3 Ways NOT Being Grateful Will Help You Succeed This Holiday Season

Issue 26 — November 26, 2017

A message on gratitude (and my lack of it)

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic time to be in gratitude. From the joy of family and friends to the copious servings of those delicious foods I don’t allow myself to enjoy any other time, to the adrenaline inducing Take The Lead Day earlier this month, I feel incredibly fortunate for life and its bounty.

However, I am also a practical activist and a 50 year frontrunner in the women’s movement. I’ve watched unparalleled victories won in the name of women’s rights, and I’ve watched in dismay as the promises of some of these victories were never realized.

The largest, unanswered promise, the one which neither the #metoo movement, nor the women’s marches, seem to provide a solution: women’s presence in top leadership

I mean, look around — from Congress to companies to venture funding — where are the women?

Yes, we are getting more degrees (in fact, we’re 33% more likely to get a college degree than men), and yet we are barely breaking 20% of top leadership across all sectors.

Photograph by Fortune

You read that right.

Across all sectors.

And so while our Take The Lead Day panelists spoke brilliantly on negotiating skills and tech as the new frontier for equality (if you missed it, you can get the livestream video here!), I kept hearing a small intuitive voice insist, “Gloria, this very moment right now…this finite, current moment is the most valuable resource you will ever have. In fact Gloria, this very moment is the most valuable resource women everywhere will ever have.”

As I looked around the room, I realized I wasn’t the only woman hearing this voice. I realized women were listening deeply to that internal voice. And while they appreciated that the speakers in the room were addressing the issues they faced, more importantly, the women felt galvanized to change the system. And I realized that gratitude was being replaced by something much more impactful: a willingness to look clear eyed at what women still have to achieve and to embrace their own power to go for it.

So here’s how not being grateful helps you (and all women) succeed:

Jessica Williams wants action as well.

There was no kumbaya-ing. Women didn’t wax poetic about how fortunate we all are not to be barefoot and pregnant. Women and men want specific, tangible things they can do personally to implement gender parity in leadership. We’re beyond being inspired. We’ll save that for Hallmark. Today? We want actionable steps that will lead to change.

2.) By Stopping Ourselves from Giving Away our Power

A quick story: Take The Lead Day was originally conceived as a fundraiser playing off of my 75th birthday, as many organizations do for their founders. I figured it’d be fun to use the occasion to support the cause meaningfully.

As I saw the event metamorphosing into something entirely different, I allowed my intentions to be subsumed even though I could have steered the process differently. Now don’t get me wrong, I love that Take the Lead Day became a global phenomenon. We had events in over 200 locations in 26 countries, reaching over 400,000 people. But I also relinquished my power to define my own terms.

3.) By Wearing Comfortable (Glamorous) Shoes

This may sound frivolous when compared to my first two points, but being comfortable in our skins and shoes is a key to success. I’m convinced that the pointy toed high heeled shoes women cram our feet into to be stylish are really designed to keep us from being fully free and mobile. As I moderated the opening panel on Take the Lead Day, I noticed that two of the panelists looked gorgeous wearing the most fabulous shoes that looked oh so comfortable. “Comfortable shoes are essential to allow me to focus on building my business,” said the panelists when I called their shoes out.

The next day as a reward to myself, I bought myself a pair and vowed that comfortable shoes would be my new metaphor for owning my power to lead.

(Okay, maybe I’m grateful for those shoes.)

My new take the lead shoes!

So what now?

Many women have been asking me: we’re implementing the actionable steps, but we want more! What can we do right now, in our own lives?

Well, I have the answer:

Starting February 4, 2018 I will be hosting Power to Lead: 9 Leadership Power Tools to Advance Your Career. It is a four week self-paced, self-study online course for early to mid career women that leads to unparalleled breakthroughs. Through my strategic and proven 9 Leadership Power Tools, during the class women will identify the chokeholds preventing them from upward mobility and they will discover the solutions to close those gaps. By transforming the traditional notion of power, women will create a more cohesive and more powerful self-leadership strategic plan that is not only holistic, but ultimately, more effective than any course they have taken.

Alumnae of the course brag promotions into executive positions sooner than they expected, pay raises, and the confidence to pursue their professional dreams or start their businesses. It’s a course for game changers, boundary breakers, and innovators who while maintaining a spirit of gratitude, realize that being grateful to others is not nearly enough.

This course is for you. I truly want to see you there.

(In fact, I want to see you so much I’ve created an amazing early bird special discount if you register before the end of the month!)

For more information or to register visit: https://www.taketheleadwomen.com/course/.

Gloria Feldt is a New York Times bestselling author and co-founder and president of Take The Lead, a nonprofit women’s leadership organization.