Fear has become one of my best friends. Every time I encounter a new problem or a new opportunity, my friend fear usually shows up and tags along with me. But the great thing about my friend fear is that she leaves her alter ego, courage, behind. And it is courage that gets me through all opportunities in life, good or bad.
It is not easy for a woman to strive or survive in the corporate world. I believe that most women tend to be perfectionists. By wanting to be perfect in all things, we sometimes can set ourselves up for failure. There is only one being who is perfect. It takes courage to be imperfect. It takes courage to work in an environment where, on any given day, the only reflection of who you are is the person you see in the mirror.
It takes courage to drop your child off at 6:30 in the morning, pick him up 12 hours later and hope that there is enough time left in the day to ensure that he is happy, whole and strong. It takes courage to sit in meetings with your peers and develop strategies and plans that affect not only your career, but also the opportunities and futures of your co-workers. Courage is the key.
The advice that I offer to women or men aspiring to take leadership roles is to remember that when fear turns into courage, you have just given yourself permission to try, to take chances, to make mistakes. You have just given yourself the confidence to survive and persevere even if everything does not go perfectly. The courage that comes from fear is one of the reasons that great leadership exists. Courage gives you permission to be imperfect.