I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This

What do you define as success?  Do you want to live your life with more confidence?  Take more chances?  Go for a big promotion?  Find your passion?  In I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: Success Tips for Gutsy Gals, Kate White talks about how to achieve success in a very real way, as well as how to enjoy success once you have it.  White, the former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, speaks straight from the heart and uses many different examples from people she’s met along the way to inspire women to achieve their own success.

The Big Idea

The Big Idea: The biggest takeaway from the book

Go Big or Go Home

"…success is most often the result of doing the bold extra something that no one else has thought of or dared to try...  doing a job well is not enough. The key is to do more than what's expected, power it up, go balls to the wall."
- I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This, page 6

“When was the last time that you made your boss say, ‘Wow’?”  This was a question that Kate White asked of the audience at a speaking engagement and it’s a good one to ask yourself.  People are never successful because they do exactly what’s asked of them and nothing more.  People are successful because they think outside of the guidelines, do a little bit extra, refuse to do something one way just because “that’s the way that it’s always been done.” 

Go big when grabbing what you want. Whether it’s a minute alone with someone you know can help your career or going for a job, success is never found sitting still and waiting for life to happen.  And, White warns, sometimes going big means you’re going to have to break the rules: “you have to take what you’ve been told to do and twist it, toss it, or turn it upside down”.  White shares the story of Kate Spade who, the night before she was going to show her purses for the first time at a trade show, looked at them and realized that they were fine but nothing was special about them.  She cut a piece of the label inside and stuck it on the outside – challenging the rule that labels go on the inside and creating her iconic look for purses.  Whether it’s rethinking an assumption or going forward with a crazy idea, go big or go home!

Insight #1

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Have the Eye of the Tiger

"(Success:) you have to want it... you have to have the eye of the tiger and you have to do it every single day."
- Sandra Lee, uoted in I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This, page 132

We all know someone who is completely focused on achieving his/her goal.  Their passion is inspiring – but do you ever wonder how they stay so passionate?  White says firstly that for some people, the eye of the tiger is just innate.  For those of us who aren’t as lucky, we must cultivate it.  To do this, Kate suggests:

–        Be passionate about your job.  If you want success (in your personal or professional life), you need to follow your passion.  If you’re not sure what you are passionate about, throughout the book Kate White gives suggestions on how to find your passion – but they can really be boiled down to having experiences.  Whether it’s volunteering, joining clubs, buying a Groupon for something you’ve never done but you think “could be fun,” you never know what activity you will do that will make you think “this is it… this is me.”  And, White suggests asking those who love us what they think that we should do. Challenge anything that would make you think: “I could NEVER do that.”

  • Get a taste for success. Whether it’s relishing positive comments on a project that you completed or simply observing someone else’s success and how they experience it, remember it.
  • State your goal in a way that makes you excited.  Maybe it’s not a raise that you are excited about, but a change in title.  Talk about your goal in terms of what excites you.  This will help you tough things out when you’re working towards it.
  • Use envy as a motivator.
  • Stop worrying about how you can mess something up and think about how you’re going to impact the people you’re going to meet.  Whether in a meeting, a sales pitch, or even a networking event, you need to think about what you’re bringing to the table more than whatever the worst-case scenario is in your head.
  • Know what you need to know at the moment. Know a little bit about whom you’re meeting with, or know about the job that you’re interviewing for.  Knowing will help you to have more powerful conversations and the confidence that comes with knowing will come across.

Insight #2

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Drain the Swamp as You Slay the Aligators

"I quickly realized how easy it would be to become mired in all the day-to-day duties and drama of running the magazine and never get around to focusing on what was necessary to evolve it."
- I Shouldn't Be Telling You This, page 212

If you have a “to do” list that seems to repeat itself day after day, this tip is for you.  So often we have a big goal or project that we are working towards (draining the swamp) that gets buried under the urgent tasks that come up every day (slaying the alligators).  To be a success you have to master how to do both things at once, in both your personal life as well as your professional life.  Put time in your schedule to actually drain that swamp.

What big success are you looking for in your life?  Share below in the comments. Are you truly passionate about what you are doing or is there a nagging sense in the back of your head that this is not what you were meant to do?  No matter what success you are looking for in your life, I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This will offer easy tips to help you think big and go for it.

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Ashley Pelley

ABOUT Ashley Pelley

Words have always been food for me – once I pick up something to read, I can’t put it down. Words nourish my mind, whether through imagination or knowledge...
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