Sally Helgesen co-author of How Women Rise…, successfully shows how female professionals can change self-limiting behaviours. I was so very fortunate enough to interview her. Enjoy!

Sally Helgesen’s mission has always been to help women recognize, articulate and act on their greatest strengths. Her previous books include The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work and the best-selling The Female Advantage: Women’s Ways of Leadership, hailed as “the classic work” on women’s leadership styles. Her ground-breaking The Web of Inclusion: A New Architecture for Building Great Organizations was cited in The Wall Street Journal as one of the best books on leadership ever and is credited with bringing the language of inclusion into business.

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  1. What are you reading at the moment? Monsoon by Robert Kaplan, which is about the history of the Indian Ocean and how it will shape the century ahead. I’ve been working in the region lately and find myself fascinated by it.
  2. What keeps you awake at night? Nothing keeps me awake at night because I’ve disciplined myself to not think about anything once I am in bed. I could never have done this if I hadn’t taken up meditation, which gives me daily practice in letting go of thoughts as they arise.
  3. What is the one thing you can’t live without? My MacBook Air, it’s always with me. Decades ago, I used to lug a Smith Corona typewriter around. This is a lot easier and enables me to work seamlessly despite spending most of my time on the road.
  4. What is the hardest thing you overcame? The loneliness and chronic insecurity of working for myself for 50 years. I’ve overcome this by building a great support network of colleagues I trust and admire, which I’m always expanding and always touching base with.
  5. How did you get out of your own way? Working with a peer coach for the last nine years has helped me to get me get out of my own way because it’s easier for her to see when I am setting up obstacles for myself. She knows all the tricks I use to fool myself and because it’s her job to point them out, I can listen to what she says and back off. 
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