glass ceiling

How to Break Through Your Glass Ceiling


No matter our experience, backgrounds, or industries, it’s fair to say that all of us have goals that we want to accomplish. These goals can be everything from getting that raise you’ve always wanted to appear on the cover of Forbes.


These goals are certainly admirable, yet the simple reality is that achieving these types of goals requires grit and determination. It is easy to dream. It is much more difficult to break through your glass ceiling and overcome the obstacles that stand in your way.


The journey from failure to success is riddled with obstacles. However, you can break through this glass ceiling. While the precise strategy will depend on your specific needs, you’ll need to tap into a mix of creativity, leadership, and motivation to maximize your odds of success.


Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling


The term “glass ceiling” is often used in the context of women being unable to eclipse a certain level in a hierarchy. And while women certainly face gender challenges when climbing the corporate ladder, we all face a glass ceiling when pursuing our goals.


Putting aside gender, racial, or other structural issues, our glass ceilings are primarily imposed by ourselves. In other words, our glass ceilings are made from mental obstacles. Those obstacles include things like fear of failure, imposter syndrome, and even fear of success. Even if we aren’t thinking about them, these fears are constantly operating in the back of our minds. Before we know it, we get too comfortable with not taking risks, and inertia makes it easy to back down when we encounter small and large obstacles.


Luckily, there are several things that you can do to break through that glass ceiling. For starters, you’ll need to act. As Tony Robbins once said, “Action is the key to everything.” No matter how well-designed your plan is, you must confront your fears and take action today. While it can be intimidating, any action—no matter how small—is progress.


But besides the importance of action, you can break through the glass ceiling through a unique mix of creativity, leadership, and motivation. Combining all of these forces with action, you will become much more agile, powerful, and closer toward your goals.



Let’s start with creativity. Creativity is essential for bypassing any obstacle, but it is especially important when you have an extremely ambitious goal. While it may be hard to be creative on-demand, there are plenty of ways to rejuvenate your creativity. Feel free to practice inversion (like Charlie Munger) and combine seemingly-disparate ideas. Doing this, you can find some awesome new ideas to overcome those big obstacles.


Next, you’ll want to exhibit leadership. This is true whether you’re actively leading a team or are simply managing a personal goal. Leadership skills are valuable for so many reasons, but they can be one of your closest allies when going from failure to success. Through developing solid leadership skills, you can do everything from finding mentors and employees to inspiring your team to keep working when they’re feeling down or demoralized. To develop leadership skills, it’s critical to understand your leadership style, set concrete goals, and keep trying—even if you fail.


Finally, let’s talk about motivation. Motivation is the galvanizing force behind any type of action. To put it another way, motivation is what gets you out of bed and lets you conquer any type of obstacle head-on.


The good news is that there are plenty of ways to get motivated. You can collect a list of your favorite inspirational quotes and review the list when you are feeling down or unmotivated. YouTube has many inspirational videos that can fire you up. If you’re more of an extrovert, you can rely on friends or family members to give you a dose of inspiration. At the very least, you can think of your underlying purpose to provide some much-needed motivation.


From Failure to Success


While the glass ceiling may seem intimidating, you can think of it as a massive opportunity. As Ryan Holiday famously says, the obstacle is the way. No matter how small or large the obstacle, you can rely on creativity, leadership, motivation, and action to get you closer to your goals. The future is for you to create.