The Best Career Advice I’ve Ever Heard

Aliza Licht, host of “Leave Your Mark” podcast, shares the advice she keeps hearing from successful people

Katie Couric
Dec 2, 2019 · 3 min read
Aliza Licht. Photo: Getty Images

This is an original essay by Aliza Licht, host of “Leave Your Mark” podcast. Read on.


I’ve been a straightforward person my entire life, and I always jokingly say that if you don’t want the truth, don’t ask me what I think. I’m also very decisive, and that has positioned me — for as long as I can remember — as the friend that you go to when you need advice, direction, and sometimes tough love. In my previous role as the social media personality, DKNY PR GIRL, I used my platform to mentor young professionals around the world. That ultimately led to my career advice book, Leave Your Mark.

This past spring, I bumped into a friend at an event who asked me to be on her podcast. She then proceeded to ask me why I don’t have a podcast. It was a random question that prompted me to go home that night and google how to do a podcast. I had no idea what I was doing — or how much work and self-teaching it would involve — but I decided that it would be a great extension of the lessons of my book, and I am so happy that I took the plunge and did it.

Out of a 15 episode season, I was amazed at how many of my guests shared the same mantra of, “Say yes and figure it out later.” So many people suffer from imposter syndrome, and that fear can be paralyzing. Practicing this mantra allows for stretching beyond where you’re comfortable, and that’s when the magic happens.

Financial expert Nicole Lapin said “yes” to a business news anchor role without a finance background. Influencer Tina Craig said “yes” to designing a bag collection without any design experience. Writer, producer, and now actress Jill Kargman said “yes” to doing scripted television for the first time at 40. They, and so many others, embraced the opportunities presented to them without fear of failure or the plaguing insecurity of believing that they weren’t capable.

When I heard all these inspiring and successful women share that they embarked on projects that they had no clue how to do, it was enlightening and refreshing. In my career, I have sometimes felt that if I didn’t already have 100% of the experience needed to take on a role, then I was not qualified. Still, the truth is that you’re supposed to learn as you go — and if you’re not learning on a job, then you are not growing professionally. But unless you are brave enough to say yes, you have no idea what that experience could lead to and the doors that it could open. Sometimes when we see successful people, we assume that they have it all covered, but in reality, they are figuring it as they go too.

Producing this podcast was me living this mantra, and it was so ironic to hear it on each episode. I’m sharing this advice with others now, because I want people to take chances and not let the fear of failure stop them from pursuing exciting new opportunities. For me, I have started to embrace this idea as a pillar of my professional life. If we are curious and open to exploring new paths, we can learn and do anything.


Aliza Licht is the author of the Leave Your Mark career advice book, and host of the Leave Your Mark podcast. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

This originally appeared in Katie Couric’s Wake-Up Call newsletter. Subscribe here.

Katie Couric

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Founder, Katie Couric Media. Newscaster: Wake-Up Call. Podcaster: Next Question. Doc filmmaker. @SU2C founder.

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