Last week, Warren Buffett acted as a mentor to young women from the Levo League, a career advice and networking website.
He was part of a live stream web chat, where he told the women to “stop holding yourself back” and he also shared some of his own personal stories – talking about how he overcame his fear of public speaking – among other lessons that he shared with the young women.
Here’s a list of the main takeaways during the Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO’s interview:
Study People and Develop Their Healthy Habits
“Pick the person that has the right habits, that is cheerful, generous, gives other people credit for what they do. Look at all of the qualities that you admire in other people … and say to yourself, ‘Which of those qualities can’t I have myself?’ Because you determine whether you have them. And the truth is you can have all of them.”
Learn Effective Communication
While Buffett was in Columbia University getting his MBA, he mentions that he was “terrified of public speaking,” so he signed up for a Dale Carnegie class then changed his mind at the last moment. Once he graduated, Buffett noticed the courses and again but this time gave it a second chance.
“I became associated with the 30 other people in the class. We couldn’t stand up in front of a group and say our own name. I mean it was — we were — it was pathetic. But that class changed my life in a big way.”
Learn All That You Can about Your Entire Industry
Buffett told the women of the Levo League that he reads six hours each day. He says that you’ll be able to solve any future problems that come about if you grow your intellectual perspective in relation to your business.
“I knew a lot about what I did when I was 20. I had read a lot, and I aspired to learn everything I could about the subject. ”
Get Involved with a Growing Business
“I mean, you want to get on a train that’s going to go 90 miles an hour and not one that’s gonna go 30 miles an hour and you’re gonna try to figure out how to, you know, push it along a little faster. So it really does make a huge difference. And there are some businesses that inherently [have] far more opportunities than others.”
Young Women Should Look for Male Mentors
Buffett mentions that women need to find male mentors, mostly because today’s workplace leaders are still men.
“These [mentoring] relationships all just evolve. I never set out to become a mentor … It’s amazing … how the person that really wants to do a terrific job just jumps out. There aren’t that many. You will be perceived as exceptional and as a worthy person for a superior to spend some extra time with if you just do something extra all the time. It seems elementary, but it’s true.”
Don’t Work for People Who Aren’t Going to Pay You Fairly
“I do very little negotiation with people. And they do little with me, in terms of it … if I was a woman and I thought I was getting paid considerably less than somebody else that was equal coming in, that would bother me a lot. I probably wouldn’t even want to work there. I mean, [if] somebody’s gonna be unfair with you, in salary, they’re probably being unfair with you in a hundred other ways.”
Discover Your Passion
“Never give up searching for the job that you’re passionate about,” he says. “Try to find the job you’d have if you were independently rich. … Forget about the pay. When you’re associating with the people that you love, doing what you love, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
You Must Learn to Say No
“You won’t keep control of your time, unless you can say ‘no.’ You can’t let other people set your agenda in life.”
Be Careful of Those You Look up to
“If you tell me who your heroes are, I’ll tell you how you’re gonna turn out. It’s really important in life to have the right heroes. I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve probably had a dozen or so major heroes. And none of them have ever let me down. You want to hang around with people that are better than you are. You will move in the direction of the crowd that you associate with.”
As the office hour was coming to a close, Buffett mentioned that “the world isn’t over,” even if you don’t succeed at times along the way because “you are healthy, and bright and have decades ahead of you.”