Advice for a 25-year-old female leader
What I have learnt.
As a female leader there are many valuable lessons I’ve learned throughout my career that I wish I could share with my 25-year-old self.
As I can’t travel in time (yet!), I have written this blog to share advice with those 25 year old female leaders out there today, who are looking for support and advice.
I want them to grow in confidence, see their potential and trust in the abilities they already have.
Navigating the professional world as a woman
At 25, I was just starting out and had much to learn about leadership and how to navigate the professional world as a woman. It was tough. The thought of having a coach or mentor back then would have been so wonderful.
Now I’m in my midlife, I have found myself reflecting on the key pieces of advice I definitely wish I could tell my younger self. Unfortunately, that’s not literally possible.
However, I can help the next generation of female leaders. I can help the current 25 year old “me’s “.
Here’s my top 10 pieces of advice:
1. Believe in yourself and your worth.
Trust in yourself, who you are, your abilities, values and skills is essential; especially when it comes to building and maintaining your confidence.
Confidence is a key component in leadership, and it's important to trust in your abilities and the value you bring to the table.
Don't be afraid to speak up and share your ideas, they are just as valuable as anyone else's.
2. Find mentors who believe in you.
Mentors, sponsors, advocates and allies are invaluable in helping you grow both personally and professionally; especially those who have experience in your field and are willing to guide you along the way.
Also consider role models. Do you have a good role model in your professional life?
I have found throughout my life the importance of identifying fellow female professionals who demonstrate positive attributes and attitudes. Their influence will ensure you are learning from someone who motivates and inspires you.
3. Don't be afraid to take risks.
Staying safe and not taking risks can sometimes be the biggest risk of all. More often than not, it’s fear that hinders you from pursuing opportunities that may seem risky.
When I look back, the times I took calculated risks were the ones that led to my best successes and helped me to grow as a leader.
4. Take care of yourself.
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the pressures of your work and home life and to neglect your own needs. I know from experience consistent neglect leads to burnout, which is never pleasant.
Find simple and effortless ways to recharge your mental, emotional and physical batteries as much and as frequently as you need. And definitely rest before you’re tired.
5. Don’t worry about fitting in.
You will always find people whose values resonate with yours, who share your common interests and who you feel get you.
There will also be those that don’t. For them, focus on finding ways of working with them that don’t stress you out and don’t unnecessarily distract you from concentrating on your own work.
You don’t have to ‘fit in’ to their way of working or being.
6. Build relationships.
One of the most instrumental contributors to leadership success is taking time to connect with your colleagues, clients and other professionals in your field. It makes your day-to-day life a lot easier, as well as providing a source of morale support and a sense of community and trust.
Strong relationships are also critical when it comes to expanding your network, finding mentors and opening up new opportunities.
7. Celebrate your successes.
No matter how small, every success contributes to your self-belief and confidence in your abilities, mindset, resilience, and skills.
Celebrations make you feel good, motivate you to keep going and inspire you to set your next set of goals and dreams.
8. Failures aren’t final.
Failure is a natural part of learning, and however painful it can feel at the time, failure is only a part of your story.
There is learning in everything; whether it turns out to be a win or a mistake. Every experience teaches you something.
9. Keep learning.
Not only does continuous learning help you grow and develop as a leader, it also helps you discover what you’re good at, what you really like doing and where you want to focus your time and effort in your career.
In any role, there are always elements that are routine and monotonous. However, new challenges, skills and opportunities keep you motivated to strive for more and provide a sense of purpose.
10. Be kind…
…to yourself, as well as others. Always!
Female leaders - Leadership starts with you
Ultimately, your leadership starts with you! It might feel a bit of a struggle to think of yourself as a leader
More often than not, you’ll be thinking when it comes to yourself, effective leadership is an elusive component that you’re continually striving for, and you don’t recognise how good you already are.
As a woman you’re not only leading in the workplace; you’re leading at home, supporting your partners, families, children, raising the next generation, as well as holding the emotional load in the home. It’s a huge leadership responsibility you’re managing daily and that’s alongside the leading you’re doing in the workplace.
You are leading your own life every minute of every day.
I hope my list has provided inspiration when it comes to your own leadership journey, especially when reflecting on how far you’ve actually travelled and how much you’ve achieved in your career.
Finding that leadership coaching or mentor
In point 2, I mentioned surrounding yourself with mentors and good role models. It is possible that there are not good leaders in your workplace that you feel can guide you.
You may just want more focussed support, that can also help with your development and learning (point 9!).
If you'd like more support working out your own leadership attributes or if you’re struggling in relation to our career in some way, then I'd love to help you.
Get in touch with me directly and we can have a conversation about the most pressing leadership challenges you’re facing right now. Ask me about my 1:1 Next Level Leadership Transformation Coaching Programme.
It’s far easier when you have someone in your corner to support you, than to go it alone. I really wish my 25 year old self had had that person.