Toward the end of Hillary Clinton's Democratic National Convention acceptance speech, I noticed this interesting change in the tenor of her voice and a change in her body language as well. And as she shifted her tone, I noticed that the energy in the crowd also changed.
The comments on social media marked this change as well.
I was amazed by how much @HillaryClinton sounded like a president tonight.-- Michael Santoroski (@santoroski) July 29, 2016
Hillary Clinton was never renowned for oratory, but tonight's speech was the best I've ever seen her give--esp when standing up to Trump-- Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) July 29, 2016
Hillary Clinton's change in tone during her speech is an interesting phenomena that I think happens to a lot of women leaders. There is this moment when a woman stops fighting to prove she deserves an opportunity in front of her and stands up and owns it.
I know exactly when it happened for me.
I had been running our civic tech company for several years, but as a woman founder in a field where few women ran their own companies and fewer yet found investor funding for those companies, I felt like a lot of my time and energy went into fighting for opportunities. I was fighting for them. I wasn't owning them.
And then one day, after weeks of rewriting our pitch deck and presentation using feedback from the team coaching me for an upcoming investor pitch, I quit fighting for the opportunity and owned it. I didn't give the pitch I'd practiced that was based on the feedback. I said what came from inside, from my own passion and beliefs about our team.
I told the group about our company and about why our technology mattered, how it could change lives and create opportunities for people in cities. I shared the rich backgrounds of our team and explained why their expertise and my vision as the CEO were the perfect combination for accomplishing our mission. And I painted a vision of the future--of what the world could be like with our technology available to people everywhere.
When I finished, there was silence. And then the group, one by one, told me it was the best pitch I'd ever given.
When I stopped fighting for the opportunity and, instead, stood up inside of that opportunity and owned it, the experience was different for me and those around me.
And tonight, as I listened to the speech of the first woman in American history to accept the nomination of a major political party to run for the highest office in our government, I watched the metamorphosis of her fighting to break a glass ceiling into owning the role she fought so hard to achieve.
Whether she is elected to that office or not remains to be seen.
But there is a lesson within her experience that applies to women leaders everywhere.
We have to let go of the stridence and the struggle in order to grow past fighting to deserve something--to actually deserving it and taking it on.
Yes, it may be necessary to fight for an opportunity, to struggle to break down a barrier to gain access to an opportunity. But stridence and friction will only get us so far. It is when we move beyond that struggle and change our mindset and become comfortable in our new role that we will have more confidence in ourselves and inspire it from others.