written by: Abbynduts13

“After all those years as a woman hearing ‘not thin enough’, ‘not pretty enough’, ‘not smart enough’, ‘not this enough, not that enough,’ almost overnight I woke up one morning and thought, ‘I’m enough!’” These are the words of Anna Quindlen.

Well, we as women have allowed society and other people to define our own lives for us. But the truth as Anna Quindlen brings to the fore is that it all begins and ends with what we want.

I have been reading what ‘smart’ women and ‘real’ women should do, and if anything, we all are ‘real’ and ‘smart’. Yes, we are smart enough. We can make our own decisions, regarding our personal as well as professional lives.

The choices we make are determined by our own set of values; we must live with the outcomes of our choices, whether they are favorable or not.

This being a fact, why would we allow anyone to call us ‘dumb’ or ‘unreal’ just because we made our very own choice?

Different from any other that another woman would make? In making our choices, we should seek other people’s opinions and advice. We must be open to learning and adaptable to change.

Commitment to our professional growth must be evident. Never should we second-guess ourselves at any other person’s whims.

However, being open to learning and other opinions does not translate into advice that indicates that we are ‘dumb’ or ‘unreal’ if our choices contradict the advice.

As female executives and leaders, we are open to listen to guidance from other people, and even learn from their experiences. We are however not bound to implementation of any suggestions given.

We therefore cannot be made to feel guilty because we did not implement any other person’s opinions.

We absolutely do not need more guilt to carry around. Society has really done a good job in setting standards and values that we have to keep to feel ‘good enough’. Let’s look at 10 things that we must do as ‘real women leaders’.

10 things that define a real woman leader

1. She gets married or divorced if she wants to. All her choices are based on a set of values that she has determined for herself. Society needs not even ask men whether they want to marry or get a divorce! Well, even in this century, we still have a long way to go.

2. Will have any number of children she wants to and she doesn’t need to explain the reason behind this choice.

3. Will not have children if she doesn’t want to. She doesn’t even feel obliged to give reasons for this choice either.

4. Will become a stay-at-home-mom if she wants to and take care of her parents if she so wants.

5. Will go back to work when she wants to, after delivering herself of her child. Whether the baby is one day old or even 18, or never go back if she doesn’t want to.

6. Will leave a profession when she wants to; be it at a middle level, or even after a series of promotions. She will choose whether she wants to work away from home or even choose not to work.

7. Will make mistakes, will learn from them, fight through the mess and move forward.

8. Will be a go getter. Go for executive positions that are undoubtedly demanding if she wants to. It doesn’t matter whether she’s got children and a husband to take care of. If she wants it, she will go for it.

9. Will give her power away to whomever she wants and when she wants to, or even own it if she wants.

10. A real woman leader leads the way she wants to. There are standard principles of a leader. However, only she can determine her own set of leadership values to ensure that she succeeds professionally as well as a leader.

She does what works for her, her team, organization and family. She acts like whomever she wants. She knows that she makes choices whose consequences she must live with.

There is no standard value system or measure for women leaders, or even for women executives. Well, there is none for men, either.

They say women are their very own worst enemies. Well, the best thing to do is stop judging another woman’s choices.

We are leaders, save for job titles. We therefore do not let anyone put us down- whether man or woman, even if they are way successful than we are. Just like there are different ice cream flavors, and we all like different flavors; what works for another woman, or man, in their profession or leadership will not work for you.

What you think is the right choice, will not be a right choice, in her thinking.

Well, this is what makes it grand. Everyone has got choices to make and you got to make your own. Even if the choices may be hard, have uncomfortable consequences, or options that we don’t like; the choice is not eliminated.

The way forward?

It is not about the other woman, man or what society says. The buck stops with you.

You must be a real woman leader and set your own value system, which you will use to make choices whose consequences you must live with.

Listen to others. If their suggestions do make some sense,give them a thought, but you don’t need to implement them, nor feel guilty about not doing so.

Don’t live your life trying to be ‘good enough’. You are not ‘dumb’ or ‘unreal’ because of making a choice. It’s your life.

You choose what to do, when to do it, with whom to work or live with, what or who to take care of, and ultimately, the type of leader you want to be. Why allow anyone to define your own life for you?

You owe no one any explanations. You are smart you are real, you are a woman, and you are enough. It starts and stops with what you want.

In fact, Robert A. Heinlein doesn’t struggle to belabor this great fact that people have tried to water down. He posits, “Women…will do as they please…” Need I say more?

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