So You're In Charge. Now What?
Leadership lessons from the first female Senior Vice President at Guardian Life Insurance in 140 years; Eileen McDonnell.
A VP at 27 in a male dominated industry, I experienced myriad obstacles. As a young woman with less experience than most of the men reporting to me, age, tenure and gender were all challenges, encapsulated best by an Agent who commented "I don't listen to my wife, why should I listen to you?" Despite all this I went on to have a career packed with rewards and success.
Many professionals spend so much energy concentrating on getting to the top that when they do - they aren't quite sure what to do next or how to get the most out of their leadership experience. Why do many female leaders fall victim to this, while a few prevail? What sources of support, motivation and belief in oneself enable some women to not only survive but to thrive?
Here are 20 mantras putting you on the path to becoming a powerful professional.
- Gain control of your life - balance work, family, friends and your health.
- Courage and motivation - Have it and empower those with whom you work, with it.
- Overcoming fear and obstacles - Identify and eradicate.
- Passion for destiny - Always focus on the goal and keep moving towards it.
- Form a 'web of success' with people in your life - Surround yourself with positive supporters, trusted advisors and loyal family & friends.
- Turning points - Look at each crossroad in life as an opportunity to grow
- Your Intuition is right 90% of the time. Follow your gut instincts. Trust in yourself.
- Understand the big picture of your life: how is your uniqueness of benefit to others now and in the future?
- Give gratitude - To those who help you along the way and make a difference in your life.
- Discover - from where did you get your drive? Parents give us values, respect, self esteem. Understand where your success traits came from so you can capitalize on them and replenish them when necessary.
- Not everything is perfectly clear. Don't be afraid. Fear kills the spirit. Just go for it!
- Honor your responsibilities - to your family, friends & communities.
- If you start a task, finish it
- "Talent" - don't believe in it. Courage and passion come from an insatiable love of life and appreciation for it.
- Choose consciously to see the beauty and richness in life
- I think everyone has something they love to do - it is a matter of finding it
- Live each day without regret
- Find the little things that make you happy and do more of them.
- Create your own reality - by seizing the opportunities. Make your achievements as good as your dreams.
- If you believe in who you are - keep going. Never stop.
Eileen McDonnell is keynote speaker and host of 'Women in Power'. A nationwide series of workshops and seminars.