A news item read some time ago is still fresh in my mind - “Saudi woman conquers Everest.” Twenty five year old Raha Moharrak , the youngest Arab too became the first woman from Saudi Arabia to climb the world’s highest mountain, a remarkable achievement for a woman from a conservative set up. Another attention grabbing item - “Two 21-year-old Indian sisters have made history, becoming the first twins ever to conquer Mount Everest.”. Tashi and Nancy Malik from Dehra emerged successful along with Pakistan’s Samina Baig. “After scaling the peak, the trio hoisted Indian and Pakistani flags side by side atop Mt. Everest, as a message of peace, friendship and collaborative action.” A breath of fresh air, amidst the increasing gang rapes, corruptions and scams and scandals hitting the headlines day after day. Notwithstanding the innumerably increasing atrocities against women, the recent one caused by one in the top rung of the corporate setup, here are women achievers who survived inhospitable conditions and untold hardships in order to reach the roof of the world. I am amazed beyond words to read their success stories over and over again.
What makes them different? A chance reading of Heidi Grant Halvorson (Nine things Successful People Do Differently) throws things in a new light. “There are no skills or human abilities that cannot be developed.” No one can ever forget the childhood story of Robert Bruce’s spider, who taught him patience, resilience, observation, and a positive attitude – the practice of which is the key to success.
How do some women find favorable circumstances that foster their growth, while several others never get the right chances? Or do opportunities show up only to certain “lucky” people? Fortune favors the brave and bold! A general observation divulges that women with success stories share a few things in common – right attitude, hard work and focus on excellence. Notwithstanding this, the biggest challenge is “being accepted” in a predominantly male dominated environment. Sheryl Sandberg, CEO, Face book , ranked on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in an electrifying TED talk describes how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers.– “Ask yourself constantly: “How can I do better? What am I doing that I don’t know? What am I not doing that I don’t see?” An attitude and altitude fix!
Another achiever in recent times is Christine Ha, winner of Master Chef USA, 2012. The first blind contestant, although she has never “studied” cooking, has a large fan following on her food blog. Unlike others, she relies on other senses to cook – “taste, smell, how certain ingredients feel", for cooking without sight just involves "a lot of organization.".
Achievement has a lot to do with the organizational aspect of the goal. As Daniel Coyle of The Talent Code mentions - ‘they are seeking the slippery hills, purposely operating at the edges of their ability.” The slippery hills are where the success story of Raha, Tansi and others originate. A noteworthy observation is that success is not restricted to the western world; today, several Asian women from different cultures and ethnicities too are in the limelight.
Discussing further about women empowerment and accomplishment is the film “English Vinglish,” in which actor Sridevi in an uniquely inspirational role as a housewife, enrolls in an English speaking course, in order to overcome the embarrassment of jibes from her husband and daughter. I would not be exaggerating by mentioning that the film motivated several women to join English speaking classes.
Every woman has the potential to juxtapose herself between a home and career with ease, of course with support and encouragement from family.
As I write this, Barbie’s “On top of the world” is playing on my computer-
“Where I can see everything before me
Reaching up to touch the sky
On top of the world
All of my dreams are rushing toward me
Stretching out my wings to fly
On top of the world”…….Yes, it’s a great feeling to be on top of the world! As Raha, Tashi, Nancy Samina at a host of others did.