Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What Makes Successful Women Happy?

As I was reading a series of articles in Business Week about women, leadership and happiness I became very disappointed with some of the conclusions presented in the article.

Let’s take the following article “Why Are Women Unhappier than They Were 40 Years Ago?”, which is an excerpt from Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently, by Marcus Buckingham. I disagree with the article’s claim that modern successful women are not happy with their life and success based solely on the premise that modern women are unhappier than women 40 years ago.

First, I think that setting realistic expectations for multidimensional success is an important aspect that will influence the level of happiness that women will find in their life as they get older and more mature. A large number of successful women I interviewed while I was gathering material for Connecting My Dots felt very happy and satisfied with both their career and personal success. Another important aspect to consider is that given the overall placement of women in the 1950’s and 1960s, women at that time didn’t have high expectations or goals to succeed as CEOs or Senior Executives, and if they did, society wasn’t too encouraging towards women to help them reach such achievements. It wasn’t until World War II when women were beginning to shift from stay at home mom to a working mom. Even then reaching the status of a Senior Executive wasn’t on the mind of women because in reality it wasn’t very plausible.

My grandmother was one of the first three women who graduated from the Medical School at the University of La Habana in 1920. She was one of the few who had the courage and self-determination to do such a thing even though society did not expect this type of achievement from women nor did it make it easy for women to gain such an achievement. She provided an example of women that wanted to have a professional career even when the society at that time did not encourage women to do those things. Was she happy ?

I wondered about what my 23 year old daughter would have to say. I talked to her and she asked if I was happy with my life and career achievements. In my book, Connecting My Dots, I introduced a tool called the “The Priority Wheel” that you can leverage to align your career, life and personal needs.

When I look at the female role models I had in my family and alone my career and I do encourage you to find role models that will inspire you to achieve your dreams and to Connect Your Dots !