Your environment is one of the biggest factors that determines whether or not you'll be successful, achieve the goals you set for yourself, or even try to achieve your dreams. But more influential than the things that you have or don't have in your life are the people you have in your life. Whether they are friends, family or simply role models, it's critical to find a "tribe" that uplifts, inspires and encourages you.
One of my favorite ways to up-level my environment, motivate myself and open my mind to new possibilities is to learn more about people who are passionately dedicated to making their unique contribution to the world with heart and integrity and who are highly successful doing it. There are literally millions of inspiring people doing amazing work in the world, ranging from best-selling authors and teachers to everyday heroes working to better their communities.
Regardless of what niche or industry they may be in, success leaves clues(and I’m talking about a holistic, I-love-my-life kind of success, not just the money) . Their stories of struggle, triumph and lessons learned aren't only inspiring, they are great teachers and often give you insight into potholes on the road to success to avoid and shortcuts to take advantage of.
Wonder how some of the world's most successful and inspiring women entrepreneurs motivate themselves? Today I thought I'd give you a peek inside their minds so that you can be inspired, too. Be sure to share in the comments who (or what) most inspires YOU!
Photo credit: The Muse
Arianna was the founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post and now sits as President and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post Mediua Group (after it was HuffPo was acquired by AOL). She was a popular conservative commentator in the mid-90's before turning more liberal and then running for governor of California. As of 2014, she is listed by Forbes as the 52nd Most Powerful Woman in the World.
Arianna details her view on success in Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder - a must-read for anyone on the brink of burnout or struggling with finding balance in their lives.
Fearlessness is Arianna's trademark.
"Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it, the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me."
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Rashmi has made Forbes' Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs and Fast Company's World's Top 10 Women Influencers lists in the last decade. She is a business innovator and the founder of Slideshare, a slide hosting service provider, which was acquired by Linkedin on 2012. It allows users to upload slidedecks for viewing on the site itself or can be embedded on other sites, which has made it a hugely popular work collaboration and sharing tool.
What motivates Rashmi to keep innovating and stay on top of her game? Independence.
As she puts it: "I think it is going to be hard to trace a specific event that made me want to be an entrepreneur. I like independence. I like to build things. Being an entrepreneur allows me to do both."
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Anita is a British businesswoman, business responsibility advocate and the Founder of The Body Shop. The Body Shop was one of the first companies to prohibit the use of ingredients tested on animals and one of the first to promote fair trade with developing countries.
In her book, Business as Unusual: My Entrepreneurial Journey, Profits with Principles, she details how consumers have the power to shape companies through the choices they make and steer businesses toward more responsible, sustainable and ethical ways of operating.
One of Anita's guiding principles for success: Don't be afraid to be daring. To be different.
"If you do things well, do them better. Be daring, be first, be different, be just."
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Sara is the youngest self-made female billionaire in America. She is also the founder of Spanx, a brand which offers stylish shapewear, leggings and undergarments, as well as champion of motherhood, as shown by her book The Belly Art Project: Moms Supporting Moms.
Sara views mistakes as not only part of the path to success but a major contributor to success:
"It's important to be willing to make mistakes. The worst thing that can happen is you become memorable."
Listen in on the wisdom she shares about overcoming failure in this video interview on Inc.
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Before her fame and success came, she felt she was the "biggest failure she knew". She struggled with numerous setbacks, the death of her mother, numerous failed relationships and becoming a single mother, but these trials and tribulations did not stop her from pursuing her passion - writing.
Did you know that the Harry Potter manuscript was actually sent to 12 publishing companies? And that it was rejected by every single one of them until the editor at Bloomsbury Publishing company sat down to read and, eventually, publish it? Millions of children and adults alike are grateful J.K. Rowling didn't give up the vision of having her book published!
"We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already."
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As a child, Oprah Winfrey wore potato sacks because clothing did not always fit into the budget of her poverty-stricken family. She was raped by her cousin when she was 9, she was shuffled between family members because her teenage mother needed to work, and she was sent to live in a Milwaukee boarding house only to endure years of sexual and physical abuse. Finally at age 14, Oprah broke free and went to live with her dad in Nashville, Tennessee, where her success would start to take shape.
