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Every year, Forbes comes out with its â€˜Power Listâ€™ and every year, one can see more and more women in these lists. These women stepped out of their comfort zones and conquered their fears. They stood up and challenged those who claimed that women could not be good leaders.
If you truly believe that the world is your oyster and you are here to make your dreams come true, take some inspiration from these women who challenged status quo and won.
1. Sheryl Sandberg â€“ Donâ€™t be Afraid to take Risks.
Photo Courtesy: Steve Maller Photography
Sheryl Sandberg has been the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook for four years. After the companyâ€™s $100 billion IPO in May 2013, she was also included among the board of directors. Before Facebook, Sandberg was the Vice President of global online sales and operations at Google. Having held various high level leadership positions, Sheryl Sandberg has a lot to share and inspire career women out there. According to Sandberg,
Career progression often depends upon taking risks and advocating for oneself – traits that girls are discouraged from exhibiting.
Donâ€™t be scared to take risks when you clearly see a reward. You need to stand up for yourself and decide on your own what you want out of life. Nobody can dictate to you what you want. When you have a career of your choice, you can do remarkably well.
2. Oprah Winfrey â€“ Follow your Passion
Oprah at her 50th birthday party – Photo Courtesy: Alan Light
Oprah Winfrey is a woman who has undoubtedly achieved a lot. She has acquired fame and success with her own efforts. Based on her experiences, she has some profound career advice to share with you.
I was never given any advice. I had to figure it out for myselfâ€¦.But my best advice is to let your passion lead your purpose. There is a seed of desire inside of every person, and if you get still enough, you can feel itâ€¦.That thing has led me all the way here, to this stageâ€¦.Iâ€™ve allowed myself to listen to that thing. And everybody has it. So my best advice is to follow that.
She talks about the inner voice, the voice that leads people to find their purpose in life. Every person knows what they want. Some just lack courage, while others lose focus by coming under the pressure of what others are saying and doing. But if you follow your own â€œseed of desireâ€, you can be a success.
3. Marissa Mayer â€“ Get Out of your Comfort Zone
Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Montersino
Mayer inspired women throughout the world when she became the CEO of Yahoo. She possessed the leadership and courage to turnaround Yahoo and leverage strong franchises in email, sports, and finance. Her experience has taught her to face her fears. She has the courage and tact to put fear to its best use. Fear does not limit her; it rather gives her a direction. For the career woman out there, she has a straightforward but exceptional advice:
Do things that you’re not quite ready to do. And surround yourself with the smartest people.
She is not just adventurous but also smart. She not only believes in taking risks and conquering her fears, but also in learning from smart people around her. Like Mayer, if you are courageous and know how to create synergy, you can surely work wonders.
4. Carolina Herrera â€“ Balance Life with Work
Photo Courtesy: Rebecca Rawlinson
Herrera launched her flagship Carolina Herrera brand in New York in 1981. Her business gradually turned into a fashion empire; with her signature fashion collection, fragrances, accessories, and a bridal collection, she now owns a multi-billion dollar business with more than 280 stores in 104 countries.
She has an important piece of career advice that greatly emphasizes on work-life balance:
The moment I leave my office, I draw a curtain on my work. Because you know what is really boring? When you work and work and then work some more, and you donâ€™t realize it, but work is all you talk about all the time. Many designers have that problem. Work should be an important part of your life. But for it to be your life? That is very sad.
Work must not overwhelm you. It must not be on your mind 24/7. Striking a balance between your work and family life is the key to long term success in your career. Being a woman, it is important to perform various roles effectively, and thatâ€™s what Herrera has been focusing on. Itâ€™s not all about career; itâ€™s actually about your life.
5. Catherine Mayer â€“ Take the Road less Traveled
Photo Courtesy: Brendan Corr
Mayer, the Europe editor of TIME magazine, has an appetite for adventure. She does not believe in limiting herself with mediocrity. She has acquired this esteemed position because she capitalized on opportunities that came her way. Like Marissa Mayer, she takes fear as a challenge, rather than a limitation. Thatâ€™s her career advice for you:
My mantra is: always accept a dare. Jump at every opportunity; don’t just stay within your comfort zone. Stretch yourself. If something frightens you, itâ€™s probably a really good idea to do it. Don’t take soft options if you want to do interesting things. You also need to be tough. If you don’t let people see that things upset you, you will find they don’t upset you nearly as much. Learning to appear serene even when youâ€™re not is hugely important.
Mayer knows that a successful woman is a tough woman. She is not afraid of setbacks and challenges; overcoming them only adds to her confidence. She tells women to look calm in the face of crises. She tells them to take hard tasks and accomplish them. You cannot stand out from others nor do great things without courage and perseverance. You must have a mix of both to succeed.
Having read the career advice from these powerful women, you can see a pattern in there. They are all daring, courageous, and wise. Challenges do not scare them. They do not believe in performing on a minimum acceptable level. They have the brains and the courage to pursue their dreams. They have a vision of their own. They learn from others but are not always led by them. They are the leaders, and also an inspiration for those who want to follow their passion and accomplish great things.
Zyana Roger is an online education and career advisor in college and has been working as a freelance writer for Myway Education.