Women in Industry: Defining and achieving success
I imagine if each of us were to define success we would have a number of different interpretations.
It even is likely that what indicates success for you today is vastly different than even five or 10 years ago. But whether success means being named the next CEO of your company, mastering the elusive work-life balance or simply waking up every morning and loving what you do, you need to outline what success means to you.
However, regardless the definition, as women have achieved success, more and more data and studies have identified the recipe for successful women. Women who act upon the following fundamentals achieve great things. Hopefully the following advice will serve as a good reminder or provide a reset if you need it!
Be brave and take risks
“We gain strength, and courage and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot.” - Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady
How would you answer the question, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” Being brave does not mean you have no fears. Instead, it is recognizing those fears and being able to overcome and conquer them. In order to create change and to grow, you must take risks and be willing to step out of your comfort zone.
“True leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed... Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.” - Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
Being an authentic leader means being both genuine and self-aware. Who you are at work is your true self. Be honest, transparent and follow through on your promises. This builds trust and allows you to build deeper connections with others.
“Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.” - Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx
According to SuccessFinder “Mission Imposter” research, women are as competent, but clearly not as confident as their male peers — even at the CEO level. But how do you gain confidence? Start with assessing your competencies; identify your strengths and your weaknesses. Find ways to lead with your strengths, and make plans to address and eliminate your weaknesses. And as simple as it sounds, be prepared! Having your facts and data ahead of a meeting or presentation will help give you self-assurance.
Network and build relationships
“Networking is marketing. Marketing yourself, marketing your uniqueness, marketing what you stand for.” - Christine Comaford-Lynch, entrepreneur, author and coach
Networking is not just attending meetings and exchanging business cards. Women have the innate ability to build strong relationships. Use those relationships! And now for a shameless plug! Women in Industry is a division of ASA made up of professional women in the PHCP and industrial PVF supply chain. This is a great opportunity to connect with women who share many of the same goals and challenges in our industry.
“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.” - Marissa Mayer, former president and CEO of Yahoo
Have you ever taken a role or challenge outside your comfort zone and learned something by surprise? Every new project, role or career will bring about a unique set of challenges and demands. To succeed and remain relevant, you must be willing to evolve with new technologies, responsibilities and the needs of your clients.
“I was taught the way of progress is neither swift nor easy.” - Marie Curie, first woman Nobel Prize winner, pioneered the study of radioactivity
Have you ever felt like giving up on a goal when you have had an incredible setback? Though setbacks can be disheartening, you cannot view failure as the opposite of success. Failures do not define us, but how we overcome failure does. When you face roadblocks or when the outcome is not exactly as you had planned, it is important to learn from these disappointments to improve your chances of succeeding the next time.
Never stop learning!
“You must feed your mind with reading material, thoughts and ideas that open you to new possibilities.” - Oprah Winfrey, media proprietor
Have you ever been bored? Complacency is the key to a lifetime of dissatisfaction. However, committing yourself to a lifetime of learning is essential to achieving your full potential! Not only will learning expand your thinking and horizons, you will grow as an individual and professional. So read new books, meet new people, try new foods, listen to interesting speakers and learn from everyone you meet!
Your definition of success determines if you are “successful,” and the most important person in life you need to please is yourself!