We all want to be personally and professionally successful. But what is success? I believe it is best defined by the individual. Of course, there are indicators that chart our progress—college degrees, promotions, awards and bonuses. But these are only indicators, not true measures.
I have found my greatest successes can be measured in the heightened awareness of who I am, living by well-defined values and embracing the lessons of life. My personal and professional accomplishments are intensified by these personal success measures. Any woman, but especially a woman of color, on the corporate path to senior leadership, must be squarely grounded in who she is. Race and gender can feel like both an asset and liability. Self-awareness is critical to moving beyond labels that others will want to give you. I am honored to share what I’ve learned on my personal journey:
- OWN YOUR POWER. Being powerful is not about position or title. Owning one’s power is showing up every day fully cognizant of what you bring to the table. You will diminish the value you bring to your company if you minimize your ideas, your passion, your commitment or your experience.
- ACTIVELY LOOK FOR DAILY LESSONS. We tend to look for great lessons in significant successes or failures. I contend that many of the most profound lessons are found in the day-to-day routine of our lives. You simply have to slow down enough to understand the insight gained from conversations with peers, the group dynamics of a meeting, the service you received as you ordered a cup of coffee or the reassuring rhythm of the train on your daily commute.
- QUESTION EVERYTHING. Women are often plagued with the fear that asking questions will reveal that they are not as knowledgeable as men. Let go of that fear and raise your hand. Ask why, why not, how come and can we do it better. The more you know, the more valued you become.
- CELEBRATE THE UNIQUE POWER OF SISTERHOOD. Embrace and celebrate the unique power of the women who protect you, motivate you, cheer you on, offer a shoulder to lean on, provide a safe place to share and challenge you to remain true to yourself and your values.