I recently had another article published in a magazine aimed at Asian women, a magazine appropriately called “Asian Woman“. How about that for a highly targeted niche?
Though my article was aimed at the Asian women readership, it actually applies to all women.
Our world today is more competitive than ever before. From children competing to get into the best schools to women battling to prove themselves in the boardroom, it is clear excellence is what counts.
Recently, Indra Nooyi was appointed CEO of Pepsi, joining an elite band of Asian women who have reached the pinnacle of their profession in a world setting.
But as Asian women begin to make their mark more and more on the corporate world, what lessons can be learnt by others wishing to emulate their success?
Here are some lessons to be learnt and shared amongst all women:-
1. Accomplishing tasks in an exemplary fashion gives you great pride and self-esteem, since how you do things is a measure of how you rate yourself.
So use your talents, abilities, and skills in the best way possible. Get ahead by giving that little bit extra and by simply doing your best in everything you do at work, home and play.
The Japanese are renowned for their “Kaizen” principle – continuous and ongoing improvement at everything they do – see how you can bring this approach into all areas of your life.
2. Always give more than is expected of you, regardless of what’s in it for you. Exceed expectations and go the extra mile. Look at every situation in terms of adding value.
Do things faster, better, and even more cheerfully for everyone in your life – customers, employer, family, and for yourself. Reflect right now and think of at least five things you will do over the next seven days, to give people more than they expect.
3. Have a passion for whatever you do for a living because if you don’t then you will only be putting in minimum effort and your half-hearted attempts will ultimately show up as mediocrity.
Seek out those things you can get passionate about and use them to create excellence in your life.
4. Believe that what you do matters, and that it will make a difference. A life of excellence comes from continually making a contribution.
You can’t save the whole world single-handedly, and we can’t all be a Gandhi or a Mandela, but you can certainly make a difference to one person at a time.
So look for ways to contribute. Ask yourself what special skill or knowledge you have, that can solve a problem or make the best of a situation and that will help or support others.
5. Remember also that striving for excellence does not mean you must be perfect. Strive for excellence, not perfection! Challenge yourself to excel all the time. Aim high and push to be your absolute best — then go even beyond that.
You are capable of far more than you think.
At the same time, be realistic – do not set your sights so high that you have no way of reaching your goal. Do not set yourself up for failure.
6. Be totally committed to what you do, as excellence is only possible with commitment. Either get fully committed to what you’re doing, or find something else to do.
Reflect on things at which you are already excellent. How can you get even better at these?
7. Expect the best from yourself. Talk to yourself only in positive terms and eliminate all negative self-talk. Similarly, expect the best of everyone around you and generally you will get the best from them.
For example, when at a restaurant, being polite and respectful towards the waiters and expecting good service usually means that you get just that. Similarly, you get the best service from shop assistants when you expect the best of them.
8. Always follow through and follow up. Just a little more effort to finish off a job will bring big results. Conversely, start only what you know you can finish.
Also, doing it right first time around will save you a lot of time in not having to go back and fix it later.
9. Focus on one thing at a time and plan your time so that you can give each task your undivided attention.
Block out any distractions such as television, mobile phone, email, visitors, and so on. Ask yourself – what is more important – your objective or the distraction?
10. Take extreme care of yourself as being at your best, physically and mentally, will give you the energy, drive and vitality to excel. Take regular breaks. Work diligently while you are at it — and then put it aside.
Have regular vacations and reflect on bringing even more excellence into your life.
11. Learn from every experience – every situation has a learning opportunity – see problems and obstacles as opportunities to grow and excel. Learn what you can from it. Learn from others and appreciate excellence whenever you come across it.
See any criticism as a gift of feedback. Of course if a really critical partner or boss or you work with a particularly unhelpful colleague, then you may have to ponder deeper for the learning in the situation.
12. Use all available tools and resources such as computers, the Internet and software that help you like accountancy packages.
Get clear on what you want to excel at and you are sure to find someone or something that will help you. Focus on getting any help you can so as to excel.
13. Above all believe in yourself. Being a woman and an Asian woman too is no longer a barrier in being the best you can be. As India awakens, it is time for Asian women to make a huge impact, not just in the corporate boardrooms but also in all echelons of the business and fashion world.
Living a life full of excellence is not difficult. Simply decide right now to give it your best shot.
Go the extra mile – and remember that there is NO traffic jam on the extra mile :-).