Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Leadership & Life Lessons
If you are someone who pays attention to politics, you’ve heard her name.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has turned into a beacon of hope for many young women who dream of getting into the political world.
Her passion and strength is second to none, and she continues to fight for what she believes in despite opposition.
ImportantAs a role model and a successful woman in government, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has taught us a lot about what it truly means to feel powerful and what leadership means.
She’s fighting through a tall glass ceiling, all the while not forgetting where she’s come from.
As a millennial politician, she’s shared much of her journey on social media, and as such, there’s a lot of life lessons we can learn from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her leadership style.
Ever since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stepped onto the political scene, she’s made waves and turned heads.
WarningWhile her political beliefs are informed by being a “democratic socialist,” her approach to leadership feels strongly influenced by being a Millennial.
I strongly believe that we can all learn a thing or two from her, so I’ve rounded up some of her best life and leadership lessons to date.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is known for being both savvy and sassy with her social media accounts, with nearly seven million combined followers on Twitter and Instagram.
As the youngest person in Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a fair bit to teach her peers about social media.
ImportantWhether in politics or in business, young leaders are often brimming with energy, fresh perspectives, and a willingness to take risks — traits that make them incredibly effective in their roles.
In addition, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has received praise for her transparency on social media.
In particular, she is known for her informal Instagram chat about the inner workings of Congress watched by 600,000 people (while making a mac-and-cheese dinner no less).
The lesson here is that people who respect transparency build a level of trust from the public that cannot be equaled.
WarningDon’t be afraid to share and be more open with your team and customers, even when it’s bad news, and always have a strategy in place on how to address issues you raise.
In her Instagram stories, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is on her bed, maybe in pajamas or a comfy-looking outfit. Her hair and makeup are not done, and she looks more like the picture of a grad student than a member of Congress.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez represents authentic, empowered leadership – that which is practiced and sought by Millennials.
Understanding how she leads can be deeply instructive to leaders who wish to engage Millennials in their organizations.
ImportantMillennials respect leaders who show up with honesty and vulnerability, as the human being that they are.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t pretend to be anyone besides whom she is in that moment – “a girl from the Bronx”.
And whether she’s marveling at the underground tunnels that connect Congressional buildings, being revisited by a college video dancing with exuberance, or speaking passionately to young voters, she is who she is.
Put People First
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that what is important is courting people in the community who are rarely spoken to. Think about it, differences truly lie within the little things that make a big difference.
Being a powerful woman doesn’t always mean putting yourself first.
ImportantNow that she has the power to make a positive difference in the world, she is determined to do everything that she can to put the people of her community first.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez makes it a point to represent the underrepresented.
WarningShe does not come from a wealthy background, and prior to beginning her grassroots campaign for Congress, she was working as a waitress and bartender to make ends meet.
The biggest barrier faced by young leaders is a lack of trust.
They should develop trust in a somewhat paradoxical manner: by giving it. Rather than stifling their teams in an attempt to be authoritative, young leaders should empower subordinates to make their own decisions.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez knew exactly who her audience was and what appealed to them. She knew young people wanted real solutions to real problems affecting their communities. They are disappointed by the politicians and how government policies are made, and hence don’t see value in exercising their right to vote.
If there is anything that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does best is that she speaks to a community that is normally not spoken to.
ImportantThe most basic idea is that the communities we are serving know best what they need. They have the solutions to the issues within their communities and those who need to be heard and heeded.
There were plenty of non-believers when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez started her 2018 campaign.
But that didn’t stop her. With the support of her community, she overcame that adversity and won the election. Now with every decision she makes in office, she carries her community with her, sharing that in tough times she leans on them figuratively for strength.
Make An Impact
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is passionate about leaving the world a better place than the way she found it. She also strives to leave the world a better place.
WarningShe has reiterated the fact that any policies or legislation introduced now will take years to go into effect, so she is constantly thinking ahead to how it will impact people in the future.
Both now and in the future, start small but think big.
This is because the sooner you see the positive impact of your actions, the more confident you will be going forward and continuing to act.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is standing up for the people who have less power than her and is doing hard work now to set them up for success.
ImportantFuture change-makers, and political and non-political leaders of their respective communities should be learning from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, both when it comes to their policy agenda and when it comes to their communication style.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a highly effective communicator and appears incredibly passionate about her message. Nowadays, society is clearly ready to embrace new voices—including an impassioned, intelligent young politician from the Bronx.
Arguably the most powerful piece of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez overall style is her punch.
She generally uses short words and feisty statements. And to compliment that speaking style, she’s expressive in the sense that she uses strong body language.
Shake The Table
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is unabashedly herself — she brings a passion about issues to the House of Representatives with a level of enthusiasm that is unmatched.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is challenging the Washington D.C. status quo by being a strong and outspoken woman.
Even if it upsets the other side of the aisle and even fellow Democrats, she continues to fight for what she believes in.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is shaking up politics in America, whether people like it or not.
ImportantShe doesn’t apologize, she doesn’t hold back and she definitely doesn’t take the backseat even when things get uncomfortable.
