Be Your Own Girlboss: Why I Choose Success
Being a Girlboss is all the rage. We can thank Sophia Amoruso for empowering us Boss Babes to stand up for our work and what we believe in. But sometimes, for women, success feels like a choice. Or an apology. Or a sacrifice.
“I can be an entrepreneur or an employee. I can be a mother or a CEO. I can do everything, but something’s gotta give.”
Whatever your reason for wanting to rule your own life, you have to get behind your convictions. You have to live the life you feel you were destined for. You have to know that it won’t be easy. Because when you reach the kind of success that changes your life and shifts the lives of others around you, it’s not supposed to be easy.
Design Isn’t Practical
My mother and grandmother were always interested in the innards of one’s home: designing, rearranging and renovating every chance they got. My mother would stitch together window treatments and take over my bedroom design with the assurance of a headstrong teen.
While I got the design bug early, rearranging my aunt’s house, building forts and creating interiors, I realized early on that I wanted to generate more than a space.
I wanted to generate a feeling.
I wanted to feel safe. I wanted to feel calm. I wanted to feel peace.
Despite my family’s love for design, my grandmother was a secretary, and my mother was a nurse. Their skills stopped at the back door, and they never capitalized on their innate design talents outside of their own homes. When I mustered the courage to go to college for design, my mother strongly advised against it. She told me it wasn’t practical, and I wouldn’t make any money.
So, I listened.
I went to school for a year and a half, majoring in business administration, then accounting and biology. I couldn’t find anything I could see myself doing long term. I withdrew and started working as a waitress and bartender. I saved money to go back to school, because I knew all along what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. The rebel in me stirred.
“Fine, I’ll do it myself,” I said. I enrolled in school for design. I went part-time, then full time. I graduated on the Dean’s List with a BS in Interior Design.
Design was stuck in me, wedged like the most passionate piece. I began working for independent clients, then with a firm, finding supplemental income whenever I could.
I hustled because it mattered.
After many years and one recession, I branched off on my own again, drenched in mistakes. But there are lessons in the mistakes, and if you want to be your own Girlboss, then know this:
The mistakes are what guide you.
Now, I own my own business, MOOD | Design + Build, and the road isn’t some slick, glamorous path free of bumps. The magic is in the bumps. The magic happens when you learn and grow, and you can only do that through trial and error and by throwing yourself in the fire. By risking everything.
It’s all about the growing pains.
How to Be Your Own Girlboss:
Take huge risks.
Yes, we’ve all heard that we need to take big risks to reap big rewards, but when you take a risk in business? Give yourself no escape hatch. Back yourself into a corner where there’s literally no way out, so you have to stay the course. Deliberately seek out opportunities to put yourself in those positions. Once you do, you are forced to follow through. When you come out on the other side, you learn exactly what you’re made of.
Embrace the mess.
Becoming successful isn’t fluid. Sometimes, it’s exhilarating and joyful. Other days, it’s exhausting, depleting and frustrating. It’s messy. But the mess is part of it. Being your own successful boss is about being in the mess of what a business looks like while it’s growing. It’s in direct proportion to where you are growing too.
Become a navigator.
Here’s the thing about messes: They can be cleaned up. Mistakes can be fixed. It’s vital to navigate through issues when they come up and not discount what’s hard and challenging. Be optimistic and attack challenges with solutions-based thinking. It’s not the end of the world if something doesn’t get done or a deal falls through. Find the silver lining and forge a new way to get to your desired outcome.
Own your why.
Being your own Girlboss means you are in control of having no control. You have to roll with the good and bad, rise to every challenge and above all else, identify your why. Why do you love what you love? Why do you want to be successful? Identifying what matters to you often means asking yourself this: Where is the pain? What is the one thing you want to fix in your life that would make you feel so good about yourself if you could?
Work from that place, put it all together, and you will achieve everything.