Picture: Philippe Wojazer

Why flawed women are absolutely fabulous

It's time to celebrate the foibles that we have as successful women.

When I wrote She’s Back with Deb Unwin, we were inspired by the thousands of women who we interviewed and by the 9 Things Successful Women Never Do. Reading this blog by a female ex-FBI agent (the only woman on her squad) inspired us to put pen to paper.

We read the list of the things successful women never do and fell about laughing. We were pretty guilty of all of them. As are many women we know. And yet, we’re OK. In fact, we’re more than OK. So let’s celebrate our flaws.

Successful women ignore their fears.

We’re terrified of being found out. Of not being the perfect career woman/parent/partner/worker/housemaker/daughter. We muddle along. We make it up as we go along. It makes us human, approachable & generally nice to be around.  

Successful women never run from conflict.

What? Our lives are defined by conflicting demands. We’re constantly trying to avoid them blowing up in our face. Don’t have time for the hassle. Too much to do.  

Successful women never listen to their inner critic. 

Forget that. It’s one of the loudest voices in our heads. “You’re rubbish at craft, don’t even bother to try to make the school book day outfit”. “That job’s out of your reach, you can only do 90% of what they’re looking for”. At worst this particular flaw stops us achieving our potential – but it is also what makes us look for help. What drives us to work with others. To help them. To be part of a team.  

Successful women sometimes look at their past as a mistake. 

Most women we know happily acknowledge lives littered with mistakes. The wrong boyfriend, the wrong choice of degree, the time we didn’t put ourselves forward for promotion, when we didn’t stand up to a bullying boss, when we didn’t stand up against open misogyny at work. You know what? We have a sense of humour. We can laugh at ourselves. Recognising those mistakes makes us more determined to be better in the future – and to stop our daughters making the same mistakes all over again. 

Successful women miss opportunities to shine. 

One of our biggest mistakes, we now realise, is letting others shine; doing all the ground work only for someone else to take the credit and expecting to be recognised simply because of the fabulous work we do. Big mistake. 

Successful women can lose their cool. 

Ever tried to get a screaming toddler into a pushchair when they are determined to stay out of it? Kept calm when your teenage daughter yells obscenities & slams a door in your face? Smiled at a single work colleague who says, “Leaving early then?” when you walk out of the door at 5 to begin another day’s work at home? We are flawed. We lose our tempers. We have a strop, stamp our feet, tear our hair out. Then we find another flawed woman to whom we can relay our story, have a laugh & move on.  

Successful women never fail to do their research. Nope. What we tend to do is find another fabulously flawed woman, ask her what she’d do/buy/say and then copy that. 

Successful women never say quit.  

See what we did there?  

We’ve made mistakes. We compromise. We put others first. We’re human & humble. We put ourselves down far too often. Yes, we need to be far better at shouting out about how fabulous we are. We’re utterly, utterly flawed. But boy are we fabulous with it. 


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