A CEO Shares Her Strategy For Career Success

HELENA MORRISSEY is a CEO, mother of nine and founder of THE 30% CLUB, which campaigns for GREATER REPRESENTATION of WOMEN ON BOARDS

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Leap before you look. Be open to possibilities, willing to explore and bold in your ambition. Push out your boundaries, if only gradually. You may well be surprised by just how much you can achieve.

Think big, start small, but start now. There are always reasons not to do something. If you have an idea, don’t let the fear of what might go wrong stop you from trying – and don’t think you need to map out every step of the way in advance. Focus on your vision, not a spreadsheet.

Play to your strengths – don’t submerge the differences that define you. This is your life: feeling happy and fulfilled is an absolute not a relative game. Recognise when you feel most content and build on those moments.

Act as confidently as you can – people have confidence in confident people. Try to remember that everyone has insecurities. Devise techniques to help you until you actually become confident.

Setbacks are inevitable. What matters is how you respond to them. Every career – every life – is a labyrinth, not a ladder.

Ask for help – none of us has all the answers. It’s a sign of strength – not weakness – to seek advice. Find friends who genuinely want you to succeed, look for a partner in life as well as in love.

Help others where you can – it’s very empowering, as well as a good thing to do. Be aware of others and if you see someone who needs help, don’t leave it to someone else: offer your assistance. Pay it forward. You can play your part in making true gender equality a reality.

If you want to be a CEO, go for it. And do it in your own, authentic way. Whether or not you aspire to be a CEO, look to take control of your destiny.

Remember there is no one single ‘right’ path, no formula for success, no rulebook about family and/or career. Check in with yourself every now and again – has what’s important to you changed? What version of your future self would make you feel happy?

It’s a good time to be a girl – but it’s not all sorted yet. If you are bullied or harassed, speak up – you will be heard. If your environment is discouraging, your priority is to find a new one. If the first route doesn’t work out, the second may well do (remember my own contrasting early career experiences).

Most of all, remember that this is your time.

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A Good Time to Be a Girl by Helena Morrissey (£14.99, William Collins) is out February 8.

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