how to be successful

Last week I was lucky enough to meet the incomparable Ita Buttrose at the Business Chicks Sydney event, where she shared her story and provided insights into how to be successful.

As one of Australia’s most influential and respected business leaders, Ita needs no introduction. From being a 16-year-old ‘copy girl’ at The Australian Women’s Weekly, Ita became the founding editor of Cleo, a groundbreaking magazine in 1972. She went on to be the first female editor of the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph. Her career has seen her hold various Board positions (often as the first female), write 11 books, and be a regular media personality.

Throughout her robust and demanding career, she has been an advocate and ambassador for countless health causes as well as for the respectful treatment of seniors. ⁠All whilst being a mother of two.

She’s been recognised with numerous accolades, most notably being Australian of the Year in 2013.

Now at 77, Ita is going from strength to strength. As the Chair of the ABC, she shows us all that age should be no barrier and is an amazing example for us all on how to have a fulfilling career and life.

So here are the top takeaways on how to be successful.

Being successful requires you to let people know you have ambition

If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Be sure to tell people what you want because people are not mind readers.

It’s easy to be overlooked simply because you weren’t on the radar. It sounds obvious I know, but sometimes the best advice is.

Remember, you never know when you’re making a good impression

Stay on your A-game. Work hard and go the extra mile. Because you never know when you’re making a good impression on someone.

Make your choices and don’t apologise

As women, we tend to apologise a lot. And often it’s for things that don’t require an apology or that aren’t our fault.

We need to change our behaviour. We need to make our choices, stand by them and not apologise. It might be that you’re trying to find a work-life balance that suits your lifestyle, or maybe you’re a working mum. Or heck, maybe you want to join the circus (each to their own I say!). Whatever it is you’re doing, stay in your lane and stop seek forgiveness. You don’t need it.

And when it gets tough, stop and ask yourself – why am I doing this? Then get on with it.

Be a compassionate and gracious leader

As a leader, compassion and grace go along way. This can be particularly important for new managers with older team members.

Remember, change can be hard and people often feel nervous about their own job and security. Be respectful and kind. Have open conversations with your team and share your vision with them so they can be part of the journey and know they are valued and appreciated.

Learning is key to being successful

In a world of constant change, learning should be our priority.

We need to keep learning so we can adapt and grow into new challenges as it allows us to move past the hurdles with resilience and grace when others resist or give up.

Give back to the community

Finally, Ita reminds us all to give back to the community if you can because it enriches your life as well as others. Regardless of where you are in life or how successful you are, there are always ways to give back (we’ve got some great ideas here).