The Very Best Career Advice

career-advice-compOver the past year, we asked past and future speakers at our conferences in Austin, Boston, Philadelphia and Silicon Valley for the best work or life advice they’ve ever received or given. Here’s the best of their best answers.

“Never really believe you have succeeded…People who get satisfied with their success get stagnant and ultimately get blown away by the competition. I am always looking ahead to what I can do next to grow as a person and to expand my horizons.”Aliza Licht, fashion communications executive and author of Leave Your Mark

“Spend time with people who have the same goals, purpose and humor. Even if you are solitary, like many writers, you still need companionship.”Gloria Steinem, activist and author of My Life on the Road

“Don’t make the right decision. Make the decision right. Whatever you are agonizing over probably has multiple good options. So instead of making yourself insane trying to figure out which is the right one, decide to make your choice the right one.”Adam Grant, Wharton professor and author of Originals: How Non-Conformists Rule the World

“Have the confidence in yourself to have fun and enjoy life. The journey is twisting and turning, and if you’re serious all the time, you’ll miss opportunities for growth and happiness.”Mallika Chopra, author of Living with Intent

“Always reach for the job with the most amount of responsibility, even if you don’t feel quite ready yet. That’s what men do. You ready yourself by doing the work. You learn on the job. Then, reach for something more.”Jane Bryant Quinn, a personal finance expert and author of new book How to Make Your Money Last: The Indispensable Retirement Guide

“As my grandmother would always say, ‘If your husband brings rice, you must bring the charcoal to cook the rice.’ That was her way of trying to teach us girls about empowerment, not to be dependent on a man, and to dominate our space.”Leymah Gbowee, Nobelist and founder of The Gbowee Peace Foundation

“All you have to do in life is know who you are and act like that.”Bert Jacobs, co-founder of The Life Is Good Company and co-author of Life Is Good: The Book/How to Live with Purpose and Enjoy the Ride

“Know what you’re not good at and don’t assume you’re going to compensate for it. In other words, if you’re not a detail-oriented person, then recognize that fact and hire someone who is. Or as in my case, if you’re more of a transformative leader than a steward, don’t bring in another visionary. Hire people who are good at following up, holding others accountable and making sure the trains run on time.”Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO of think-tank New America and author of Unfinished Business

“You have to be self-sufficient. No one is going to help you get ahead but yourself. You have to manage your own career.”Kerry Hannon, a retirement and personal finance expert and author of Love Your Job: The New Rules for Career Happiness

“Don’t take yourself too seriously, work harder than everyone else and don’t complain about it.”Rachel Ray, TV show host and author of Everyone Is Italian on Sunday

▶ Read more from the January 2016 newsletter.