Yes We Can! Women / Mothers as Leaders

I'm having a few days off this weekend. It's Golden Week here in Japan, a little cluster of public holidays that fall consecutively to make up a week of holidays (well four days this year). It's been wonderful spending time with the family. We've done a bit of gardening, had a couple of barbecues and today we hit the new mall since it was raining the whole day.

Former New Zealand Prime Minister and Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme Helen Clarke gave a terrific Ted Talk in 2013 about Women and Leadership. In it she talks about taking care of yourself during the rise to the top and throughout your high-powered career. She gives really simple advice: eat well, sleep well (or get enough sleep), exercise and maintain important relationships with friends and family.

This really hit home for me, for while I haven't had a high-powered career (yet) I have unfortunately succumbed to the idea that in order to build a business you need to make extreme sacrifices. During the early years running my business Mee a Bee (pictured) I worked late every night and I worked most weekends. During that time my husband took our two children off my hands, particularly on weekends. I rather feel regret over that now. I think it's one of the things that has caused a rift in the family. The kids don't really expect me to come along on their adventures and sometimes seem to resent my presence. It's something I'm working hard to resolve.

It's been a conscious decision since launching my consultancy to find ways to leverage my time better. How can I work less yet have more impact and yes, earn more money? We do need more women in positions of leadership. We need more women entrepreneurs. When women are leaders the world is a better place. When women have money the world is a better place. Even though I'll never be a prime minister I hope that I can help women to make the world a better place by teaching and supporting women in business.

Helen Clarke's Ted Talk is just over 15 minutes long. It's not preachy or condescending. She doesn't blow her own trumpet or come across as having a political agenda. She just wants us to give thought to the idea of what women would accomplish if they were really given the opportunity.