The ABC recently asked six successful women what they wished they knew earlier in their careers. The women were from various sectors, some high profile, some not. Their responses were as varied as their backgrounds but the themes of being self-aware, confident in your abilities, aim higher and so on. It was an interesting look at the individual and collective challenges and opportunities that women have across sectors and society.
I got to thinking. I have a plethora of successful women in WWGI, my networking ecosystem for women from all walks of life. There are more than 3500 successful women members who offer advice and support to each other on a daily basis. Why don’t I ask them what do they wish they knew then, that they know now?
The Wisdom of Women
So I posted in our Facebook Group; “What do you wish you knew earlier in your career?”
Here is what the wise women of WWGI responded with:
These women’s wisdom is borne from diversity of age, culture, industry, sector and of course, individual experience. It is also the wisdom of women who have, even for a brief moment, taken the time to stop, breathe and reflect on their careers and life. I’ve written and spoken many times about the benefits of reflective practice, and even an exercise as simple as this forces us to stop and evaluate where we’ve been and what we’ve learned.
A Message to My Younger Self
I was asked to contribute to a book in 2018. My contribution was a letter to my 20-year-old self. It was a terrific way to look back, reflect on who I was at 20, and indulge myself by giving that 20-year-old Michelle some advice.
It was a tougher exercise than I first thought it would be. I had to stop, breathe and think about the person I was then, what was shaping my world view at the time, and the sorts of behaviours I was exhibiting. The advice I gave myself isn’t too different from the advice my wise women of WWGI have given you all. I said (in part) to my 20-year-old self:
“Slow down and listen to that nagging voice that you shut out with your busy, hurrying life full of activity. Stop hurrying and listen to that voice, because it will help you find and use, your courage, your burning drive and your voice sooner.
Listen to what matters. Then be in a hurry. But be in a hurry to ask courageous questions, take courageous actions, explore your burning drive and be in a hurry to understand how you can make a difference, find your purpose, your bliss and true happiness.
You need to slow down to speed up. My wish for you, the 20-year-old version of me, is to slow down, then speed up, towards the right life, sooner.”
Since the Dawn of Time
Women have gathered, told stories and passed on wisdom and traditions to each other since the dawn of time. Reflecting on one’s own journey, taking meaning from it then sharing what you’ve learned with other women, is a terrific way to help clear the path for those women that come after us. Thank you, Jane, Shanyn, Fiona, Amanda, Dionne, Jenny, Sandy, Jane, Kelly, Nancy, Kate, Michelle, Carol and Athena. You’ve generously and vulnerably offered your wisdom and advice.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever had? What advice would you give your younger self if you could?