In the past, women in high-level positions were few and far between. But now, more than ever, there are more women making their way to the top and how they lead is immensely inspirational. Read on to learn the success tips and inspiring nuggets of wisdom 10 of these amazing women acquired through their journeys, choices, and career paths.
Anne Sweeney: Ask questions
Stay curious and ask questions. As co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney-ABC Television Group, Anne Sweeney says she’s “driven by curiosity” because “it gets people excited” and “leads to new ideas, new jobs, new industries.” Excitement keeps thing moving forward and evolving. Sweeney adds, “The smartest thing you can ever do is to constantly ask questions.” Asking questions is one of the best way to gain deeper insights. The best detectives and scientists rely heavily on asking questions because they know it will eventually lead to a breakthrough.
Claire Watts: Listen up
One of the most important tips many successful women agree on is to listen. As the CEO of retail and media company QVC, Claire Watts schedules open door times every week. She does this so anyone in the company who wants to come talk to her or ask her something, can do so. She learns about social media from the interns and develops her mobile strategy with input from the tech team. No one should be beneath you and you should always keep your eyes and ears open.
Tina Fey: Do your own thing
In her bestselling memoir, Bossypants, Tina Fey writes, “Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.” People may do things differently than you, they won’t always agree with you, and that’s okay. Focus on being true to who you are, stay confident in your abilities and just keep doing your own thing. If everyone did everything the same way, everything would be dull and boring. Own up the good things about you that make you stand out.
JK Rowling: Persist, persist, persist
Things won’t always be unicorns and rainbows, but don’t give up! JK Rowling began working on her series of books starring young wizard-in-training Harry Potter in 1990 and completed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh book in the popular series, in 2007. That’s 17 years! That’s longer than it takes for someone to complete undergraduate and medical school! You’re bound to have setbacks and frustrations, but keep your eye on the prize and keep your endurance up. Sure, failure is always a possibility, but the easiest way to fail is to give up.
Sheryl Sandberg: Ask, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, encourages women to chase their ambitions in her bestselling book, Lean In. She suggests putting fear aside and suggests, “Ask yourself, ‘What would I do if I weren’t afraid?’ And then go do it.” Fear keeps us from being creative and successful. No matter your ambitions, there will always be obstacles and risk, but giving in to the fear already sets you up to fail.
Sophia Amoruso: Nothing is out of your job description
Sophia Amoruso, founder, CEO, and Chief Troublemaker of the online retail store, Nasty Gal, wrote in her inspirational book #GIRLBOSS, “You want to know what four words I probably hate the most? ‘That’s not my job.’ Nasty Gal is not a place where these four words fly. At the end of the day, we’re all here for one reason and one reason only–to make the company succeed.” Amoruso hits the nail on the head. Doing “your job” is often doing things that aren’t in the job description. The main thing to focus to on is to get things done. We are human beings, not robots. We have to be flexible with what tasks and obstacles are thrown at us in order to truly accomplish what we need and to succeed.
Kate White: Keep challenging yourself
As the long-time editor of the popular women’s magazine, Cosmopolitan, Kate White says the way to know it’s time to leave a job is that you’re happy. This sounds counterintuitive, but often when you’re happy and know the job a little too well, you begin to feel comfortable. When you know exactly how to do the job, you’re not as challenged. Challenge keeps us on our toes, energized and motivated to move forward and evolve.
Oprah Winfrey: Admit mistakes
No one is perfect; everyone makes mistakes. Part of Oprah Winfrey’s mass appeal is that so many people relate to her. Despite being one of the richest and most powerful people in the world, Oprah makes mistakes and admits them. Her acknowledgment of her mistakes makes her more likable, thus securing her power as one of the world’s most influential and inspirational people.
Kay Cannon: Get help
No one said you need to be super-human to be a super. Get help and learn to use your resources. Kay Cannon, a comedy writer who wrote Pitch Perfect and wrote on the hit TV shows New Girl and 30 Rock, says, “I don’t do it all. Not even close. I work on a show with a kickass writing staff, I have a kickass partner of a husband who is there for me at all times both personally and professionally.” You don’t have to go at it alone. There are talented people at your disposal; use them to help you grow.
Suze Orman: Lower the shield
Like Oprah, financial guru Suze Orman strives to connect with the public on a personal level. People trust her. She often shares the story about when she was 13 and watched her father dive back into a burning chicken shack to retrieve a cash register. In that instant, Orman says she understood how money, or the lack of it, could become more important than life itself for those who don’t know how to properly manage it. Orman constantly strives to help people manage their money while placing it into the proper perspective. By sharing something personal and lowering the shield, you’ll naturally develop a connection with your listeners and reinforce trust.