This post is a continuation of a previous article, “Successful Women Learn to Empower Themselves.” We continue with Mala Chandra’s interview of Bonnie Miller, who shares three thought-provoking insights and tips for women on how to lead happy, successful, fulfilling lives.
The Conviction to Do the Right Thing: A life worth living
The hardest task in life is to learn what matters most, what we care about deeply, what principles will rule our lives. Our value system is often formed by our society, culture and beliefs of right and wrong, which are taught implicitly or explicitly. Our value system underpins our actions and colors our behavior as leaders and role models.
If you are going to lead, you have to decide how you want to lead. Leaders with unbridled ambition focus on beating the competition at all cost, demanding employees prioritize their work above everything else and worry more about their own self-promotion rather than the good of the team. Employees become tools, rather than real people with needs. People working for such leaders are driven by fear rather than loyalty. Bonnie believes that women are particularly vulnerable in this kind of atmosphere because they haven’t historically been taught to stick up for themselves. “This is the real reason, I believe, for women making less money than their male colleagues. They do not speak up for their rights. If you, as a woman, know that your co-worker who is a man, makes more money for the same job but achieves inferior results, you should speak up. It may not be an easy thing to do, but it is the right thing to do,” says Bonnie.
When one of her twins was facing a health crisis, Bonnie faced a difficult choice – slowing down her career ambitions to prioritize the health of her child and the well-being of her family unit or continuing on, putting her own ambitions first. An early lesson she learned from her father that guided her thinking at the time and indeed, throughout her life, was that the only reason to do anything is because it is the right thing–not the most popular thing; not the easiest thing; just the right thing. Knowing what the right thing is requires that you know yourself and deliberately and mindfully choose your actions.
Becoming involved in your community is also important. Bonnie is part of her community’s Emergency Preparedness Team on Mercer Island, which was chosen two years in a row as local heroes for their dedication in preparing the community in the event of a disaster.
Stay tuned for installment three of Bonnie’s insights on a joyful life!
Our guest writer is Mala Sarat Chandra, a faculty member of the University of Washington’s iSchool and CEO of MyMobilife, a consultancy focusing on the convergence of mobile, location and social media technologies. Prior to that she has held executive positions at several F100 high tech companies.