By Griselda Togobo
"It took less than 40 years to put a man on the moon, but it will take 170 years to put a woman in the board room in many places on our planet." World Economic Forum.
170 years is totally unacceptable and we need to do something about it.
I'm privileged in the work that I do because every day I get to meet the most inspirational women. Women who have smashed the glass ceiling, created businesses and jobs, taken on institutions, climbed Everest and held multiple roles just to make ends meet whilst bringing up young children. I meet women who have overcome cancer, built schools and raised millions for causes they believe in. They are bold women who are changing the world, one step at a time.
They've achieved all this despite facing a lot of adversity. What can we learn from these women? Here are 10 small steps you can start today, to help live a bold and enriching life:
1. Love what you do or do what you love - the most inspiring people I've met are those who absolutely love what they do. They go the extra mile and so become a huge success at whatever they put their hands to. Follow your dreams and your passions. You only get one shot at life.
2. Speak up - you have a voice. Use it. We have to be ready to speak up for ourselves and for others. Nothing great was ever achieved when people failed to use their voice. All my problems can be traced to my silence. Read more here.
3. Put yourself forward - it's not your job to take yourself out of the race or disqualify yourself. There are people paid to do that. We underestimate what we can achieve and overestimate our faults. Put yourself forward for that project, for promotions, start that business. Dream big and go for it. Failure is a sign that you are trying new things and not playing life safe.
4. Give a helping hand - when you know more, teach more and when you have more - give more. All the opportunities I've had, have come through people who have been willing to give me a helping hand. Be helpful and it will come back to you. Make time to give back.
6. Be connected - You can only achieve so much on your own. Prioritise networking and develop a network of close peers and supporters that you can call upon. They will be there when the going gets tough and lift you up when you need that extra support. You can also be that same support for others when you stay connected.
7. Be positive and give hope - it's uncertain times. I meet many men and women who are stuck and disenchanted with the business world and our political and business leaders. We need people that can give hope and encouragement. It's easy to be negative but it’s even better to channel all that energy into something positive. That is why we need you to lead.
8. Take control and lead - be ready to lead. I see far too many women who are not ready to lead because they see leadership through the lens of male stereotypes. We need more female leaders to redefine and rebrand what leadership looks like in the 21st century and beyond. Lead within your community and at work. Lean into those discussions.
9. Authenticity - my biggest lesson from 2016 was taken from the Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton election. Being yourself and bringing your whole self to work matters a lot. Clinton had the experience but her lack of authenticity and the facade built around her ability to cope in a male-dominated political world ultimately cost her the presidential election. That facade may work for you today, but how far can it really take you?
10. Invest in yourself and in your future - because nobody else will. Upgrade your thinking, learn new skills, connect with the right people who can mentor and coach you. Work on yourself and have a growth mindset.
Always remember - some 90 years ago, women fought for the rights and privileges we now take for granted. What will they think now about how we are using those same privileges they fought so hard for? Ultimately, being bold is about self-belief. Believe in yourself and your ability to make a difference.
It's a great time to be a woman. Nothing can change that.
Be bold and believe in yourself and your ability to make a difference.
Our success is vital to the success of the global economy.
Would you like your business and hard work to be recognised? Then apply or nominate someone for one of our prestigious National Women in Business awards, so we can celebrate your success and inspire other women to do the same. There’s nothing we love more than promoting incredible women in business! Apply/Nominate HERE.