What does it take to be a leader? While the answer is different for everyone, one thing is clear: leaders contribute their ability, background and skills to make a positive difference in their world.
Wondering how to step into your own power at work, home and life? Follow these five moves from powerful women to make it happen.
1. Be confident.
“The question isn't who's going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.” - Ayn Rand
You alone are free to choose your own destiny. Everything you need to achieve is within you right now. Whether you’re a woman executive leading a multibillion dollar enterprise, a flex worker living life on your terms or a stay-at-home mom raising the next generation, if you’re living the life you choose, you are a success. Don’t listen to your checkbook; listen to your heart.
2. Give with generosity.
“The way to achieve your own success is to be willing to help somebody else get it first.” - Iyanla Vanzant
Be generous with your time and resources, not because you have to, but because you have the abundance needed to help those around you. Generosity makes you feel good, and numerous studies show it can also improve your health and overall sense of well-being. There are so many easy ways to get started. You can donate old blankets to local pet shelters, help your kids create art for a senior living community near you, or do even something as simple as deliver coffee to your neighbor’s door as a pick me up.
3. Build your network.
“I’ve always believed that one woman's success can only help another woman’s success.” - Gloria Vanderbilt
It seems like everyone has a network. Social media gives us the ability to maintain an enormous personal network, but it doesn't lend itself to building deeper connections. In your personal network, quality matters more than quantity. You need to connect with people who build you up and challenge you to do your best. This holds true in all areas of your life. Take stock. Is your network draining you or cheering you on to greater heights?
4. Fail quickly.
“My best successes came on the heels of failures.” - Barbara Corcoran
Everyone fails. If you haven’t failed yet, it means you’re not taking the risks necessary for a fulfilling life. Try something — if it doesn’t work, you’ll know when to move on so you can accomplish the next big thing. You can let failure define you, or you can learn the lesson, and move on. Failing at something doesn't mean that you are a failure; it means you are brave enough to try.
5. Say what you want.
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.” - Anaïs Nin
What do you want in both your professional life and your personal life? If someone were to ask you this question tomorrow, would you know the answer? If not, it’s time to grab a journal and, in the words of the fabulous Glennon Doyle, imagine the most beautiful life possible. What would the most beautiful marriage look like? What would the most beautiful version of a job look like? What would the home of your dreams look like? Words have power. Even the simple act of writing something down sends a message to the Universe that you are ready to receive. It’s not always easy, but it's part of being an effective leader. No leader sits quietly and assumes that others know what she wants; she makes her wishes clear.
As women, it’s our responsibility not to wait for power, but to go out and seize it for ourselves so we can make the change we want to see in the world. What do you want to change and how are you going to make it happen? You’ve got this!
Laurie Halter is the owner of Charisma! Communications, a successful PR firm in the automotive space, and host of Carearing, a podcast dedicated to helping women “rear” both successful careers and home lives at the same time. Find her on LinkedIn or at [email protected].