While Navigate continues to be my favorite event every year, as a proud member of the SailPoint Crew, the Women in Identity reception and panel is absolutely a highlight for me. Having the chance to talk to and hear from some super smart and insightful women always brings a series of ‘aha’ moments for me. And this year was no different.
After a bit of mingling during the cocktail hour, we kicked off the panel session, moderated by our CMO, Juliette Rizkallah. While each of the women on the panel covered a lot of ground, a few key themes stuck out to me.
Open the Door—For Yourself
One of the first questions that Juliette asked each of the panelists was ‘who is someone in your career that opened doors for you?’ While I think we can all probably recall and appreciate a mentor who helped to open a door at one time or another in our careers, what I heard among panelists was this: don’t wait, do it yourself. Be brave. Be relentless. Be persistent. Kick that door down. And then pay it forward and help another woman in your circle to do the very same thing.
Kick Perfection to the Curb
Forget about perfection. It does not exist. These are words that resonated with me on multiple levels. I am forever trying to keep every ball in the air, every priority moving forward, every person in my life (work and home) happy and when I inevitably fail at that, I let that failure eat me up. But how is striving for something that is unattainable considered ‘failure?’ To that point, one of the panelists said something that really struck me; she said ‘you can have everything, you just can’t have it all at once.’ That may mean breaking down those competing priorities and recognizing which ones truly matter at that moment and which ones you can afford to table for a bit. That doesn’t make you a weak leader; it makes you a smarter one.
Be a Better You
When it comes to leadership, everyone has a different idea of what that looks like. We all have people in our world we admire and maybe even want to emulate. One of the panelists talked about someone along her journey who she looked up to, admitting that she wanted to be just like her one day. When she told her mentor that, she stopped her and said, ‘you don’t want to be me. You want to be a better me. I was so focused on my career, forgetting about anything else, de-prioritizing my relationship with my husband and my daughter. Sure, I may be the CEO of my own company, but I am also divorced, and my daughter hates me.’ She had swung the pendulum so far to the left, chasing her way to the top that she lost any semblance of balance and it harmed her relationships in irreversible ways. This story stuck with me. It seemed pretty clear by the comments from the panelists that it resonated for them, too. As female leaders, I think we sometimes become so afraid to lose our chance at leadership that we’re tempted to drop everything to make it happen. Again, this idea of ‘you can have it all, just not all at once’ popped up again and it is such a powerful idea that it bears repeating.
Don’t Wait, Just Do
As the panel winded down, Juliette asked panelists to share some final thoughts. There were a ton of remarkable pieces of advice here, including:
• Stop asking for permission. Men don’t wait; they raise their hand and do. If you don’t raise your hand, the answer will always be ‘no.’ Be eager and go for it.
• Stop listening to the negative self-talk that we’re all prone to from time to time. Change the dialogue.
• Think about what the next generation of you looks like and go after it.
Juliette tied the panel together with a straightforward piece of advice: remember to be happy. We all get so caught up in the day-to-day flurry of activity that it’s an easy one to forget. But, if you enjoy what you do, if you can find happiness in every day and not just the high highs of your life, you’ll be more content and an even better leader.