The Secret to Success is Courage: An Interview with Margie Warrell

Career expert Margie Warrell, who hails from Australia, is an author, mother, sister, wife, coach, professional speaker and media commentator. In addition to being highly educated in the advanced fields of business and psychology, Warrell is a seasoned businesswoman with some excellent workplace advice and insight to share with working women everywhere.

Her resume is extensive and has more acronyms, accredidations, awards and degrees than I could possibly list here, but some of the highlights include: International Coaching Federation (ICF) coach; experienced in Fortune 500 business practices and formerly worked for giants such an KPMG and BP Oil; best-selling author of 'Find Your Courage: 12 Acts for Becoming Fearless in Work and Life' (McGraw Hill).

Warrell has yielded amazing results for herself and for others (people, corporations and students), so you know that she is obviously doing something right. She also provides a clear example of how to balance a work and home life. AOL Jobs had the opportunity to talk to Warrell about her effective methods for achieving success and living the courageous, happy life many women dream about.

Q & A with Margie Warrell

Q. You recently gave a talk at AOL on courageous leadership. What does that mean exactly for working women?

A. Leadership begins with self-leadership. Effective leaders are those people who see themselves that way. If you want to change the way people see you, then you have to change the way you see yourself. Leadership is not a position, it's a choice.

We so often blame our circumstances on where we find ourselves, and when we change how we see ourselves and our attitudes that also change the outcomes we produce.

It's through conversations that we build, maintain, and create relationships.

Q. What is courageous leadership and how do we go about achieving it?

A. Courageous leadership is putting ourselves at risk in some way -- volunteering for things, stepping up at work, etc. That is what grows our position in an organization and helps the organization to grow as well.

The three core pillars of courageous leadership:

  1. Have a vision for yourself and those you are leading. Create a vision that inspires you and stretches you so that you can then enroll others and gain their trust and help.
  2. Be courageous in the conversations that you have. Discuss the undiscussable. Every day, our conversations either build trust or not.
  3. Leverage adversity. If you reframe your problems, you can grow from them. If you want to grow your leadership and career then you need to be more competent in dealing with bigger problems. Mastery of your challenges can help you leverage your adversity and it moves you forward, because you become the someone that others want to have around.

Q. What words of advice do you have for people who are currently looking for jobs? What about for people who are thinking of a career change?

A. First you need to get clear about what the attributes are of the job you desire and in which direction you want to head. If you know what you want to do, then you can get to step two, which is to talk to people. The more people know what you want to achieve, the more people there are to help you.

Q. What's your opinion on the best way to find a job that you like and then maintain job security?

A. Sometimes we have a sense of what we like to do and it intersects with what you are good at. People who are successful are always leveraging their strengths, so if you look for that intersection -- where do your strengths meet your likes -- you too can find success.

Remember: Relationships help you in all facets of work -- finding a job, getting a job and doing an outstanding job. You need to make sure that other people believe and perceive that you are bringing the most value to the table -- the most energy, the most leadership.

Q. Do you think work experience is more valuable than schooling or degrees; why or why not?

A. It's not an either-or. You cannot even get a foot in the door these days without a certain level of education. You need to be competitive to get in the door, but if you don't bring a practical, commonsense approach to a job, people will not want to continue to work with you.

The things and skills that we learn in a competitive workplace environment are things that cannot be learned from a textbook, and at the same time, there are things that you need to learn in a classroom setting.

Q. What do working women need to know or learn today in order to prepare for tomorrow?

A. Don't try to perfect -- sometimes good enough is good enough. As women, we need to put our own needs first (sleep, downtime, eating well, exercise etc.) Don't try to be all things to all people, learn to say no, and remember that you have to be courageous and do it.

Q. What are the biggest roadblocks we encounter in the workplace today and what are your recommendations for avoiding them or dealing with them once they set in?

A. You have to be emotionally resilient -- calm, clear, etc. Incorporating daily practice and rituals into our daily routine helps us stay resilient.

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