I have met great leaders in my 20+ year journey of finding my career path. Some leaders I met through books that I read, others are academic professionals, spiritual leaders, and some are industry leaders. Although I’ve learned a great deal from all of these leaders, there are 3 who played an integral role in shaping who I am now.
Two were the first set of people who taught me that life is not about how much one makes. What’s truly important is how they live life and the legacy that they leave behind. The third leader is a fierce female leader who I met almost 2 years ago. I was given the briefest time to enjoy her presence but her vivid love for life left such an impact in me that I want to emulate that everyday as I press through to becoming a Woman Leader.
Here are 3 Nuggets of Truth that I learned from these 3 beautiful people.
I remember my Dad as an insatiable reader who favored biographies and memoirs. The definition of brilliant. Throughout my childhood he always reminded me of the difference between good and nice (which is now one of the guiding principles in my life). He believed that both are traits that a person should have but would also always say: “Chique, when choosing to be good or be nice always choose to be good. The difference is in the decision making.”
Being good means to consider your values and your life principle, while being nice first considers the views and expectation of others.
My Mom, who is the very first #GirlBoss I ever met, exemplified what it meant to be a #GirlBoss decades before the term was even coined. She knew that she wanted to teach other women how to be leaders in their field and be the best they can be. She will still remind me that
“building a career should not be about money but about the legacy you leave behind. The satisfaction you get at the end of the day knowing that you hustled hard without compromising your beliefs, values, and principles. And it will be the thing that people will remember about you long after you’re gone.”
I have worked for various industry leaders but one woman has stood out among all of them. This lady from New Jersey built her company in the heart of Orange County in Southern California. Standing toe-to-toe with giant companies with better technology and more resources, this women-owned boutique staffing company and its fearless leader are proof that everyone has a shot and everything is fair game. During one-on-ones in her office she would tell me:
“Never apologize for who you are. Once you apologize, who are you?” She would say: “CiCi, apologize for things you did wrong. Never because of who you are, never apologize for being a woman, for your race and culture, for whatever you want to use as an excuse. No one will take you seriously when you don’t take yourself seriously and know who you are.”
These three wonderful leaders took the time to instill a mindset of authenticity as well as success. Although they said things differently they shared a message, the success is not real if you needed to compromise parts of yourself.
Their words have paved the way for people like me with big dreams and I hope that by sharing their words with you that you are inspired to jumpstart your success.
happy Monday and thank you for the visit and the read.
photo credit: Heather Stillufsen