It’s not easy launching your career in this day and age with a challenging economy, so if you’re searching for motivation to keep pushing toward your dreams don’t look any further. Let the advice and success of these 15 remarkable girl bosses spur you on! Find inspiration within their wisdom as they share with us how they achieved such great heights professionally.
1. Invest in your success and commit to the process.
Jenna Lyons, J.Crew’s creative director, embodies upward mobility! At 21 years old, she was an assistant to the assistant in charge of rugby shirts and now – after 24 remarkable years – has become president and executive creative director for a billion-dollar brand. “There’s this idea that everybody has to have everything right away,” Lyons tells Marie Claire. “But you have to let the slow burn happen. I wasn’t the superstar. I had to work for it. Really long hours.”
2. Visualize a clear path to success.
YouTube beauty vlogger Michelle Phan tells Forbes, “Just like you wouldn’t set out on a road trip without knowing if you’re going east or west, you have to know what you want to accomplish. I knew I wanted to inspire women and build confidence, so everything [from that point on] was built around that goal.”
3. Take advice with a grain of salt.
When starting up, you’ll hear plenty of counsel from all directions. Of course, consider every piece of advice that comes your way; however, don’t let it prevent you from following through with a decision you deem is right for yourself. “It’s important to take advice but not all of the advice,” Nasty Gal’s founder Sophia Amoruso tells Who What Wear. “It’s good to learn from other people’s mistakes, but you have to learn from your own, too.”
4. Stay focused and don’t let anything stand in your way.
In a conversation with Glamour, the celebrated writer, actress, and producer Mindy Kaling stated, “My advice is always not to focus on anyone telling you you can’t do anything or the politics of your situation, but to just focus on the situation…. I could spend my entire life, doing panels on being a chubby woman of color writing a TV show, and it would be useful to some people, but I wouldn’t be writing my TV show. And all my competition, all the white men who are doing the same thing as me, are not doing those panels—they’re just getting better and better at their job.”
5. Establish realistic ambitions that you can attain.
It is essential to not only aim for big career accomplishments like becoming a CEO or gaining a degree but also set smaller goals along the way that will aid in your success. On her blog, Lauren Conrad writes, “Think in the long term, but make your goals as specific as possible and revisit them every day. Create a vision board or a list and keep it where you will see it every morning. Dream big and you will achieve big things.”
6. Embrace and celebrate your own unique self.
When Jessica Williams auditioned for the Comedy Central show, she was fresh out of college and sporting green hair. Now a Daily Show correspondent (and our desired pick for the host!), this comedian shared with Mother Jones that during her tryout she had “a lot to prove”. We can only imagine what made her stand out among the competition! She says, “It’s impossible to be perfect, and you won’t do a good job if you’re too focused on proving yourself to others.”
7. Find professional role models.
Whether it’s a mentor or a historic figure, having a list of people who you look up to and respect in your field is crucial. In her memoir, Yes Please, Amy Poehler tells readers, “Watching great people do what you love is a good way to start learning how to do it yourself.” Read what they like to read, figure out how they broke into their industry, and see how their method can work with yours.
8. Confidence is key.
If you’re constantly doubting your work, others will begin to doubt it (and you!) too. During a trip to the UK, First Lady Michelle Obama visited students at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson girls’ school. She told them, “Success is not about the background you are from, it is about the confidence that you have and the effort you are willing to invest.”
9. Be nice to people.
It sounds so simple, but it is oh-so-very important to remember. In her book, Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham writes, “Respect isn’t something you command through intimidation and intellectual bullying. It’s something you build through a long life of treating people how you want to be treated and focusing on your mission.”
10. Stay engaged and productive.
It takes action to turn a notion into a reality. If you continue postponing that book concept or video project, then it will never come to fruition; so don’t let your grand ideas remain just an idea. Get up and make them happen! Tavi Gevinson, a blogger since age 11 and founder of the website Rookie, puts it best when she says, “The best cure for procrastination is to have so much on your plate that procrastination is no longer an option.”
11. Don’t be scared to express your thoughts and opinions.
In her book Bossypants, Tina Fey encourages readers to use the improvisational phrase, “yes, and…” in their everyday business encounters. “To me, YES, AND means don’t be afraid to contribute. It’s your responsibility to contribute,” she writes. “Always make sure you’re adding something to the discussion. Your initiations are worthwhile.”
12. Failure is part of the process.
In a captivating commencement address to Harvard University’s graduating class, Harry Potter author JK Rowling imparted her insights and advice.“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case, you fail by default. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.”
13. Success is not without sacrifice.
In today’s society, it can be difficult to juggle between family life, work, and leisure activities. As any leader knows all too well though, there are moments when you may have to decide whether your primary focus should be on your job or the ones you love. In a commencement speech at Dartmouth, Shonda Rhimes told graduates, “If I’m succeeding at one, I am inevitably failing at the other. That is the tradeoff. That is the Faustian bargain one makes with the devil that comes with being a powerful working woman who is also a powerful mother. You never feel a hundred percent OK; you never get your sea legs; you are always a little nauseous.”
14. Don’t be too hard on yourself – strive to set achievable goals and make sure your success is within reach!
In an exclusive interview with Vogue magazine, renowned fashion designer and trendsetter Victoria Beckham divulges her style secrets. “When I initially started up the brand, I didn’t put too much pressure on myself. I didn’t go into this to prove it to anybody other than myself. I was very focused, I didn’t try to do everything at once. I just wanted to perfect the dress. I didn’t want to run before I could walk.”
15. Command the room with your presence.
Anna Wintour, the iconic Vogue editor, is a fountain of career knowledge. Who What Wear has collected her greatest pieces of advice in one place and highlighted this particular gem: “You can’t be some difficult, shy person who is not able to look somebody in the face; you have to present yourself. You have to know how to talk about your vision, your focus and what you believe in”.
Who are the professionals that you look up to and admire? Let us know in the comments below who they are and why they inspire you.
This article was originally published by Brit & Co.