I’m super excited to be back with another book review! Today’s post is going to be part review/part reflection on my own life and what this book taught me. It’s going to get a little personal, but I think this conversation is important and is something I’ve been wanting to talk about for a while!
Girl Code by Cara Alwill Leyba is a self-help book that focuses on inspiring and empowering female entrepreneurs. Although my future career in public relations probably won’t set me up to be a technical entrepreneur at any point, I still see the value in branding yourself, much like you would a business. Because of the personal branding aspect, I think that this book is a great read for any young businesswoman wanting to learn how to set herself apart from the crowd, even if she isn’t taking the leap to start her own business just yet.
Something unique about this book that I appreciate are the interviews it features at the end of every chapter. Cara chooses a female entrepreneur that inspires her and features them in her book, tying their personal stories and business journeys back into the lesson she is trying to teach in that chapter. I liked the personal aspect that these interviews bring to the book, and also helps me learn and connect with other female entrepreneurs along the way.
My favorite topic that Cara talks about in this book actually occurs in chapter one, and it’s something that has stuck with me ever since I read through it for the very first time. (I come back to this chapter frequently, because this is a message I think I need reminding of every so often.) And that message is simple: there’s enough for all of us.
When I switched majors from journalism to public relations in the fall of my junior year, I felt so behind. In my mind, everyone my age had more experience than me, were taking more advanced classes than me, and were landing better internships than me. It was easy to get caught up in a comparison game: comparing my resume to someone else’s, comparing my portfolio to someone else’s. I felt so far behind that I thought I may never catch up and be as successful as my peers who had been PR majors since freshman year.
This chapter taught me that the comparison game does no one any favors. As Cara says,
“We have to let go of the notion that another woman’s success is our failure.”
Just because someone else is getting X internship or Y experience, doesn’t mean that I am inherently a failure. I am working at my own pace, and doing things my own way. And that’s okay.
The idea that “just because someone else has it, there is none left for us” is wrong. Cara stresses “limitless luxe,” meaning that we can achieve anything we desire as long as we believe that they can happen for us.
Another important point in this chapter is that
“Whatever your gift is, no one can do it quite like you.”
Just because other people in my major want to do fashion and lifestyle public relations does not mean we are competitors. No one can do my job exactly like me. I have no competition but the competition with myself- to get better and be better every single day. It’s easy for me to see some people in my major with very similar life goals, and start to view them as competition. But that’s simply not the case! Because of Girl Code, I’ve been making a conscious effort to think of everyone in my industry as connections, rather than just the next person to beat. And that is helping me stay positive when the stress of my future starts to get to me.
I hope you enjoyed this book review and my commentary on how it influenced my life! I highly recommend it to any young professional, entrepreneur or not. It taught me so much and I’m going to be bringing it along with me to Austin this summer so I can read through it from time to time as a reminder!
You can purchase Girl Code here.