March has been dedicated as Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8. With this season of reverence for women’s accomplishments upon us, I was curious about the qualities of powerful women from around the world. After reading several articles such as The Top 20 Influential Women in the World Today, The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, and 150 Women Who Shake the World, I considered what are the overlapping skills that they bring to the world to be so influential?
In my opinion, I discovered several key capacities that lend to their influential status.
Without sticking to their goals and passions and standing up for themselves in sometimes hostile environments, most of these women would not have reached the pinnacle that they have. Following the path toward results no matter how many steps it takes and through any failures or rejections, perseverance helped them win.
By developing fresh ideas, using artistic talents, and finding new ways to inspire others, all of these women put their creativity to work to make a difference. Innovation and vision are a large part of what attracts us to stand by those on the influential path. We want to be a part of the change in the world and are inspired by those with originality.
Part of their success came from their ability to foster and enhance strong working relationships and to ask for help when they couldn’t manifest their goals by themselves. Humans as social animals often work better in collaboration with another. All of these women made use of their ability to develop important relationships.
While momentum and motivation to achieve sometimes require urgency, there is a time and a place for patience too. Allowing enough time for a concept to go to seed, waiting for others critical to the mission to catch up, understanding that much worth creating has a gestation and permitting the time for it; all speak to the need to have patience in the process.
The capacity to change minds, make a difference, and accomplish momentous goals comes from the drive and impetus to compete, with others and with ourselves, for time, money, resources, understanding, or approval. When we recognize our ideas are worth the effort and we partner with our perseverance, we have a greater chance of staying on top in the face of many choices.
Not only do influential women know how to build relationships that matter, they exercise their ability to work effectively in groups for progress on their initiatives. Once self-motivation and independence surface and they launch an interest to develop something of value, they also utilize the collective wisdom and diverse strengths of a team to help get things done. They know they cannot achieve alone and demonstrate a capacity to both manage and participate in the group to reach their objectives.
Doing something out of a comfort zone and with the potential to fail or backfire is also part of being influential. Without that step over the threshold and past the inertia of contentedness, it is more difficult to improve upon, change, or create something new. There is an energy that comes from taking a risk. A willingness to face resistance and rejection and the prospect of not succeeding pushes an influential person to greater heights of achievement.
Through money, caring and time in the form of charity donations, foundation of non-profit organizations, and public service, influential women embody the spirit of giving. Through a law of reciprocity, a giving person opens themselves up to receive. Being generous creates an advantage for getting what one wants.
Finally, despite the fact that my perspective throughout arises from my reflection on prominent women in the world today, I believe these skills are universally applicable, without regard for gender, and valuable for all to exhibit in order to be influential. If you’ve demonstrated any of these and they have contributed to your ability to be powerful and effective, share your example and let us know!