Women, Work & the Art of Savoir Faire

I recently breezed through Women, Work & the Art of Savior Faire, an easy read chock-full of advice on work, life, and everything in-between. The author, Mireille Guiliano, is the former CEO of the champagne company Veuve Clicquot, author of the bestselling book French Women Don’t Get Fat, and an all around #girlboss.

Wine and dine

There were a few pieces of advice from the book that stood out to me.

Try it a new way

The author used to be head of Marketing and Communications at Veuve Clicquot before becoming CEO, and much of her career advice is focused on the PR world. My favorite piece of wisdom was to always try and approach projects from a new angle. For example, when Mireille was promoting Veuve Clicquot, she had a small budget and wasn’t making any progress with the traditional approach of mailing pitch letters, so she began calling radio stations instead, sharing details on the brand and asking if they wanted to interview her on air. The result? Wildly successful! No one else in the industry had thought of radio promotion, and the stations were eager to talk to her. And bonus, this new tactic helped Mireille grow her media connections and improve her interviewing skills.

Passion for your field is more important than passion for your job

You’ll never have a job that you love each and every day. Unless you enjoy expense reports, answering emails and other busy work, every day at work isn’t going to be a delight. However, if you work in a field that you’re truly passionate about, it will make the days full of busy work worth it and the successes even better.

Act in “self-enlightened interest”

Of all the advice this book shared, acting with “self-enlightened interest” was my favorite. Self-enlightened interest essentially means always doing what’s truly best for you. And, the “enlightened” part means that to discover what’s truly best for you, you need to ignore emotion or gut feeling and make your decision through careful thought, calculated analysis of your situation, and unselfish behavior.

Be your own brand

Mireille really focused on the importance of being your own brand in how you dress, act, talk, and more. And your brand should always be improving and evolving! How can we do this? Always remember to dress well, feel comfortable in your own skin, and know how to make a great first impression.

Be anchored

Balancing work and personal life is often chaotic, stressful, and leaves one area of life lacking attention. As a former CEO, Mireille has a great (and realistic!) understanding of work/life balance. I loved the metaphor she used that each of us are a tent, anchored down at four corners. The “anchors” are good health, a social network of friends and family, a solid employment situation, and time/space/principles/policies for yourself. Without these we would start to fall over. Mireille also advises that everyone should take time to find a “zen moment” each day. This is a moment to focus on yourself, let go of stress and live in the moment. Whether it’s a long run, a hot cup of tea in the morning, or a chapter of a good book before bed, we all need to find what gives us “zen” and take time (even 5 minutes!) for it each day.

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