WOMEN AT THE TOP


The code words of successful ladies in Bulgaria teach lessons in bravery, creativity and wisdom

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Modern society values success more than many other things. But how can you measure success? For many people, success is in material things such as high incomes, expensive homes, cars and clothes, the capability to eat at stylish restaurants, to drink exquisite wines, to relax at exotic destinations.

When you look at success through the eyes of a specific demographic category, however, you will find that it has many more dimensions. The category in question belongs to successful women in Bulgaria. Somewhat unexpectedly, Bulgaria is among the leaders in the percentage of women at top managerial positions in the European Union. According to 2021 Eurostat data, the country ranks third in terms of women in managerial positions in business – 42% of the top managers in the country are women, compared to average 34% for the EU. According to Bulgarian research, the trend is toward steady growth in this respect. In the near future it is expected that the two sexes will be equally represented at the top managerial positions.

Pexels, Sora Shimazaki

By all means, one of the conditions for this success is Bulgaria's unique social and historical environment. The country has strong traditions in the fight for equality at the workplace. When Bulgaria entered the free market, after the collapse of Communism in 1989, Bulgarian women got an additional opportunity to unleash their potential as founders of companies, managers, scientists, administrators, and people of art. From commerce and IT to industry and manufacture, law and education, medicine and fashion, finances and insurance, architecture and interior design – there is hardly a field in Bulgaria's life and economy devout of ladies who are brave entrepreneurs, skillful managers and visionaries in their field.

What can we learn about success from the stories of the women thanks to whom Bulgaria is getting better by the day? In short – that true success is not measured in material things alone. It is in the pleasure of seeing how the team that you have gathered is motivated, believes in your shared goal, and is capable of making independent decisions. Success is also in the growing network of professional partners and friends that help you to become a better professional, find new horizons and discover solutions to problems that you thought were impossible to crack. Success is also the capability to focus on solving an important, seemingly impossible task, and to find not only the smartest way to do it, but also to have the power to face the entire world, if you have to, but to do what you have planned. Success is also to relax at the end of the day, to meditate on what you have achieved and what you did not, to plan for tomorrow and to smile, confident that you are capable of making it.

Pexels, Polina Zimmerman

Success through the eyes of the realised woman can be described with many words and concepts – it is multidimensional and exciting, a harmonious blend that gives rich fruit and is a source of true happiness.

Strength

We are used to thinking of successful women as strong. And they actually are. Their power is in their bravery to face different challenges, to find the way to overcome them and to continue their journeys.

A strong woman looks the challenge in the eye – and gives it a wink.

Gina Carey

They might have their moments of weakness and hesitation, they might have cried tears of exhaustion and self-doubt. Regardless of the challenges, they always manage to stand on their feet, raise their heads and meet the next challenge perfectly aware that they are going to deal with it, too.

Decisiveness

Decisiveness is inherent to success – it is needed in critical moments when you have to decide quickly and confidently on your next step, and when you start a new venture with an unpredictable result. However, when a woman shows decisiveness, this is a sight that evokes admiration. The decisive woman knows that with each of her steps, acts and ideas she sets new standards, challenges the old models of behaviour and the prejudices that women are not cut to become leaders. The decisive woman has mastered how she behaves in different situations, shows depthness in her judgement and is focused on achieving her goals.

There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise.

W. E. B. Du Bois

This is why she deserves admiration with her capability to beat new paths in places where others hesitate to pass.

Pexels, Nataliya Vaitkevich

Creativity

The skill to see opportunities for business, change and new solutions where the others before you have seen nothing is a particular talent. Successful women in Bulgaria have it in spades, as visible by the various spheres of activities in which they succeed and the innovative ideas that they have made part of our lives. However, they are aware of something else – true creativity does not appear on its own. It is possible only if it is consciously nurtured, just like other talents. Only by conscious efforts, constantly opened eyes and unwavering concentration to stay informed in their field of activities, successful women manage to turn the spark of creative thinking into the flame of innovation and success.

Communication skills

Women are known for their talent to connect to others, to listen and extract useful information from a conversation. However, there is a trick. Our society was taught to think that in communication women should be the passive side – to accept the others' opinions without pushing their own. This is why many people wrongfully believe that when a woman manager patiently and with empathy listens to the other side – be it a potential or present business partner, a boss or even an employee, she is ready to concede from her positions and to accept the other's opinion.

Pexels, Moose Photos

Successful women use their talent to communicate in order to understand others, to see their point of view – and to use it to push through with their own ideas. They use elegant communication to taste the waters in the teams they manage and to adapt their behaviour accordingly, to get a better sense of potential and present business partners, to defend their positions to their bosses. Successful women are also excellent communicators, meaning people who can listen to others and have effective conversations with them, not passive listeners accepting all opinions indiscriminately.

