I read Laura Hillenbrand's thrilling story, "Seabiscuit: An American Legend," and couldn't help but recognize parallel between women in business world and that of a great racehorse who has a fighting spirit like no other. In race to build a new world, let's examine eight lessons women can learn from Seabiscuit, horse that achieved greatness while captivating our imaginations.
1). Learn your horse or person.
Let's face it. Women can be mysterious -- happy one day, sad next. We can be ruthless but charming. Yet, for a woman to do well in business world, she needs a close observer who knows her, realizes her potential, cultivates it and sees that others get out of her way to enable her success.
Women must actively identify executives who have clout in an organization and with whom they have rapport and ask them to be mentors. Mentors help women learn what goes on in boardrooms and how executives make critical decisions. In other words, a mentor must "learn woman," for her to do well.
2). Make friends.
Just as Seabiscuit required loyal animal companions to feel safe, secure and ready to do his best, women need same in workplace. When you develop loyal friends, you learn how to relax and do your best work.
3). Turn your competitive instincts outward.
Competitive instincts turned outward are good, but when competitive instincts are turned inward, it's disastrous. Why? For a horse, it happens when jockey holds reigns too tight. For women, it's when a person cuts her no slack and fails to provide respect, appreciation and acknowledgment of her existence in business world. If you loosen grip on a horse's reigns, she's free to take off. If you loosen grip on "cat-fight" scenarios and "good ole' boy's" network, a businesswoman is bound to take off and flourish.
4). Do only what you want to do.
The trainer for Seabiscuit transformed him into a pliant, happy horse. How? He vouched to never again use force on horse or to make him do what he didn't want to do. Women don't want to be told what to do. They know what to do. Let them do it.