Star Jones, ESQ, seemed to have it all in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The former Senior District Attorney for the City of New York was a co-host on the popular ABC chat fest The View, newly married and down more than 150 lbs after weight loss surgery, but it all changed in the blink of an eye.
She stepped away from the View's co-host table on her own terms in 2006, divorced her husband in 2008, just three years after they wed in an over-the-top ceremony and was diagnosed with heart disease soon thereafter.
Jones spent years trying to rebuild her self-esteem and her career, and learned quite a bit along the way. Today she is in a really good place. Jones, now 55, recently wed Ricardo Lugo and is devoting much of her time to empowering women to be the best that they can be. She caught up with SWAAY and shared sage counsel on how to start over no matter where you are in your life.
"My passion today is helping women succeed professionally around the world."
"Speak up! Women are likely to "put their heads down" and "make no noise," believing that hard work alone will pay off. This is not accurate. If you want to be noticed in the workplace, you have to speak up and lead."
What are you up to now?
My passion today is helping women succeed professionally around the world. As the President of The International Association of Women, I am working with corporations, human resources professionals, and business leaders to fight for diversity in the workplace and establish a strong talent pipeline to provide access for all talented women to have the opportunity to earn positions in the C-suite.
It's 2018 and we know women have made their way into the workplace, but we are not seeking mediocrity we are seeking top leadership and executive positions.
You have said, “You can have financial strength, professional strength, emotional strength, but for me, without spiritual strength, none of the rest of it matters." Can you tell us how spirituality has helped guide you and comfort you in the past?
I believe in the total woman! For me, my health, spiritual life, and the security and comfort I have in my personal life all equate to my success. I have been a successful professional for over 20 years, but without faith and health, none of it matters. In the past, my faith has carried me through heart disease, career changes, and reaching my desired milestones and goals.But faith without work is dead so although I am a woman of faith, I match it with a solid work ethic and I am not afraid to work [hard] and encourage other women to do the same!
"It's important to remember that a bad day is not a bad life. More importantly, be solution focused." Photo Courtesy of EURweb.com
How do you stay healthy?
As a volunteer for the American Heart Association and a heart disease survivor, this topic is dear to me. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in America, and in many cases, it can be prevented with exercise and a healthy diet. My motto is to eat less and move more. And you don't have to be a fitness queen to take care of yourself! You may not run a marathon, but making even small daily choices to eat better and be active will decrease your chances of becoming obese or getting heart disease. Taking care of ourselves and eating and sleeping well is imperative for all women. We are often the center of our families and if mama ain't happy no one is happy!
How do you cope with a bad day?
It's important to remember that a bad day is not a bad life. More importantly, be solution focused. You have five minutes to cry and complain and then you have to think like a boss and move on! I always ask myself, “What caused my expectations to fail and made today harder for me?" Next, I come up with a solution to prevent the same mistakes from happening again. Bad days truly are learning experiences that pave the way for great days!
Can you share some power moves for female execs and those who want to become female execs?
“Speak up! Women are likely to “put their heads down" and “make no noise," believing that hard work alone will pay off. This is not accurate. If you want to be noticed in the workplace, you have to speak up and lead."
I also suggest the following:
-Work solo when possible versus participating in group projects where there could be disorganization and unclear roles.
-Go beyond your job description. Those who get noticed at work are those who approach each day with wide-angle vision. They see through a lens that extends well beyond their job description.
-If you want to be a leader, lead! Helping your colleagues succeed is a sign of self-confidence, self-trust, teamwork and collaborative leadership.
-Stay far away from the underground conversations because you never know when you may get associated with the negative dynamics (even if you are not involved).
If you could do it all over again, what would you change?
I don't hold life regrets just learning experiences. However I will say, I am thoroughly enjoying empowering women to advance their careers and live their best lives. I would have loved to be in the position I am in now sooner in my career. I am a tremendous believer in women supporting other women. Helping women to rise, dream, and lead has been the highlight of my career.
Personally, I am over the top excited that we are on the cusp of turning the page on not only a new year but also on a new 10-year window of opportunities and possibilities!
You may be thinking, whoa…I am just embracing the fall season…yikes… it is tough to think about a new decade!
Yet it is this groundwork, this forward thought that you put in place TODAY that will propel you and lead you into greatness in 2020 and beyond. Designing a new decade rests in your ability to vision, in your willingness to be curious, in your awareness of where you are now and what you most want to curate. Essentially, curating what's next is about tapping into today with confidence, conviction, and decision. Leading YOU starts now. This is your new next. It is your choice.
Sometimes to get to that 'next', you need to take a step back to reflect. Please pardon my asking you to spend time in yesterday. Those who know me personally, know that I created and continue to grow my business based on enabling the present moment as a springboard for living your legacy. So, indulge me here! True, I am asking you to peek into the past, yet it is only in order for you to bring the essence of that past forward into this moment called NOW.
One of the best ways to tap into what's next is to clarify what drives you. To design a new decade, ask yourself this question about the past ten years:
What worked? What were my successes?
Make a list of your achievements big and small. Don't type them, but rather use ink and paper and sit with and savor them. Move your thoughts and your successes from your head, to your heart, to your pen, to the paper. Remember that on the flip side of goals not attained and New Year's resolutions abandoned, there was more than likely some traction and action that moved you forward, even if the end result was not what you expected. Once you have a full list of a decade's worth of personal and professional accomplishments, think about how this makes you feel. Do you remember celebrating all of them? My guess is no. So, celebrate them now. Give them new life by validating them. Circle the successes that resonate with you most right now. Where can you lean into those accomplishments as you power into the decade ahead?
Now comes a tougher question, one that I used myself in my own mid-life reinvention and a question I adore because in a moment's time it provides you with a quick reconnect to your unique inner voice.
If it were 10 years ago and nothing were standing in your way, no fear or excuses to contend with…what would you do?
Don't overthink it. The brilliance of this question is that it refocuses purpose. Whatever first came to mind when you answered this for yourself is at its core a powerful insight into defining and redefining the FUTURE decade. Bring your answer into the light of today and what small piece of it is actionable NOW? Where is this resonating and aligning with a 2019 version of yourself?
Then, based on your success list and your answer to the above question, what is your 2020 vision for your business and for the business of YOU?
Designing a new decade begins as a collection of 3,650 opportunities. 3,650 blank slates of new days ahead in which to pivot and propel yourself forward. Every single one of those days is a window into your legacy. An invitation to be, create, explore, and chip away at this thing we call life. One 24-hour segment at a time.
While you have a decade ahead to work on design improvements, you have the ability to begin manifesting this project of YOU Version 2020 right NOW. Based on exploring the exercises in this post, begin executing your vision. Ask questions. Be present. Let go of 2019 and the past 10 years so that you can embrace the next 10. Position acceptance and self-trust at the forefront of how you lead you. One choice at a time.
Don't get bogged down in the concept of the next 10 years. Instead position clarity and intention into each new day, starting today. Then chase every one of those intentions with an in-the-moment commitment and solution toward living a legendary life!