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10 Success Tips from Today’s Most Inspirational Women

10 Success Tips from Today’s Most Inspirational Women

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.

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    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.

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      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.

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        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.

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          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.

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            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.

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              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.

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                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.

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                  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.

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                    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.

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                      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.

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                      Last Updated on March 14, 2019

                      7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

                      7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

                      Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

                      For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

                      Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

                      1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

                      A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

                      It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

                      It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

                      How it helps you:

                      If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

                      Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

                      2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

                      Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

                      Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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                      How it helps you:

                      Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

                      Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

                      If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

                      Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

                      3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

                      Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

                      Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

                      How it helps you:

                      This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

                      For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

                      Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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                      A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

                      4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

                      To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

                      A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

                      How it helps you:

                      One word: hierarchy.

                      All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

                      In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

                      If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

                      5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

                      Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

                      Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

                      How it helps you:

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                      Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

                      If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

                      This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

                      6. What do you like about working here?

                      This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

                      Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

                      How it helps you:

                      You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

                      Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

                      Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

                      7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

                      What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

                      As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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                      How it helps you:

                      What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

                      First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

                      Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

                      Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

                      Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

                      Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

                      Making Your Interview Work for You

                      Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

                      Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

                      More Resources About Job Interviews

                      Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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