Last week Celina and I met Talita Ferreira, former CFO of BMW, at the launch of her first book The Authenticity Dilemma Resolved. We wanted to know why people feel like they’re wearing a different mask to work, and what methods leaders use to stay successful. Here, in her own words, is what it takes to be a successful (yet authentic) woman.
I decided two years ago that I’d like to be my own boss…
I used to be a chief financial officer for BMW and I decided two years ago that I’d really like to do something different, I’d like to be my own boss. I went to an event run by Red Magazine and Chrissy Rucker spoke about how to be your own boss, and her one core message was you have to find that thing that keeps you up all night. And I went to a few seminars, workshops, and a lot of them were around diversity and gender topics and at one of these events a woman was saying a lot has been done but it’s not really moved on so much.
I was thinking, ‘Why is that?‘ and I got to this idea of authenticity. If we were just all more authentic and brought more of ourselves to every interaction wouldn’t that solve the problem?
So I embarked on this very interesting journey on defining authenticity, started to do some research and wrote a book.
I wrote the book while in corporate life, working 12 hours a day.
So my daily regime is, I get up at five and I meditate for half an hour and then I’m in the right space.
Then I work for an hour and a half before the family gets up, that’s how I managed to write the book. I find that space so precious, that I haven’t given that up. My body clock is totally wired that way.
I go to bed by ten and then I make sure that I can get up at five. When you’re busy and there’s too much to do and you need to prioritize, you need that space, in the morning I don’t open my mailbox for that first hour and a half, that’s my sacred space.
I visualize the day that I want…
I use headspace for ten minutes, then I have a guided meditation where I visualize the day that I want. So first I get myself in the right space, then I do the guided one where I visualize who I’m meeting, what I’m doing and what I want from the day.
I also do guided meditation at night…
Something that really works is when you close down your thoughts for the day. I have this journal and I write what I’m grateful for, and it’s always my daughter, my husband or the dog. If you have a very challenging situation, you should also write why you’re grateful for it. Sometimes I just write, “Because it will give me so many insights,” so I just try to make it positive, and it works like a charm.
It puts your brain in a different state. It releases endorphins, getting everything that you’ve done on paper just sends you to sleep.
Why aren’t we our real selves at work?
I don’t think we’re bringing the best of who we are to all our interactions. The smartphone has come and integrated all our lives into one device, and if we wanted to have everything so separate, it’s not possible anymore. It’s going to confuse us and exhaust us mentally.
One minute you might be tweeting to friends, and the next minute you’re on Facebook for your business or reading work emails.
People are afraid that they won’t be successful.
They’re afraid that they’ll be caught out as a fraud, that they won’t be loved, that they’ll end up alone. I listened to a futurologist professor a couple of months ago and I was really shocked. He’s almost in his seventies now, and he still meets women that don’t share their whole selves with their husbands because they’re afraid that they’ll leave them. It’s baffling that that’s still about!
Remember – people like to be led by people they trust!
The most important thing when you’re leading people is to really create bonds of trust. So the key thing is to be who you are authentically. One of the key things I talk about in the book is vulnerability. So I think if we’re able to show vulnerability with strength – people connect with that.
Receive our latest tips into your inbox