Over the years, we’ve met many ambitious and successful women. Some of them have started companies, launched YouTube careers, led billion dollar companies into success, and done the impossible. And it’s been great to interview them, find out what makes them tick, and listen to their advice. When we were just starting off, we made the common misconception that successful women had some magic that could rub off on us. But it’s not the case; we noticed that every successful woman had one thing in common, that they all relied on a notebook or a planner to get stuff done, and that realization is what prompted the start of CGD LONDON.
But, besides that, there is no magic formula that pre-destined these women for success. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s the culmination of hard work and determination that made it possible, and it wasn’t always easy. Yes, you can achieve everything you want in life, you just have to go for it.
ONE THING ALL SUCCESSFUL WOMEN HAVE IN COMMON
Why was it that everyone from the former CFO of BMW to the YouTuber making a full-time income from her beauty vlogs relied on a pen and paper to get ahead? The CFO of BMW had a notebook she kept with her all day; she would journal in it in the early hours of the morning and use it to write down ideas, inspiration, and points. The YouTuber would do the same, planning her day in a day planner too, making sure she made time for herself and kept her busy day on track. True, if you look at photographs of Anna Wintour, for example, you’ll always see a stylish notebook balanced on her lap while she’s sitting in the front row, quickly taking notes to refer to later.
This is key. You can’t expect to keep all your great ideas, worries, to-dos, and nagging thoughts in one place (your brain!), you’ll never remember everything. There is a reason that all these women have at least a notebook in their handbag, and at most several forms of planners and calendars to keep them on track. This is because by writing items down, they can easily stay in control of them, they can stay on top of what they need to do and see the bigger picture. They’re more present at work and at home if their other thoughts and worries are down on paper. So, arm yourself with tools.
Invest in a good lined notebook that’s portable and light-weight, like the Make It Happen notebook. This can be your second in command, designed to keep all your thoughts, worries, email addresses, contact details and more. Secondly, equip yourself with a daily planner. We noticed that successful women tended to note things like their daily meal plans, how much water they’d had, exercise classes, reminders, and personal notes and expenses all willy nilly in their notebook.
Mixing all these notes and plans together isn’t great for organizing yourself, so pair your notebook with a daily planner and use a combination of the two. The Getting Stuff Done planner contains sections for each of these important things to keep track of, so you can stay on top of everything easily and use your notebook for notes, ideas, journaling and more. Once you’ve got a notebook with you (all the time) and a planner that supports you, you need to start putting in the hard work.
ARE YOU BUILDING A CHAIN?
There’s a concept you need in order to achieve everything. Visual chain thinking. It’s been around in life improvement blogs for a while, but it’s the best way to explain how you’re going to decide what you want from life and achieve it (over and over again!). See your goal as a chain; the very end of your chain is the goal, completed. Each step towards that goal is a link in your chain. Everything you do, every hobby, discipline, and every skill is a link. Don’t think about the things you want as one goal you’re sort of working towards, instead think about the things you want and map out those steps you’re going to take.
You’ll be more motivated to continue when you start seeing every action you take as a step towards the things you want most out of life and the person you want to become.
BUILD THAT CHAIN, BABY
Obviously, to start building these visual chains, you need to think about the things you want out of life. Your career plans, family activities, investments, and your health. All the things you want for your ‘dream life’ are possible. Stop talking yourself out of getting what you want, because you can get it. Don’t start working on anything until you know exactly where you’re going.
Let’s be honest; you need to be disciplined and confident to get it done. Take a tip from Michelle Obama, ask yourself every day “Am I good enough?” and tell yourself, “Yes, I am.” If it works for the former First Lady, it will work for you, too. You are good enough, you are going to do it, but you just need to first decide what it is you want, and then decide when you want it by. Then you can start building your chain and working on those small links.
ANYTHING YOU WANT, IT’S YOURS
When we were children before we got shy or let ourselves be put in boxes, we dreamed big. We believed that anything we wanted, we could have. Whether it was a pair of sneakers with wheels in them, or to be the next Baby Spice. But over time, realism sets in, and we decide we can do what’s comfortable, easy, and socially acceptable. If you want to live the life of your dreams and achieve everything you’ve ever wanted, you need to plan it out and work on it. No matter how outlandish it seems, and no matter the opinions of others. You can achieve it, that’s the secret. Michelle Obama was a studious and hardworking law student from Chicago, Anna Wintour was fired from Harper’s Bazaar, Beyonce was just a child who liked performing, and Jennifer Lopez was a backup dancer. All of these women are household names. Why?
Because they took a role, a job, an opportunity, and they made it their own. They let themselves shine through the work they were doing. Similarly, look at Oprah’s origin story, she came from nothing and built herself up into the tour de force she is today. Anyone can be the next Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, anyone with enough nerve and belief in themselves can take a situation and work hard to turn it into something else. Who are you and what do you have to offer? Let yourself shine through the work you do and realize that, yes, anything you want you can have.
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