• Dr. Alessandra Wall

Sound Advice Every Woman Would Be Wise To Follow

Some of the earliest mentors in life are our parents and grandparents. As children, it’s often easy to dismiss parental wisdom as old, uncool, or even disingenuous, but luckily we grow up, become a little wiser ourselves, and understand that the lessons learned early in life hold true in adulthood. The women of our childhood can be incredible mentors if we allow ourselves to listen and apply their wisdom, just as we have real value to share with the girls and women in our lives today. The following are three pieces of advice my mother shared with me growing up. As a younger version of myself, her words of advice often frustrated me. Today, however, I find myself repeatedly sharing these lessons with women I coach as well as my therapy patients.


3 Life Lessons for Strong Women to Live By


" T.G.E" - That's Good Enough | That's Good Enough. A three-letter reminder to abandon my unrelenting standards, to leave good enough alone, to calm down when as a little girl my inability to do everything perfectly would drive me to inconsolable tears. There's irony in being taught to give up perfection by someone who always struck me as exceptional at everything she did. Yet those three letters, T.G.E., were repeated on the daily throughout my childhood.


"You can't be everything to everyone all the time."


Today I teach that expression to every smart, driven, exceptional woman I work with. It's a simple mantra, a reminder that you can't be everything to everyone all the time, and that not all tasks are equal. It's a quick phrase to use when your need to do everything perfectly is burning you out and holding you back from focusing on what's right for you.


T.G.E, use it as a reminder that your good enough is good enough.

Don't Expect Everyone to Be Like You | As a child, I often found myself disappointed in others because I held everyone to the same unrelenting standards I applied to myself. I would care deeply about being fair, considerate, conscientious. I would go above and beyond to meet everyone's needs at all times and then be disappointed when others didn't follow suit. At times I grew resentful, but mostly I was hurt. When this would happen, my mother would remind me to stop expecting everyone to be like me. She said that it wasn't fair to them, and clearly, it wasn't working for me.

If you have a specific expectation in a relationship it is your responsibility to make that expectation clear. When you find yourself feeling resentful because the rest of the world isn't behaving the way you would, check your assumptions. Not everyone has the same values, work ethic, priorities, or needs as you.

Be fair, realistic, and, please, be clear about what you need. Assess every relationship independently and adjust your expectations to the specifics of that person and your dynamics. Set boundaries that reflect your needs and your priorities.

Be fair, realistic, and above all be clear about what you need.


If you need to downgrade a relationship because it is too uneven, do it, but don't walk around mad at someone because she can't mindread or reciprocate your actions.

Speak Up | For better or for worse there were lots of things that went unsaid and unaddressed in my family. I watched, frustrated, as emotions built up, and conflict or pain blossomed because my mother wouldn’t always say what she meant or mean what she said. She wasn't alone, too many other women and girls in my life shy away from difficult conversations and choose amiability over authenticity, and passivity over assertiveness.

I realized early on that this didn't work for me. I chose to speak up and share things that we were not supposed to share. I worked to view mistakes, frustrations, and flaws not as dirty little secrets, but as normal and acceptable parts of my story. I became more confident, created more honest relationships, and was able to have my needs met more consistently because I spoke up.

Speaking up is at the heart of what I teach women to do. It's the most effective way to build the world you want, develop the careers you deserve, and cultivate deep, meaningful relationships. It's also the key to becoming more confident and having good self-esteem. It takes practice, a willingness to sit in uncomfortable spaces, and the capacity to know yourself and understand others; it always pays off.

Influencers, Mentors, and Role Models | I could fill a book with all the wisdom my mother shared with me: how to be self-reliant, how to enjoy the small stuff, how to walk with grace, and why you should always splurge on good shoes. The three I chose just happen to come up often in my conversations with professional women who are trying to make their mark and build a life they enjoy. They, like I, are prone to pushing themselves more than they should, to give beyond what is right for them, to preserving the feelings and needs of others at the cost of what's right for them.

If you could impart a life lesson learned from a female mentor, what would it be, and how do you put it to use? Please share it in the comments so the rest of us can benefit from it too.

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