Women are fearless when it comes to changing the game and trying new things. Our level of tenacity is only matched by our level of passion, and throughout it all, we maintain a solid sense of humor.
It’s us emotionally strong women who motivate the rest to push on and who emerge as voices of change. However, honing in on your skills and making a name for yourself is not easy; you need the drive, and you need to not get in your own way.
It takes kick-ass women to encourage future kick-ass women. We had the privilege of speaking with four go-getters -- confident females who are leaders in their fields, including a luxury furniture brand co-founder and the president of everyone's favorite kind of buzz, Tequila Avión -- on what it means to be an emotionally strong woman.
Today, we finally have an open forum for discussion of how women can make a marked difference in this world, and it's time we start tuning in. Being a strong woman isn't just about channeling your inner Beyoncé and hoping life will happen.
These four entrepreneurial ladies have shared their thoughts on what has led them to success, and it's nothing short of inspiring. We've taken the notes and compiled a study guide. Here are the 10 things that emotionally strong women don't do:
10. They don’t give in to fear
The fundamental quality of an emotionally strong woman is one that all four women named: fearlessness. To President of Tequila Avión Jenna Fagnan (and the only female president in the spirits industry), this means "to not be afraid to try something and fail."
As women, we are perfectionists. We like to make sure we will succeed before we try something, so we avoid the threat of failure and don't reach for new things. This kind of thinking needs to be reversed, however. We should go after the things that scare us.
Be bold and be fearless, so if you do fail, you’re able to move on. “I’ve had to learn and I have to continue to remind myself to not dwell on stuff when things don’t work out,” remarks Jenna.
9. They don’t crumble at rejection or criticism
Emotionally strong females are resilient. Especially for these women whose entrepreneurial nature of work makes them vulnerable to all types of criticism, it’s important that they are able to withstand any obstacle.
Backing down when the odds were against her was not an option for Susan Feldman, cofounder and chief merchandising officer of home decor website One Kings Lane. Starting the high-end, flash-sale site with Cofounder Alison Pincus was one of the most challenging, yet rewarding experiences of Feldman's career:
It was 2008 and people thought we were crazy for starting a business during one of the worst economic times in history, but we were so passionate about the concept that we charged ahead and made a commitment to give this our all, says Susan.
After working unimaginable hours and pulling their savings and credit cards, five months later, the bright ladies launched One Kings Lane in March 2009. Feldman said, “Staying strong and resilient was essential to launching our business and getting to where we are today.”
Keep powering through while the haters go on hating. That’s why you’ll succeed and they won’t.
8. They aren’t afraid to look to others for help
Being strong and independent doesn’t mean you have to exclusively rely on yourself. Surrounding yourself with valuable people eases the burden of personal- and work-related challenges.
Jenna Fagnan, for example, calls on her awesome women friends that she has had since college to provide good insight and lift her up. For Katrina Lake, founder and CEO of budding e-commerce site Stitch Fix, finding a great mentor is key to making difficult decisions and "naturally leads to greater confidence."
Let’s be real here: Sometimes, you just need to let it all out and have a good venting session. For every strong woman, there is a close-knit support system with cell phones in hand, ready to listen.
7. They don’t shy away from letting people know how valuable they are
Emotionally strong women first and foremost believe in themselves. If you look at all four women, one characteristic they all have in common is self-confidence.
Self-assurance isn’t just about focusing the attention on yourself, however. As Susan Feldman shares,
Being sure of yourself gives you the strength to be supportive for others, and it also puts you in the right frame of mind to welcome constructive criticism so that you can continue to improve and grow.
6. They don’t back down from challenges
Starting at a young age, women are socialized to stay on the sidelines and act passively. We’re taught to wait to be invited, instead of stepping up and joining in.
Emotionally strong women, however, are those who tackle challenges head-on. They overcome the "I’m not invited" perception and “keep going to meetings where people will probably say no... and try to learn from those experiences,” adds Katrina (whose seed-funding efforts were rejected about 49 times before she got a yes!).
5. They don’t compare themselves to others
Be your own inspiration. “There is no reason that you cannot be just as good, if not better,” advises talented jewelry-maker and noteworthy fashion blogger Jess Hannah. “You are YOU, no one else can be you. That's what makes you unique and special.”
Keep on doing you, girl because no one does you better.
4. They don’t measure their self-worth by other people’s opinions
Emotionally strong women don’t care about what people think because they are making their lives on their own terms. Someone else’s opinion, therefore, need not apply.
Jess Hannah puts it best: “You have to believe in yourself and what you are doing and accept the fact that not every one else will.”
3. They don’t get wrapped up in anger or resentment
Being an emotionally strong woman can quite literally mean not letting your emotions get the best of you; instead, practice remaining level-headed.
Jenna Fagnan lends her advice on how to do so:
I think sometimes you do have to suck it up and sort of try to push through when things aren’t going your way...When you get angry, that’s when it’s really tough to...just step back and think through 'How am I going to provide feedback?'
Don’t let your resentment cloud what it is you’re really after. It’s easy to share that bitter emotion, but remember that spreading anger is useless, harmful to your business and bad for people’s morale.
2. They don’t lose their passion
Being emotionally strong doesn't mean you should be totally devoid of emotions.
I think it’s okay to be passionate...I don’t think it’s helpful to have a steel wall and act like a robot or really tough. One thing that inspires and motivates people is when you’re real. And emotions are real, says Jenna Fagnan.
If you are passionate about your goals and excited about your pursuits, others around you will believe in you also. Jess Hannah, for example, writes genuinely about her jewelry design and personal style, which in turn, has garnered her over 10,000 followers.
Passion is like the energy that fuels an emotionally strong woman's drive.
When Susan Feldman and Alison Pincus, for instance, were building their business by their bootstraps, it was their unrelenting passion that propelled them to get to where they are now. One Kings Lane has evolved from a furniture flash-site into a luxury brand.
1. They don't hold back
Stand up, be heard and make a difference. -- Susan Feldman, cofounder and chief merchandising officer of One Kings Lane
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