influential women

Natalie MacNeil, EMMY Award Winner Quick Hits

Natalie MacNeil is an EMMY Award-winning media entrepreneur. MacNeil founded the women’s entrepreneurship blog "She Takes On The World." "She Takes On The World" earned a spot on Forbes’ list, "Top 10 Entrepreneurial Sites for Women" and on the ForbesWoman list, "Top 100 Websites for Women."

Dreaming Made Simple: I read that you were recognized as Canada’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year.  As a twenties-something, how does someone get his or her ideas to be taken seriously by much older decision makers?

Natalie MacNeil: Being taken seriously as a young go-getter requires unwavering confidence. There are people who judge me based on age -usually before they see my resume -but I don't let that bother me anymore. You have to look inwards and know that age does not limit what you can achieve. I truly believe that the only limits you will face are the limits you put on yourself.

Dreaming Made Simple: The name "She Takes On The World" sounds pretty ambitious.  How does someone decide whether his or her dream is too big, and how do you go after the really big one?

Natalie MacNeil: There is no such thing as dreaming "too big." You just have to remember that anything big you're going to accomplish will take time. When I set out to achieve a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal), I start with 5 milestones or strategic actions that will be necessary to reach the goal. Then I work backwards to determine how to schedule those milestones into my calendar so that I have a timeline laid out for achieving my BHAG (big hairy audacious goal). My last piece of advice for reaching those big dreams would be to surround yourself with a strong support system. The people you surround yourself with can make all the difference!

Keep your eyes on Natalie MacNeil's blog to learn more about women changing the world

Arianna Huffington Quick Hits

Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington is President and Editor-in-Chief at The Huffington Post Media Group. Huffington shares about women pursuing their dreams and about stepping out to go after dreams with Sam’s Dream Blog.

Recently, I read Ken Robinson’s book, "The Element." Robinson’s copy on Huffington is the basis for this Quick Hits post. Two excerpts from the book precede the Sam’s Dream Blog exchange with Huffington.

"I am struck by how often, when I asked women to blog for the Huffington Post, they had a hard time trusting that what they had to say was worthwhile..."

"Huffington says there were two key factors in pursuing her early dream. The first was that she didn’t really understand what she was getting herself into. My first taste of leadership came in a situation where I was a blissfully ignorant outsider’? (140-141, Element).

Sam’s Dream Blog: How does a woman find her voice and her place of influence while pursuing dreams and goals? 

Arianna Huffington: As Sheryl Sandberg told Barnard College graduates this year: "As men get more successful and powerful, both men and women like them better. As women get more powerful and successful, everyone, including women, likes them less."

But it's more than just our culture's concept of femininity that deters women from sharing their ideasand voicing their opinions and makes them second-guess the value of their contributions. Far too often, our doubts are self-inflicted. And because I know there are so many women out there who have ideas, experiences and stories worth sharing, I'd like to invite them to email me at Arianna@huffingtonpost.com. We’ll set you up with an account and you'll be blogging in no time.So the key to finding your own voice is to use it -- the more you know it and become confident in it, the less affected you'll be by those who try to doubt your value.

SDB: What advice do you have in terms of stepping out toward a dream in terms of timing and knowledge? How much should you know about the situation before you take a risk?

Arianna Huffington: Very often, we are our own worst enemies when it comes to stepping out toward our dreams. What I've learned is the importance of not letting the fears in my head get in the way, and not letting that voice of doubt, which I call the obnoxious roommate living in my head, have the last word. Especially when that word is "no."

And, because we will all experience many failures on the way to success, I have always believed in the importance of having what I call a "fearlessness tribe," a group of people who are always in your corner, always there for you, whether you succeed or fail.

Your tribe is there to give you honest feedback, to support you when the going gets tough -- and, just as importantly, to help you celebrate the good times. If you don't have one, get one.So when you encounter challenges you didn't know were coming, you'll have the continuity of your tribe to carry you through.

Read Arianna Huffington's columns, and let me know who else you would like to see on Sam's Dream Blog