Don't leave your success to chance

Published in the Motherpedia, December 2011 by Janine Cox

Imagine that it’s been a really busy week, and you’re sitting down at your favourite hair salon waiting to be pampered, when one of the girls brings out your favourite drink. 

At that exact moment you realise you are sitting next to one of your favourite TV personalities, a famous artist, a high profile CEO of a listed Australian company, or maybe even a politician?

If this happened to you what would you say? 

What opportunities could you create? Or would you be so dumb struck that the only thing you could manage to say was ‘hello’ before the moment was lost? 

A good friend of mine, Tracey, went to a bar one night and met Brad Pitt. 

This is a story she relives every time we go out for a drink. 

But recently she had a close encounter of a different kind, someone more influential had come into her circle.

The opportunity to meet women holding influential positions in politics or business was high on Tracey’s list of importance and although the woman sitting next to her looked very unofficial, with her hair wet and slicked back, Tracey recognised her as a federal politician.

Just so that you understand why this chance meeting was so important to Tracey, you might like to know a bit about her. 

Tracey has always been very career minded having aspirations to one day be a director on an Australian company board.

Working in high finance she has seen women rise to certain levels in the organisation and leave when their careers seemed to hit a dead end. 

A recent survey showed that for women to become a CEO of an Australian listed company most have to completely change industries. 

But it may not surprise you that the same survey showed this not to be the case for men.

Tracey sees the moves made by women in politics as having an important flow-on effect to the corporate world as they decide to step up the corporate ladder.

She knew that there were not many women CEOs on the boards of Australian listed companies but was shocked to learn women hold only around two per cent of board positions.

After a brief introduction to her fellow salon partner, Tracey found the conversation flowed easily and eventually asked what it was like to be a female politician today, compared to 20 years ago. 

Tracey learned in the mid 90’s only around 14 per cent of the Australian Parliamentarians were women.

So to say that it was a ‘man’s world’ in politics back in the 90’s was probably an understatement. 

Clearly the balance of the sexes has improved markedly since then, and the Glass Ceiling was broken when Julia Gillard took over from Kevin Rudd as PM.

From this meeting Tracey found a mentor, someone well connected to other women in high profile positions in the corporate world. 

This meeting has started a domino effect that has opened up doors for Tracey to expand her career. 

Whilst we would all like to think that we can juggle all the things we need to and still achieve success, it doesn’t matter what it is in life you want to achieve a mentor can be of enormous benefit.

In fact, we found that when our students work with a mentor coaching them through the process that their success rate went through the roof.

Therefore when it comes to investing, like Tracey, find a person who has what it takes and can help you get to where you want to be. 

But in my experience a lot of people try to go it alone or leave their wealth creation to chance which is why only 10 per cent of Australians retire financially secure.

A lot of people will cheat themselves out of the chance to learn something because they want everything free. 

In reality, like getting a good education or having your hair done by a hair dresser you know and trust, some things are worth paying for, and a good money mentor is critical.

One final point, when I look at the success of some men I think more women would do well to take a leaf out of the same book read by men, which says that it pays to use social situations to build networks. 

A lot of men ‘seal that deal’ on the golf course and climb the corporate ladder this way.

Now I’m not saying you need to learn to play golf, the way I see it, ladies you have another good reason to visit your favourite salon more often.

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