I speak with a lot of women. Some are successful and others want to be! When I ask them to define success, I get a range of answers: money, power, the ability to shape the future, giving back to society; pretty focused, definitive answers. They all have a fairly clear vision of what success means to them.
When I ask them what they are prepared to do to achieve their success goals, they answer with much less clarity. The reason, I believe, is that there aren’t many role models of successful, high-achieving women and how they rose to their lofty positions. But, they are out there and when you find them, the leadership models they represent have surprising common threads.
Almost all of these high-performing women are confident and creative. They have the capacity to both teach and learn; can work independently and are strong team players; are great listeners but ask incisive questions. But the single most important commonality among these remarkable women, in my view, is their fearlessness. They are not afraid to take on challenges and stand up for what they believe – whether it’s defending a strategy, a point of view or a colleague.
And, almost every successful, remarkable woman I know has had someone in her professional life that has believed in her, trusted her, mentored her or sponsored her. No one has “made it” on her own.
Why am I sharing these observations with you? To help unburden you of the fear of “I can’t.”
“I can’t” gets in our way more often than we would like to believe. And, it is a major barrier to achieving our goals. If you believe you can’t do something, you won’t take on that challenging assignment that will enhance both your visibility and credibility. You won’t attract the attention of others who could identify your leadership potential…someone who might be a mentor or a sponsor.
So, go ahead…try it. Because you CAN!
If you don’t have confidence, you need to develop confidence within yourself in order to become truly successful. Tap into your inner potential and allow your creativity to shine and overcome negative feelings and fears of failure and loss. Successful women understand that failure goes hand in hand with success. In reality, no one expects perfection, so why should you expect it of yourself?
Many extremely successful leaders have experienced unbelievable difficulties and setbacks, often with poor backgrounds, confronting countless obstacles on their path towards success. In facing problems, they have managed to develop resistance, persistence, and a strong will not only for survival, but also the capability to become warriors and role models for others. Everyone faces difficulties in life. It is an individual´s and a leader´s capability of coping with difficulties in an emotionally intelligent way that makes the difference.
And one more common thread among successful women executives- a unique style that comes through in their authenticity, personal style, and remaining true to themselves, their values and how they want to be seen in the world, and by other people.
They learn from the best, and surround themselves with likeminded people who allow them to express their uniqueness and authenticity in a supported way. Although they may face resistance, they accept the advice from others but yet, remain true to themselves and to their unique leadership style.
So go ahead…try it! Because you CAN!
In the words of Maya Angelou: “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”
About Aspire Ascend: We help executive women meet the challenges of career advancement and make an impact in the C-suite. We work with executive women and help them advance their careers with the mindset and tools they need to excel in the top ranks of the organization.
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