Mother of three children, co-chair of the largest philanthropist foundation in the world, and former executive at Microsoft, Melinda Gates is one half of the most powerful duo in the world. Known worldwide for her work towards bettering the world, Gates emphasizes on how women today need to support themselves and believe in themselves to make a way for equality in the world. Speaking to goodhousekeeping.com, she talked about how small things can make all the difference in the world today.
- Empowering other women
We need to support each other in all we do, instead of traditional, patriarchal roles defining us. Women in power need to help other women achieve their full capabilities.
- Having, and being a good role model
Gates remembers her high school teacher, who "... brought computers into the school when most schools didn't even know what they were." We need to have appropriate role models, someone to look up to, and strive to be one for others as well.
- Telling girls that they can change the world
We need to teach our little girls that they can be as great they believe. Deep-set prejudices often make young women lose their confidence, especially in non-traditional interests such as math, sports and technology. We need to give them that assurance that nothing is 'unladylike'.
- Treating life as a learning journey
Keep an open mind, and get involved in the community, beyond the call of your daily humdrum life. "Ask questions" Gates says. "Are we truly equal in the community? How are women faring? Find your passion, and give back to the society in a way that's right for you.”
- Have someone to talk to
We have a tendency to keep our thoughts and issues to ourselves; but all of us need a sounding board sometimes. Gates talks about her group of women, who all meet up and talk every Monday, and says that everyone should have someone they can talk honestly to; we all need to bare our heart out sometimes.
- De-stress for a while everyday
The superwoman also stresses the importance of de-stressing, and meditating. Dedicating just ten minutes every day to slowing down one's pace can settle down the whole nervous system.
- Being kind
Kindness, Gates says, is like a stone thrown in a pond. It is but one small act, but the ripple is much larger than one can imagine. "If you're kind to somebody, you have no idea how it may change him or her...reach out to a stranger." she says "Maybe that person is older than you or younger than you, maybe he or she has a different skin color than you, but just make his or her day a little happier, and you'll be amazed at the change in you."
- Think of failure as a teacher
We need to think of failure as a learning step, and move on fast instead of moaning on about what could not happen. "You have to be willing to pick yourself up and go on" says Gates. "We had failures all the time at Microsoft, but the way I see it, failures are things you learn from."
- Avoid regrets
On a similar vein, we need to shrug off regretting our decisions, and work around with what we have. "I think the only regrets (for me)" Gates says "are when someone passes away and I didn't get to spend as much time with them as I would have liked. I have a few regrets in that category, so I'm very purposeful now about taking time to see people who mean a lot to me."
- Be yourself
Above all, we need to unapologetically be ourselves, the most authentic version of ourselves. As Melinda Gates puts it, "There are no 'shoulds' in life." Sometimes society says we need to be a certain type of working woman or a certain type of mom or partner, [but] we define those things ourselves. We can never live in the past. We can only live where we are today.