Madeleine Albright made history as America's first female Secretary of State. But like many women, she has at times struggled to speak out confidently, especially in meetings where she’s been surrounded entirely by men.
“It was intimidating,” Albright, 80, recently told me. “You listen carefully, think you are going to say something and you think, ‘No it’ll sound stupid.’ And then you don’t say it. And then some man says it and everybody thinks it’s brilliant. And then you’re mad at yourself for not saying anything.”
Albright advises young people to practice “active listening” and to be prepared to interrupt.
“If you are planning to interrupt, you have to make sure you know what you’re talking about … and decide that you are going to be a part of the discussion. But it has to be active,” she said.
When asked what she would tell her younger self, Albright said, “The main thing I would tell myself is to have confidence and to recognize I really can do anything I want if I work hard.”
Albright also had this message for millennial women: “You can’t expect things to happen. You really have to be get ready and be prepared. There is no room for mediocre women.”
She added that we shouldn’t be afraid of failure. “All of us have had moments that haven't worked or [we have] wished we had done something some other way,” Albright noted. “Pick yourself up, keep moving and believe in yourself.”
Check out our entire interview below: