A lot of my favorite TV shows, movies, books, etc. have one thing in common: a compelling, driven, successful heroine. I love nothing more than watching or reading about a woman going after what she wants, and achieving her goals. In a world overrun by men, women are still clawing their way to the top, trying to prove that we can have it all. I was watching an episode of The Good Wife a few nights ago, and one of the characters was giving a speech and said something along the lines of “Women are constantly asking if we can have it all. Do we ever hear men have it all?” The answer to this question was a resounding no. Now, this post is not meant to be a patriarchy-rant, but it is meant to inspire women in their twenties to feel like they can do anything they set their minds to! I have a few tips and thoughts about how to create an attitude that will make you successful. Whether in academics, the work place, personally, etc. a successful life begins within the individual, where self-doubt is trumped by passion.
Find Something that Generates Positive Thoughts
This can easily be classifies as a hobby, such as yoga or meditation, but find an activity that you can work into your schedule that allows you to relax, reflect, and focus on the positive. Whether you choose to focus on goals, accomplishments, or whatever, you should dedicate time to reflection because reflection allows us to focus on what we want, and once we know what we want, we can make a plan to achieve it.
Inhale Inspiration, Exhale Overwhelm
The quickest way to fail is becoming too overwhelmed to adequately dedicate yourself to the things you are passionate about. One of my favorite things to do during my day is just browse Pinterest, or my favorite Instagram accounts, or read a good novel, and look at things that are saturated in inspiration. I feel so much more motivated to do good work and invest in my passions when I am inspired, and I am so unmotivated and unhappy with everything when I feel too overwhelmed. We are in a society that preaches that in order to have it all, you have to do it all. This is untrue. You can be diverse in your interests, but you will do better work if you focus on what is truly important to you.
Be Kind, and Avoid Office (Classroom) Gossip
Whether you’re finishing up college or graduate school, or already in the workforce, it is important to avoid the vacuum that is office or classroom gossip. Just steer clear of negative energy! Chances are your boss or professor is aware of the rumors or disgruntled rumblings taking place, and you don’t want to be associated with that. Rather, you should be focusing on doing your best work. It’s hard to avoid gossiping at times when it’s happening right in front of you, but you’ll be way more successful if you just do you [boo], and keep on keepin’ on, doing your best and staying positive.
Set Goals in Stages
Unless you’re extremely lucky, chances are you will not be an overnight success. A lot of “overnight successes” in fact, were not overnight at all. Those people worked for years to get to where they were, and then all of the sudden success finds them at an overwhelming rate. So, set goals in realistic stages. Say, “in five days I want to have accomplished…” “in five months I want sot have accomplished…” “in a year…in five years…” and so on. Give yourself a limit, don’t plan your goals for the rest of your life, but it is okay to say, by age 35 I want to have done this one thing. Be realistic, make your goals manageable, and go for it!
Find a Positive Support Group
I have people who I know will calm me down if I’m having a rough day at school, work, with friends, whatever. I go to them with everything and anything and I know they will listen, offer advice, tolerate my rants, and try to work with me to figure out my next steps. It’s a small circle, but I trust them with everything. If I’m making a big life choice, or a big move professionally, they are who I consult. Find the people who will encourage you to pursue your dreams, and who don’t act like your hobbies or dreams are silly. I had a couple friends that tried to be supportive of my blogging life, but often made me feel silly or self conscious, which got old really fast and I don’t spend as much time with them. It’s okay to only trust a few people with your passions and goals, just figure out who they are!
Connect with People Who Challenge You
This may seem odd, but sometimes the best way to be successful is to surround yourself with people who push you, gently. I don’t mean hangout with people who are mean, or cut throat, or out to steal that coveted promotion, but surround yourself with other like-minded, driven people who are out to be successful, as they will rub off on you and create the motivation to continue down your successful path.
Remember that Failures are Normal, and Should Be Embraced
Failure is part of the path to success. You know the iPhone game Angry Birds? The creators of that app had about 53 other apps that weren’t successful or picked up before Angry Birds caught on. If they had stopped trying to create an app after the 8th failure, Angry Birds wouldn’t have happened. Failure is part of life, but your reaction to failure will define you. You can’t stop after failure, you need to keep your head up, put on some lipstick, take a bubble bath, drink some coffee (or something stronger!), and get back out there. It’s kind of like dating. We all get burned at one point, but rather than join a convent, we keep dating.
How do you work toward keeping an attitude that generates success?