Wednesday

How to Achieve Success with Style like Helen Gurley Brown!


“[T]he only thing that separates successful people from the ones who aren’t is the willingness to work very, very hard.” --Helen Gurley Brown 


I just learned that Helen Gurley Brown died. Brown was an author, a journalist and a fashion icon.  She paved the way for women.  When people speak about role models for women they often leave Brown out.  It may be because she was unapologetic in her belief that women should achieve success by maximizing all of their assets, including their feminine wiles. 
She mastered the impossible. She achieved professional success and maintained a marriage for numerous decades. And based on photos I've seen, she tried to be sexy until the end. I so admire that.
When she wrote “Sex and the Single Girl”, in 1962, few American women admitted to having sex, even the married ones. And I imagine that the notion that a woman would publish a book promoting sex while single was incredibly radical. Being the first was quite an achievement for Brown and from what I’ve read, she did it like she did everything else, with style.
I found Having It All: Love, Success, Sex, Money Even If You're Starting With Nothing”, published in 1982,  in my mother’s closet when I was in high school and read it at least twice.  I was drawn to Brown’s writing in a very profound way, even though the principles espoused were quite different than the lessons that I was being taught by my family and the charismatic church that we attended.  I didn’t necessarily agree with everything she said, but I was intrigued that she believed that it was possible to obtain your dreams.
Of course, Brown is most known for being editor-in-chief for Cosmopolitan magazine for many years.  In that position she influenced what women read, how we were portrayed in the media and how we acted.  Say what you want about Brown, she was quite a lady and built a powerful legacy.  Some may disagree with her opinions, but they can’t deny her success. 
It would be great to say that I have been a “Cosmo girl” and have followed Brown’s lessons. However, I have tended to live a more tempered life--more serious and less sexy.  Still, I liked living in the same world as Brown. She motivated me.  Even though I could have more sex. I could have better clothes. I could be thinner. Like her, I am committed to achieving success and to working very hard.   
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