A few weeks ago, awe-inspiring female leaders like Alicia Keys, Admiral Michelle Howard, Awkwafina and Doris Kearns Goodwin, took the virtual stage for the annual Massachusetts Women’s Conference. They’ve leapt past obstacles in a culture that often mutes our voices.
How? With self-care, self-love and self-confidence. Enjoy their wisdom on how to honor your needs in the days and months ahead. And enter this new chapter with restored faith in your gifts, community and power to change the systems we live, work and play in.
Pause and Reflect
Awkwafina, Award-winning Actress, Writer & Rapper, “Playing those little shows, were the best times of my life, because I was waiting for something to happen. But when things started to pick up, and it was objectively the best time of my life, I found myself losing my sense of identity. So, today, I want to be in a mental place where I can handle this career, in a healthy way, and I’m not worrying all the time.”
Mel Robbins, Best-selling Author & Entrepreneur, “If you’re not motivated in your life, you’re not playing a big enough game. Get very quiet and tune into what you long for.”
Iyanla Vanzant, Best-selling Author & Producer, “If you’re here, you’re alive. Our scars are being transformed into sacred knowledge.”
Mel Robbins, Best-selling Author & Entrepreneur, “…What have you learned in 2020? Everything that is happening in your life, is preparing you for what’s next.”
Take Back Your Routines
Mel Robbins, Best-selling Author & Entrepreneur, “When you wake up what’s the first thing that you see? It had better not be your phone! The first thing you should you see should be something that brings you joy or happiness. It could be a photo of somebody that you love or your family, a beautiful quote, a book of prayers or meditations that you read every morning but curate what you see.”
Mariana Atencio, Award-winning Author, Journalist & Speaker, “…As a breaking news Reporter for over 10 years, I didn’t know which assignment I would get sent on or when I would be able to come home. But I found that I could start taking control over my day, if I controlled the way my day started and the way my day ended. … That empowered me to take control over my day and slowly take control over my life.”
Adopt a Positive Mindset
Mel Robbins, Best-selling Author & Entrepreneur, “Don’t give up on being positive. Right now, more than ever, is the time to go to work on your mindset. Life is handing you this opportunity to train yourself to be more optimistic, to have hope, to hold on to your joy and your dreams.”
Mariana Atencio, Award-winning Author, Journalist & Speaker, “Change is happening. And I want you to be prepared for it. The best thing you can do is have a positive attitude and take action. You have been given this pause as an opportunity to reimagine your life and your intentions.”
And Let Go of What Others Think
Alicia Keys, Award-winning Artist, Author & Entrepreneur, “It’s taught me about letting go and listening to where I’m supposed to be, versus being so controlling all the time. Listening to my own voice and pursuing my dreams in my own way. It’s really hard to hear your own voice when you have bosses, partners, kids and algorithms, telling you who you are and what you should do.”
Mariana Atencio, Award-winning Author, Journalist & Speaker, “We become accustomed to living our lives by what other people think of us. ‘I’m the child of X, the wife of Y and the employee of Z.’ … Your new mantra? ‘I can, I will, I belong.’ Say that every time the imposter syndrome enters your head, ‘I belong to every room I enter.’ It’s your new prayer, mantra and battle cry.”
Care for Yourself
Alicia Keys, Award-winning Artist, Author & Entrepreneur, “I was not choosing myself. I was making choices that didn’t value my health and wellbeing. So, I realized overtime that I was subscribing to these stereotypes that we all happen to take in, just because we’re on planet earth. And I wanted to redefine it. I didn’t want my definition to be … so concerned with what everyone else thought of me, and not in touch with what I thought about myself.
Mariana Atencio, Award-winning Author, Journalist & Speaker “I want you to pull out your social media (platform) of choice and I want you to delete one account that you feel isn’t really adding any value into your life. What I call a toxic account. I’m talking unattainable beauty accounts, unattainable fitness account, that frenemy from high school, that guy that got away and accounts about material things that make you think you need more of that in your life.”
Love & Believe in Yourself
Mel Robbins, Best-selling Author & Entrepreneur, “Put your hands on your heart and tell you, that you love yourself. High five yourself in the mirror.”
Mariana Atencio, Award-winning Author, Journalist & Speaker “Love yourself, love your body and love your journey. Everything you have gone through, good or bad, it made you who you are today. And that’s the person that will move you forward, not the one that you fantasize about or the one that you post for others to see, but the real you.”
