7 Characteristics of Extraordinary Women

wecandoit_ROSIETHERIVETERWhat characteristics do heroes and role models have ?

Your answers reveal a lot about your core values.

I’ve asked hundreds of women to name their top three role models and not surprisingly, I often hear names like Oprah Winfrey, Eleanor Roosevelt and Margaret Thatcher.  Also not surprising is that women almost always include a family member in their list; a grandmother, aunt, mother or someone who has spent time and been a direct influence in their life.

No matter how expansive or how small you perceive your sphere of influence to be, someone is watching you. You have the opportunity (and responsibility) to lead well.  Some of the most profound and destiny-shaping advice is passed on from person to person and generation to generation. We are at a time in history when women need to shout what our grandmothers whispered.

It’s rather astonishing to think that just one hundred years ago, women in America were not allowed to vote or own property. That seems so weird, doesn’t it? Career options were extremely limited and included occupations like teaching, nursing and secretarial work. The choices women have today are unlimited. But for every fence that has come down, there’s another one to climb or dismantle.

The Bestseller “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of FaceBook shines a bright light on this subject.  Sandberg addresses how women deliberately exclude themselves from so much because they feel self-doubt, and learn to downplay their accomplishments at a young age.  “I want every little girl who’s told she’s bossy, to be told she has leadership skills” is one of many thought-provoking statements she makes in the book that’s a must-read for every woman.

I love the image of standing on shoulders of the great leaders who have gone before us.  I believe these seven guidelines provide a strong foundation to build on:

1) Communicate clearly via every means that impacts the people you need to reach.

2) When you think something is wrong, take a stand. Speak Up!

3) Consciously cultivate strength: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

4) Combine your career and family life.

5) Surround yourself with people who provoke you to continuous growth.

6) Always tell the truth. It’s said that if you have integrity, nothing else matters. And if you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.

7) Be a solution focused game-changer.  Fresh thinking is part of pioneering.

What would you add to this list? What is a crucial virtue, attitude or expectation you want your daughters and grand-daughters to carry?  Your comments and conversation make a difference!

Live well, lead well and love well – the best is yet to come!

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