Monday Postcard #18 – International Women’s Day
When I thought about the theme for this week’s postcard, it was quite easy to decide: with Women’s Day Approaching in big steps, it was actually obvious. A year ago, at the beginning of March, I decided to dedicate my blog to women who shatter glass ceilings every day. I hope that you enjoy and learn from the stories as much as I do. And for me personally, it was so great that these interviews allowed me to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.
Today, I am dedicating this Monday Postcard to all the women who shatter glass ceilings by sharing my biggest learnings from all the inspiring interviews:
1. Lock your self-doubts up in your closets.
First and foremost: stop doubting yourself. If you do not believe in yourself, nobody will. And there is no reason at all for self-doubt. It does not matter if you have a linear career in the corporate world, found your own business, or, if you spent some time at home with your children and want to pursue your passion again. You can do it!
“Starting my own business showed me I can do it! Being a stay at home for a number of years zapped me of confidence, but now I am back in the workforce, I have realized all those skills I acquired are still there. And there is so much more to learn and grow, it is exciting.” Priya Gupta
2. Find your passion and share it.
Finding your passion is key. It is really hard, if not impossible, to succeed in a job you do not enjoy. And if you enjoy something, you will love to share this passion with others and with this inspiration start a snowball effect.
“It is fun to be able to pursue your passion but I am finding it is even more fun to be able to share it with others.” Lenore Morrow Mallett
3. Network the hell out of you.
“Get out there, ladies! Go to events, try to meet people, and talk about your idea. Only if people know about you and your product can they help.” Amelie Gross
All the women I interview stressed the power of networking. But none of them understood it as going to events and randomly distributing your name cards. They all see it as building up meaningful long-term relationships you can rely on.
4. Success is the result of hard work.
Duh! But this is what a lot of people forget and I would like to stress it here: successful women are not “lucky” to have ended up where they did. It all was the result of hard work, persistence and sacrifices. Of course, you need a bit of luck to be in the right place at the right time. But simply BEING there is not enough.
“Be prepared to give everything and work hard. An organization like ours cannot be managed from a sailing boat.” Agnes Wiesbauer-Lenz
5. There are organizations and ways supporting career women.
The picture is not all grey. Meeting and talking to all those inspiring women proved to me that it is definitely possible to advance your career and live your passion. There are organizations out there which actively support career women.
“I agree with Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, that we as women sometimes create sticky floors for ourselves preventing us from moving up the career ladder. However, I am lucky to work in a motivating environment where I do see a lot of my female colleagues being really successful, regardless, if they are mothers or not. If you work hard, it will work out – and this applies to women as well as it does to men.” Ivana Novoselac
And worst case, if you cannot find an organization, you might want to think about founding your own. 🙂
“Working as a female entrepreneur means that I have the freedom to create what I want. I can create the reality that I want for myself and a business that I love. A life that I want to live.” Melissa Lim
6. We should learn from men but not aspire to act exactly like them.
“One of the biggest mistakes women make in my opinion is that we are often too nice or empathic when it comes to negotiations. While men only consider their own perspectives, women think about the business partner and question if they put the other party into a disadvantaged position. They even might think they exploit their business partners, If they aim at negotiating a lower price.” Veronika Stocker
I do agree that there are fundamental differences in the way men and women behave in the work place and how we all try to assert ourselves. While there are a lot of things we should observe and learn from men’s behaviour, it is important to keep in mind that this does not mean becoming a man. We do not need to wear grey suits with pants to be taken seriously. And we definitely should build on our female strengths. Because in the end, a great team is a diverse team.
All of my interview partners agreed on one topic: the older they get and the more they advance in their career, the more they put everything in perspective. Their focus shifted and they deal with everything with a more relaxed attitude. Furthermore, the time spent with family and friends is much more in the focus then when we all started out.
“Today, I see that my priorities and attitude have changed a lot. I see the broader picture. Spending time with my family or myself has become very important to me. I would definitely tell my younger self to relax and put things into perspective.” Nadine Al-Wazzan-Jairath
8. We can all have an impact.
“I’m sure this sounds very idealistic and makes cynics smile, but I genuinely believe that if one puts one’s mind to something, one can achieve it – and this is what I live by.” Marielle Reussink
No matter how small the contribution, if we all start to change small things in our daily life, our society will change overall for the better.
Therefore, I would like to end this postcard with a shout out: this week, do one small thing to make our society more diverse and balanced. I am trying to contribute by preparing the upcoming interviews with inspiring women on this blog. What is your contribution? Let me know in the comments!
PS: If you would liked to be interviewed on this blog, please shoot me a message. I love to hear about all of your stories and feature them on the blog!