I could not have written this column fifteen years ago since I simply did not believe that a person could have everything she truly wants and also become a role model for many women. Even as a small girl I passionately believed and wanted to lead people, to lead a company, and I longed for change. Some might even say that I was a pretty demanding child. Right, Mom?
My guiding principle today is thus still based on my faith that anyone can succeed if only they have a strong enough desire to do so.
I believe that words in a given moment have an inspirational effect, but this time around I have decided to share with you some thoughts and insights that can help you become successful.
In the shower, I often wonder why and especially how some people are successful. What drives them?
All that I see is a path full of experiences of one kind and another, all of them accompanied by boldness, persistence, and freedom. I believe in this firmly and I want you to start believing in this as well. The path to success is not easy and is certainly not always rosy, but the road to victory is sweet. The results are unforgettable and enrich you spiritually as well as personally and professionally. Every experience makes us stronger and every setback represents a new springboard for triumph.
That magical moment when you experience your earliest successes, the fruit of your actions and effort, that is when you realize how much more opportunity there is for your advancement. I’ve always admired athletes who have that amazing inner passion and drive. I admire their determination and their willingness to do whatever it takes to win.
The feeling of winning a trophy is probably unforgettable and even though I am not a sportswoman, I nevertheless have as a goal a time when I will be active in a sport and unable to go even a day without it, like for example, my brother is.
In the lines to follow I would like to share with you three key lessons that marked my professional journey:
1. THE PATH TO SUCCESS REQUIRES TREMENDOUS PERSEVERANCE AND A STRONG DESIRE FOR CHANGE
Have you ever seen the film The Devil Wears Prada? It’s a story about the success of a young, ambitious assistant who more than anything else wants to become a successful businesswoman. At the beginning, she is completely unsuited for this job, but she has something that others don’t ... she is dogged, courageous, and has an incredible desire to change.
In order to become the perfect assistant, she had to completely transform herself in certain segments. The change required a tremendous amount of learning and changing her habits and appearance, covering everything from her hairstyle and the way she dresses to the way she talks and smiles. I see myself in this girl, fifteen years ago.
My dear ladies, are we willing to make sacrifices for success the way this girl did in the film? The way I have?
At this moment I can give huge thanks to my cherished mentor, who constantly encouraged me and pushed me beyond my comfort zone and was at times utterly relentless. He truly never gave up on me since he believed. He believed that I could do it.
And today I am grateful to him, I am happy and also proud since he showed me everything that lay hidden within me.
Thanks also go to my Igor, who lets me to learn from the best and make mistakes that can lead me to success.
Believe me, at the moment a person stands out from the average, only then does she realize that for this a lot more is required. It is necessary to work hard and quite often also to make large sacrifices. Besides all this, for success you urgently need mentors, since they are the ones who can successfully push us out of the comfort zone. It’s difficult at first but when you see that you can do it you can be truly proud of your results. The best teachers want you to be better than they are, and so the results are outstanding.
Never give up on bad days and think about their positive aspects. Look at things from a different perspective, perhaps someone firmly believes in you and knows that you are a hidden talent and you have mastered certain tasks better than they have?
2. IT ALL BEGINS WITH SETTING GOALS
I am sure that you frequently ask yourself whether you’re on the right path. Is this what I want? What will things be like six months from now? Am I good enough? What if I fail?
Dear readers, if you feel that you can achieve your goal in doing what you are doing, then you are most assuredly on the right path. Sometimes change is needed, and it’s normal that in the course of things a hundred and one questions should arise. There’s nothing wrong with that. Nowadays change is the only constant, and it is this alone that lead us upwards along the path and make possible a better future for us.
Something interesting that I’ve observed for many years now is a matter that might sound a bit critical but it’s not. It is a reality and part of our everyday life and if it strikes you at first that I’m being overly harsh, take a deep breath and think again. Namely, it often happens that you plan your holidays and weekends well in advance, some people even a whole year ahead. But when I ask you what your goal is in the business world, unfortunately, you don’t know even a few months ahead, let alone a whole year, and you come up with a hundred and one excuses. Sometimes it’s the fault of your superiors, other times it’s co-workers, then it’s your husband, children...there is no end to the excuses. I can believe that perhaps at this moment you haven’t got a clearly defined career goal, but I can tell you in all sincerity that once you set one, your professional path will become much easier.
Ask yourself, what makes you happy? What is your goal in life, what is your “drive”? What do you want to achieve at work?
