All my life I looked up to men. For the most part they have treated me with respect and pushed along my dreams and curiosities. But recently I’ve come to realize the beauty of my female role models. It’s clear to me they are fantastic and should be celebrated for the bosses they are. These women, though not knowing it at the time, have shaped my understanding of what it means to be a female in today’s world. They do not fit into any mold out there; they hold crazy intelligence while being beautiful (I know insane right?), are deeply ferocious with the compassion of a best friend, and have steered me professionally, while nurturing me intellectually. And while I’d love to keep the actions I’ve picked up from my mentors to myself- in honor of these women here are just some of the lessons I’ve learned from them:
1. At no point has your life stopped evolving.
So you’re feeling pretty solid in your job, making strides to excel and suddenly BAM you realize you want to add another career to your belt. What do you do? You take the LSAT of course. You take whatever your first step is to steer your life in a new direction. We feel a lot of pressure to pick a career and generally feel as if we are locking ourselves into it, but that simply is not the case. This might seem obvious, but I think we need to hear it more often. You are allowed to experience life, and if you see something you wish was different…go change it!
2. People need to see your face to be reminded that you exist.
Exposure is huge. If people do not remember you, they won’t think about you when considering applicants for a new job or project. Don’t be afraid to make your face seen.
3. Dress for you, not for them.
You don’t need to dress like a man to be respected like a man. One of my greatest mentors used to come to the office dressed in the coolest new fashions, we’re not talking a pencil skirt and a nice blouse here. We’re talking rompers and dresses in the most fantastic of colors. She commanded respect, pant suit or no pant suit.
No matter what your style is-rock it.
4. Give people the chance to learn.
This is the inner intern in me speaking. It’s important not only to the internship program but the company you’re working for that you are learning. You will be the next generation. The most fantastic of role models realize this, they take the time give real responsibilities and when you mess up they explain what you did wrong. Everyone has been the newbie at some point.
5. Care about those around you, past and present.
Coffee/wine dates to give life updates are lovely. Do them sparingly when both of your busy schedules overlap.
6. Find the humor in your misfortune.
Chances are things are going to go wrong. You might get lost, might have forgotten something important, worn the wrong thing…we live in a hilariously imperfect world- learn to laugh. It’s far better than crying.
7. Empower the people around you.
During the strenuous portions of your work, to get the most out of people- encourage them.
8. You deserve to be here.
Don’t ever feel like you do not belong. Because you do.
9. Never underestimate the power of being the office confidant.
Sure they might compliment your neighbor, but when you are the first person people come to when they’re frustrated, hurt, and need a friend? You’re doing something right.
Trust is thicker than praise.
10. Know what you want and go for it. Hard.
Do what it takes to get where you want. We hear this often, but the women whose path has crossed with mine are where they are today because they chased their goals with fervor. Throw yourself into your dreams, understand it is going to be rough for a while, it always is, but gradually the pieces will align.
11. Pass it forward.
Give some young girls the same reason to journey on as the brave women who did before you.