Author: Glynnis MacNicol and Rachel Sklar
Publication Date: August 2014
Length: 222 pages
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’10 Habits of Highly Successful Women’ is a collection of essays written by a diverse group of very powerful women on their secrets to success and hard-earned experiences in the workplace. The stories cover a range of experiences from emotional correctness by political commentator, Sally Kohn; age discrimination with journalist and social media strategist Nisha Chittal; New York Times author Jenna Worthman’s edge with Thinking on the Fly; and many other life-lessons shared by highly successful women.
My thoughts on “10 Habits of Highly Successful Women”
The biggest thing I took away from these wonderful essays and the knowledge that each of these women shared, is that there isn’t any ‘secret’ to success. That our journeys are each as personal and unique as we are, and that success isn’t this magic formula or complicated education – it is the sum of our own life story, how we choose to connect dots and climb steps into hills and onto mountains. For some, the title might be a bit misleading- the book isn’t focused on an actionable list of business advice or acumen, but instead gives the perspective of the varying lifestyles and personalities of these women. Reading beyond that into the stories of how careers were formed, it reinforces the kind of habits common among women that must be broken, and how overly complicated we tend to make the journey to success in our own minds. To read how refreshingly normal these women are: with insecurities, failures and stumbles just like us – is to learn that we all possess what it takes to be highly successful of our own accord.
Some of the stories may strike a chord and others will be more difficult to relate, but that helps to come away with the overall sentiment that the road to success is a personal one, and although we all share many commonalities, success can be reached in a myriad of ways. I enjoyed reading the early career stories, relating to some and appreciative of the others. I think it reinforced for me, values that we know but sometimes forget to see the impact on our lives.
Applying Habits to be Highly Successful Women of Motorsports
Although the book details more traditional business career goals, I think much of the advice translates well over to Women of Motorsports and female racers. These were my Top 4 Take-Aways:
- Emotional Correctness: Women in Motorsports usually fall on one side of a very black and white line: either they completely reject being identified as a woman racer, fighting to be only referred to as a RaceCar driver and not a female driver -or- they fully embrace the girl-power movement, in sparkles and pink, and everything #likeagirl. There isn’t a thing wrong with either one of those, except that maybe taking that hard stance is less genuine than the complex beings that we are in the sport.Truth is, we are most often a combination of BOTH of those: fierce and capable racers AND feminine and powerful women who are overcoming barriers associated with long standing gender bias in a male dominated motorsport world. The problem with over-compensating one way or the other, is we are alienating 50% of the population. The key to applying this as women in motorsports is to be genuine and emotionally correct enough to be relate-able by both sides. To exhibit your talent and capabilities as a driver or crew member or owner; while balancing that with pride and appreciation for your journey as a woman, and being a role model for women and gender equality in the sport.
- Age Discrimination– There definitely is some age bias at work in the motorsport world, although in my observations, they are not exactly aligned with that of women in the business world. While extremely young women are typically seen as less-experienced, especially when in a more competitive class or category, there seems to be more emphasis placed on the use-by date of women in racing.After a certain age, it seems that women are expected to retreat into the assigned roles of motherhood and spouse. Many women do not return from those life events, and when they express desire to do so, are often attacked for being selfish and not thinking of their families. Never mind that men race long after they are married or fathers. I wrote about this phenomenon in my post Racing After Motherhood, and I believe that much like the business world, we still have much to work towards in terms of allowing women the ability to be both mothers and successful women in racing.
- Thinking on the Fly- Jenna Worthman’s advice about thinking on the fly really touched on a topic that I relate to in the racing world – that there isn’t an education to prepare you for a career in motorsports, nor the experiences you will encounter as a female navigating those tracks. It is easy to allow yourself to feel unqualified for the career you crave, with few prerequisites to check off to validate your preparedness, and it makes a newcomer feel overwhelmed by the largely uncharted course it will take to achieve the success they desire. But one quote I especially appreciated:
You already know so much. In fact, you probably know enough to do the job you want to do. Respect the process, and know that no matter how much you do know, you can always learn more. Be willing to learn more.” — Jenna Worthman
Don’t underestimate what you DO know… because living life equips us with so much more knowledge that for what we tend to give ourselves credit.
- Check your Fears – One of the most common themes that ran in the core of most of the essays, was the ability to rise up over our fears. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, the things that keep us from saying yes and taking chances that will lead us onto the path of success.Reading some of these stories made me think back to how many times I let fear hold me back from something that may have been my game-changer. How often had I let fear make me skip that trip to the SEMA show, or how many times I stood aside instead of walking up and introducing myself to that sponsor or team owner. These stories showed me what could’ve been if I would’ve just taken that chance, bought that plane ticket, sent that cold email, invested in myself and my future success absent from the conservative approach that said I should wait. In essence – GO, DO, BE. Do it NOW.
All you need is ignorance and confidence, and the success is sure.” — Glynnis MacNicol
Looking back, it seems that success for me came the fastest and easiest when I was young, full of drive and passion, and ignorant to how much I didn’t know in the world. As I got older, the more I learned and the more I was aware of all that I didn’t know, the more I let it paralyze me into fear of action. No matter what drives your fear, these stories help show that rising above that fear is what it takes to discover your true potential.