10 Best Lessons from Successful Women

by HULA , March 8, 2019

Michelle Obama

Happy International Women’s Day! What better way to celebrate than figuring out ways on how we could improve our careers and lives by looking at advice given by seasoned, successful women who have climbed to the top of their field? Here, we extracted 11 key tips from these real life wonder women.

Build you career based on what you want

“The wisest advice I ever got was to build my career on what I want, not what others want for me. This means acknowledging that while you may not be the best at something, you can still reach your goals if you possess the passion and drive. That also means taking care of yourself. Exercising and maintaining a healthy diet are essential to helping manage the stresses of a high-profile position.”
– Mary Kinney – Executive Vice President and COO of Ginnie Mae (Government National Mortgage Association)


It’s about the people you surround your self with

”Never be afraid to recruit people brighter than you are, and never be afraid to recruit people who are different than you. That is sometimes hard to do, but incredibly powerful if you want to create a team that is really effective.”
– Judith McKenna, COO of Walmart

“Make sure you’re working for someone confident who is willing to take risks on you, gives you stretch opportunities, and is there to back you if things get tough. And do the same for people on your team.”
– Ruth Porat – SVP and CFO, Google/Alphabet

Sheryl Sandberg

Marry well, or not at all

“The most important career choice you’ll make is who you marry… I don’t know of a single woman in a leadership position whose life partner is not fully — and I mean fully — supportive of her career.”
– Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

And many successful women like Oprah Winfrey, Charlize Theron and Mindy Kaling, simply choose to forgo marriage all together. The Mindy Project actress says: ”In my 20s, I was not only boy crazy, but marriage and relationship crazy. … Now it’s almost the opposite,” she told Flare magazine. “My work is so rewarding and I’m so self-centered about it that I’m kind of excited about not having to go home and ask someone about their day.”

It seems the key is to find a great, supportive partner, or simply stay independent.


Handle criticisms well

“Take criticism seriously, but not personally. If there is truth or merit in the criticism, try to learn from it. Otherwise, let it roll right off you.”
—Hillary Clinton, former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State


Be in for the long run

“Life’s a marathon, not a sprint. When things go wrong, dust yourself off.”
—Kate Grussing, Founder and Managing Partner at Sapphire Partnership

“Let us not forget: I didn’t just wake up First Lady… I mean, I went to law school, I practised law, I worked for the city, I ran a nonprofit (and) I was an executive at a hospital. I’ve been in the world. I’ve worked in every sector, and you don’t do that without coming up against some stuff. You know, having your feelings hurt, having people say things about you that aren’t true… Life hits you, so over the course of living, you learn how to protect yourself in it. You learn to take in what you need and get rid of the stuff that’s clearly not true.”
– Michelle Obama – Former First Lady of the United States


Find something you really care about and mix that with something you love doing

“Sit down and ask yourself, ‘What is the most important thing to me?’ What grosses me out the most? What makes me the most upset — is it healthcare? Is it so many people being hungry in our culture? Is it sexual abuse? Mix that with doing something you love, something you could keep doing forever and ever. For me, it was ending violence against women, and I mixed it with music. And I’ve had a 25-year career. So that’s my advice: Find something you really care about and mix that with something you love doing.”
—Kathleen Hanna, musician and activist, singer of Bikini Kill

Kathleen Hanna


Be your authentic self

“When I was being considered for a senior role, I was told on an evaluation to avoid wearing pink because it made me look too ‘girlish’… Indirectly, I was told my femininity was a barrier. Because of my outward appearance, they couldn’t see my internal strength. Regardless, I fought back and got the job. Ever since then, I’ve made it a point to wear pink.”
– Karen Lynch – president, Aetna

“Everyone has a place where they feel they are most authentically themselves or in their element. It’s the place where your heart, gut and brain meet and don’t fight. It is the place where what you are good at meets what you aspire to. You know you are where you are supposed to be and feel you are on the path even when it’s hard. This is where you need to spend a lot of time. Whether it’s in nature, with friends, exploring new places. Go here and stay here often.”
– Bryn Freedman –TED Talks Curator, Anti- Slavery Activist , Co-Founder, Voices 4 Freedom Foundation


Be confident and just go for it

“Just go for it. Too often, women have a confidence gap that makes them pause and slow down while men dive in and learn as they go. Just go for it!”
– Kathleen Murphy – President, Personal Investing, Fidelity Investments

“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”
– Michelle Obama – Former First Lady of the United States


Be open to opportunities

“Be prepared to spot growth opportunities when they present themselves—because they are the key learning opportunities. You’ll know because they make you uncomfortable, and your initial impulse may be that you’re not ready. But remember: Growth and comfort never co-exist.”
Ginni Rometty – Chairman, President, and CEO, IBM


Transparency and honestly are key

“When I got my first management position nearly 15 years ago, my global manager said to remember, ‘Transparency and honesty are key to managing relationships and gaining trust from people. And it’s harder than you think.’ It’s true. It’s incredibly hard sometimes to deliver a message you know someone is not going to like, but in the long run, it really pays off to be as transparent about a situation as you can be.”
– Yuki Hashimoto – Managing Director, Head of Fixed Income, Japan