Are you overqualified and underpaid or underqualified and overpaid?

When I worked in pharmaceutical sales a customer said to me, “Jessica, you are underqualified and overpaid.  Your company only hired you because you have a pretty face.”  He proceeded to invite me out on a date.  Mind you, we were both married and this wasn’t news to him.  Lucky for me, I had been told that many times in my life so I didn’t let it rattle me.  But I did let it motivate me.

First thing I did when I left his office was call my boss and tell him I wouldn’t be calling on this doctor anymore.  He was a big customer and his sales numbers were important to me, but my integrity was more important.  The next thing I did was decide I would work my butt off to prove to all my customers that I had information that could help them.  I wanted to prove that I was qualified to be in my position.  I didn’t love that job, but I still wanted to be good at it.  I found myself on leaderboards, exceeding my sales goals and most importantly, learning about myself.

In doing research for my book, I found data that suggests women will not apply for a job they don’t feel 100% qualified for, while men will go after a position when they only match 60% of the qualifications.  This is where I might be more like a man! I have a history of going after things I have zero experience in and barely any qualifications. I have always taken the approach “you can learn it.”  Looking back, that’s exactly what I did.  You’ve done that too, you just haven’t thought about it that way. There’s a good chance you are better qualified for things you would like to pursue than you realize.  Let me give you some examples:

I hear women tell me they could never sell anything and in the next breath they will explain their favorite hair products or favorite place to buy produce. Without even knowing it, they have sold me a new gel and convinced me to buy my apples at Aldi’s! We are all selling something. It’s a matter of whether it’s benefiting you or someone else.

I hear women say, “I would love to go back to school to pursue a different degree but there’s no way I could handle the schedule around my family obligations.”  Meanwhile they have never even looked into what the school requirements would be, they are scrolling social media for 3 hours a day and they have never missed an episode of The Bachelor. They have way more time than they realize but have never evaluated how they give their time away.

I had a lady tell me, “I’ve always wanted to open a coffee shop but I don’t have any business experience.”  As we talked further she shared that she was a manager of a local boutique and had been a barista at her church’s coffee shop.  It was that experience that made her fall in love with the idea of owning a small cafe.  She had detailed plans for this cafe, all the way down to the name and the color of the walls. What in the world was stopping her?  She said, “I don’t have a business degree and my family thinks it’s a crazy idea.”  I think it’s crazy not to do it.  If you have given it this much thought, I think you have to pursue it.  At least take the next steps towards making it happen!

Friends, can I just tell you how common this is?  We disqualify ourselves or allow society to do it.  Here’s something not a lot of people know about me.  I went to seven colleges to earn my bachelors degree; five of them were community colleges.  It’s all I could afford.  I don’t have a photography background but I own a wildly successful photography business. Why?  Because I was willing to try, I was willing to learn.  I own four businesses to be exact, and I’ve never taken a business class in my life. Have I made mistakes? Too many! Have I learned from each one of them? Yes, I like to learn the hard way. Has it been easy? NO. Has it been worth it?  Absolutely.

If you are dreaming of something, I don’t care what it is, SHOW UP for your dreams.  Pursue your passions.  If you want to be a stay at home mom, figure out a way to make it happen and be the best one you can be.  If you are dreaming of starting a new career, research what it takes to be that person and start working towards it.  If you have convinced yourself you are not qualified, tell yourself “you can learn it” and then get out there and do it.

I think being “underqualified and overpaid” might be the best compliment I’ve ever been given!  It certainly beats the alternative.

What are you waiting on, sister?  Think of all the things you are going to learn along the way!

Get after those dreams…I know you can do it!

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