Decades after launching her mega-hit show Oprah and her popular Super Soul Sundays conversations and then her OWN broadcasting network, Forbes estimates Winfrey's current net worth at $3 billion. She is the only black woman on the publication's list of the 400 richest people in America. She attributes a large part of her success to cultivating an attitude of gratitude:
"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough."
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Sheryl Kara Sandberg is an American technology executive, activist and author. She is the chief operating officer (COO) of Facebook, founder of Leanin.org and author of the best-seller, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, which launched her into visibility as an inspiring role model for women around the world.
What's her secret to success?
"I'm a big believer that we have to commit to things and make them a regular habit in order to make them work. An explicit place, particularly for women, to dream big is really important."
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Marianne Deborah Williamson is a spiritual teacher, author and lecturer focusing on teachings from A Course in Miracles, love and forgiveness. She has multiple New York Times number one bestsellers, including her first book, A Return to Love, which launched her into fame when it was picked as one of Oprah Winfrey's favorite books. She also the is the founder of Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that serves home-bound people with AIDS.
This quote is often attributed to Maya Angelou, but actually comes from Marianne's book A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles...
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
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Known not only for her projects as a famous celebrity, Jessica Alba is one inspiring, successful woman who created the Honest Co. billion-dollar empire of organic products, ranging from soaps, to detergents, make-ups, baby wipes and much more!
According to Forbes, her estimated net worth in 2016 was an astounding $340 million. So how did her green start-up become desirable and so enormously successful?
“I think the secret is surrounding yourself with people who are incredibly smart, staying focused on the mission and making sure, regardless the size of your company, that you have alignment,” she told in an interview.
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Diane Von Furstenberg
In an industry where the early years of American fashion were dominated by male designers, Diane Von Furstenberg emerged to become a key player who would change the way women would dress themselves.
She is largely credited for popularizing the wrap dress. Her interpretation of this dress style was praised for its ease, wearability, and universal ability to flatter the female figure. It was really an instant hit!
But that does not mean that she did not face business trials...
In 1972 she used a $30,000 loan to start her company in 1972, but in the mid-1980's she decided to sell her company and take a break from fashion. She felt unsettled and unexpressed. Unhappy with the brand that bore her name and made her known, she started doubting herself and she felt the fear of failure. She believed that the company she built no longer reflected her.
But she stood and reclaimed her future - this time fearing no failure. She relaunched her brand in 1997... and now the DvF brand brings in over $200 million in sales annually.
"Even if I had failed, I would have no regrets. I now realize that you only regret the things you don’t do."
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Marie Forleo is a marketing and lifestyle expert and a popular expert in the areas of personal development, entrepreneurship and following your own path. Through her popular website and humor-laced videos, she reaches millions in over 190 countries worldwide.
But success did not come easy to her. Marie worked her way through college doing one of the most people-person jobs imaginable - bar tending - and then made fitness videos before launching her career as a coach for entrepreneurs. She even wrote a relationships book called Make Every Man Want You before finding her calling as a coach for entrepreneurs. Through it all, she identifies one thing as key to creating success, no matter what field or niche you're in:
"Success doesn't come from what you do occasionally; it comes from what you do consistently.”
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Sophia Amoruso has had a lot of different kinds of jobs. She starred in commercials as a child model, performed sandwich art at Subway, worked at a bookstore, sold orthopedic shoes, balanced the pH levels of water at a hydroponic plant store, maneuvered a wheelbarrow as a landscaper, and the list goes on. Like many, she struggled to make ends meet. However, after a shoplifting attempt went awry, Amoruso had a moment of clarity: she deserve something better than all of these.
“It’s good to feel out of your league. You should try to spend most of your time feeling out of your league because then you’ll grow into it and find another league.”
Share your thoughts!
Who inspires you most? Whose stories have sparked insights or a-ha momentsfor you? Share your thoughts in the comments!