5 Things Every Successful Woman Does

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Refinery29 is participating in First Lady Michelle Obama's #GimmeFive challenge. To learn more, click here.

Ever wonder how strong, powerful women got to be that way? Sure, dreaming big is a start, but hearing real, hands-on life advice from the women who have already made it is positively invaluable.

From Madonna to Jenni Konner to Lauren Conrad, these women are pioneers in their fields, and they've let us in on their personal mantras for success. Whether you need a little motivation to keep plugging away in your career or you just want to be inspired, these words of wisdom will help guide you.

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Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages.
Carrie Brownstein, Actress, Writer, & Musician

Carve out your place in the world.

"I think you have to create your own world, your own environment, a little bit. There’s certainly a bigger world that exists, but if you are able to build something up and dictate what experience you’re going to have, then you can really own that, and open things up for yourself, you know? You can just kind of create your own shapes."
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Photo: Gregory Pace/BEImages.
Jenni Konner, Executive Producer & Showrunner, Girls

It's okay to take things personally.

"People always say you can’t take [criticism] personally, but that has never worked for me. I actually do take things personally and that’s okay, too. I do feel like our work is personal and sometimes we feel personally about it. I think one of the great gifts of being a woman in the world is that we take things personally — and our work is different because of it."
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Photo: Gregory Pace/BEImages.
Bethany Mota, YouTube & Social Media Superstar

Just go for it — even if you're scared.

"A friend of mine told me something that really stuck with me. It was: 'Decide you want something more than it scares you.' There are so many things that scare us every day, but it’s so important that we just go for it. It doesn’t matter what happens in the end; it matters that we tried. I was considering not doing Dancing with the Stars because it was so scary, but I decided to just go for it — otherwise I would spend time wondering what could have happened."
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Madonna, Pop Music Icon

Find inspiration in yourself and others.

"Surround yourself with like-minded people. Always aim to be the stupidest person in the room, so that there’s always somebody who you’re looking up to; someone who's inspiring you and teaching you. Also, find something to love about yourself. I mean, we live in a culture that is really focused on self-loathing, and I think it's really hard for young women growing up right now."
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Photo: MediaPunch/REX Shutterstock.
Lauren Conrad, TV Star, Fashion Designer, & Author

Remember to give yourself a break.

"The most successful women I know aren’t the ones who stay tied to their desks 24/7. They’re the ones who take time out for happy hour with an industry colleague or a coffee break with coworkers. It’s okay to leave your work for a few minutes to chat. You’ll make important connections and probably feel even more inspired when you get back to your desk."
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