A famous teacher once said, “Attend to reality diligently. Say little and do much. Receive all people with kindness.”

As women business leaders in male-dominated industries and trailblazers for future leaders, we are challenged every day to deal with the stark realities of working in fast-paced business environments. The reality is that we must be at the top of our game. We must invest time in the preparation process. The essence of true leadership lies in the ability to take action and calculated risks, to harmonize the power of people and not to become paralyzed when challenges appear too big.

Taking action can be very difficult, oftentimes risky, and can leave us feeling vulnerable. However, taking action is the only way to move forward. And it is our action that is remembered long after the words are forgotten. We may not always get the results that we desire, but having the courage and confidence to act in the midst of fear and complexity are signs of a true leader.

Whatever the challenge we may face and the corresponding action we may take, we must be careful never to lose sight of the capacity of the human spirit. As leaders, we are often looked to for inspiration, motivation and direction. Our ability to be authentic in treating people with dignity and kindness will impact our overall results and reputation.

This, too, is a sign of a true leader.

Success in the corporate environment is not solely about position and status. Success also is about the process you take to get there and the people you engage along the journey. Throughout my career, I have learned that there is as much value in the process and the people as there is in the end result. I want my actions to benefit others and my life to be my message.