When being a part of the blogging community there’s a few books that you will undoubtedly know because they are used in every other blog photo and talked about in every other post. One of these books is #girlboss. After seeing it so many times and being super intrigued I knew I had to get this book to see what girlboss was really all about and if it lived up to the hype.
After – and during – reading the book I felt so incredibly inspired. Sophie is like my spirit animal. She doesn’t fit into society but knows there has to be something out there for her. Then when she finds it she works incredibly hard for it and makes it happen. I get that she can get a little arrogant at times, but if you try to look past that there’s a world full of motivation in that book. Plus I love some of her quotes, one of them so much even that I have it on my peg board on my desk to look at at all times.
Unfortunately, after reading the book and it obviously being so popular I have heard several other people talk about it in a bit of a negative way. The first time this happened was when I was listening to the Hey it’s okay (now Is it just me?) podcast. The Glamour podcast with editor in chief Jo Elvin. They were discussing girlboss, the book and the overall meaning behind it. Their opinion was that this whole thing was encouraging the wrong kind of thinking. The only reason to be successful, according to the book according to them, is if you have worked really hard, own a business and earn a lot of money. You need to work hard to be ambitious.
When listening to that I completely disagreed but didn’t think much of it afterwards. Then a few weeks later I heard other people on different podcasts and blog posts saying almost exactly the same thing. That’s when I decided I wanted to write a blog post on what I think is the true meaning of girlboss.
It’s not about one set path to success, it’s about defining your own success and working hard to get there
What everyone – well not everyone but the people I’m referring to – has seem to got out of the book is that the only way that anyone can ever be successful is by wanting to have your own business and being your own boss. Because society sucks and who would ever want to be a part of that hellhole. If you’re not ambitious then your life must suck. If you don’t dream big then think of all the things you’re missing out on.
But in truth, I picked something different up entirely. Maybe it’s because I have similar ambitions to Sophia that I think I understood the book better. I might not think society is completely fucked up – although some parts maybe. And I also share her wish of being my own boss and maybe owning my own small business one day, just like her (although her business is definitely not small anymore).
I am ambitious and work hard but you know what? You don’t have to be. And it’s not a bad thing to not be ambitious if that’s what you desire.
The message I took out of the book was that it’s important to define success for you, and then work for it. If you want to be just like Sophia, go work hard for it. But maybe you just want to work in a corporation and work your way up there, and that’s completely fine too! If everyone would want to be their own boss, the economy would collapse. Or maybe you don’t want to work when you’re older and you just want to be a stay at home mum or dad. Living in the 21st century in the west makes it difficult for some people to accept that some people might just have the desire to do that, and that is completely okay too.
What the book is trying to tell you, in my opinion anyway, is that whatever you decide to do, just work hard for it. It’s no denying that if you want to start a business, there’s a lot to do and a lot of hard work to be done. But that’s not to say that if you work in a corporation that you’re going to be sitting on your butt scratching your belly all day either.
If you’re working in a mayor – or minor – firm, make sure you work hard and give it your all. And also make sure that you are doing something you love. If you’re somewhere you don’t want to be but you have no other place to go that very moment, probably the answer is to work hard at whatever you’re doing, even if you don’t like everything at times, to make sure that eventually you will be able to leave and start somewhere else.
Or if you’re working in a firm and you want to get a promotion, the only way to do that is to work hard and ask for it. If it’s not given to you it’s probably because you need to work a little harder.
At the same time, it’s also not healthy or necessary to work hard – or work at all for that matter – all the time. Take your time off, it’s important, that way your productive hours will be exactly that, productive and not distracting in some way.
But there’s obviously also another side to the story. What if you don’t want to do anything? You’re going to have to get your money somehow but you’re quite happy where you are in your job and you don’t need to be promoted or leave or anything else? Then that’s fine too. The secret is to find your success, if you’ve found that success and you just want to lay low for a while and not do much, then go for it! As long as you’re happy everything is accepted.
The only thing Sophie – and me – don’t want you to do is dream your life away when you could be getting that life you’re dreaming of. It’s right within reach.
What is the meaning of #girlboss according to you?
p.s. can you count how many times I’ve said ‘work hard’?