Work especially in the corporate world can seem daunting for most women. Establishing and building a career comes with many challenges.
Sometimes you can’t help but wonder how the few women who bagged senior positions broke through the glass ceiling that seems to be holding you back. From self-help books to seminars, nothing will top getting direct words of wisdom from successful women themselves. Here are some tips from successful women to help you navigate your way through the hardest work battles.
1. Give Up On Perfection
The desire to appear perfect as a colleague, wife, mother, and woman is often what leads us to downfall. Many women spend so much time berating themselves for the small failures that they never get to celebrate their big successes. Learn to focus on what’s important.
“In law school and in life I’ve learned to be a perfectionist. You hear: If you don’t succeed at something, keep trying or do it another way. I like to be good at everything, and I sometimes beat myself up. I spend a lot of time looking for other people’s opinions—when I should be confident in what I know because no one knows me better than my own self. One of the speakers said: ‘Give yourself two years,’ which is a reasonable amount of time. Then the stuff that doesn’t stick or you’re not able to ace, let it go, and lean into what you’re good at. Don’t fixate on your weaknesses. That goes in the opposite direction of what we’re used to hearing.”explains Sonya Sumner, 30, attorney.
2. Speak Up
“Sometimes I’m afraid to speak in meetings. Sometimes I’m afraid to seem too ambitious. So I have to balance: How do you make good relationships with people while showing what you’re doing as a professional and advance? That balance has always been difficult for me… Don’t be afraid to voice your goals, and to say what you want.”revealed Masha an architectural professional at a large firm .
Masha’s fear of speaking out resonates amongst many of us. Afraid to appear as the know-it-all we often dumb ourselves down to remain more “relatable.” However, this will not get us very far, for in life those who dare to stand out often succeed. Even Coco Chanel once said:
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
3. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
To truly move forward in life we need to experience what the world has to offer. This can feel terrifying as it usually means leaving behind our comfy group of friends and time-honored routines but if it worked for Eleanor Roosevelt who are we to argue with the power of ditching your comfort zone.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”said Eleanor Roosevelt, former first lady of the United States, diplomat, activist.
4. Support Other Women
For many women in senior roles, the hardest part of their day is how lonely and isolated they feel. However, it is strongly advised that you build strong relationships with other women around you.
Research shows that women with strong support systems and connections are more successful. So stick together, support each other, and learn to conquer your issues together.
“I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.”said Nora Ephron, screenwriter.
5. Treat Every Task As A Lesson
“Do the best you can in every task, no matter how unimportant it may seem at the time. No one learns more about a problem than the person at the bottom.”said Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court
Sandra Day O’Connor’s sentiments are echoed amongst successful women. No matter how small a task may seem there is always something to learn from it.
6. Carefully Choose Who You Spend Time Around
Finally, the saying “birds of a feather, flock together” should always be in the back of your mind when you’re choosing who you want to be associated with. As the former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama states:
“Do not bring people in your life who weigh you down, and trust your instincts. Good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don’t hurt. They’re not painful. That’s not just with somebody you want to marry, but it’s with the friends you choose. It’s with the people you surround yourself with.”