Lessons in Leadership From Women in Washington

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend a few days in wonderful Washington, DC with the members of my 2013 Leadership Women community, which is a non-profit organization that develops programs and projects to advance and improve the personal, economic and professional status of women in the United States.

It was a busy two days packed with rich content and learning. I met some of the most powerful women in Washington who are leading the charge on policy and change. These women shared many gold nuggets that were actually comforting and reassuring. What I mean by that last statement is their perspectives were easy to grasp and I could see clearly how to implement some of the leadership lessons into my life. Sometimes when we read about women in power, it can seem surreal or unattainable.

Make no mistake, these women paid their dues to get where they are today and I certainly don't want to paint a picture that it was easy. The leadership lessons discussed were common themes and today, I'm going to share five rich and relevant nuggets.

1. Connection & Relationships - One of the best investments you can make with your time is to connect with people who champion you and have a desire to see you succeed. It's important to build relationships with people who can support your growth along the way and help you accomplish your goals. The good news is women have connection and relationship building in their DNA!

2. Go Big or Go Home - Think Big! Have a vision for what you want and make a plan for it to happen. Avoid getting caught up in the small stuff. If you think big and create an action plan that covers all the bases, the small stuff will take care of itself. Create a support system that becomes your safety net at the first sign of turbulence. If you are living a full throttle life, there's going to be turbulence along the way. Course correct and keep moving forward.

3. Say Yes to the word No - Adopt a policy of saying No more often. This can be tricky for women because we are nurturers by nature, however if you truly want to accomplish your goals and live your dreams, you will need to stop saying yes to everyone and say no more often to reserve your time and energy for your big ideas, dreams and goals.

4. Make Friends with Money - In order for you to build a sustainable business and create a comfortable lifestyle for you and your family, it's essential that you become comfortable with numbers. This is something many women are challenged by and I will admit early on in my business, I was so focused on the marketing that I too, at times, took my focus away from the bottom line. Having said that, when I began monitoring my profit and expense sheet closely, my income began to soar. If this is an area where you need support, it's worth the investment to get educated and comfortable with the financial side of your business.

5. Become a Life-Long Learner - Stay hungry for knowledge. The world is moving at warp-speed so it's essential that you stay connected to learning environments to remain relevant in business.

Leadership isn't something that happens overnight. It is a decision that will require dedication and discipline. How will you know if your desire for leadership is becoming a reality? Look behind you. You are a leader if people are following you.

Anything is possible. Everything is waiting for you.



Joy Chudacoff is the founder of Smart Women Smart Solutions®, a Professional Certified Coach and Motivational Speaker. A highly skilled group leader and business consultant, Joy has helped scores of women design the lives they choose to live. Helping women realize and achieve better ways of living is her passion, her purpose, and her business. As a wife and mother of two, Joy understands there is more to life than one's career. Like many women who are drawn to entrepreneurship, she inhabits ...

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