I once had this really disconcerting experience of getting rated for a talk I gave. The audience was a group of 60 women in an exec ed course at Harvard Business School. The scores were pretty polarized…some people thought I was really boring, but most seemed satisfied with my delivery.
But one comment particularly stopped me in my tracks. It was something like, “I’m not sure if the speaker is happy doing what she does.”
This comment bothered me because:
a) I am happy. I love being a co-founder and CEO.
b) If I really seemed depressed I might have discouraged some of the women in the room from taking the entrepreneurial leap.
Thus, despite whatever impression I gave that woman at HBS, I am so delighted to see that female entrepreneurs actually rank VERY highly for happiness according to a new article.
It’s the first time I’ve seen any data in this area. Geri Stengle, in a Forbes piece called “11 Reasons 2015’s Outlook for Women Entrepreneurs is Coming Up Roses” writes, “American women entrepreneurs are among the happiest people in the world. Their happiness levels surge as they grow their businesses, according to the 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) U.S. Report. American women entrepreneurs ranked their well-being higher than other women in the U.S., higher than women entrepreneurs in other countries, and higher than men.”
I highly recommend reading Stengel’s piece as it is a great round-up of fresh research and data on this area of entrepreneurship. It attempts to explain the reasons for this over-indexing of happiness, but goes much further in other topics.
And now I have stronger ammunition to encourage women to pursue the start-up path. After the talk I stupidly started worrying that maybe I was setting women up if I was somehow secretly unhappy and did not realize it… OK that is lame, but now the whole dialog can be taken far beyond my own experience. Much better!