When I decided to write this article, I was dealing with some troubling news at work. Without getting into the specifics, and veering dangerously off topic, it basically involved feeling under appreciated and left out of my team.
Throughout my research on women in the workplace, and honestly just from personal experience, I feel like being overlooked or denied proper credit seems to be a common sentiment shared by many young, working women. This got my curiosity going.
It's not impossible to have a vagina and be successful. We know there are some pretty bad ass, rich bitches out there, so we know the American Dream is not an insurmountable feat for women by any means. But its definitely true that we (women) do seem to go through similar struggles when trying to get there. So I got to thinking...
What advice do some of these uber-successful, uber-rich women have for the women or girls seeking to similarly climb the ladder of success?
As I researched Sophia Amoruso (CEO and founder of NastyGal.com), Arianna Huffington (Author & Co-founder of Huffington Post), Oprah (you know who the fuck Oprah is), Beyonce (yes, Queen Bee), and our former first lady Michelle Obama, I realized something.
As I was looking for 5 different pieces of advice from these 5 very different women, I simply couldn't find it. They all seemed to emphasize the same thing when it came to giving career advice to other women.
What can they all agree on?
They agree on one of my favorite phrases: "Fuck What They Think."
They all seem to agree that staying true to yourself, and not compromising that when faced with opposition or failure is the most important thing to women looking to thrive within a system that is still rigged largely against our favor.
Sophia Amoruso - THE Girl Boss
Sophia Amoruso is a super chic, super badass, young female entrepreneur who founded NastyGal.com and authored the insanely popular book Girl Boss. Since I have the book and buy a lot of clothes, I am pretty familiar with her, and her story.
In her book, Girl Boss, she mentions how she's always been an introvert, and as a kid she didn't understand why she enjoyed swinging on the swings alone over engaging with her peers on the playground. She admits that it made her feel like she was weird, and she subsequently spent too much of her childhood trying to figure out what other people thought of her.
Learning how to work with these notions of herself, rather than trying to change herself, led her to discover her online business; her introvert tendencies, once fine-tuned, became a huge part of her success in running what is now a million-dollar empire .
When you accept who you are, and take steps to become better rather than different, you find your power. In this way, you learn to play to your strengths and weaknesses and find your competitive advantage.
The best advice Sophia doles out to budding girl bosses?
Oprah has some similar advice: Be true to yourself.
In quite a few interviews Oprah recalls how she had no idea growing up that she could be as rich as she became, just by being her "authentic self". Had she known that, she adds, she would have done it a lot sooner.
Oprah also touches on the power of Intuition. Following your gut takes courage, but Oprah assures it's the only way to go if you want to be successful.
Vulgar TIP: "Other people" can often come in the form of mainstream media or social media. When faced with a decision that contradicts what most people are doing or thinking, always bet on yourself.
If you don't know what The Huffington Post is, you're either 97, or you've been living under a rock. Arianna Huffington is the co-founder of the supremely popular blog, and is worth over 50 million (yes, dollars).
Her advice? Make your own standards.She stresses that you must take good care of yourself and tailor your work ethic to what works for you.
Huffington is an advocate of proper sleep and regular meditation, which as she points out, begins with really knowing yourself and your body.
In an interview with Oprah.com she says:
She goes on to elaborate on that, explaining that when our phone reaches 13% battery, we rush to recharge it before it reaches 0%. Just like our smartphones, we need to know ourselves enough to know when we are at 13% and need to recharge.
Side note: I was very happy to know a writer worth 50 mil wasn't opposed to naps. I can get jiggy with that.
Beyonce- Queen Bee
You know I couldn't leave Bey out of this one. The singer/entrepreneur and now mom, is worth over $450 million. Her advice to young ladies looking to bank a mill or 2 at some point?
Stop trying to be perfect.
Bey stresses that that the journey to success requires seeking to reach a better you, which is different than chasing perfection. Chasing perfection implies you are seeking to embody some ideal. Ideals are not real, and we need to stop basing our self worth on what we think the largest number of people will like.
So, see yourself and treat yourself like you're worth 50 mill girl.
Michelle Obama- Former Flotus
Yeah, Michelle Obama the Great has some advice for us too, and like I said, it runs a long the same lines as the keys to success we received from the other boss ladies up there. What's her take?
Know your value, and never compromise it.
Mrs. Obama advises that we come into our careers with a clear sense of who we are, so that when we are bombarded with images from the media and feedback from our peers, of who we should be, we can confidently decide:
"Fuck that. I'm doing it my way."