn’t just meant for the sofa — it was meant for me.
As we mark International Women’s Day, I encourage women everywhere, and especially the women of GXO, to say “yes” when opportunity knocks, even if you don’t feel 100% ready.
Good things will happen. #sheisgxo