Wednesday For Women…Get Seduced

“It began as a frolic…an innocent flirt. Then she was seduced and was never the same again. That’s the story of Shelly Lazarus, chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and one of the most powerful women in business.  Early in her career, she was working at Clairol and received a call from a headhunter saying that Ogilvy, an up-and-coming advertising agency, needed a junior staffer who knew something about hair. Lazarus remembers thinking, “well, this should be fun. I’ll do it for a year or so, then I’ll go and get a real job.” But then something unexpected happened. “I was seduced,” says Lazarus. “I was absolutely smitten by the world of advertising, the world of ideas.” The rest, as they say, is history. In a steady rise spanning three-plus decades, Lazarus progressed through the Ogilvy empire and became CEO in 1996, a role she held through 2008. She was named Chairman in 1997 and remains at the helm of what has become one of the world’s largest marketing communications and branding firms….

“…Nor would she be type-cast. “There were no boxes around me, no rules to follow. So I made them up as I went along,” Lazarus remembers. “From the beginning, I was fascinated by the way different people lead. I had exposure to all these different companies and watched all these people leading in different ways. I realized that there’s no one way to lead. So it gave me permission to do it my own way – in a way that was totally me.”

“To Lazarus, passion is the lifeblood of a successful career – and life.  Get seduced by your business, she advises.  Fall in love with what you’re doing.  That’s her first piece of advice.

Here’s 8 additional career tips from Shelly:

In Her Words:  Shelly’s Career Advice
  • Spend more time in your stomach. People rely on their brains too much. They need to rely more on their stomachs and their hearts. Since my entire career was an accident, I didn’t know enough to be guided intellectually. I spent a lot of time in my stomach, whether I was making a decision about a career opportunity, a client or a new hire. I’ve found that the stomach is rarely wrong. It’s the brain that gets in our way!
  • Skip the planning, be resilient.  Seize the moment. Because careers are made or broken in moments. Remember, it’s a moment you’re going to seize, not a ten-year block you’re going to seize.  Be agile, and be resilient. Resilience is really important. Brittle people do not do well in the business world.)
  • Face the fear and do it anyway. Women churn inside. They churn. They don’t think they’re deserving. Whenever someone popped a new title on my head, my first reaction was always, “I’m not ready for this.” I never said it out loud, but I thought it, every time. But then I thought, “I’ll have to figure it out.” And I did. But I was scared. There are times when you’ll be scared. But you get through it, and it becomes less scary the next time around.
  • Find your brilliance. You can’t be a little good at a lot of things. You have to make yourself indispensible somewhere. Don’t worry about the things you’re not so good at. Strengthen your strengths. Women struggle sometimes with having to be perfect at everything. Figure out where you shine, pick your thing, then ride it for all it’s worth. Talent is scarce. If you do something brilliantly, your career will advance.
  • De-risk your decisions. When a decision is in front of me, I get very focused on potential outcomes. I ask myself, “what’s the worst thing that could happen?” Usually, the worst thing is that I could get fired. Okay, if you’re talented and have self confidence, let them fire you. You’ll land on your feet. And if you’re talented, they won’t fire you. Now you’ve de-risked the decision. Whatever consequence there is, you can handle it.
  • Be yourself. I’ve worked with hundreds of companies, hundreds of leaders, and one thing is certain. You cannot be successful if you’re not authentic. You have to be who you are. How you express that might have some variation in it, but there needs to be a coherence in how you are. There are people who play at being strong, decisive, and authoritative. It’s a persona they’re trying to portray. And people sniff them out and say, oh that’s not really who these people are. People are smarter than you think. You don’t have to imitate other people. You just have to find your own style and make it work for you.
  • Fail fast and move on. I make mistakes every day. I’ve put the wrong people in the wrong jobs, for example. But the key lies not in making the mistake itself, but in fixing it, and fixing it fast. It’s how quickly you move to adjust. Look, you’re going to fail. Get comfortable with that idea. People who aren’t comfortable with risks never take them. So maybe they fail less than others, but I guarantee they’re never going to taste great success either. Bottom line: fail fast, learn from it and move on.
  • Passion is the key to balance. There’s all this talk about balance and the juggling act. I have a large family, a long-term marriage and a long-term career, and frankly I never paid attention to the question of how to juggle and balance. I just found a job I absolutely loved and wanted to stay with it. I also wanted to have children – which I absolutely loved. I just did it. I made it work. I think of it as a balancing of passion to keep things together. As my job got bigger, I had more children so I had equal pulls of passion. The bottom line is that when you absolutely love to do something, youfind a way to fit it into your life. That’s why you have to find something you love to do. It’ll be easier to fit it into your life. If you find your job dull, boring, frustrating – anything negative – you’re probably not in the right place, and you’ll probably get all hung up on the balance question. Get out! The key to balance is finding passion.

Source: ForbesWoman – Law of Career Attraction.  Get Seduced.


  1. this is simply enlightening. thank you for sharing this.


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