Women in leadership can look really different depending on the lens through which one views them.
I grew up seeing my mother go to work everyday. She always looked great to work, like a million dollars. It was really inspiring. She would call us once in the afternoon when we got back from school, then we’d see her in the evening. On Sundays, we’d enjoy a great meal together as a family. She would cook a different country theme meal every Sunday, so food and family time was part of our joy. During these moments, we would sing and do silly dances, each one taking in turn to lead (it was our mum who would always start though). I’m celebrating her today as we just celebrated her birthday. We got to see a strong, loving, professional woman every day and a strong, loving, domestic mother every weekend. I believe this influenced me more than I could ever have known growing up.
I started ‘my working life’ with a weekend job from the early age of 11. I always wanted to go out, work, and earn my own money to do with it whatever I pleased. I later came to realise that I loved working; I enjoyed a good a challenge, much more than I did the money.
That is what I know has spurred me on throughout my career. I work because I enjoy it. I take on challenges that I believe I will learn from but also be able to crack and bring results.
I honestly believe that the more you love your job, the more effective you will be at it.
There is something to be said for hard work and focus in lifting you up in your career which a mere strong personality won’t bring you. However, for some, no matter how hard they work and the positive results they are able to bring in their fields, they don’t move up as quickly as others. This is often because they are not visible; their work may be, but somehow they are not. This is where sometimes learning some soft skills (if these are not in one’s natural disposition) and applying them, can be of great help.
So for me, success is partly: the ability to deliver without losing your head. Having peace and balance in your life.
One thing though that I do see in all successful women in leadership, is that they invest in themselves. For knowledge, and growth. They also permanently try to exceed expectations. There is, still today, often a feeling of the need to prove one’s value, to justify one’s position. In so doing, there are countless women whom have shown themselves to be exemplary leaders.