Women in leadership is one of today’s most exciting issues. We bring a set of qualities to the table that help us make an impact in our unique way, no matter what endeavor we’ve got our sights on.
Whether you’re a young female student, a full-time mother, a community volunteer, an office-based professional or woman selling fresh flowers from the back of a bike (anyone who’s ever visited Vietnam will know what a colorful part of the community our street vendors are), everyone has the capacity to inspire. We all have the potential to make a difference just by the way we carry ourselves through our day-to-day.
There’s no better time than now for women to step into next-level roles and to have the courage to find their voice. To shine. Some people say leaders are born. I was brought up to believe that we are trained to become leaders.
My family story, the currents of Vietnamese history and of course, the sum of my personal experiences, have shaped my leadership style today. But over the years, I’ve come to learn that there are certain characteristics we all possess, regardless of where we come from or our personal circumstances.
Here are some of the most important ones:
Making something out of nothing
As a proud Vietnamese, I know how the generations before me faced extreme challenges and adversity under colonial repression and the brutality of war. Instead of giving up, many people worked even harder and turned them into opportunities. My parents, who started THP from nothing, literally two bowls and four chopsticks, are amazing examples of this. Anyone can succeed, even if all the odds are stacked against them. But it’s important to keep striving, spot the opportunities, and not take anything for granted.
The power of positivity
Much has been written about the importance of having a positive attitude to reach your goals.
The way THP expresses this is by saying “Nothing is Impossible”. It’s one of our core values. If you can blind out the limitations and obstacles that inevitably crop up, then you can accomplish anything. When you do hit blocks in the road, simply pick yourself up and move on. We can even be grateful for the difficulties we encounter. I’m sure you’ve all had an experience where, in the face of a crisis, you’ve been able to dig deep and discover extra resources you didn’t know you had. Maybe this was a creative solution or just the ability to endure.
Throwing out the rulebook
Both my parents were visionaries. No doubt about it. They weren’t afraid to go out on a limb and risk everything they had to make something work. They weren’t afraid to embrace change. In fact, they believed there was nothing to fear. Our family has a saying: “Great success comes to those who set sail for the sea. No success comes to those who stay moored in the river.” I’d like to share with you one of the ways I’m currently setting “sail for the sea”. It’s a movement I’m describing as Standing Taller (hashtag #StandTaller).
In my new book Competing with Giants, I talk about the possibility of dismantling sexism in the business world in a way where men and women can move towards a better future. How about you? What’s your version of setting sail for the sea?
Making an impact – YOUR way
As someone who comes from a successful family, it’s easy to assume that things were handed to me on a silver platter. Many people do. But my family refused to give me any sense of entitlement whatsoever. More importantly, they taught me that once we have success, we need to ask yourself: What do we do with this success? What can we give back? How can we support others to reach their goals and dreams? They’ve never had any interest in buying fancy things. They’ve always been very focused on values, and giving back. In my case, my way is to inspire young women and men to achieve their entrepreneurial goals. In the same way I’ve been encouraged to follow my dreams, I’d like to support others to do the same.
Leadership is a conscious decision, no matter who you are, or what you’re doing. To be a leader is something that’s available to all of us. So share your authentic message and help to inspire change!