Getting to the heart of "What Women Want" - Part 1

05-05-2009 1:43 PM

In Mary Kay's on-going quest to provide the products, services and business opportunities that women around the world are looking for now and for the near future, we just completed a major global research project that we called "WWW" or "What Women Want".  We had learning sessions in 7 countries across the globe: the United States (we also met specifically with Latina women in the US), Mexico, China, Russia, Brazil, Korea and Ukraine.   Women were randomly selected from among a larger group who met the age, lifestyle and other factors that we were interested in, and each woman selected was asked to invite a good friend to attend the session with her. It was great fun getting to know these women and their friends, and hear all about their lives, their careers, how they used technology and their feelings about beauty. Over the course of the next several posts, I'm going to delve into the lives of these women and share the insights we gleaned from them. 

At the end of the day, no matter the country they call home or the culture they hold dear, there are 10 fundamental things that these women want in their lives right now. I have seen this "Universal Woman", and she is us.  Let us now reflect on ourselves.

Ten Things Women Want Now

1.  Completeness                                          6.  Personal Income

2.  Strength & Independence                       7.  Men, sometimes

3.  Family + Choice                                       8.  Pampering

4.  Fulfilling Career                                       9.  Social Media

5.  Connection/Sisterhood                         10.  Trust

Let's now dive a little deeper into the desire of completeness, as it seems to be the most fundamental of all. 

This means to put every area of her life together as she wants it.  She knows what she wants, how to achieve it, and she is reliant on no one to get it.

Many of these women are getting married and having children later in life, allowing them to become more comfortable with who they are before taking on another role in life.  They value a good education, are strong enough to make sacrifices and work hard, and are skilled at coordinating multiple roles.  Becoming "self-realized" is the end goal -- being her own person, living up to her potential and reaching her goals -- knowing who she is.

This is the desire that drives stay-at-home moms to look for opportunities to expand their thinking and contributions beyond their family responsibilities, and the desire that drives successful corporate women to seek volunteer opportunities in the community to freely give their time and talents.  Women continue to seek out those things which they feel are missing in their lives, and those things usually aren't really "things" at all.  They are usually experiences and feelings -- learning, growth, confidence, mastery, gratitude, thankfulness.

I think it is this sense of completeness that brings women true happiness, and comes when the aspects of our lives are lined up according to our authentic selves.  It is the exact opposite of the empty and unhappy feeling that comes when we are doing things because we think we "should be" to fit into social norms, or because of what others might think about us.  I've seen many women who appear to be complete and happy from the outside, but on the inside, well, they're downright miserable.  When I think about the women that I know that are truly happy, they all (1) "love" what they are spending the majority of their time doing (no matter what that is), (2) they have a healthy sense of self-confidence and feel little pressure to conform to others opinions, (3) they give more than they take, and (4) they make it a priority to take care of themselves. 

There are many times when I have that sense of completeness myself, and then life happens, and I find that there's more work to be done on me. Whenever I am "having a moment" and not feeling complete and happy, I take a few minutes to think about these four aspects and can usually see one area that I've let slip that is causing me to feel less than satisfied.  When you can pinpoint what it is, then it's much easier to work on correcting that one thing, rather than continuing to wonder why you're not feeling good about things.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on completeness.

Stay tuned as we continue to explore "What Women Want."