In my life, I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by strong women—my mother, who was regarded as a respected leader in our community; my wife, Loveanne, who has managed our family with an efficiency that many CEOs wish they had; and my assistant, Dayna, who has been handling my crazy schedule and making my life run smoothly for 20 years. None of these women hold an official leadership title, but I absolutely consider them among the best, most capable leaders I’ve ever worked with.
Even though we’ve come a long way in our society, we still tend to overlook the extraordinary impact women have, or their phenomenal abilities to lead in the toughest circumstances. Look, I’ll just say it—women can juggle multiple responsibilities and multitask far better than most men, and, if we would just pay attention, we could all learn a lot from them about what it means to be a great leader, both professionally and personally.
To illustrate my point, I’ve compiled four quotes from four strong women I admire and who I believe set a great example of real leadership.
1. “If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.” – Margaret Thatcher
I think because women have to had to fight so hard for every opportunity they get, they don’t waste a lot of time sitting around talking about all they’ve accomplished or what they intend to do. They get in there, roll up their sleeves and get stuff done. Women are doers.
You can sit around, running your mouth all day about your vision or what you think needs to be done to drive growth or create change, but words are just words. They won’t actually do anyone, including you, any good unless you follow them up with action. In everything you do, in every aspect of your life, earn the reputation for being a doer, and not just being someone who talks a lot but has no follow through.
2. “I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint—and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.” – Oprah Winfrey
I get an unexplainable rush of emotion when people jump to their feet clapping and cheering because of something I said, or when I get messages from people who’ve heard me speak, telling me how my words gave them the courage to follow their dreams. Looking back, I realize I was always headed in this direction—from the time I was a gregarious little boy who stood up in class and winged book reports. It just took me a minute to get there, to know this was my calling.
I believe we are all unique and each of us has something we were put on this this earth to do. A lot of people figure out their calling early in life. Then there’s the rest of us—the ones for whom finding our passion is more of a journey. One way isn’t better than the other, as long as you eventually find it. So strive to find those things that give you a feeling of peace and tranquility, because a peaceful mind generates power and purpose, and once you are living out your purpose, you will truly be successful.
3. “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are an excellent leader.” – Dolly Parton
There is a huge difference between a boss and a leader. Bosses just dole out orders and don’t take the time to get to know their people, and they definitely don’t care about helping them become the best versions of themselves. Leaders, on the other hand, understand the importance of making their people feel like they matter and helping them continue to grow. Their care and compassion is evident in everything they do.
People learn by the example—whether it’s your children or the people who work for you—so the examples you set with your actions play a major role in the outcomes you will receive. If you want to be an excellent leader, in whatever capacity that may be, make sure your actions are inspiring the people around you.
4. “How very little can be done under the spirit of fear.” – Florence Nightingale
Life turns on the decisions we make. Ideally, when we make a bad decision, we learn from our mistake and are able to do better the next time. Unfortunately, though, when we make a decision that goes bad, a lot of times it causes us to experience so much fear it cripples our ability to take action in the future. And that totally cripples our ability to accomplish anything. Ever.
You can’t live in fear of making the wrong choices. All you can do is your best, and if things don’t go exactly as planned, pick yourself up, learn from your mistake and keep on keeping on. Don’t let the spirit of fear hinder you. It’s the only way you will ever accomplish your goals and be successful.
Listening to the intelligent women around you can help you be more successful, so start making a real effort to pay attention to all the wisdom they have to share. I promise you’ll be better for it.