In our eyes - Gail Kelly is a fantastic example of strong women in leadership.

She's brave, she's outspoken and most of all, she believes in herself. In her book, Live Lead Learn My Stories of Life and Leadership, Kelly is asked “If you could provide one piece of advice to young women as they set out in their careers, what would it be?" Her answer: "back yourself, dig deep, and have a go – not just for those big fork-in-the-road decision points, but for elements of your everyday life".

A force to be reckoned with, the former CEO of Westpac is afraid of stuff her own admission. In her book, she also talks about the paralysing fears of failure, fear of being embarrassed, fear of being found wanting, of being socially awkward, of looking stupid, of looking like you don’t belong.

With a lifetime of experience overcoming these fears, Kelly identifies 13 things she would tell herself, knowing what she knows now.

  1. Be your own advocate for that key leadership role you’re aspiring to - even though you have lots to learn and you’re not 100% ready.
  2. Don’t let yourself off the hook by saying “I don’t have the experience or the skills to step up and deliver”.
  3. Volunteer to do the presentation to the executive team.
  4. Speak out on behaviour from colleagues that is sexist, racist or demeaning to others.
  5. Be honest with your boss and your colleagues about how you feel.
  6. Ask for more help.
  7. Say “I don’t understand, could you please explain again”.
  8. Raise your hand and ask the speaker the question on your mind.
  9. Don’t retreat if you are being ignored or dismissed.
  10. Don't allow yourself to be ‘spoken over’.
  11. Care less about what others think.
  12. Fight for equal treatment with your male colleagues.
  13. Fight for equal pay.

It takes courage to back yourself, but you know what? Do it. Everyone should give themselves a chance to fulfil their big aspirations and that takes courage.
In the words of Gail Kelly: "back yourself, dig deep, and have a go."

What do you already do from the above list?

What is the one thing that you would like to start doing?

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