I consider myself a lifelong learner and I am constantly finding new articles, mediums, and spaces of inspiration to learn from. When I first started my consulting job, I was living at home and taking the three hour long roundtrip train ride into Chicago. This certainly left me with a large chunk of time. Now, let’s be fair. I definitely spent some hours sleeping or just scrolling Instagram after a long day, but I also started to discover some really fantastic professional resources and inspirational women that I leaned on for that extra burst of inspiration or guidance before a big meeting or presentation. To this day, I’ll still listen or reference some of these pieces throughout the workday to remind myself of my greater vision and professional pursuits. I’m compiled my favorite collection of pieces, whether they’re podcasts, Youtube videos, or books that have helped give me that extra professional pep in my step.
This is a classic video that I have used as audio inspiration before every job interview. I’m not sure why, but the short soundbites of some of my favorite actresses and entertainers paired with the background instrumental music always opens a different headspace for me. Each one is uniquely different in the causes they advocate for, but still uniformly passionate and driven to share their perspective.
“Education is a privilege and a luxury and not a birthright, like it should be, like it is here. So I say to you, use that right, take it and maximize it. That great opportunity that education is, make the most of it. As we speak in Colombia, there is a little girl dreaming a dream, like I used to be, that for her today may be unattainable, but tomorrow, maybe because of you, it will be possible.” – Shakira
I always get chills during that piece and it truly makes me take ownership over the opportunities that are presented to me and the opportunities I will continue to carve out for myself. This was especially relevant during those long hours at the undergraduate library chugging away for finals. Despite the challenges that pursuing higher education brought on, I always stayed grounded and motivated by the opportunities that were presented to me and the fact that I needed to take advantage of them.
I was once afraid of people saying who does she think she is. Now I stand up and say, this is who I am. – Oprah Winfrey
It is incredibly humbling to know that such a well established global leader came from origins of self doubt and grew to believe in her own power and strength. How many times have we talked ourselves out of something for fear of what others might think or say? It can be so easy to count ourselves out of opportunities because we’re scared of what the perception of others might look like. However, I believe in taking ownership over our decisions and carving out our own reality. That confidence in your own sense of self translates to others around you and becomes the foundation for you to keep pursuing what makes you happy, despite what others may think.
It also truly resonated with me because it can be easy to feel out of place or to get imposter syndrome in a fast paced, corporate environment. However, this quote reminds me that my career is a transformation and I will continually be building and growing into the woman I want to be. It also empowers me to take ownership over my space, over my voice, and over my talents and to become my own biggest advocate. There is no room to be waiting for someone else to recognize your light, you deserve to be your own lighthouse.
When The Little Things Count, 601 Essential Things That Everyone in Business Needs to Know by Barbara Patcher
I picked this little book up on a whim at a Goodwill several years ago. Since then, it had always sat in my bookcase in my childhood bedroom and I never truly looked at it. However, before my job started, I was eager to prepare for my role and decided to give it a read.
I truly believe everyone needs to read this when starting their first job and then continue reading it throughout her career. True to its nature, this book contains 601 different tips and tricks to managing the workspace across a variety of different settings and professional milestones. Whether it tackles topics about handling technology professionally, establishing your professional presence, or building work relationships, this book feels like the inside scoop on the business environment and gave me a strong starting confidence when starting my first job.
This book does not require you to read it chronologically, therefore, it’s the perfect read to throw in your purse and pick up on a long Uber ride or train. You can skip through various sections and topics without feeling like you’re missing any information that was discussed before. Do keep in mind that the book itself was written before certain technological advancements occurred in the workplace. However, I still think the bulk of the read has timeless elements that translate to a modern day work environment.
This is an incredibly insightful podcast from the Wall Street Journal that interviews influential female entrepreneurs and leaders where they share their financial insights, career advice, and tips on how to reach your goals and achieve professional success.
This podcast interviews everyone from the NYX Comesmetics founder Toni Ko to Naomi Hirabayshi, a Goldman Sachs managing director, to personal finance experts. What I find particularly compelling about this series is the inside scoop on their lives, their struggles, and their overall path to success. Sometimes, we just get the highlight reel and the final product of someone’s path to entrepreneurship, but this series truly focuses on the various nuances that can shape someone’s career from the start across a variety of industries.
Starting a new stage in your professional career can sometimes be a daunting task to take on. However, these four resources are my key areas of inspiration and guidance that I lean on whenever I need that support or drive to put myself out there, pursue my goals, and strive for self-advocacy in the workplace.