A term arguably coined by the founder of Nasty Gal, Sophia Amoruso, ‘Girl Boss’ is the phrase we’re seeing bashed around every corner of the internet to describe generally #winning – no matter how big or small those achievements. As someone who runs two of their own businesses, has launched a podcast, is about to move house and has less than three months to go until their wedding, it’s something I’ve been referred as many times – but essentially I’m just a hustler that gets sh*t done. I’ve always burned the candle at both ends, juggled as many responsibilities as possible and struggled to ‘relax’ or turn off from more ideas and opportunities that could be The Next Big Thing: it’s in my nature to work hard, strive for more, be in control of my own future and support myself so I have to rely on nobody else to get to where I want to be. If that makes me a #GirlBoss then so be it, but it’s not the be all and end all of who I am.
With so many bloggers, influencers, celebrities and businesswomen apparently ‘winning at life’ it becomes increasingly hard for those among us that are happily toodling along not to feel like a failure. You only have to open Instagram to see people traveling from the Maldives and back again via Paris to find yourself questioning whether your own levels of success will ever compare to theirs – and do you know what? It doesn’t have to. You don’t need to live a super shiny, designer handbag, perfectly coiffed hair, high flying life to be happy, and you don’t have to be businesswoman of the year to be deemed a success.
Your job does not define who you are. Your job is simply a way of providing an income so you can do what you want to do; we shouldn’t be defined by our job titles or income, but the impact we have on the world or the footprint we leave behind in others hearts. For me, life is about enjoying those moments with our loved ones or seeing as much of the world as I can; it’s about reading those un-put-downable books or snuggling up and watching Harry Potter on repeat. I hustle because I want to have the freedom and flexibility to not work; I hustle because I want to reach the heights of success I can now, so I can chillax a bit for the next ten years. I’ve been self-employed for over four years and now I’ve gotten to a
position where I’m financially stable, confident and comfortable with my
own abilities and have the contacts to know there’s something around
the corner; but that also brings with it the ability to take a Monday
off to get a pedicure and have coffee with my best friend, or spend a
Friday afternoon at a wedding dress fitting.
One of the most frustrating phrases I ever hear is “you’ve got as many hours in the day as Beyonce.” Yes I do, but do you know what? I don’t have her millions in the bank to pay for personal assistants, personal trainers, stylists, nannies, hairdressers, business managers, accountants, lawyers and so on. Those bloggers you see on Instagram looking incredible and living the life a supermodel would be jealous of? They also have managers, photographers, web designers, video editors and personal assistants to help them – and then most of the images are photoshopped and edited to look nothing like the original anyway. We’re so frequently force-fed these images of the ‘ultimate feminists’ knocking out of the park that it’s easy to forget that success is all relative, and that feminism is about choice: choice to work 15 hour days and take over the world, or choice not to work at all.
Some of my friends are full-time mums, or work part time in a supermarket for a bit of pocket money. Some of them juggle a full-time job with picking their kids up from nursery, while some of them are happy leaving at 5pm and having nothing to worry about but what’s on the telly that evening. Some of them like painting, or playing the guitar, or taking photos or tasting new beers – but none of them are simply defined by what they have on their CV, how many Instagram followers they have, how many tropical locations they’ve visited, how much money they have in the bank or how busy their diary is. And talking of busy – it shouldn’t be something we seek to be at the expense of actually living our lives, it’s something that should be temporary before we get back to having the time to do what we actually want to do.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s ok to be a Girl Boss, but it’s also ok not to be a Girl Boss – it’s about what’s right for you and not feeling under pressure to be the ultimate success story, if other things are more important. I devoured Sophia Amoruso’s book in a matter of days and found it hugely inspirational, but that didn’t mean every word was relevant to me in the moment; I took away little nuggets of inspiration and felt that I really could achieve whatever I wanted if I put my mind to it, but also that I was quite happy living my life without the added pressure of a fashion empire. Not all of us are supposed to be high flying businesswomen; some of us are supposed to be mums, teachers, artists, doctors, writers or whatever makes us happy. Some of us are content making people’s coffee or helping them choose a new fragrance; some of us are happy working with the young, elderly, disabled or dying. We can all make a difference in some small way, but that doesn’t need to be by being a Girl Boss. It just has to be by doing you.
Do you feel under pressure to be a Girl Boss? Let me know your thoughts below…
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