Melinda Gates shares 3 things she wishes she had known about the workplace in her 20s

PHOTO: Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, speaks at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group Annual Meetings in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Oct. 11, 2018. PlaySeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE
WATCH Melinda Gates on how women can empower other women

Melinda Gates is a philanthropist, activist, best-selling author and mother who is now focusing her attention sharply on how to empower other women.

In her new book, "The Moment of Lift," she writes that when women are lifted up, it helps all of society, not just women.

"It takes women and it takes men to look at what are the actions we need to take in our home, our workplaces, our community," Gates said Tuesday on "Good Morning America." "Because if you lift up women and then you have men and women equal, it changes societies."

PHOTO: Melinda Gates new book, The Moment of Lift, looks at the women and girls who have made her the woman she is today. ABC
Melinda Gates' new book, "The Moment of Lift," looks at the women and girls who have made her the woman she is today.

Here in the U.S., where a record number of women were elected to Congress last year, if women continue to be elected at the same rate, it will take 60 years to reach equality in Congress, according to Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"I feel like we have this moment in time, this window is open because of the #MeToo movement, the number of women who have come into Congress," she said. "Yet if we don’t use this window of time we won’t really get equality."

Gates, who started her career at Microsoft, shared three things she wished she had known about work in her 20s to help empower other women just starting their own careers.

PHOTO: Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, speaks at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group Annual Meetings in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Oct. 11, 2018. SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, speaks at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group Annual Meetings in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Oct. 11, 2018.

1. Being perfect is overrated

I can be hard on myself about being hard on myself – but perfectionism can be a setback. Embracing your shortcomings, rather than hiding them, may actually be your best self.

2. Be your own type of leader

When you’re early in your career, it’s easy to think you need to emulate those around you. One of the most important things I learned was to develop my own leadership style – and to know that my successes come because of who I am, not in spite of it.

3. Set your own agenda

As I write in my book, my mother once told me something I haven’t forgotten: set your own agenda or someone else will.

Read more here about Melinda Gates, including the worst advice she never took and how she and her husband, Bill Gates, tackle hard topics together.