Empowerment, curiosity, and passion are vital to success — and when it comes to fostering them, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is again a prime example.
WarningShe recently announced that none of her staff members would earn less than $52,000 per year, as part of her passion for equality and commitment to a living wage.
Don’t obscure the real-world impact policy has. Confront it. And speak to people’s moral values and the type of world we want to live in. Start from there, and you’ll be on the right track.
A lot of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez policy proposals are quite extreme, particularly her Green New Deal.
ImportantThrough this, she’s showing you have to take risks to make change and the importance of speaking up for what you believe in.
A valuable lesson for aspiring leaders: when debates are broken, challenge the premise of the debate.
For example, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke out against the militarization of the immigration policy in moral imperative terms, including how that is actively harming people, especially children.
Ignore The Naysayers
Confidence comes from within. When you’re comfortable in your own skin, confident and authentically yourself, you can more easily fight for what you believe in.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is no stranger to taking discomfort and turning it into a learning experience.
ImportantAs a prominent woman of colour, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has found herself on the receiving end of a lot of scrutiny. However, she doesn’t let it get her down.
It’s your responsibility to speak up in every single room you walk into.
Most people have stories about unfortunate experiences. Don’t just toss those stories aside.
Use them to help forge change in yourself and how you approach your life and your business. What can your past teach you about how you approach the present and the future?
It’s no secret Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been grinding hard to get where she is now. She writes: “You show up when no one is looking and the cameras are off. You offer support when it’s risky, without a need for recognition or expectation that you are “owed” something for doing the right thing.”
Being the youngest woman ever elected to Congress definitely comes with a fair amount of pressure.
WarningAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez is experiencing a phenomenon that’s been well documented across fields: Women are held to a higher standard than their male peers.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that while it can be scary, she has overcome that fear to guide her decision-making.
If you ever face a situation that makes you scared or worries you, let that fear help you grow.
Be Relatable, Not Perfect
Even when you hold a position of power, it’s important to remain human. Now that she is an elected member of Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is still as humble as ever, and shows everyone that it is okay to be vulnerable.
If you have privilege, use your power to advocate for others.
ImportantBe bold so that it is no longer bold to say or demand what is deserved or should be. Be honest in what you see, and earn respect in the process.
Often times politicians figures seem to be out of touch with their constituents, and carry with them a persona of perfection.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is challenging that norm by showing it is okay to not be perfect all the time, even if you’re constantly in the spotlight.
Even after being elected into Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez never strays from her background and remains as humble as ever.
She had made a name for herself through the policies and legislation she stands for.
When communicating with other members of Congress, she doesn’t use high-level, jargony language. She knows any interaction could end up on social media, and she wants to resonate with people at scale.
Sometimes, Alexandria is explicitly asking Congresspeople to explain things to her like she’s five.
WarningNot because she doesn’t understand, but because she wants the public to be made fully aware of what different policies really mean—especially the ones she sees as unjust.
Ignite The Fire Inside
As the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wears a large target. Her approach to fear is similar to how psychology experts and even motivational speaker Tony Robbins view it.
The best way to deal with fear is do it anyway. You don’t have to feel good to do stuff. Make yourself do it.
ImportantEven though speaking on the floor for the first time can be “scary,” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said, she overcame her fear by treating it as motivation instead of a deterrent.
She has learned a few things on how to stay confident and keep your cool from being thrust into the political spotlight.
Each time we state self-affirming statements, we are building and strengthening neural pathways in our brains that will help us to naturally feel more confident. The more we practice confidence, the more it becomes a behaviour we can own.
Leadership is about taking risks. Leadership is about taking decisions when you don’t know 100% what the outcome is going to be.
Confidence can be built up by thinking confident thoughts.
ImportantSo tell yourself out loud, just like she does, why you have the ability to succeed. Use fear as a guiding light instead of a reason to turn off.
Take up space and tell yourself regularly that you are enough.
We all deserve to be heard and to feel confident in our own little corners of this world.
One thing is clear, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is making an imprint on a generation of Americans, especially young women, with a message to get informed, get organized and get involved.
As a true public servant and motivating girl boss, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has taught people everywhere what it means to be powerful.
ImportantEven with what feels like constant criticism from her opposers, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stays focused on her goals, representing her people and fighting towards her goals.
She is a wonderful role model to people everywhere, and we can’t wait to see what life lesson we learn from her next.
Alexandria is able to use her experiences to sharpen their skills, broaden her thinking, and ultimately become a stronger leader.
You will be criticized no matter what you do. Criticism comes with being a leader.
ImportantDon’t let criticism distract you or stop you. When things get tough, don’t back down. Do what you believe to be right.
Point out injustice, and don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t understand something or can’t do something.
WarningLearn as much as you can. Practice as much as you can. Gain as much experience as possible.
If people underestimate you, so be it. But don’t underestimate yourself.
So the next time you feel discouraged, remind yourself of her story when you need a heavy dose of inspiration and grit to get back in the saddle. Share with me your stories and thoughts in the comments below!