Motivational Read: The Career Mistakes of Female Leaders

Because there’s few things better than the warm sun, a good book and reading by the pool, we’re sharing the lessons from another recent read, Mistakes I Made at Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What they Got Out of Getting It Wrong, by Jessica Bacal.

Mistakes I Make at Work

The book features the stories of 25 influential women and presents their career mistakes and reflections on how mistakes furthered their careers. Bacal also presents various studies that show that in order to succeed, you must learn from your mistakes. The author reminds us that although we screw up, that doesn’t make us a “screwup,” as shown by the successes of the women in the book.

It’s time to embrace our mistakes and imperfections, because although we may forget at times, we’re all human. As we continue on to be the innovators, creators, and adventurers of this world, we need to take risks and realize that what may look like failure is only a part of the steps to success. Becoming a leader means accepting the chance of screwing up while having the strength to get back up and stay in the game.

Mistakes I Made at Work gives readers an awesome advantage because we get to learn from the mistakes of incredibly successful female leaders, such as Anna Holmes, founding editor of, and Cheryl Strayed, best-selling author of Wild. Here are some of the wise pieces of advice these successful women had to share with us after reflecting on their own career paths:

  1. Build skills. Whether it’s your dream career or just a job to pay the rent, we develop skills through every experience we have and use these skills for whatever the next job may be.
  2. Don’t seem to be, just be. When we choose seeming over being, we break away from what defines who we truly are. Being includes claiming a right to our passions and desires, and those are the keys to unlocking our most important values.
  3. If you need to, quit. Don’t be afraid to walk away because of what other people may think. At the end of day, it’s your life and not anybody else’s, so your decision needs to be based upon your needs.
  4. All hail the rough draft. We’re all working drafts in progress until the day we die. Real success comes from constantly working towards the next version of ourselves. Life is a game of trial and error, so if we aren’t making mistakes, we aren’t challenging ourselves to our fullest capacity.
  5. Say YES. Embrace new opportunities with the potential to pick up new skills and tools to add to your mix.
  6. Find your passion. Spend time finding your passions and pursue whatever they may be with relentless drive. In the end, it’s about what’s right for you and not what others expect of you.
  7. Stop waiting. Do you have the ideal job in mind but can’t find it? Then stop waiting for the job to come to you and go out and make it happen. Invent what you think is missing in this world (aka the creation of the Lala).
  8. Don’t forget about yourself. External rewards of success can overshadow the most important thing of all: taking care of yourself. If you overestimate your mental strength, at some point, you will crash…AND burn.
  9. Conquer procrastination. Procrastination’s root cause is almost always fear. This fear comes from our evil friend, perfectionism. We buy into the fear of making a mistake, losing control, etc. and waste time.
  10. Create a circle of love. Gather a group of classmates, teammates, friends and family who are honest and will hold you accountable for when you need support most in life, but who will also pick you up and applaud your successes.



Erin McGauley

Contributor, Xavier University Major: Marketing and Finance Her heart belongs to: Family, friends, traveling and reading You can find her: Running around on the soccer field, reading up on the latest business/fashion news or spending time with family and friends

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