Every Wonder Woman Needs Fuel During Times of Uncertainty
As a young girl, Diana, the Amazonian princess who would grow up to be Wonder Woman, lived among powerful women who had the best interest of each other at the core of their world. Themyscira was a safe-haven that enabled everyone on the island to make mistakes, try new challenges, find support,\ and build the flexibility and strength needed during times of crisis or uncertainty. The island fostered an environment where leaders and warriors were made and where mistakes could happen along the growth cycle without fear of repercussions. In addition to creating an environment that thrived on sisterhood, little did the Amazonians know that they also created a solid platform on the island from which Diana could derive strength to change the world for the rest of her immortal life.
Themyscira is the perfect metaphor for this week's Wonder Women series article on cultivating a solid foundation that fuels instead of depletes. Being a disruptor means that you are on constantly shifting sands. Everyone's solid foundation looks different. Read these three examples from Wonder Women just like you to explore the right foundation for you.
Build a personal board of advisors
Smaiyra M. Million, independent investor, advisor, board member and Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Center for Executive Women's Leadership (CWEL) at Babson College, has built her career from the ground up. She started as a concierge in the hotel industry fresh out of college. "I did not even know what the word concierge meant," says Million. Over 25 years, she climbed the ladder and learned every part of the business, enabling her to become CEO with the leadership credibility that can only come from experiencing exactly what it takes to run the organization.
Million's solid foundation is fueled by four key components: education, hard work, patience and relationships. Establishing a solid foundation through these four components has enabled Million to take risks and face any challenge. "Understanding the fundamentals of my business allowed me to have a solid foundation from which to start taking it apart, carefully, to encourage change and foster creativity," says Million.
Million's advice for cultivating a strong foundation that fuels you: find support from your personal board of advisors. "I lean on my trusted circle of confidantes to vet my moments of doubt, fear or sadness. All of these things help me move forward and reach a new level of clarity and refocus on new goals," says Million.
Trust yourself and have your own back
Erica Zahka, CEO and Founder of Own The Boardroom, was born to a family of entrepreneurs. In fact, she is a fourth generation entrepreneur -- so I guess we could say being a disruptor is in her DNA. "Growing up surrounded by people who weren't afraid to take risks has an impact on you. My father always told my sisters and I to never say never," says Zahka.
Zahka's foundation is fueled by personal accountability and the belief that failure is just another potential impact of trying something new. Accepting personal accountability provides Zahka with the power of knowing her decisions are hers to make, not someone else's and that includes potential failure as a by-product of risk-taking. "When I frame failure as just another possible consequence of taking a risk, it decreases the intensity and allows me to continue moving forward," says Zahka. Critical to keeping her foundation solid, Zahka is mindful of maintaining an objective perspective in good times and in bad while being super strategic about managing her time, something that has taken down many a disruptor.
Zahka's advice for cultivating a strong foundation that fuels you: source strength from being of service to others and yourself. "Your foundation will strengthen as you support others because the more you help people the more you are able to apply that same level of support for yourself," says Zahka.
Create your own Themyscira
A key component to success for high-impact female disruptors lays in establishing a solid foundation that fuels you, your passion, your work and your relationships. What the solid foundation looks like or acts like does not matter. What does matter is that it provides you with the steady ground and a warm, supportive environment that brings you joy. For some, that means having a home where family always comes first and the office never makes its way to the dining table. For others, it is about creating a place to recharge -- for example, one woman, a Silicon Valley public-company C-Suite executive, would spend Friday to Sunday at her farm far away from the valley, surrounded by horses, sheep and farmers.
My advice for cultivating a strong foundation that fuels you: create your own Themyscira. Ask yourself what makes you happy and create the environment -- a Themyscira -- for yourself. And don't worry what everyone else does. This is your Themyscira -- the reality YOU want to inhabit. And make visiting your solid foundation a regular part of your life. Even Wonder Women need to refuel and recharge.