If you could talk to her, what would you tell your younger self? This is the question that was posed to six speakers at the upcoming 21st Women in Leadership Summit 2017 by Women’s Agenda. Their responses are as unique as the women that they are; however, there are virtues and strengths that connect their sage advice.
They want their younger selves to:
1. Understand that life and work are not straight paths.
Kellie Harsh, Editor-in-Chief at Harpers Bazaar and Catriona Larritt, Chief Commercial Officer at Jetstar, sought to gift their younger selves with the strength of judgment and resilience, understanding that life is not a clear path and to make the most of the unpredictable detours, opportunities, and challenges that come their way.
2. Never stop learning.
Sulin Ho, Head of Group Wholesales Credit Operations and Enablement, ANZ, and Francis Martin focused on the virtue of wisdom, encouraging their younger selves to deploy the character strengths of curiosity and love of learning.
3. Be brave.
Loudly and clearly, these remarkable women want their younger selves to get to know the character strength of bravery and to take risks, accept challenges, and to “feel the fear and do it anyway.”
Their ideas might be best summed up in a Richard Branson quote that Sulin Ho shared:
If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.
4. Trust your gut.
In the midst of challenges and unknowns, these women want their previous-young-leader-selves to know that they can trust their own instincts; that they can and should rely on their strengths of social intelligence and self-awareness.
There is a lot of wisdom in this simple list. It actually sounds a lot like the conversations we have about our highest hopes for students (e.g. grit, lifelong learning, growth mindset, resilience).
If you could meet and talk with your younger self, what would you want her to know?