DOZ Issue 52 February 2020 | Page 9

LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM THE LIFE OF MADAM C. J. WALKER 1. Great women build businesses and legacies 2. 3. 4. that outlive them. When a person truly walks in their purpose during their lifetime, one of the results is a business or legacy that continues to flourish long after they are dead. To be forgotten after death is to have existed and not lived. Great women develop other women. They build up other women, and they reach back to pull other women forward. Madam C. J. Walker is an excellent example of a woman who built other women. From sharing her story to offering training and reward programmes, she was developing women and reaching back to pull others forward. It takes greatness to do this. Small women pull others down but a sign of a truly great woman is that she is lifting others around her. Great women equip other women for greatness. Great women do not play the victim. They don’t trade blames, and they don’t make excuses. They recognise that their birth circumstances do not have to determine how they end their journey. Madam C. J. Walker was born poor, she had no formal education, her parents were slaves, and she became an orphan at about seven years of age. These were legitimate excuses that she could have used as an obstacle or a limitation but she refused to play the victim; she refused to allow the circumstances of her birth to determine her end. While we don’t get to choose how we begin, we get to decide how we end. Never forget this truth. Great women give back. They give back mainly by sharing their journey to inspire others. Madam Walker shared her story to give hope to other black people, especially women. She spoke of her journey, where she had come from, and the various stages she had gone through, to give hope to her audience that if she could do it, they could too. And she didn’t stop there; she also gave her money to ensure a better life for black 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 9 people. She knew her roots and having risen above the circumstances that had kept others like her down; she gave back to help many escape those circumstances. Great women give back. Great women can rise above their circumstances and situations. Not everyone can rise above their circumstances because to do so takes hard work, determination, resilience and not many are ready for that. Not many can endure hardness. Too many quit before their big break and so they remain stuck in their circumstances. It takes a great woman to rise above the circumstances into which she was born. Great women pour their lives into others. Madam C. J. Walker poured her life into other women. She went beyond the call of duty when she trained her salesforce. She was not just training them so they could be good employees and make money for her company, she was teaching them everything she knew and what had worked for her and by so doing, she was pouring her life into them and duplicating herself. Anyone can teach, but it takes a truly great woman to reproduce herself in others. When you get to this level, you experience significance and you know that you can never die. Great women never forget their roots. And they are not ashamed of their origins. Someone once said that the past is a stepping stone to the future. It is disastrous to forget where you have come from. Even as great women travel towards the future they dream of; they take with them the realities of where they have been. Great women are vocal and share their truth fearlessly. It takes boldness and courage to share your truth, especially when it is a truth that offends others. Madan C. J. Walker shared the truth about her life, background and achievements boldly. Great women promote themselves. As Madam Walker shared her story, she stated DOZ Magazine | February 2020