Y Magazine

The Rise of the Alpha Positives

Penny Fray discovers why you don’t have to be scary or unsisterly to be successful.



Being seen as someone successful used to be so simple – all you had to do was wear blood-red lipstick, be prepared to stomp all over someone with your Jimmy Choo shoes and you were good to go. But these days, not even the classic baddie is willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead. Why? Well, being an alpha villain is totally outré in 2013.

Take recent rumours about the catfight between Hollywood stars Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence, for example. Rather than allowing the media to divide and conquer, flame-haired Chastain hit back on social media with an inspirational message of female unity.

“Why do we support the myth that women are competitive and cannot get along?” she justifiably asked on Facebook. “Every time an actress is celebrated for her great work – I cheer. With support and encouragement, we can help inspire this industry to create opportunities for women. And as we know, a great year for women in film is a great year for all females.”

It is an important point. After all, whenever a woman supports another in the workplace or in public, they become a little bit stronger. But it’s not just a matter of gender. It’s about supporting humanity in general. Competition may be useful to a certain point but then co-operation must come into play. Proof of this can be seen throughout history. And so, the message du jour is that you can achieve any goal on your own merit rather than trampling on a fellow human being. After all, if super celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Queen Rania of Jordan are using their influence to inspire others, can’t we?

Here are eight tips from a selection of Omani businesswomen on how to become more alpha positive:

  1. Never use ambition as a get out clause for bad behavior.
  2. Help others achieve their dreams without expecting anything in return and you will achieve yours.
  3. Be sufficiently secure to admire rather than envy your competitor’s success. In this context, green is not the new black.
  4. Hire people who are more talented than yourself.
  5. Place worth ahead of wealth.
  6. Get involved in mentoring schemes. Use your knowledge and experience to help others avoid the mistakes you’ve made.
  7. Turn friendship into a fine art.
  8. If you can’t help others, at least resist the temptation to harm them.

EDITOR’S PICK OF INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN

  1. BOUDICCA – Queen of the Iceni people in ancient Britain
    This strong, determined woman led a major uprising against occupying Roman forces after they attacked and defiled her countrymen. She’s my favourite female historical figure because she did not buckle, seduce or manipulate her opponents – she fought them head on, against all the odds.
  2. MOTHER THERESA – Missionary
    Working amongst the poorest people in Calcutta, this modest nun tirelessly looked after the lowly, unwanted and dispossessed until her death in 1997. She reminds us that even the weak can make a difference if they’re armed with love and faith.
  3. MARIA CURIE – Physicist
    Best known for her work on radioactivity, this Polish-French scientist has a whole heap of firsts under her belt. She was the first person to win two Nobel Prizes, the first female professor at the University of Paris and the first woman to be enshrined in the Paris Pantheon on her own merits. The reason why she’s on my list speaks for itself.
  4. OPRAH WINFREY – Media proprietor  and talk-show host
    “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Despite being born into poverty, Oprah is now worth more than an estimated $2.5bn, helping millions of people along the way with her philanthropy and messages of hope and empowerment.