I think there’s so many times when girls and young women are told, “It’s just not gonna work out.” And if I could give anyone advice, it would be this idea that the doing it or not doing it is up to you. And you have to run around and exploit all the resources around you. Pick people’s brains, bring them lunch, buy them coffee — and just get in there to see how people who are doing what you want to do are doing it. Learn by watching and osmosis. There’s so much of life that is being book smart, but there’s a big chunk that’s just understanding how stuff works.
I think women are often talked out of things. I remember when I had just had my twins, I had four kids under four years old. And the tsunami happened in 2004. I got a call from someone at CNN, and they said “well, we’re supposed to try to send someone to Thailand, but I know you won’t want to go, because moms don’t want to travel.” And I said to her, “Well, I have four kids under four, so Thailand sounds amazing!” And they sent me to Thailand. But it reminded me that you constantly have to challenge people’s expectations. [The caller] wasn’t trying to be mean, she just had expectations about what a new mom would do and she was foisting those expectations on to me. I said “Listen, here’s what I want to do.” You have to restate it, sometimes firmly, sometimes gently, sometimes with a smile, and just constantly write your path — and try to figure out how to get there. Hitting people up for information, help, guidance, advice, but staying on that path of “here’s what I want to do.” We’re just constantly, as women, talked out of it. “You can’t do this and that” — but you can. You really can. If it’s something you really want to do, you can. And I think that’s a message that a lot of young women need to hear. You have to set the parameters of the experience and the success that you want to have.