Women have faced many challenges throughout history, and the list is long of those who overcame adversity and became influential, inspirational figures. We read about Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, and Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, breaking boundaries at big businesses or Emily Weiss leaving her day job start her own cosmetics company. Often, though, there are obstacles that get in the way of women following their dreams. If you are looking to get ahead in your career or pursue new passions, it’s important to recognize what’s stopping you and then own your ambition.
“Adversity doesn’t have to define you, but rather it can strengthen, shape, and liberate you to do important things,” says Betty Ng, author of PO-LING POWER: Propelling Yourself and Others to Success and CEO of Inspiring Diversity, LLC, which builds inclusive, collaborative, and high-performing communities. “Anything is possible, regardless of your background, as long as we help each other to succeed.”
“These are individually-defined and should also take into consideration your personal vision and passions,” Ng says. “It’s critical to align what you do or plan to do with your personal vision. This is how you find your authentic self.”
Turn focus to others
As you make progress on becoming your best self, you should also focus on finding ways to elevate others. “You should think about how your personal success should be tied to the success of your community, organization, and those around you,” she says. “You are now empowered to do more for others.”
Learn to lead
Evaluate your position and recognize areas you could strengthen — develop new skills, learn to communicate better, invest in people. “Being proactive is where leadership starts,” Ng says. “You take the initiative to drive change, not just waiting for others to act.”
Communicate your goals clearly, loudly, and proudly. “Inspiring others to follow you, exuding that confidence and conviction for what you believe in, makes good things happen,” Ng says. “And with people drawing that energy from each other, the possibilities are endless.”
You never know who is ready and willing to help you. “Establishing and leveraging your network brings strength and knowledge in numbers,” Ng explains. “Building strong relationships leads to group opportunities and collaboration you would not have had before.” What’s more, she says, the people you meet and their stories will help motivate you to persevere for your priorities and personal vision.
In other words, accept failure. “We learn from all our experiences, both good and bad,” Ng says. “Mistakes and failing are ultimately about helping one to learn to succeed sooner. Embrace adversity, diversity, and change by taking every opportunity to challenge and reinvent yourself.”
Finally, strive for more than you ever thought possible. One of her company’s principles: “When you aim, aim high. When you look ahead, look as far as your imagination takes you.”
Betty Ng is the co-author of PO-LING POWER: Propelling Yourself and Others to Success, and founder/CEO of Inspiring Diversity, LLC “iD,” which builds inclusive, collaborative and high-performing communities. iD is a collaborative community with members of all backgrounds who inspire, empower, and elevate each other to achieve goals. iD also works with organizations to drive profitability through increased employee inclusion, engagement, and performance. A graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Business School (MBA), she is a tech entrepreneur, media and content creator, author, trainer, public speaker and consultant. Ng was a high-level executive at Citigroup and Moody’s.