Have you seen Shine On from Netflix with Reese Witherspoon? It’s one of my new favorite shows.
It’s captivating to see the stories of these successful women creators and entrepreneurs and artists. But maybe not for the immediate reason you’re thinking. Sure, you can call them successful in the societal sense. Most of them are rich and famous.
What draws me in is that they’re successful in their purposes. These women are creating new things, sharing their visions, and inspiring and uplifting other women. Many of them have hit incredible milestones or are the first to do something new.
It makes me feel like the things I’m passionate about, my gifts and dreams, are part of a bigger story than just me. Like they could actually make an impact in the world someday.
About midway through the series, I started taking notes, because it’s clear that successful women operate differently.
Even though they all have unique careers and backgrounds, they seem to be similar in what they think and do. Here’s what I noticed:
Successful women think positively.
Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, is a big believer in the concepts of manifestation and the Law of Attraction. Meaning that you can think positive things into being, just like you can think negative things into being.
While I can’t say I 100% agree that you can make good things happen in your life just by thinking about them, I do agree that how you think affects your broader perspective. The more you think positively, the more you see opportunity when it comes, the more grateful you are, the more positivity you generate around yourself.
And as with many of today’s philosophies, the Bible said it first: Philippians 4:4-9 talks about how rejoicing, being grateful, and thinking lovely things help you conquer anxiety and worry and disturbance in your life.
They don’t worry about what people think.
Again and again and again these women mention being told they couldn’t do something. Or “that’s just not how it works.” Or “that’s not how we do things.” Or even “that’s impossible.”
The women laugh about it now. But I know how I feel when even someone I don’t know, someone inconsequential disagrees with me or says I’m not doing something well or right. It takes courage to keep from setting your hopes on what other people say or think.
Also, they believe in what they’re doing, enough to challenge the status quo.
They run towards embarrassment and fear instead of away from it.
Another thing that struck me about Sara Blakely’s story is that she chose to go towards things that were nerve-racking for her. She also mentions that growing up, her father would ask her pointedly how she failed that day. That trying and failing was better than not trying at all.
It’s taking some shifting of perspective to see things that way. To me, failure feels like the worst possible thing. But we can embrace how it helps us grow, and all the ways it can propel us forward.
You can never start too late in life.
I was amazed at director Ava DuVernay’s story. Although she eventually became the first black female director in charge of a million dollar live-action film (A Wrinkle in Time), she didn’t even pick up a camera until she was 32. She completely changed her trajectory and started all over again.
So many times we can feel the pull of comparison, because we look around us and others seem to have it all together, or they have achieved things we only dream about. But God is working out our purpose for us on his timetable, not ours or this world’s.
Listen to vibrations / vibes / inner voices.
Many of these successful women felt pulled to something by someone other than themselves. I believe it’s a calling from God when those things happen in my life. Whatever form it comes in, pay attention. It may be happening for a reason.
Work together and empower other women.
These women are working to support and build up other women. It was cool to see how Reese interacted with these women, and how it wasn’t for the first time. These are friends, people she has followed and interacted with. Even as a powerhouse herself, she shares the importance of empowering other women.
Get permission, or give it to yourself.
I so relate to a feeling expressed a few times in this series, and it’s that we need permission in some form. Someone to validate our experience and our drive. Someone to say, “keep going,” even when it feels impossible or we make excuses.
Sometimes that comes from another person, maybe even the last person we expect. And sometimes it just comes from us – a decision to say, “actually, yes I can,” even when our brains tell us we can’t.
So what passion are you following? What problem are you solving?
And what can putting these believes and actions into practice do for you?