3 Life Lessons for Female Leaders

I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of a few speaking opportunities regarding women in leadership. While I enjoy all of the opportunities I have to speak, female leadership is certainly one of my favorites. Most women serve multiple roles—business person, parent, daughter, partner, community leader, even caregiver. Do you see yourself in two or more of these roles? Chances are you probably do.

Seventy-three million women – that’s more than 50% of the US workforce – are female, and 40% of them are the primary or sole breadwinner. Yet, nearly 60% of working women report that other obligations make it harder for them to get ahead at work than their male colleagues.

It’s hard to become a female leader. My path to leadership hasn’t been easy, but I am grateful for a few life lessons I’ve learned along the way. Regardless of where you are on your leadership journey as a female – here are a few lessons I’ve learned that might help you.

Seek out the balcony people. “Balcony People” are individuals in your life who see great possibility in you, maybe possibilities that you don’t yet see or only dream of being true. They are more than encouragers. They breathe life into your vision. I believe that every successful woman will have at least one Balcony Person in her past. When I was a Senior Director in a global corporation, the CEO of a large health system told me that she thought I could be a CEO someday. Her words of encouragement for a bold future have never left me. They remind me to be the Balcony Person for other women—to be the person who sees the bright future with endless possibilities. Who is your balcony person?

On the other side of fear is success. All successful women will tell you that they were afraid. Afraid to fail, afraid to let people who depend on them down, afraid they weren’t good enough, or didn’t have all the skills they needed to succeed. All successful women will also tell you to push through the fear because on the other side of fear is success. Each one of us has a driver—the “why” that pushes us beyond fear to the next level. Find your why and let it lead to you where you are destined to be.

Let it be your turn. Permit yourself to grow. As women, we are continually investing in the lives of the people around us, and that is a good thing. But just as the airplane safety demonstration tells you to secure your oxygen mask first and then help others, if you are not your best self, you can’t help those who count on you. Support is out there for all of us who want to accomplish our dreams.  Seek it out—because the world needs women leaders like you.