Over the weekend, Cosmopolitan hosted it’s first ever Fun Fearless Life Weekend in NYC at Lincoln Center. The two-day event was filled to the rim with empowering speakers, inspirational stories, and fun moments. Speakers included the likes of Spanx founder Sara Blakely, founder of NastyGal Sophia Amoruso, DKNY PR Girl Aliza Licht, Gabrielle Bernstein, Beverly Bond, and Gabrielle Union just to name a few!
We were there for all of it, and while some of what we already know was simply reinforced, we also came away with new insights and new perspectives on how to accomplish our goals and live out all of our ambitions!
Joanna Coles, Editor-in-Chief of Cosmo perhaps put it best, “for most of us, our twenties are full of contradictions,” explained the hilarious, witty and ever-inspiring host. “In our twenties, we are still becoming.”
Throughout the weekend, there were varying stories shared of how each woman made it, how each woman reached their goal and the obstacles they overcame. The commonality? No road was straight, all had bumps in the road and unexpected twists and turns. But as Blakely pointed out during her incredible opening speech, it’s all about having the right attitude and relentless drive.
Here are the highlights straight from our notebook of the best advice, quotable and notable moments from Cosmo’s Fun Fearless Life weekend in NYC.
Why Your Twenties Matter – Dr. Meg Jay
Dr. Meg Jay, author of The Defining Decade spoke about the importance of weak ties. She shared some key insights about how “the people in our lives who are distant that lead us to new things.” The person you maybe met once at a thing, and email occasionally. The person you maybe never met that you exchange articles and commentary with on Twitter.
The reason? Well, those closest to you tend to know just about as much as you do. They know the same people and do the same things. While weak ties come from different walks of life. They bring different perspectives and contacts.
So, how do you cultivate those weak ties, and why would they offer you a life-changing opportunity? Dr. Jay went on to explain a phenomenon called “The Ben Franklin Effect.” Essentially, when we do a favor for somebody we decide we like that person more. Why? Simple. It’s good to be good. There is a helpers high associated with being generous. When you give someone an opportunity to help you you’re giving them the chance to feel generous (as long as the help is not a burden).
When you ask for a favor, you should not be burdensome. One way to avoid that is to be sure you do your work before asking for a favor. Often, young women are afraid to own their own ambitions and be out front with something specific they need and want.
Then, we learned to Power Pose from Amy Cuddy. She has a TedTalk about it that’s pretty famous (with over 21 million views). At Cosmo, we essentially got the summarized version of that talk, but it was no less amazing.
We learned that when you make yourself bigger you make yourself feel more powerful. So, make yourself big before high stakes events.
The most interesting and surprising thing is she revealed that it actually increases your testosterone levels by 17 percent and lowers your cortisol by 25 percent! This was measured in an experiment where participants held a power pose for two minute just before going into a high stakes event. You’re more likely to close that deal, get that job, deliver that pitch when you power pose before you go into the room!
We also met the amazing 18-year-old Bella Weems, the founder of Origami Owl in the “Create your Future” opening chat. She started the company when she was just 14 to raise money to get herself a car and now the company is worth a quarter of a billion dollars!
“The word no is the reason I am here,” Weems explained when telling the story of how she launched her company because she asked her parents to buy her a car and they told her no. She had to earn it herself.
Create Your Future
This panel was power packed with moderator Elizabeth Holmes joined by NastyGal founder Sophia Amoruso, Fox Correspondent Christina Tosi, and Her Campus founder Windsor Hanger.
And a Cosmo event wouldn’t be Cosmo without a panel dissecting the mind of men. They dubbed it “Manthropology” and of all the panelists Matthew Hussey was indeed the star dropping the most knowledge. From the reason why guys are afraid to define the relationship, to using the right language to get a guy to do what you want.
Following that we were back on track with a panel featuring powerful women titled “Make Your Mark” featuring Aliza Licht, Anne Marie Nelson-Bogle, Shay Mitchell, and Alicia Quarles.
Day Two opened with some exciting high energy cheerleaders and another inspiring speech from Joanna Coles.
Joanna Coles on finding your purpose:
“If your turn detective on yourself you will find what you’re looking for.”
Then we got to experience what felt like an intimate chat between Coles and Kelly Osbourne about loving your body.
Osbourne shared how she was literally “pissing her life away” with drugs and alcohol. But her big turning point was participating in the show, “Dancing with the Stars.” She explained that it helped her as she saw her body change and watched herself in the mirror. It was also the most vulnerable thing for her to go on live TV and dance in front of an audience with no prior dance training. She literally felt like if she could do that, she could do anything.
Osbourne was then joined by Jillian Michaels who shared tidbits including:
“We are unhappy when we are living the lives we think we should instead of the life we want.” -Jillian Michaels
She suggested putting forth an action plan for your life.
“Establish a why. A detailed why. If you have a why to live for you can tolerate any how.”
“Get informed. Misinformed action is extremely destructive in our lives. When you get informed it empowers.”
Jason Silva lead a high-energy talk about passion, creativity and the need for humans to find meaning in their lives:
“Experiencing awe causes increased creativity, passion and well-being. Blowing your own mind is therapeutic.” —Jason Silva
During the “Invest in You” session, LearnVest founder Alexa von Tobel shared her incredibly simple 20:30:50 rule of how to budget your paycheck.
20 percent- goes to the future
30 percent – goes to the fun stuff
50 percent – goes to essentials
Here’s a few more tidbits from Alexa:
While she admits that defining what your means are is something we are never really taught how to do. Her advice, if you get a bonus, you should put 90 percent of it to the future and 10 percent of it to what you want.
Asking for a raise: “It’s like going to the gynecologist every year you have to do it.”
With your boss, ask what does my career path look like? I would like to talk about my career path and talk about me taking on more responsibility.Here’s what I’ve done and here’s what I’m working on here’s what I would like to take on to make your life better.
Next, we got a one-on-one session with Joanna Coles. She shared her best advice including three tips on living a fun and fearless life:
The best thing you can tell an employer while in a job interview is “I can do this job for you.” That sentence alone is what employers want to hear and will reassure them that you’re the right candidate.
Gabrielle Union also spoke candidly and openly about her experience of having her private photos stolen and published on the internet for the world to see. She calls the hackers criminals and explained, “What you do with your own body is your choice. Period.”