The A - Z guide of skills you need to win at life

4 September 2018

You may have heard the term ‘girl boss’ being thrown around here and there. Made famous by Nasty Girl founder and CEO of Girl Boss Media, Sophia Amoruso, the phrase is used to describe someone who has big dreams, is willing to work hard for them and takes control of their own life.

Recently the term 'self made' was brought to popularality by THAT Forbes cover with Kylie Jenner on the front. Self made is certainly not a term I'd associate with Kylie Jenner. Whilst she has grafted hard to create an $800 MM cosmetics company, and that must be celebrated as many 20 year old girls are certainly not in that position, she’s hardly self made. But that's another blog post altogether.

And that's what got me thinking, why not go through the interviews and memoirs of all the inspiring people I look up to (sorry you didn't make the cut Kylie) and compile an A-Z guide of all the skills, attributes and traits that made them successful. This isn't to say you must acquire all of the below skills and mind frames then you will become successful. Not all of these will be applicable to everyone. It may be the case that none of these may be applicable to you. All of these skills I've collated from entrepreneurs and successful individuals may provide you the inspiration to go out and turn your dreams into reality (That's the aim here)

Disclaimer: An A-Z guide was a rookie error. I did not realise how hard it was to find a skill for all 26 letters of the alphabet, it's safe to say I struggled. 

A - Action - A wise man (Walt Disney) once said that the easiest way to get started is to quit talking and start doing. You can have all the ideas in the world, but actually doing something will either make you learn from your mistakes or it'll pay off. Why not be the one person that does it, rather than the 99 other people that say they will.

B - Believe - For me, this is probably the most difficult of them all. Henry Ford famously said, 'Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right'. To achieve anything, you need to be the first person to believe that you can do it.

C - Challenge yourself - I always think the key to developing yourself comes from acknowledging when you're getting comfortable or complacent and then switching it up. Richard Branson says his biggest motivation is to keep challenging himself. He treats life like one long university education, where he can learn more every day.

D - Discuss - No man is an island. Every good idea, plan and action can be improved upon by discussion and hearing the opinions of others.

E - Education - linking back to point C, as eloquently put by Richard Branson, education exposes you to more ideas and new opportunities. This isn't to say you must go and do a PHD (because to my mums disappointment, ain't no body got time for that). Informal education achieved by reading and networking can be widely beneficial.

F - Financially savvy. It costs dollar (or GBP or whatever your local currency is) to build your empire. That's why I would honestly recommend a side hustle, or a stream where you can build a alternative source of income - Emma Gannon's book The Multi Hypen Method talks about this perfectly. Wherever finances are concerned, it will never be straight forward. Everyone is different, however there are great resources out there like Monzo and Revolut that help with spending/saving for girl bosses/self made individuals.

Bonus F - Failure. You shouldn't be scared of failing. Not everything will be a success first time round and that's okay. We have all got to experience failure at some point in order to grow. 

G - Gratitude – to massively contradict the title of this post nobody is entirely self-made (even Kylie). Everyone receives help from someone else at some point (like Kylie received help from the billions of dollars from the Kardashian empire). It may not be obvious, it may be learning from someone, taking advice from someone, being financially supported by someone or your mum cooking you a meal. We are all interconnected which makes it even more important to stay humble despite successes.

H - Happiness. Having the mind frame of happiness in everything you do will make life a lot easier. As cheesy as it sounds, do something that makes you happy.

I - Innovate - I'm an ideas person. I think of ideas left, right and centre. Jotting down notes on anything i see fit - iPhone, notepad, random piece of paper in my bag. No idea is a bad idea. Think of an idea that you think could work - it doesn't have to be radical or disruptive, just coming up with an idea uses one of the hardest skills to acquire or learn...innovation.

J - Judgement – No one else will know what is 100% the best decision for you, they can contribute and inform your decisions but only you will know what is the right decision to make.

K - Know your worth – Whether you're charging for your services, negotiating a contract, this can often be difficult but its all about benchmarking. As a blogger, it's quite a challenge to know what is a good rate to accept or negotiate when you're working with companies. If you're every stuck...know your worth, double it and then add tax.

L - (help a girl out)

M - Motivation - Motivation is the ability to stay focused on a goal or objective whilst life throws its various obstacles at you. Continuing to follow your dreams there are likely to be bumps in the roads, other people will think you will fail - what really matters is that you commit yourself to it and motivate yourself along the way. 

N - Networking. Almost everything is interconnected - people, things, dogs, everything - which is why networking is key. I slowly learnt to enjoy networking (tips on how to do this coming soon) 

O - Overcoming fear isn’t easy, especially if it's something completely new you're doing. My absolute girl boss/ icon Arianna Huffington once likened fearlessness to a muscle - the more she exercised it, the stronger it became. (This is also my gentle reminder to work out more)

P - Persevere – Quite similar to motivation if I'm honest.  No one succeeds immediately - success takes time. As Maria Hatzistefanis puts it in her book 'How to Be an Overnight Success', there is no such thing as an overnight success. Perseverance is time and time is perseverance.

"You are not born an entrepreneur. It's a skill that you learn along the way"

Q - (help a girl out...again)

R - Risks - Doing something new is scary. Which goes back to my earlier point of challenging yourself. Don’t be afraid to do something that makes you uncomfortable and takes you out of your safe zone. Some of the most successful people took risks to get themselves to where they are today. Dream big. Take risks. Simple.

S – Strategy - I'm a planner and having an end goal in mind really cements what you're working towards.

T - Team - Everyone has someone they look up to right? This often means learning from those who are smashing their goals. As cheesy as it sounds (again), team work makes the dream work. Which refers back to my point that no-one is self made, we are all inspired by others and can learn a lot from the cooperation and encouragement of other people.

U - Understanding - It's always good to know what you're getting yourself in to. Don’t play games you don’t understand. 

V - Vision - Yes you can think about the future strategy but you also have to think be imaginative and build upon this. It's always great to see someone with a clear goal or objective and a plan to get to this, that's not to say every goal or objective has a clear cut plan, as anything can happen - it's all about maintaining flexibility with that vision.

W - This is impossible

X - seriously?

Y - Y did I decide to do this post, there are no skills stating with Y.

Z - I'm done now

So there we have it, a A – Z (almost) list of what it takes to be a self made girl (or guy). Admittedly, it got quite difficult towards the end (what useful pieces of advice begin with X, Y or Z anyway). Of course, this isn't the holy grail list of all things needed to become a self made individual but it's a starting point to help you navigate the path much more easily.

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