Mel Robbins, Best-selling Author & Entrepreneur, “You can also find joy, happiness, fulfilment and opportunity. I need you to start dreaming again. I need you to start showing up for something bigger because when you stop dreaming you start to give up on yourself and we’re not going to have that.”
Revel in Community
Alicia Keys, Award-winning Artist, Author & Entrepreneur, “This year has taught me how important it is to slow down, go deeper within our communities and connect.”
Mariana Atencio, Award-winning Author, Journalist & Speaker “… When you’re charting your own path, without comparing yourself to others, that’s when you become a leader, whether it be in your personal or in your professional life. So, surround yourself with a grateful inspirational and proactive network of people. And I also want you to keep that network warm, don’t let it cool, cultivate your contacts and don’t call them just when you need something.”
Authenticity IS Your Superpower
Alicia Keys, Award-winning Artist, Author & Entrepreneur, “I was very clear about who I was and I wanted to look and act like who I am. Something happened in the early 2000’s, where women had to be wearing something like a ball gown! And I grew up in Hell’s Kitchen. The neighborhood was like me. …It taught me so much, that fierceness, that grind, that hustle and I wouldn’t change it.
Awkwafina, Award-winning Actress, Writer & Rapper, “I came up with the name (Awkwafina) at 15 or 16, when I had a shamelessness and confidence that I don’t have anymore. A lot of it was disciplined away. Awkwafina is a part of me and when I see it, on posters, it reminds me of that girl I was.”
Mariana Atencio, Award-winning Author, Journalist & Speaker, “Do not minimize what makes you different. It’s the biggest source of your power. Ditch the fear of other people’s opinions.”
Honor Your Values
Admiral Michelle Howard, the first female U.S. Navy Four-Star Admiral, “Three days into the job I said, I’m going to look for diverse perspectives for this very difficult task. I had learned over time, the more variety and ideas, they collide against each other and somehow the truth rubs out. It’s our differences as sailors and as citizens, that’s the strength of our country, the strength of our nation.”
Fight, Fight, Fight Injustice
Alicia Keys, Award-winning Artist, Author & Entrepreneur, “Healthcare or the lack of healthcare, for certain people, in certain places is a social justice issue. It’s racism at its finest. The question is, what are we going to do? There’s something we can all do.”
Admiral Michelle Howard, the first female U.S. Navy Four-Star Admiral, “Today women can be warriors too.”
Mariana Atencio, Award-winning Author, Journalist & Speaker, “Express your opinions and your authenticity without apologies. Don’t apologize for looking the way that you look, sounding the way that you sound or for your name or accent, which is something that has happened to me as a Latina on television, when expressing yourself.”
Alicia Keys, Award-winning Artist, Author & Entrepreneur, “Students Demand Action, Black Lives Matter, Moms Demand Action — are not some outside forces setting priorities, that’s us. When we show up for each other we make noise! By showing up for each other we are winning. When we show up for each other, we get a say in who’s hired, who gets a seat at the table and who we protect. We have to actively participate in dismantling the system, showing up regularly and holding each other accountable.”
Persevere, Even When it’s Hard
Mel Robbins, Best-selling Author & Entrepreneur, “You can’t fake your values, but you can fake your motivation. I think you need to do that to push past the fear and uncertainty.”
Mariana Atencio, Award-winning Author, Journalist & Speaker, “The dream won’t be built in a day so set small goals for every day. …When a woman is determined there is nothing that can stand in her way. When we empower ourselves, we empower other women to do it too.”
And Take Inspired Action
Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning Historian, Speaker & Author, “We’ve come a long way but there is much more to do. As Eleanor Roosevelt said: ‘We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.’”
Mel Robbins, Best-selling Author & Entrepreneur, “You can use the 5 second rule to interrupt the negative thoughts and stressors that start to hijack your focus and happiness now. The 5 second rule starts to allow you to push past fear, doubt and anxiety. Here’s how it works. It’s dead simple, all you have to do is count (down) 54321. That’s right, when you catch yourself procrastinating, 54321, start working. When you catch yourself worrying and getting all upset about something, 54321, push through it and think about something positive.”
Mariana Atencio, Award-winning Author, Journalist & Speaker, “The T in control stands for time. It’s the most valuable commodity we have, it’s our precious nonrenewable resource. We know when we’re procrastinating, when we have spent one too many hours watching a show on Netflix that adds no value to us or when we’re down the social media rabbit hole. So, think about what you want to spend those precious minutes doing.”
Admiral Michelle Howard, the first female U.S. Navy Four-Star Admiral, “Somedays you’ve just got to get your warrior on and take that first step.”
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