The Language of Success, Part II
Recently, I attended an event honoring successful businesswomen. The event’s theme was "The Language of Success". First there was a panel discussion with 6 amazing women covering topics such as mentoring, recruiting and retaining talent, business planning, staying focused, and work inspiration. In my last post, I passed along their thoughts about what makes them successful. Below are a couple of comments made in response to the question, "What inspires you in your work?"
Amy, an executive in a big-four public accounting firm, said that she is inspired when people help each other, especially in a crisis. She told us about a woman who came to her firm after leaving New Orleans because of Hurricane Katrina. Amy was impressed by this young woman’s determination when asked about long term goals. "I hope this doesn’t come across the wrong way," the woman said, "but one day I’d like to have your job". Amy was excited because she wants to see her colleagues blossom just as much as she wants to make a difference with her clients.
Linda’s response to the question about what inspires her was classic. "It’s a bit morbid," she said, "but I often ask myself if what I’m worrying about is really important? If I were at my own funeral, what would I want someone to say about me?" What she wants people to think is that she is driven to be a blessing to others by using her God-given talents. She challenged the audience with this question, "What do you want your life to stand for?"
Hear are some of their book recommendations:
- Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott
- 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
- Never Eat Lunch Alone by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz
- My Mother Worked and I Turned Out Okay by Katherine Wyse Goldman
Later, our keynote speaker was a VP with an international company named Sara. She spoke to us about fear. Her philosophy was pretty straight forward – "fear of failure inhibits success and the freedom to fail encourages success". She shared what she called 3 Ideas On Letting Go of Fear:
- Don’t play it safe and don’t reward your teams for playing it safe.
- It’s all about learning not achieving, so in order to jog the synapses in your brain, try something new everyday for a month.
- It takes courage to try your passions, and passion changes the world.
Sara gave us her unique descriptions of strengths and weaknesses. Strengths are those things that strengthen us. She challenged us to think about what we’re still energized about at the end of a long day. Weaknesses are those things that weaken us. When we are feeling tired, frustrated and drained at the end of the day, we need to ask ourselves what we were doing. She applies this concept to her teams and, naturally, finds that the well-rounded teams are those using their strengths.
She concluded her comments by cautioning us to be mindful of what we are conforming to and that "to choose conformity is to say no to freedom." In other words, we should not conform for the sake of conforming. Then she asked, "If freedom is on the other side of the door, why do what everybody else does?"