Dayle Haddon’s unconventional career is her trademark. The former ballerina turned model turned receptionist, is now the founder of WomenOne, a non-profit helping to bring education to women and girls globally. In addition to serving as the L’Oréal Global Ambassador for Women of Worth, she is an Ambassador for UNICEF and a member of the Council of Foreign Relations. Dayle Haddon spoke with Levo League during Office Hours to share her tips on how to face the ups and downs of life and learn from the challenges and failures you’ll face along the way.
Know your truth
As an entry level employee, it can be intimidating to voice your views or opinions in front of management. You may assume that no one else has voiced this solution because it is a silly idea. However, Haddon emphasizes that no one holds all of the truths. This is true not only in the boardroom, but in your broader career. Your insights, inner voice, and passions that you follow are the keys that can lead people to follow you. With enough research, drive, perseverance, and determination, you can convince somebody of what you know to be true.
“Discipline and perseverance can be more important than talent,” she said. “If you keep persevering in your passion and in your dream, eventually you wear everyone out.”
Turn no into know
Haddon was told that her hair was too curly and that she was too short and dark to be a model. She was unqualified to be a spokesperson for Unicef and didn’t have the skills or background necessary to run her own company. However, she credits her training as a ballerina early in life for teaching her the discipline and determination to overcome these challenges.
“I find the word ‘no’ is an incredible word because it doesn’t mean as much to me as it means to other people,” she said. “I think that the best interpretation of ‘no’ is that they just don’t know yet. If they don’t know, then it is your job to convince them what you know.”
Learn to pivot
Modeling and fashion is a notoriously short and brutal career path in which the industry “eats their young.” Haddon recognized this and anticipated her need to formulate a swift exit strategy. This ability to anticipate and pivot in her career has served her well in navigating the highs of a career in fashion and the lows of losing her partner and financial stability. She emphasizes the need to reflect upon the circumstances and understand what the learning opportunity is. What do you need to learn? How can you move through this challenge with as little pain as possible?
“Whatever happens to me, good or bad, challenging or not, is mine. I’m not a victim of it.” Haddon said. “No matter what the challenges or difficulties are, they are my messages to myself to look at so that it gets me out of the victimization of the circumstances and more able to maneuver and say well how can I make the best of it.”
How have you navigated challenges and failures in your life?
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