The name Warren Buffett brings to mind images of well-executed investments and unimaginable wealth, but it also speaks to a man who came from humble beginnings. Though he is clearly gifted, Warren Buffett has never taken his talents for granted – as you can tell from hearing him speak. You get the sense that he might still be clairvoyant!

Buffett has long been an advocate for equal opportunities in the workplace, and he shares Levo’s vision of continuing to elevate women’s careers so that we can fully utilize the talent and potential of 100% of the workforce.

We were all thrilled to have Buffett on today’s Levo Office Hours. It’s not every day you get to ask the Oracle of Omaha a question, but when you do, you know that his response is sure to be wisdom incarnate. Below are some of the words of encouragement Buffett shared with us during Office Hours.

“Women Should Not Hold Themselves Back… Nobody Should Hold Them Back.”

“Women have every potential that men do,” said Buffett. His own sisters, he said, were “a bit smarter and much more personable” than he was. The only thing holding them back was their gender. While Buffett and his sisters were treated equally by their parents and never told there was anything they couldn’t do, the society sent them a very different message.

“Society told them if they worked hard enough they could be a secretary or a nurse or a teacher,” he said. “And for me, I was told the sky was the limit.” And men liked it that way for a long time, Buffett said, but that has to change.

“For the leader, you have to take away the funhouse mirror and you have to realize that talent is scarce,” Buffett said, “and you should take it wherever you can get it.”

“You Want To Have the Right Heroes.”

“If you tell me who your heroes are, I can tell you how you’ll turn out,” Buffett joked, but he’s absolutely right. The people you spend your time with affect who you become, so choose wisely.

“I’ve been very lucky to have had a dozen or so major heroes, and none of them have ever let me down,” said Buffett. “You really want to hang out with people who are better than you are.”

It’s equally important to do business with the right people who share your passions. Buffett’s wisdom when it comes to finding your passion?

“Never give up searching for the job that you’re passionate about. 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.”

This also applies when choosing the correct mentors for yourself. For example, Buffett is a huge proponent of cross-gender mentoring relationships (i.e., male mentor/female protégé and vice versa). “These 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.”

“You Have To Learn To Communicate in Life—It’s Enormously Important.”

Buffett was once petrified of public speaking, to the point where he would drop out of any class that required it. However, Buffett decided that the only way to get over his fear was by facing it head-on.

“If you can’t communicate and talk to other people… you’re giving up your potential,” he said.

If you’re an introvert, Buffett said, you have to get out there, and “you have to do it. And the sooner you do it, the better. It’s so much easier to learn the right habits when you’re young. If you have a fear of associating with people, you have to go out there and do it, and it’s painful… When I was young and completed the [public speaking] course, I was worried I would lapse back… so I started teaching a class at night and, you know, you’ve got to force yourself to do some things sometimes.”

If you want to be a great communicator, part of that is reading as much as possible. For example, Buffett one of the world’s most successful investors reads five to six hours per day. His favorite book? Personal History by Katharine Graham.

The bottom line, said Buffett, is to “just get yourself out there and force yourself to get into situations with people. Most of them don’t bite!”

If you missed Office Hours, don’t fret—you can watch it again here!

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