Most Profound Life and Business Lessons Learned from Women Raising the Barr Weekly Memo: Issue 264

Last week I shared with you some of the profound insights I’ve learned from some of the brilliant thinkers I admire. I received great feedback from many of you, but was pleasantly surprised that I was not confronted with the fact that my list contained only men.

This week, my newsletter is dedicated to sharing the profound life and business lessons I have learned from some of the many brilliant women I admire:

Golda Meir:

  • A leader who doesn’t hesitate before he sends his nation into battle is not fit to be a leader.
  • Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.
  • We do not rejoice in victories. We rejoice when a new kind of cotton is grown and when strawberries bloom in Israel.

Sonia Sotomayor:

  • I do know one thing about me: I don’t measure myself by others’ expectations or let others define my worth.
  • I have ventured to write more intimately about my personal life than is customary for a member of the Supreme Court, and with that candor comes a measure of vulnerability.
  • It is important for all of us to appreciate where we come from and how that history has really shaped us in ways that we might not understand.

Jane Goodall:

  • What makes us human, I think, is an ability to ask questions, a consequence of our sophisticated spoken language.
  • I think my message to the politicians who have within their power the ability to make change is, ‘Do you really, really not care about the future of your great-grandchildren? Because if we let the world continue to be destroyed the way we are now, what’s the world going to be like for your great-grandchildren?
  • Whatever we believe about how we got to be the extraordinary creatures we are today is far less important than bringing our intellect to bear on how do we get together now around the world and get out of the mess that we’ve made. That’s the key thing now. Never mind how we got to be who we are.

Oprah Winfrey:

  • The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.
  • Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.
  • Being human means you will make mistakes. And you will make mistakes, because failure is God’s way of moving you in another direction.

Rosa Parks:

  • People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically… No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.
  • I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.
  • Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome.

Indira Gandhi:

  • There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.
  • Have a bias toward action – let’s see something happen now. You can break that big plan into small steps and take the first step right away.
  • Happiness is a state of mind, you know. I don’t think you are permanently happy. One is happy about certain things and not so happy about others.

Sheryl Sandberg:

  • I learned that when life pulls you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again.
  • I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice. You can give in to the void: the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even breathe. Or you can try to find meaning.
  • I believe very deeply that the world would be a better place if it weren’t run as it’s currently run, which is by men.

Maya Angelou:

  • I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
  • Find a beautiful piece of art. If you fall in love with Van Gogh or Matisse or John Oliver Killens, or if you fall love with the music of Coltrane, the music of Aretha Franklin, or the music of Chopin – find some beautiful art and admire it, and realize that that was created by human beings just like you, no more human, no less.
  • Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.

Ella Fitzgerald:

  • Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.
  • It isn’t where you came from, its where you’re going that counts.
  • The only thing better than singing is more singing.

Gloria Steinem:

  • There’s no greater gift than thinking that you had some impact on the world, for the better.
  • We need to remember across generations that there is as much to learn as there is to teach.
  • This country can no longer afford to choose our leaders from a talent pool limited by sex, race, money, powerful fathers and paper degrees. It’s time to take equal pride in breaking all the barriers.

Who are some of the women you admire that have or had the profound impact on you?

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