We, women, are fighters, we are fearless and we are more capable than we at first imagine. Here let me mention my personal example since I was also one of those who looked for a hundred and one excuses for my imperfect English. But because I am also a perfectionist, I one day realized that the entire problem lies within me and I need to roll up my sleeves and get down to work. “Dear Tanja, hook up with some schools, talk to co-workers in English, go out for coffee and speak English, find a coach via Skype and improve your skills!” Consistently, every day!
In short, you need to set a goal and move out of your comfort zone.
We live in a digitalized age and help is literally right in front of us, accessible at any moment. We are our own greatest obstacle and, as Albert Einstein said: “More the knowledge, lesser the ego, lesser the knowledge, more the ego.”
3. WHEN YOU BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, LET YOUR FAMILY BELIEVE IN YOU, TOO
When I first met my Igor I told him what makes me happy and what I want to be in life – a businesswoman, a wife, and mother. I told him about my aspirations and then asked him if he would support me in these choices. When a man feels that a woman believes in herself and at the same time is also capable of offering him her full support and respect, he supports his woman and encourages her.
And today I can affirm that I am a fulfilled woman.
My dear readers, believe me, everything lies within ourselves and consequently also within a good organization. I can’t ignore an example that affected me and even today makes me wonder if things are like this everywhere in the world. Not long ago a business partner told me that men feel very comfortable around me since they can talk about many things and I never run out of business ideas, plus they like my decisiveness … But they also like it that their wives are not like me.
With all the positive energy that a woman radiates when she is at home as well, and additionally shows warmth and womanliness, is there really a man who would not like that? All my female colleagues, regardless of their occupation, are successful women, and their partners are also proud of them. And not just my acquaintances, I can think of many well-known women in the world who are more successful than their husbands and yet still share their successes with them.
In mentioning partnership, I mustn’t forget to mention security. The warmth of home and the knowledge that I am loved means a lot to me personally. There is nothing better, and if these factors are fulfilled my inner strength and motivation are enhanced. Everything is based on a foundation of relations and mutual respect.
And now to relate this to my important role as a mother. Am I the perfect wife and mother?
Personally, I think not, but the time I spend with my family is 100% the best that it can be and it is devoted solely to them. Yes, I am a mother and I have two wonderful sons I am immensely proud of. I’m also that mother who cries in happiness at every event my children perform in. During those moments my sons say that I am embarrassing them with my sentimentality but even so they know that for me they are really special. Of course in some situations, I am also strict, especially when it is really necessary and for example, I discover that we have forgotten about consistency. I’m the kind of mother who would rather spend two hours of quality time with her children than an entire but incomplete day when my children might not even be aware of my presence.
Here I would like to stress something else that we all too often overlook. Ladies, we are not superwomen and sometimes it is definitely necessary to ask for help, to engage a grandmother or babysitter and react quickly at certain moments. Children also need to be left to their own devices and given freedom, so that one day they will know how to set out along their own career path.
However, I can confidently assert that the job of being a mother is one of the best things that has happened to me in life. My children complete me. And just as with the love of a partner, the love of a child is something that inspires and strengthens us even in the most difficult of moments.
Why do I conclude today’s writing with my family? Because in the end, it is they who love you just the way you are. In the evening when you put them to bed and they fall sweetly asleep, when you have finished all the household chores and gone through your evening routine, when you have put on comfy pajamas or a bathrobe, and eased your feet into warm socks and thick slippers, that is when, my dear readers, that the day for you is just beginning. Have before you a mountain of books, articles, theses and essays and at this moment your journey into the unknown begins. How? Through learning.
If you have chosen a professional path, then for this you also need to do more in your personal life. There’s a reason why they say there is power in the night. Let it be the impetus for obtaining new knowledge and the desire for change. These days I still sometimes sleep only four hours a night, since I want to prepare adequately for certain events and I simply run out of time for that at work and later at home. Fifteen years ago that was my routine and my body adapted to it, and regardless of a lack of sleep, I came to work with a smile on my face and always ready for new challenges. I encounter them today as well and I know all too well that they will only increase in future. But you know what? I’m not afraid since I have faith that I am surrounded by the right people and the right ideas.
On this column, I have left my personal imprint, my essence, and my feelings. My dear young women, your time has come. All you need to do is at times stand out from the average, from the crowd. And how do you become noticed? I’ll talk about that and more in my next column.
I can’t wait to write it and share it with you. How about you?
I look forward to your feedback and will respond to it with pleasure.
Enjoy the weekend,