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What Does A ‘Successful’ Morning Routine Look Like In A Post-Girlboss Era?

In the mid-2010s a new type of woman emerged. From the burning wreckage of the global financial crisis, millennial women graduating into the struggling workforce were told that they could have it all. They could smash the glass ceiling, build million-dollar brands, and do it all in a crisp blazer, $15 green smoothie in hand. 
And we all wanted to be her. 
From former Nasty Gal CEO Sophia Amoruso who coined the term ‘girlboss’ in her 2014 memoir (and later created an eponymous TV show and online platform) to Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine, this particular type of girlboss symbolised success in the eyes of capitalism.  
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But after a 2020 reckoning, which included the Black Lives Matter movement and the pandemic, we’ve grown tired of the term. While the intentions were there for women to have more of a seat at the patriarchal table, the girlboss ended up revealing itself as the embodiment of white feminism
The archetype of the wealthy, privately educated, white woman being profiled in ‘Morning Routine’ features and explaining how they got to where they were, became trite and exclusionary. And after nearly a decade of use, the term girlboss in itself became dated, infantilising and outright sexist.
So where are we now? As we’ve questioned hustle culture, dissected how we work, and spent mornings walking to our kitchen table rather than going into the office, what does a “successful” morning routine even look like nowadays? 
Refinery29 Australia asked three driven women to share their morning routines with us. Because post-pandemic and post-girlboss, “having it all” means something completely different.

Yasmin Suteja, Founder of CULTURE MACHINE.

What does your definition of success currently look like?
I think of success as the accumulated achievements that come from a consistent dedication to learn and improve yourself and your craft. You’re successful if you can look back at where you started from where you are now, and see growth in that journey. It’s less of an end goal, and more about the journey.
How do you set yourself up for a successful morning routine?
Every night before bed I’ll set my alarm to get up two hours before I need to leave the house the next day. Those two hours are time I dedicate to do the things I love before a big day. So that will either be going for a walk or a run, listening to a podcast, washing my hair, filling up my water bottle and getting a head start on hydrating. Taking my vitamins and getting a coffee. Then based on whatever email, text or call I get – that will determine my schedule for the rest of the day.
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What's a non-negotiable in your morning routine?
A non-negotiable would be checking my diary and calendar as I wear a lot of hats and juggle a lot of roles. I also work with a number of clients and creatives. Often I'll have three or four projects going at the same time. So it’s important for me to be organised, and communicate effectively.
I have a few shared calendars for the studio, for production work, for the agency – and I’ve colour coded them all so it’s easy to scan through my phone and check what I need to do that day. I put everything into my calendar which is synced with my laptop. I would have no idea what I had in store for the day if I didn't check it first thing in the morning.

"You’re successful if you can look back at where you started from where you are now, and see growth in that journey."

Yasmin Suteja
Has your definition of success changed over the last couple of years, post-girlboss?
Definitely. I think about success as something that can be shared rather than a hyper-individualistic pursuit. I’m much less concerned with people “knowing who I am” because I realised that sometimes just being “known” can actually be quite empty and lack substance. I think COVID and the lockdowns had a big impact on me, too. I started really prioritising what’s important to me, narrowing my social circle and feeling less FOMO about not being busy all the time.
Not every day will be “successful” – what do you do to help yourself on those days?
I really think about everything as an opportunity to learn. And I think some of my greatest lessons have come from those less successful days. On those days, that’s when I really appreciate how collaborative my work is. I work with really great people, which keeps my energy up and my mood positive.
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Ngaiire, Singer-Songwriter

What does your definition of success currently look like?
Success to me is the ability to be free of societal expectations of who you should be. I'm still getting there!
How do you set yourself up for a successful morning routine?
I have a three-year-old, so mornings often feel like I'll never feel rested for the rest of my life. The thing that usually changes that direction of thinking and makes me feel like I can potentially kick my to-do list in the butt is a combination of intermittent fasting, meditation or devotional time, plus some form of exercise or undivided hang time with my kid before he goes to kindy. But to be honest, a swim in the morning caters for most of the above if I can get it in. 
What's a non-negotiable in your morning routine?
Tea! I don't drink coffee and at times with intermittent fasting I find peppermint tea really takes care of the hunger pangs, otherwise I'm just mean to everyone (AKA my husband).

"Going on a bush walk and standing on a summit overlooking a body of water usually reminds you of how small you and your un-successes actually are."

Ngaiire
Has your definition of success changed over the last couple of years, post-girlboss?
Oh 100%. Success for me was always just making sure that I was kicking bigger and bigger goals every year so that I could create greater and greater momentum. There was never an end goal. It was always, "how much closer can I get to the sun till I ingest its powers?" [Laughs] And trust me – I have staying power. Having a baby really pulled that into line.
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Not every day will be “successful” – what do you do to help yourself on those days?
Lately, I garden. I check the seeds that I've planted to see if they've grown an extra inch. Or going on a bush walk and standing on a summit overlooking a body of water usually reminds you of how small you and your un-successes actually are.

Ana Piteira, Founder of Sueño Communications

What does your definition of success currently look like?
Success can be defined by public awareness and the bottom line, but I have always believed it is so much more. The pandemic really challenged that. As I prepare for the arrival of a new family member, it has once again made me revisit how I think about success.
Now, it's just as much about feeling confident and secure in oneself (and the journey it took to get there) as it is about business. Success can take so many forms across all aspects of life, and I think it is important to recognise and value them all.
How do you set yourself up for a successful morning routine?
I am a big list maker, so writing a daily to-do list each morning is incredibly helpful. Some like to use apps but putting pen to paper really allows me to clear my head and dump all the little notes and important tasks – both personal and work-related. It gives me direction for the day, helping to avoid any listlessness or procrastination, and also offers a positive boost. It's so satisfying to start crossing off those tasks one by one. Each mark is a success.
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What's a non-negotiable in your morning routine? 
Following my morning skincare routine is definitely non-negotiable. I don't tend to wear a lot of makeup on a daily basis, but the simple steps I follow make me feel prepared, fresh and ready to take on the day.

"It's just as much about feeling confident and secure in oneself (and the journey it took to get there) as it is about business."

Ana Piteira
Has your definition of success changed over the last couple of years, post-girlboss? 
I've always edged up a little against the "girlboss" term, although it was so widely used. I understood its importance in transforming the lens and highlighting the achievements of women, but the differentiation from male counterparts felt dismissive at times. The post-girlboss era is exciting. I hope we can keep breaking down the barriers, celebrating powerful women and supporting each other's individual successes.
Not every day will be “successful” – what do you do to help yourself on those days?
There are always good and bad days; some are easier to get through than others. It's easy to become overwhelmed or feel terrible when a day has felt completely unproductive, so I prioritise moments of self-care. A long bath in the evening helps calm my mind and gain perspective. Reality TV is also a great way to switch off and slow down.
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