Tyra Banks:10 Steps to Becoming the CEO of Your Own Life

Applyin’ to college? Gettin’ ready for day one on the new job? Wanna start your own company? Whether you’re just gettin’ started, or makin’ your way up the career ladder, the first step to your success is to become CEO of your own life! By that I mean, take control of everything you do – from how you present yourself to who you surround yourself with to how you interact with friends and coworkers.

Before I created my own company, I learned a few tips and tricks to get where I am now – from personal to business to social. Work may be the tippy top of the pyramid, but you gotta fit in your life foundation underneath! Follow my ten steps to finding the greatness in you (no power suit required – but sometimes it helps if you dress the part)!

Step 1: Take a Moment
At the end of each day, take a moment to reflect. What do you need to work on? Were you too shy to speak up in a meeting? Did you let someone else steal your thunder? Write down each of those missed opportunities and refer back to this list to make habit-changing goals! Reflect on that in the morning and you’ll be on your way to making sure you never skip a beat again. Remember, it’s a learning process! Don’t get down on yourself! It may take you a few tries to get it right.

Every single idea I have is written down on one of those businessy-business yellow pads. Modelland started 5 years ago on a scrap piece of paper – and to this day I STILL have it! Nothin’ like the power of a scribbly note that you jotted down as soon as the idea came to you! Who knows, it may come in handy days, months, or years later!

Step 2: Make a First Impression
I’ll admit it. Everyone gets nervous meetin’ someone for the first time, (even me!) – if it’s your first day at school, a board meeting, or meetin’ your boyfriend’s momma. Fight those jitters, ‘cause first impressions are oh-so important on the path to becoming your own CEO! Walk into that room with a smile on your face,—not one of those fakey-fake-“I’m-trying-to-impress-you” smiles, but a real genuine grin.

Follow up with the perfect handshake: face your shake-ee directly and use your right hand. You need to practice that grip— make sure you don’t squeeze till you break it! There’s a balance between overbearing and limp fish. A fierce shake and a flash of those pearly whites … you’re already showin’ part of that CEO strength!

Step 3: Dress to Impress
You are the face of your own company. When going to work or meetings you should look clean and polished. I don’t always like to be dressed up, but one tip I can give is that little touches make all the difference. Throw that blazer over a pencil skirt or pair of pants, brush that hair out of your face, and add just one bit of bling. I like to wear heels to all of my meetings ‘cause the height gives me a little extra oomph, and like I always say, if you’re tall, own those inches! Most importantly, make sure you’re comfortable. You don’t wanna be scrunching, pinching, ouching through the meeting, when your focus has to be on the business task at hand!

Step 4: Make a Plan
Now, how are you going to make your dreams a reality without a plan? No matter if they’re teeny weeny changes or big goals down the road, start small, think big! Set goals and make some serious timelines that you hold yourself to. You should set daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. Breakdown what you want to accomplish and how long it’s going to take you. Get off track? Regroup and re-goal. Find out where you miss-stepped and restructure that plan from there.

Don’t be scared of the bumps and bruises that come along. That big plan looks big now, but with your mini milestones you’ve planned out and big picture thinking, you’ll reach that end goal with some hard work and serious sweat.

Step 5: Build Relationships
Remember that assistant that greeted you at the door? You never know what she or he will be up to next! The key to each industry is networking. Every single person you meet in life could help you on your path to becoming a CEO.

I’m a firm believer in internships, but the key to acing that role is to remember that no job is above you – whether it’s stacking the printer with paper, makin’ coffee, or takin’ notes in that big business meeting. Make sure to make friends with your fellow interns and colleagues.

Get out there! Go to industry events, do your research, meet those important people! Use your fab and fierce handshake (paired with your smile) and make that first impression.

Step 6: Practice Humility
I’ve noticed that all the super-successful people I’ve met have one thing in common—they are amazingly humble! Be modest about your accomplishments and give credit to the people who have helped you along the way. Most importantly, be able to laugh at yourself! I may have been a supermodel, but I can always put on a silly face for the camera!

Step 7: Get Organized
From my home to my office, I am super organized! Let’s be real—if your stuff is a mess, you‘re gonna feel all over the place. Take a day or two to sort through your things—donate whatever you don’t need and find a place for the things you do. Then, use a label-maker to clearly mark where everything goes.

Step 8: Budget, Baby!
No matter how big or small your bank account is, you need to run your financial life on a budget. Start by spending a month writing down EVERYTHING you spend (down to every latte). Then determine which expenses are necessities (rent, food, etc.) and deduct from your overall income. What remains can be divided into spending money and saving money. Don’t rack up those credit card bills on unnecessary purchases – reachin’ those big goals needs serious planning on all fronts – and money is one of the biggest!

Step 9: Manage Your Time
I keep a schedule each and every day and I carry it with me everywhere I go! Whether it’s a business lunch, a night out with friends or a dentist appointment— all those appointments are right there in my datebook. Bein’ on time and accountable are two of the most important traits a CEO can have. Set up that iPhone calendar, organize your Blackberry, or go old school and buy a new planner every year!

Step 10: Stay in the Know
If you want to be successful in a certain field, you have to stay up to date with all the latest news! I still read all the fashion mags to keep up with the latest trends and news in the fashion biz and love readin’ my tech news on the daily. Set up Google Alerts for all your topics of interest. And, y’all know I love Twitter! I follow all kinds of companies and people so I don’t miss a thing.

So, are you ready to be the CEO of your own life? Keep me posted on how it goes! TYRA

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