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Las Jefas

Leading From Within.

By Marisa Rivera.

las-jefasI recently read an article in Forbes magazine where they highlighted the new list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women and the list of America’s Richest Self-made Women. To my delight the names of outstanding Latinas, such as Jessica Alba, Shakira Mebarak, Sofia Vergara, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, and Ana Patricia Botin, chair of Banco Santander, Spain made the list. To have these Latinas be recognized for their enormous success and be part of changing the global landscape in business, entertainment, politics, finance and more, is something to be very proud of. Latinas are leading a significant and powerful trend not only in America, but globally.

As I read about these powerful and highly successful women, I also thought about my own journey into leadership and what helped me navigate through the opportunities and challenges of leadership. The courage, inspiration and motivation came all from within!

A few things I have learned along the way include:

Follow Your Passion: There is a big difference between doing a job and being passionate about your job. Passion is an emotion that comes from within you. It is your attitude, your enthusiasm, your drive and your motivation to do an excellent job. When you are passionate about what you do, it does not feel like work because you LOVE doing it. Find your passion and go do it!

Learn to Take Calculated Risks and Learn from Your Mistakes: Taking risks is part of becoming highly successful. None of the 100 most powerful women from that list would have been able to achieve that level of success without taking risk. Taking calculated risks shows confidence and helps you stand out. You must take risks in order to create change and if it fails, you learn from the situation. Any successful person will tell you that they have failed at something. One of my “sheroes” Eleanor Roosevelt said: “Learn from your mistakes, and learn from the mistakes of others – you can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

Know Your Strengths: Many people walk through life without knowing what their strengths are. Learn to identify your innate talents and strengths. What comes natural to you? What do other people call you for or seek your advice on? Identify those and learn to use them toward your own success. Be able to articulate them and focus on them every day. Also, never forget where you come from. Our culture, heritage and upbringing are part of our inner strength.

Lead With a Servant’s Heart: Leadership is not about titles, power and positions. Leadership is about being of service to others. Learn to use your leadership position and influence as an instrument to serve others. Lead by example and commit yourself to develop and help all of those around you. Always give back.

Listen to Your Inner Voice: I firmly believe in following my intuition and my instincts. Listening and trusting your inner voice will guide you to make the right decision. Steve Jobs once said: “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” Sometimes we are easily swayed by the opinions of others that contradict our instincts. Follow your own compass and listen to your inner voice when making decisions.

Work and Life Balance: After all my years in the workforce and as a working mom, I have learned that there is no perfect recipe for work and life balance. I have learned that you can have it all, just not all at the same time. Your priorities will shift according to the stage in your life – early career, child-bearing years, mid-career and retirement. Learn to enjoy every step of the way.

Lastly, but most important – Be Happy! Your level of success should not be measured by the amount of wealth, titles or material possessions, but by your level of happiness. Happiness is a choice – be happy!

Marisa Rivera is president of Mpowerment Works, a motivational speaker, executive coach and leadership and empowerment consultant. [email protected]

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