Desire to learn

The successful woman is aware that if she stays for a second at one place, soon she will not be that successful – the capability to adapt is key in our world. And it is impossible when you are not prepared with information on the opportunities, trends and changes that are all around and are in constant flux. The desire to learn is natural for all successful leaders, it is at the core of thousands of stories of success.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.

Anonymous

Nowadays, the ways to expand your knowledge are countless. They start from the options for professional qualification and prequalification and go through the capability to observe what the others do, and to learn. You learn from their success, their mistakes and failures. You seek new sources of information, you travel to near and faraway destinations, you talk to colleagues from your field, you participate in conferences and trainings.

Often, the most invaluable lessons come from your own failures. But when a successful woman experiences such a thing, she just draws a lesson and continues on her way.

Confidence

Confident woman is attractive – she knows who she is and this is enough for her. The confident woman who has a mission is something more – she is successful. The capability to stand unwaveringly on your legs, to know that you can achieve what you want, is an indispensable quality on the road to success.

Pexels, Jopwell

Society way too often interprets a woman's confidence as a demonstration of hardness that is excessive and inacceptable for her sex. Such a view, of course, is wrong. To be confident means to accept yourself and to know that you have the same right to happiness and success as everyone else. Especially the competition!

Generosity

Modern success is not self-sufficient and egoistic. It is based on the idea that you have to give back to others and the society so that everyone benefits and flourishes together. This comes easily to women, probably because of what we often call female nature.

Success is about leaving a legacy of generosity and kindness rather than a trail of destruction.

Crystal Eisinger

Successful women more than anyone else realise that their teams, partners and the society as a whole need generosity. Sometimes this could be encouraging words and the desire to help young professionals in their first steps on the job. Other times it could be a delicate (even secret) support for a struggling employee, colleague or partner. Often, generosity takes the shape of an active social engagement with a cause that the lady recognises as important: support of young professionals, help for local producers, work on causes connected to national memory, or ones for prevention of serious diseases.

Pexels, Cottonbro Studio

Good women leaders are aware that the success of the individual becomes more significant when it takes place in a successful society. This is why they do not spare their efforts to work not only for growing their business or professional activities, but also to support important causes that improve life and inspire positive change.

Care for the environment

We live in a world of fast climate change. As successful women feel deeply responsible not only for themselves, but also for the society and humanity, they actively apply in their organisations policies for limiting the effect of the human factor on climate and the planet. The green policies for them are not just a fad, but a realised action based on the awareness that the planet is our shared home and that we have to leave in a good condition for the next generations. Because taking care of the future is in the woman's nature.

Love

To love is something that comes naturally for women in their personal lives. But what does it mean for them in their professional lives, as leaders and successful managers?

The love we give away is the only love we keep.

Elbert Hubbard

It means a lot. Without love not a single endeavour – even the boldest, most visionary and loaded with potential, will remain a short-lived idea that sparkled for some time and then it went out. Love for your work, for what you do, for the teams that you have created, nurtured and taught, is an integral part of the modern woman's recipe for success. Thanks to it she is capable of bringing true meaning to what she does.

Balance

One of the greatest challenges a woman faces is how to achieve the balance between her professional and personal life. In almost all families the main burden of the household chores and the childcare is for the woman. This automatically means less personal time and opportunities for self-improvement and purchasing her professional dreams. As a general rule, successful women have managed to find a working formula for a balanced life. How are they capable of doing this? They are good managers not only to their employees and teams, but also to themselves. They manage to divide their time properly and cleverly, know when to say no, set clear limitations, and surround themselves with reliable and supportive partners and allies.

Pexels, Christina Morillo

Gratefulness

Successful women are aware that they have not reached the top only because of their personal qualities such as talent, intelligence, entrepreneurship, knowledge, bravery and insight. They know that on their journeys they have received expected or unexpected help from parents, teachers and professors, colleagues, bosses, mentors and even competitors – and are grateful for that. They also cherish the role that chance plays in life, of the small and big occasions when luck helped them to get what they wanted, prepared the ground for success or put them in the right place at the right time.

And because they stand out with calm confidence in their own power and talents, the successful women are sincerely grateful to all life's circumstances and people who helped them to reach the top.

The most beautiful thing a woman can wear is confidence.

Blake Lively

Wisdom

This is why successful women are wise. In this case, age and the particular professional sphere do not matter – it is experience that counts. Each successful woman is a universe of wisdom and experience, of lessons learned, of calm realisation and acceptance of her strong and weak sides, and of ardent work towards perfecting herself in all fields of life.

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