Last night, I was on a crowded Metro-North train in New York City, heading home. I was seated in a four seat section of the train and was directly across from a male commuter. Without realizing what I was doing, I jammed myself into the corner of my seat, taking up as little space as possible, assuming that he and whoever occupied the seat next to me would need all of the space. As I inched further over, I looked at the man across from me and noticed that he was enjoying every inch of his seat. He was taking up all of his space. Head back. Legs wide open. Reading his magazine. He appeared quite comfortable.

I chuckled to myself, realizing that I was constricting. I am 6′ tall and actually needed more space than he did, yet without paying much attention at first, I took up much less. When I realized what I had done, I began to relax my body and occupy the space that was rightfully mind for the next 25 minutes of my ride. My body felt free and comfortable. I was happily taking up all of my space and as a result, was more present and in my body during the ride.

My physical display of making myself temporarily smaller was a manifestation of the mentality that I sometimes see happen with women during the thought leadership journey. 

11In order to become a thought leader, you have to take up all of your space so that your ideas and expertise can be shared with the world. It’s just that simple.

So my question to you is, how can you take up more space in the world through your work? 

Every time you find yourself constricting with your thought leadership, think of me. Six feet tall, shrinking in a seat and then stretching out my legs to take up my space.

When you have a moment, tell me where you are making yourself smaller in your work and let’s work on you expanding. Email me at vanessa[at]thewakemanagency.com or learn more about our She Roars program here.

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