The elevator speech Lao describes is a tactical version of a vision or mission statement, a personal articulation of purpose that declares what you’re trying to achieve in the world. Peter Drucker, a major influence on both of us and someone we both knew personally, and with whom Marshall worked, was the first to speak about the importance of having such a statement, both for organizations and for individuals.

Peter Drucker once told Marshall, “You should be able to put your mission statement on a T-shirt.” Marshall believes this small bit of advice changed his life. Developed years ago, Marshall’s mission is clear and simple, to become the world authority on “Helping successful leaders achieve positive, lasting change in behavior.” It worked! Today, if you do a Google search for “helping successful leaders” (in quotes), of the first 500 results, approximately 450 are about Marshall.

A crystal clear sense of what you’re trying to do and why you are motivated to do it not only enables you to speak your truth powerfully and concisely, it also helps you clarify which opportunities you want to embrace and which you should let go of. You simply ask yourself, Would doing this help me reach my larger goal? If so, you might want to say yes. If not, you have a solid reason for saying no.
t’s only natural that women would want to become experts at what they do, since it’s how women earned their spot at the table in the first place. Especially if you’re in a career, sector, or company with relatively few women, you may have had to prove your competence from the day you arrived. Maybe your first boss doubted your ability, and you had to make an extra effort to convince him you could handle the job. Maybe a male colleague resented your being on his team, so you tried to earn his respect by becoming a supercontributor—making his job easier in the process. Or maybe you lacked confidence or feared you didn’t really belong, and so worked extra hard to prove to yourself that you deserved a seat at the table.

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