Six Golden Lessons for All Business Leaders
January 14, 2022 | Inspiration
It is not easy living life as a woman. We deal with societal expectations, preconceived stereotypes, and constant physical appearance scrutinization.
At the Enthuse Foundation, we inspire the next generation of women business leaders. We are amazing creatures and learning from those before us can ENTHUSE us to dream bigger than we ever imagined.
The incomparable Betty White said the following:
“Butterflies are like women — we may look pretty and delicate, but baby, we can fly through a hurricane.”
And she flew through many storms. Here are six lessons all women leaders can learn from Betty White.
Be Flexible – Sometimes, external forces derail our original plans. We need to adapt to what’s going on in the world. While in the beginning stages of a modeling career, Betty White put those aspirations on hold to work with American Women’s Voluntary Services (AWVS) during World War 2. According to an interview with Cleveland magazine, White drove a supplies truck to soldiers.
Life Can Have Multiple Acts – After WWII, she entertained on radio and appeared in various television shows. Known for her guest appearances on variety and game shows, White enjoyed entertaining. After working in the entertainment industry for approximately 30 years, she struck “gold” on the Mary Tyler Moore Show, earning two Emmys for her performance as Sue Ann Nivens. She received two more Emmys, one for Rose on Golden Girls and another as the host of Saturday Night Live in 2010. In 2014, White was recognized in Guinness World Records as the longest-tenured woman entertainer.
“I’ve been working steadily for 63 years,” she said in an interview for the ABC News program “Nightline” in 2010. “But everybody says, ‘Oh, it’s such a renaissance.’ So maybe I went away and didn’t know it.”
Permit Yourself to Be Silly – A beloved icon, White loved making people laugh. She poked fun of her age and seemed willing to step outside her comfort zone. For example, before Super Bowl 50, White appeared in a celebrity video segment discussing the dab motion made famous by Cameron Newton (quarterback of the Carolina Panthers). She imitated the move and then took to social media proclaiming, ‘I taught @CameronNewton everything he knows. #SuperBowl.’ The post went viral.
Conform to Your Expectations – White married game show host Allen Ludden in 1963 and proudly owned the role as stepmom to his three children. Even after Ludden passed away in 1981, White remained close to his kids and celebrated her 98th birthday with them. White never had the urge to remarry or have biological children.
“No, I’ve never regretted [not having kids] it. I’m so compulsive about stuff, I know if I had ever gotten pregnant, of course, that would have been my whole focus,” she told CBS in 2012. “But I didn’t choose to have children because I’m focused on my career. And I just don’t think as compulsive as I am that I could manage both.”
Have Multiple Passions – Besides being a lifelong entertainer, White gave back to many animal rights organizations. In 2006 she was honored by the Los Angeles Zoo, which named her “ambassador to the animals.”
“Being remembered for Rose and Sue Ann (her roles on Golden Girls and The Mary Tyler Moore Show) and the others would be wonderful,” Ms. White told The Chicago Sun-Times in 1990. “But I also want to be remembered as a lady who helped the animals.”
Plan Like You’ll Live Forever – Up until her death on Dec. 31, 2021, White was working and planning for future projects. In preparation for her 100th birthday on Jan. 17, 2022, she appeared on the cover and spoke with PEOPLE magazine about the milestone. Additionally, “Betty White: A Celebration” was produced to celebrate the occasion. Even though White passed away before her birthday, limited movie theaters planned to release the film as a tribute.
Conclusion: All generations of women leaders can learn from Betty White. She set an example of longevity, a sense of humor, a charitable spirit, and a willingness to evolve. We can all be Golden thanks to Betty.
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