This year, LinkedIn released findings from its What Women Want @ Work study. The study found that 74 percent of women believed they could "have it all" – a fulfilling career, relationship and children. This finding was so inspiring that What Women Want @ Work was the topic of discussion at LinkedIn's Discussion Series, an event that allows LinkedIn members to connect directly with thought leaders.
Rachel Zoe, designer, stylist, author and entrepreneur, as well as Jenni Luke, CEO of Step Up Women's Network, took the time during the event to talk about work-life balance, mentorship, personal branding and more. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom from these successful women:
Be present. When Zoe had her first child, she was forced to prioritize and found herself approaching work-life balance in a healthier way. When she's with her children, she's fully present. When she's at work, she's at work. The key to feeling as if you have a semblance of balance and accomplishment in both your personal and professional life is to be present wherever you are and in whatever you are doing.
Values matter. In balancing work and life, Luke doesn't try to split it down the middle. Instead, she has a clear set of values and makes choices everyday that are aligned with those values. This is one of the most important strategies for all of us who are faced with numerous decisions and choices each and every day.
You're stronger than you know. One of the biggest career decisions Zoe ever made was to become a mother. She explains: "You don't realize how strong you are until you have to be strong." And you don't need to be a mom to realize just how strong you are. Being fearless and doing what's challenging is the key to success. Think of this fearlessness as a muscle and exercise it every day by doing something that scares you to help you grow overtime.
Promiscuous mentoring is encouraged. A mentor doesn't have to be a long-term 1-to-1 relationship. Luke encourages young women to be promiscuous when it comes finding mentors. You can learn a lot from someone even if you've only met them once; you can also be inspired by women you've never met. Step Up Women's Network connects women in mentoring relationships that follow this model. According to Luke, you can have a mentor and she doesn't even need to know it. Asking someone, "Will you be my mentor?" is a big ask, and making the commitment can feel like an enormous responsibility for women who feel they are already at their limits. But when you think of it as an ongoing learning process, it can become a way of life rather than an onerous undertaking.
Do what feels right and unique to you. When defining your personal brand, trust your instincts and always be yourself. If you create a brand that is not authentic, your audience will pick up on it and reject you ultimately. Zoe has stayed true to herself throughout her career, and has created a brand that represents who she is fundamentally, which is why people love her. We all need to create our own, unique professional brand, and so it is worth investing in it actively by creating both an online presence via your LinkedIn profile, and an in-person presence in terms of your style, posture and vocabulary. It's important to figure out who you are, what makes you the most comfortable and how to stay true to yourself.
Zoe has a lot to share with LinkedIn members about building a successful career and a thriving business in her journey from solo stylist to designer, author and entrepreneur. She recently became a part of LinkedIn's Influencer program, where you can trace her career growth, trajectory and professional advice.
What do you really want at work? Join LinkedIn's Discussion Series by following the hashtag #indiscussion on Twitter and Instagram.
Disclaimer: Nicole Williams is LinkedIn's career expert.
Nicole Williams is the bestselling author of three books, the latest of which, "Girl on Top: Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules into Career Success," has been optioned by Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, the producers behind the Academy Award winning films "American Beauty," "Milk" and "Silver Linings Playbook." Nicole is also LinkedIn's Career Expert. Nicole's role at LinkedIn is to help professionals understand how to enhance their careers using the LinkedIn network. The company she founded, WORKS by Nicole Williams, is the go-to resource for career-minded young women and was named one of Forbes magazine's Top 10 Career Websites for Women. You've seen her on TV – as a regular guest on "TODAY," "Good Morning America," and CNN – and in print, where her advice has appeared on the pages of ELLE, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Marie Claire and the Wall Street Journal.