Last Wednesday, I was tapped as a speaker for @Work: Style Your Success Panel Series, put together by LinkedIn, J.Crew, and WeWork.
The intention behind the series is to have inspiring professionals talk about their definition of success and what they’re in it for—basically, what motivates these professionals to wake up and willingly deal with the hustle every day?
Of course, there was zero hesitation on my part about joining the panel. If my blog name doesn’t clue you in, well, I have to say, The Ambitionista is all about redefining style and success for women—which is a perfect fit for the panel series. But before I was the Blogger-in-Chief at The Ambitionista, I was a high powered banker slaving away in the corner office of a company in Tokyo.
In between analyzing numbers and crunching data, I would look up from my work to watch Tokyo’s most fashionable individuals strolling outside of my window. And I can tell you that despite all outward appearances of being ‘successful’, I knew I was just going through the motions and the thought that this could be all that I did for the next 10 years, was unbearable.
So I made that decision—after a lot of research and preparation – I resigned from my high-profile job and toppled back to square one, this time as a fashion writer. It was hard, of course, but no success ever comes without its challenges and risks. I had to take writing classes, cut down on expenses and network like crazy. Nearly a decade later, it all paid off. And suffice it to say that, even if I don’t hold that corner office in Tokyo anymore, I feel immensely successful in what I do. The thing is, a recent study from LinkedIn shows that success isn’t synonymous with sitting pretty in the corner office anymore. Professionals now have other standards for success: there’s having a flexible schedule as opposed to a high salary, having multiple skill sets as opposed to one professional title, and moonlighting on top of a 9 to 5 job, to name some key motivators. And often, the ability to connect and give back to one’s community is also seen as a key barometer to success.
The takeaway is, people are equating success to a position where they’re truly happy and inspired to perform at their best.
So if people are setting out to carve their own definition of success, then it’s a better time now more than ever for you to take the reins. Here are some key things to keep in mind so you can set yourself up for success.
Ask yourself, what do you really want? Don’t ask your parents, your friends, or your partner for an answer—because that would be making it their goal, and not yours. Figure out what YOU want, and do it.
Capitalize on the things you are talented or knowledgeable at, and own your flaws—everybody has them. Best thing you can do is to look for ways to continuously improve yourself.
It’s incredibly valuable to have people who will carry you through those days when nothing is going right—and there will be many of those!
Success should not be measured in dollars and cents. Appreciate the journey, failures included. Make the best out of the time with your partner, family, or close friends. And don’t forget to give back in some small way—maybe volunteer at a soup kitchen or be vocal about a cause you believe in. All these keep lives in check. Because ultimately, everyone can agree—happiness and fulfillment is a form of success.
If this sounds something you’re interested in, join the conversation by sounding off on social about what you’re in it for—and don’t forget to use the hashtags #InItTogether and #StyleYourSuccess.
I’d like to thank LinkedIn for sponsoring this post, and thank you to LinkedIn, J.Crew and WeWork for putting together such a game-changing panel series.
I was speaking with Saeed Jabar, who cut his teeth working with Gary Vaynerchuck and now is the Executive Director with Inclusion.org.
The #StyleYourSuccess event was held at J.Crew’s 5th Avenue store. Aren’t these earrings beautiful?
On my right – the effervescent moderator Ashley Levey – Consumer Editorial Marketing Lead at Linkedin.