In observation of Women’s History Month, we are featuring blogs written by women who work at Vitalyst about their experience at the annual Pennsylvania Conference for Women, which was recently held in Philadelphia. For our fifth installment, Anna DePalma, Vitalyst’s Account, Sales and Partner Marketing Manager, recaps what she learned from a session led by motivational success strategist Gloria Mayfield Banks.

As a first-time attendee at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women, I found it impressive and motivational. Energy was everywhere. It was in the hallways and meeting rooms, and in the messages delivered by the keynote speakers and session leaders, who offered their perspectives on diversity, innovation, leadership, courage, life experiences, success, and more.

Because the world has become so competitive—especially for women—I realize you have to do your own part to best secure your share of the success. That’s why I attended the session led by Gloria Mayfield Banks, “What It Takes: The 10 Steps to Success.”

Gloria Mayfield Banks

Gloria Mayfield Banks

Banks’ story is inspirational. She defied dyslexia to earn a college degree and a Harvard MBA. She left an abusive marriage and a corporate career at IBM 20 years ago to sell lipstick—and quickly ascended to Elite Executive National Sales Director with Mary Kay, Inc. She ultimately earned the rankings of No. 3 among the U.S. sales force, and No. 1 among the company’s African-American sales force.

In her session, Banks talked about how she overcame adversity, and shared her 10 steps to success. Here are my takeaways:

  1. People who are at the top of their game make decisions. Some can be wise choices with positive outcomes, while others can end up as missteps that aren’t easily fixed. Either way, Banks explained, they are decisions that were made. Banks cautioned attendees to avoid sitting back, being immobilized and not making any decisions at all. A fear of taking risks manifests itself as avoidance and procrastination, which can be holding you back from your ability to move ahead.
  2. Confidence is required (and necessary). However, you can’t change what you’re not willing to change. All successful people believe in themselves. You must know who you are and be dynamic in all areas of your life and career.
  3. Before you can become successful, you must visualize it first. Your vision, imagination and especially your belief in what you can achieve are key. Banks explained, “You have to see it to believe it!”
  4. Time management/emotional management/skill management/money management. Broaden your skills and knowledge. Attend seminars and conferences, and read books—become a learner. Ask someone you admire to be your mentor. Always ensure that you create balance in your life.
  5. When it comes to setting goals, you must ensure they are specific, measureable and have a clear time frame for completion. Without those parameters, you can over commit, stretch yourself too thin, and end up failing. Failure is harder to bounce back from and can make you feel as if your goals are impossible to achieve. Banks suggested you establish short-term, realistic goals and give yourself a deadline. To prevent distractions, hang a sign or sticky note in a strategic location so you can see it every day—ensuring you reach your end result. Don’t forget to evaluate your progress frequently, Banks added.
  6. Image. Did you know that you have seven seconds to make a first impression? What people see, Banks explained, is entirely up to you. Make the effort to look and be your best at all times—and keep in mind that image starts on the inside and comes out. Banks’ tip: A wide smile, good posture and a confident handshake.
  7. Find your passion and embrace it. Don’t hesitate to share your enthusiasm about it with the world. Whatever it is—your career, school, children, grandchildren—finding your passion is critical, and having it helps you overcome your fears, said Banks.
  8. It takes discipline and hustle to do something new. Ask yourself, What do I want to do? Once you figure it out, go get it. No one or nothing should stop you.
  9. Work on your people skills and leadership skills. To be successful, your interpersonal skills are a key asset to develop. When you show that you care, people will give you their best.
  10. In order to achieve success, sometimes you have to make a short-term sacrifice. Ask yourself a few questions: What will I need to do to achieve this goal? Am I willing to make the necessary sacrifices? What do I need to do short-term to achieve long-term success? In life as well as in work, you have to make some sacrifices to achieve your goals and objectives.

Did you know that you have seven seconds to make a first impression? What people see is entirely up to you.

Many of Banks’ points resonated with me, but her discussion of short-term sacrifices made me think about the efforts I made for my own life and career. I had a goal to earn a degree in marketing, but I had to make a short-term sacrifice to achieve that goal. For three years, I worked full-time during the day and studied full-time at night. It was a rough three years—I didn’t have much of a life outside of work and school—but I knew the end result would be worth it.

Banks said in her session that successful people believe in themselves. I did, and today I have the degree I worked so hard for and a career I love.

Gloria Mayfield Banks is motivational success strategist, founding partner of Charisma Factor Inc., and Elite Executive National Sales Director with Mary Kay Inc. She also recently published a book, “Quantum Leaps,” which outlines her 10 steps to success. Banks has appeared on CNN, ABC and CNBC, and has been featured in Fortune, Black Enterprise, Glamour, and Ebony magazines. She earned an MBA from Harvard University and an Honorary Doctorate from University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

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