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Working women in all different professional facets are faced with the task to do it all under more pressure than our male counterparts. Especially as a woman who works in primarily male-dominated spaces, as I do within both politics and law, I must remind myself of the value that I am adding to my professional and personal environments. For so long, women have measured their abilities and success according to male-dominated culture and business practices.
On top of this, women have the existing pressure of conforming to society’s expectations and guidelines of who they should be in and out of the workplace. True leaders push the boundaries of gender expectations and use their abilities to propel themselves into success in any professional environment they choose.
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Here are some things to remember as a woman in any type of career to be as successful as you can be.
1. Be authentically and unapologetically yourself
Being confident in your authentic self will translate into how you present yourself to others, which, in turn, will foster respect from the people around you. As a kid, growing up in the film and television business, I faced a lot of rejections. I was told that I wasn’t pretty enough, that I was too heavy, that I wasn’t funny enough, etc. You have to learn not to let those voices and opinions affect how you feel about yourself, which is definitely easier said than done. Not everyone may like you, but that’s okay! Don’t let other opinions drown your own voice. As my acting coach used to tell me, people affect you only if you let them affect you.
2. “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” — Christopher Robin
Women are capable of much more than society allows them to believe they are. Believe in yourself and stay true to yourself — be bold, be brave, be you! Even when it seems impossible. So often as women, we hold ourselves back from applying for a new job, speaking up for ourselves when it comes to promotions or raises, and so many other areas where we may feel that we aren’t deserving. You are capable of accomplishing big things, so don’t allow yourself or anyone else to tell you otherwise.
3. Surround yourself with people who only lift you higher
This is extremely important for your success, as other people’s actions do affect how you see yourself. Do not surround yourself with people who drag you down or make you feel less than what you really are. I was very lucky to marry my best friend who supports me in everything I do. It helped me realize that I should only surround myself with people who remind me and encourage me to be the person that I want to be. Choose to be around people that let the light inside of you shine. This can be difficult for women who work in male-dominated industries, as they are often inadvertently made to feel like they are inferior. That is why it is so important for women to support and advocate for other women, especially in the workplace.
4. Put yourself first and love yourself first
As a child growing up in show business, I learned that if I didn’t believe in myself, no one else was going to believe in me. Really trying to understand your worth and value, especially when it comes to what you can bring to the table professionally, will make others believe in you. This may take time, and you may have to teach people how to respect you and treat you, but commanding admiration from others must come from a place of love for yourself. Standing up for yourself will also lead to others respecting you, especially those in higher roles.
5. Don’t forget to take care of your body and your mind
When you are striving for success professionally, it is so easy to forget about self care, but without it, you cannot fully succeed. Create good habits both in your personal and professional life, and they will take you farther. Take a vacation. One of my passions in traveling. Take time to recharge. Taking care of your mental and physical health by exercising, eating right, leaving time to do the things you love and relaxing will do more for you than you realize. Often, by taking care of ourselves mentally and physically, we reset our outlooks at the same time and that much-needed rest better equips us to deal with what’s at hand.
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6. Regardless of your career path, there’s no direct flight and the layover will take longer than you think
The best things in life take time and are worth waiting for. Remember that you can learn so much more through taking the time to get to where you want to go. Experiencing areas of your field that you wouldn’t have thought you would go through may teach you unexpected lessons and lead you to a new path. Be patient, be thankful and never give up on what you want to accomplish.
7. Think positively
This may seem simple, but it is easier said than done. Trying to stay positive, especially in hard times, can affect the outcome of the situation you are in. You have the power to control your mindset and how you act in situations. While you may not be able to control all external forces, you can control how they affect you and what you do with them.
8. Make yourself indispensable
Stand out and think outside the box. Be the “go to” person in your position and come up with ideas that no one else has thought of. Learn skills that are not necessarily needed for your position, but will be helpful in other areas. Be different and be reliable to the point where other people will need you. But being reliable does not mean you should be taken advantage of, so be brave enough to advocate for your ideas and put your needs first too. You are there for a reason, so make something of it.
9. “Let your dreams be bigger than your fears, your actions be louder than your words, and your faith stronger than your feelings.” — Unknown
Don’t allow your fears to overshadow your aspirations and goals, no matter how difficult it is to get there. Every single person, even the highest ranking people in your field, have fears, but we cannot let those stop us from reaching our true potential. Instead, try to understand why you may be fearful, and you will gain much more confidence once you realize that you are able to face your fears. Remind yourself of your intentions, abilities and worth, and continue to strive toward your dreams.
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10. Don’t get discouraged when you fail; use it to propel yourself even farther
Don’t be afraid of failure, and don’t allow mistakes to bring you down. Instead, utilize what you learned from them to allow yourself to grow and succeed even more.
These tips may seem simple, but they are ideas I’ve learned over time and use every day in my professional and personal lives to make sure that I am staying true to myself and sticking to my path. You can do it too.