What is the magic success factor for women in leadership?

We have this uncanny ability to hold a lot of information, see the big picture and the details simultaneously, and want to effectively empower our teams and motivate our teams through inspiration and passion, rather than through domination and control. All of this, and create thriving successful businesses that bring in generous profit. Whew! That is a lot to hold.

It’s really not so much about a gender debate. Effective leadership comes from being able to access our masculine and feminine qualities and use them authentically when they are needed most. But there are specific challenges that women need to move through to create real success in their business and in their lives.

When looking at entrepreneurship, women are taking the lead. In the United States, 30% of all businesses are owned by women. Female-owned enterprises have an economic impact of nearly $3 trillion annually – that translates into the creation and/or maintenance of more than 23 million jobs (Center for Women’s Business Research, 2009). This is good news, yet the failure rate is high. According to one report, 66% of the establishments fail within the first four years. What are the factors that can lead to greater success for women in business?

Studies of successful women in leadership find that there are seven factors for creating lasting success:

Mental Attitude – Having a positive outlook, and turning your fears into your teachers, your weaknesses into your strengths.

Emotional Intelligence / Social Intelligence – Having the ability to feel your emotions and communicate them in a healthy way, when needed.

Flexibility – Having the ability to dance with the inevitable changes that business and life bring while staying connected to the vision of your organization.

Leadership Skills – Having effective tools and skills to manage things such as time, energy, money, and communication. Plus, the organizational skills to make it all happen.

Perseverance – Staying the course even through hard times. Having the ability to remain committed and believe in yourself and your business, regardless of the circumstances.

Relationship Building – Giving up doing it all alone. Having the ability to create alliances that will mentor, support and grow your enterprise.

Taking Control of Your Life – Having the willingness to do the personal growth work. Identifying your strengths, weaknesses and being personally responsible for your life.

In this article, the first in a series, we will review the first factor, Mental Attitude.

Mental Attitude

In order to cultivate a healthy mental attitude, it may require “weeding the garden” of your mind. As you pull out the old thoughts and beliefs, seed in new ones. Releasing old patterns and habits of self-sabotage – the inner perfectionist or inner critic that has harboured core beliefs that you lack value or worth. Replace these old thoughts with the truth; because you don’t know how to do something doesn’t mean you are worthless. It means you are ready to learn something new.

Practice: Create new affirmations that remind you of the person you are becoming.

Having a healthy mental attitude also means believing in yourself and being dependable to yourself. Can you count on yourself to keep your word and your commitments? If not, take one week to notice and practice being impeccable with your word. Only make commitments you know you will keep.

Your mental attitude is your power tool for success. It is like a muscle to build, so getting out of the habit of self-sabotage takes practice. As you start to notice the areas of your life that you hold an attitude of stress, frustration, disappointment, fear or negativity, you can start by just noticing that it is an attitude. Suspend judgment and begin to shift your attention to the new attitude you want to develop. Over time, the new attitude will become your habitual way of interacting with the world.

Sarah Medlicott, CPCC, PCC is a dynamic woman who is committed to generating greatness in leaders. She is known for her unique style of leadership, that models learning in every moment. Sarah has been a business and leadership coach for over eleven years and started her company, Affinity International on Valentine’s Day in 2000. She is a certified professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) through the Coaches Training Institute and attained her Professional Coach Certification (PCC) through the International Coach Federation.  For the past nine years, Sarah has trained thousands of leaders and coaches across the globe, from the US and Canada, to South Africa, Israel, Turkey and Europe as a former trainer for The Coaches Training Institute.

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