What do you get when you mix the following?
- Susan Lucci (Erica Kane from All My Children);
- Linda Fairstein, best-selling author and brilliant former prosecutor from NYC's Sexual Victims Unit (think the real "Law and Order: SVU");
- Smart female entrepreneurs from all over the county and from many different businesses.
In my world, that is A GREAT DAY AT WORK. Last month, I had the opportunity to learn and speak at Women's Leadership Conference, an organization founded by and for successful businesswoman. Susan Lucci, TV icon, shared in her extremely humble and elegant way, how she trained and prepared diligently for every opportunity, pursued options methodically, and didn't listen to naysayers. Linda Fairstein had always wanted to be a writer. She did not know that her decades-long, fulfilling job as an ADA, would provide much of the content for her to become a prolific and successful author, fulfilling her lifelong dream. She worked hard, learned everything she could and built deep, deep (and recognized) expertise. On a side note, I had the opportunity to talk law with the former prosecutor and legal genius. And I am not ashamed to tell you that I think she was impressed with my legal heft when I told her that I graduated from the "University of Law and Order" (okay it is not accredited and okay she wasn't impressed).
Some of the other speakers during the fabulous conference were famous, some about to be, some may never be - but all of them are driven, articulate, humble, talented - and successful in many aspects of their lives. They generously and honestly shared amazing advice - so I thought I'd pass it on. I did my best to attribute the comments to the actual speaker (apologies for any mistakes and omissions).
1) The job is not done until it is done. Don't declare victory too soon. The last 5% matters. You go, Sue Malone.
2) "Like a good Twinkie, GRIT (Guts, Resilience, Initiative and Tenacity) has no expiration date." I knew Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval were brilliant, but I never knew that Twinkies were good for time capsules AND business.
3) Don't work with any one who hasn't failed. It is important to watch them get back up again.
ON SETTING PRIORITIES
4) Focus on what matters because everything is not equal. Ignore the nonsense and stay focused on your goals.
ON TAKING RISKS
5) If you don't ask, you definitely won't get it. This concept is a translation of one of my favorites: the answer is always no if you don't ask.
6) Don't shy away from things that evoke fear. Respect and use the fear. It reminds you to over prepare.
ABILITY TO BE NIMBLE
7) Being an entrepreneur allows you to adapt and change.
8) No battle plan survives the first contact with the enemy.
ON KNOWING WHO YOU ARE
9) No one needs to tell you your strengths and weaknesses. They stare you in the face every day.
10) Don't take things personally. Or as Louise Guido, one of the brilliant speaker said, "I haven't taken anything personally since 1992." I personally believe few people on the planet Earth could say the same.
I would love to be able to say that every work day I experience this kind of excitement. But I will take these moments when I get them and live on fumes in between - and maybe watch some episodes of "All My Children" and "Law and Order". Who knows what fabulous business tips I will pick up!!!