Gloria Steinem is the ultimate Boss Bitch. In fact, it’s her that I was channeling when I started writing my second book, “Boss Bitch.” At the turn of every page, I’d ask myself, “WWGD? (What Would Gloria Do?)”
So, when I got to meet her at an event a few years ago, to say that I was awestruck is a total understatement. I flat-out told her that she’s my she-ro in more ways than one. Here are five of the most important things I’ve learned from Gloria over the years, and how I’ve applied them to my career.
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Lesson No. 1: You Can Be Pretty and Pretty Ambitious
I used to think that I had to “dumb” or “ugly” myself down to be taken seriously, even chopping off my signature mane for a shorter “news anchor bob” at one point. Gloria redefined what we think of as beautiful, paving the way for women everywhere to feel their best and perform their best at work and in life — for herself, not for The Man or a man.
Lesson No. 2: Women’s Rights Are Human Rights
Gloria once said that “violence against females is the single best indicator of all other violence.” And I’ve found that, in the workplace, treating women as somehow less-than — whether by paying them less, or passing them over for deserved promotions or limiting their family-leave time — squashes productivity and innovation for everyone.
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Lesson No. 3: Trust Your Gut
When I first started out in financial news, I thought you needed an MBA to know how to read the market and make smart investment decisions. I often had hunches about how a business or stock would perform, but typically deferred to my male colleagues to make the final call. As Gloria said, “Listen to yourself, the unique voice inside you.” Once I started listening to and then trusting my own voice, my career took off with more opportunities for feature reporting and breaking news. I ultimately felt empowered to do the same for other women through my personal finance books.
Lesson No. 4: The Means Create the Ends
Gloria has talked a lot about how we should conduct our day-to-day lives in the same spirit as the end result that we want. So, if you want to climb to the top of your industry as a Boss Bitch, you need to live every single day with ambition, energy and equanimity — even if you are currently an intern at the very bottom of the corporate ladder.
Lesson No. 5: No Regrets
In all of my books, I encourage my readers not to hide from their weaknesses but to embrace them. The very traits that you see as weak can be huge assets to you and your career if you use them properly. For example, like a lot of driven people, I have long suffered from pretty severe anxiety, which, if left unchecked, can be crippling. But I’ve learned to use my anxiety to carefully organize and plan long-term projects, with smaller deadlines along the way to keep me on track. As Gloria said, “The things you regret sometimes turn out to be the things you celebrate.”
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