Real Success Requires Honesty

This is the third post in a series where Women of HR writers share their thoughts and reactions to a manifesto, Six Rules Women Must Break In Order to Succeed.


The authors of the manifesto, Six Rules Women Must Break In Order to Succeed, have been very eloquent about the things women need to do in order to get ahead. I do agree that these six rules, if mastered, will go a long way to putting us on the right path. I would add a few things to any thinking we do in this area.

Make the Rules Your Own

Firstly, there’s lots of rules or guides we can embrace in order to get ahead. This is not a particularly new area and there’s been a lot of thought and discussion generated over the years. What’s more important I believe is that you need to have your own thoughts on how to make this work for you, as an individual.

It’s hard, if this is not something you’re used to, to embrace all six rules at a go. So, pick just one and make that happen. The confidence you build in yourself as you make this one rule a reality that you can feel and grasp, will spur you on to more successful endeavors.

Ultimately, we need to think about these rules, and what elements of it that we are happy with and willing to embrace. We also need to consider the parts that we feel are not right for us and which we are not comfortable embracing. We need to make these rules our own and we do that by thinking about them as they apply to us and then going forward by simply making choices about them.

Stop Thinking and Start Doing

Which leads to my second point – start. We can read about these six rules and like them and agree with them. And we can go online and read another blockbuster list of stuff that works for others out there. Everything stays in the sphere of possibility if that’s all we do.

We could fool ourselves that someday, if we put this in action, we will have achieved what the authors say we ought to. But what is possible is not yet real and we delude ourselves if we settle merely for thinking about what’s possible, and being happy right there. At some point, we have to stop reading, thinking or having an opinion and just letting it rest there, whether we do so out of fear, because we’re busy or just being uncertain.

The way to drive success for any of these things is to move from the realm of possibility into the realm of reality. This happens when we start doing. Do and fail and learn and start again.

Stay True to You

I am reminded, in this manifesto, of the many beautiful aspects of womanhood, of the very elements that make us who we are. We see in the people around us, how they move from thinking to doing. They do what they have to do and what they are happy with. Some however, make changes by becoming more like the examples they see around them – the men in positions of power. But we do not need to be somebody we are not.

I believe real success comes to those who are able to see their shortcomings and their strengths and play to both of these accordingly. It requires an unparalleled level of honesty but the reward is a life that’s far more satisfying and truer to oneself.

Photo credit iStockphoto

About the Author

Rowena Morais

Editor and Program Director at, a media and learning organisation, Rowena Morais is an entrepreneur, writer and editor. She supports Human Resource and Technology professionals in their career development through articles, podcasts, interviews and a range of internationally accredited, in-demand technical and professional courses offered throughout Asia Pacific and the Middle East. A ghostwriter, you can also find out more about Rowena at Rowena tweets at @rowenamorais.


Lois Melbourne

This is a great post. Staying true to yourself is such an important strength builder. It supports your ability to make decisions. When you know that you are doing your best, in your relm, in your way, it is so much easier to get others to join in your conviction.

Debbie Brown

Great post Rowena- your “be your self” and “get going” is a great message for all readers!

rowena morais

Hi Mary
Thank you for sharing. You know, it’s easy enough to come to these conclusions – the hardest part is to make it a reality. I completely agree with your ref to the HBR article – the manner in which leaders or people in positions in authority are able to ‘expose’ their vulnerability certainly make them seem more human and approachable. There’s nothing wrong with failure or vulnerability per se, is there? But certainly what all of us look for is a sense of the authentic self. And you certainly can’t buy that. You can fool someone for a period of time but not forever. What I also see is that people have access to a much bigger picture of who you are – with technology and social media, we have the ability to take from so many sources and put together a picture of a person, so to speak.
If you are interested in a particular person and have the time to draw these references and pull these bits of information from these multiple sources, you have the chance to assess his authenticity as well. And there had better be a singular thread running through it all or you would risk ruining whatever reputation you had so painstakingly carved for yourself.

Mary Appleton

Hi Rowena, this is a very interesting posting. I absolutely agree with your assertion: “…real success comes to those who are able to see their shortcomings and their strengths and play to both of these accordingly.”

An article by Harvard Business Review, “Why Should Anyone Be Led By You” – says that inspirational leaders “… selectively show their weaknesses” and by exposing “vulnerability” they reveal their approachability and humanity. After all, success doesn’t make you inhuman – whether you’re male or female.

Staying true to yourself and your own identity is fundamental. Employees respond to authentic leadership – if you simply imitate predacessors or mimic those around you, you’re hardly being authentic. As a leader, you need your employees to buy into ‘you’ and this will only happen by staying true to yourself.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *