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It’s no secret that the glass ceiling is still holding a lot of women back from achieving everything they need to at work. So it’s time to break it, slowly, surely, individually and together. In other words, let’s get your mind in the right place so that success is attainable.

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I spoke to a lot of successful women (including my mother who became an academic while raising five kids), and I garnered a few important lessons from them that we can all use.

1. There is room at the top.

My very successful mentor reminds me of this often. It’s important because we tend to think that the top is a lonely place and that there’s only space for one person. And in endeavoring to get there, we sometimes think that we must be ruthless and inconsiderate. Indeed being at the top of wherever our career ladder may take us requires a single-mindedness that we cannot afford to lose. But we must lose this idea that it can only be us at the top; there’s room at the top.

2. Challenges are not being done to you, they are being done for you.

We will face challenges at work, just like we’ll face change challenges away from work and getting into this mindset will empower us to face them in the right way. Whenever we are confronted with something that seems tough, we tend to think of ourselves as victims that must survive, rather than heroes that must conquer. But when we change our mindset to the latter, we often find that anything thrown us, is something that contains a lesson to be learned and a strength to gain.

3. It is always better to ask and hear no, than to speculate and say no to yourself.

As women from birth, and through childhood, it seems that we are almost always taught to question ourselves. We hesitate to ask for what we need, and oftentimes we suffer for it by making unnecessary sacrifices. Here’s another thing a different mentor told me: “You are always already at a ‘no’ when you need something.” You know what that means? That you can only move forward when you ask. Obviously communication styles at work are different, but learn the style, watch who succeeds, take the good, take note of the bad, and put yourself in the position where saying no to you is difficult.

4. Turn every woman you compete with into a woman you can win with.

Women are always in competition with each other, and it’s no different in the workplace. What I think we sometimes forget is that any woman who is doing well should be an example to us that “it can be done” rather than a source of frustration for why we couldn’t do it. More importantly, when you hang out with successful women, you are more likely to be successful too. The more women we have in positions of power, the more we can all move forward in society.

5. Creating your own path is better than following someone else’s.

It’s easy to get stuck in a goal. It’s easy to think that we have to be something that we always said we would be. But there is much to be gained by always being open to life. There is a lot to be gained by thinking of our failures as things that may close some doors, but may open others. Moreover, life and work and vocations are so much more interesting when they take us on adventure. It’s easy to forget and we often do but life is supposed to be an adventure. Be brave.

Cheers to your success!


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