Focusing on Solutions with Take The Lead Challenge

“Fear has no place in your success equation.” – Carla Harris, Morgan Stanley

February 19th was the official launch of the Take the Lead Challenge, a movement to create equal leadership and pay opportunities for women by 2025.

I joined thousands of women worldwide who tuned into the live video stream and the 4,000 per hour tweets that blew up the three screens I was using to follow along. What an event! Take the Lead featured speakers including the dynamic Carla Harris (Morgan Stanley), Julie Burton (Women’s Media Center), Barbara Barrett (U.S. Ambassador), and Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook).

Their message rang loud and clear – the leadership parity is as evident today as it was 20 years ago and women have something to say about it. The speakers at Take the Lead Launch cited data in their arguments and sought to inspire viewers to harness the power within them. There was no blame game; there were hard facts and compelling stories. And if research, economics or morality isn’t enough reason to hop on the bandwagon, they pulled at the heartstrings of CEOs and executives everywhere – they pointed to the bottom line.

At IWL, we seek to create a similar dialog about these issues in our daily work and in our annual Women’s Leadership Conference by discussing two critical paths we believe will ignite change: corporate change and individual change.

“Individual change creates organizational change and organizational change creates individual change.”

Gloria Feldt, Co-Founder and President of Take The Lead made it clear that the main message of the event was to focus on the solutions rather than the problems. In the spirit of this message, in this post I won’t rehash the many data points shared that night. Instead I’ll change the narrative and focus on the solution.

Here are the best points of the night:

1) Being smart and hardworking does not equal success. Take fear out of your success equation. “Fear is just false evidence of things appearing real.”

2) Merit alone does not guarantee achievement. There is a human element of success that cannot be defined in meritocracy.

3) Perception is everything. If you are not being perceived the way you want to be seen, train people. Chose adjectives to describe you and then deliberately use those words in your conversations and consistently behave in a way that endorses those traits. Perceptions change.

4) Have the “expect to win” mentality. Ladies, if we can’t stand up and say “I want to be a CEO” or “I want to run for office,” can we sing it instead? That’s what Carla Harris did on stage with Take the Lead.

5) Take your seat at any table and over time, you’ll know you belong there. Men will step up to the plate without hesitation, while women tend to attribute their own success to others and second-guess their abilities. Take the time even if you think you can’t do it. You can learn the job later. Men know that.

6) Own your own success. Take credit for your work. People are attracted to positive and confident people. If you have to fake it until you make it – make your presence known and don’t let fear hold you back.

7) “Done is better than perfect.” Done.

Did I miss any key points? Share your favorite quotes and takeaways with us below.

Contributed by: Maggie Anderson, IWL Director of Marketing

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