15 Career Tips From Smart Women

When I was a child, my retired grandmother started petty trading right from our living room. Selling snacks, biscuits, bottled drinks and water. I remember assisting her to sell when people came to purchase and going with my older cousins to purchase the goods at a shop not too far away from our home. Now, as I grow older and shape my own career, I’m inspired by my grandmother and other hard-working women around me. Here are 15 quotes packed with genius advice that have given me a kick of inspiration…

On working hard:

“Work harder than everybody. You’re not going to get it by whining, and you’re not going to get it by shouting, and you’re not going to get it by quitting. You’re going to get it by being there.”
Barbara Walters

“People talk about confidence without ever bringing up hard work. That’s a mistake. I know I sound like some dour older spinster chambermaid on Downton Abbey who has never felt a man’s touch and whose heart has turned to stone, but I don’t understand how you could have self-confidence if you don’t do the work.”
Mindy Kaling

“Success is not easy and I think everyone should know that hard work and perseverance and being open to giving back are so much more powerful than stepping all over people to get to the top.”
Misty Copeland

“Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it.” — Madeline L’Engle

Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles. — Tina Fey

On perfectionism:

“I cannot imagine where women ever got the idea that they must be perfect in order to be loved or successful. (Ha ha ha! Just kidding! I can totally imagine: We got it from every single message society has ever sent us! Thanks, all of human history!) But we women must break this habit in ourselves — and we are the only ones who can break it. We must understand that the drive for perfectionism is a corrosive waste of time, because nothing is ever beyond criticism. No matter how many hours you spend attempting to render something flawless, somebody will always be able to find fault with it. (There are people out there who still consider Beethoven’s symphonies a little bit too, you know, loud.) At some point, you really just have to finish your work and release it as is — if only so that you can go on to make other things with a glad and determined heart. Which is the entire point. Or should be.”
Elizabeth Gilbert

“I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”
Anne Lamott

On learning from failure:

“Don’t be frightened: you can always change your mind. I know: I’ve had four careers and three husbands. You are not going to be you, fixed and immutable you, forever.”
Nora Ephron

“So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great good fortune.”
― Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“Every problem, every dilemma, every dead end we find ourselves facing in life, only appears unsolvable inside a particular frame or point of view. Enlarge the box, or create another frame around the data, and problems vanish, while new opportunities appear.”
Rosamund Stone Zander

On dealing with criticism:

“Too many young women I think are harder on themselves than circumstances warrant. They are too often selling themselves short. They too often take criticism personally instead of seriously. You should take criticism seriously because you might learn something, but you can’t let it crush you. You have to be resilient enough to keep moving forward, whatever the personal setbacks and even insults that come your way might be. That takes a sense of humor about yourself and others. Believe me, this is hard-won advice I’m putting forth. It’s not like you wake up and understand this. It’s a process.”
Hillary Clinton

On knowing yourself:

“Don’t lament so much about how your career is going to turn out. You don’t have a career. You have a life. Do the work. Keep the faith.”
Cheryl Strayed

“You have to care about your work but not about the result. You have to care about how good you are and how good you feel, but not about how good people think you are or how good people think you look.”
Amy Poehler

On vulnerability:

“I’ve cried at work. I’ve told people I’ve cried at work. And it’s been reported in the press that ‘Sheryl Sandberg cried on Mark Zuckerberg’s shoulder,’ which is not exactly what happened. I talk about my hopes and fears and ask people about theirs. I try to be myself — honest about my strengths and weaknesses — and I encourage others to do the same. It is all professional and it is all personal, all at the very same time.”
Sheryl Sandberg

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”
Brené Brown

On finding success:

“What if joy is my only metric for success?”
Sarah Jones

“When you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”
Michelle Obama

What career advice do you have?

(Rosamund Stone Zander and Sarah Jones quotes via Swiss Miss. Top photo by Norman Jean Roy for Vogue.)