Women around the world have responded to Cara Alwill Leyba’s Girl Code with a resounding YES. Companies like Kate Spade and Macy’s have brought her in to teach “the Code.” Inc. magazine named Girl Code one of the “Top 9 Inspiring Books Every Female Entrepreneur Should Read” alongside Lean In, #Girlboss, and Thrive.
A few years ago, I made a crazy claim in the first edition of
Girl Code: that in today’s competitive marketplace, the fiercest thing a female entrepreneur can do is to support other women.
Something dynamic happens when women genuinely show up for each other. When we lose the facades, cut the bullsh*t, and truly have each other’s backs. When we stop pretending everything is perfect, and show the messy, beautiful parts of ourselves and our work—which all look awfully similar. When we talk about our fears, our missteps, and our breakdowns. And most importantly, when we share our celebrations, our breakthroughs, and our solutions.
I’m convinced that there’s no reason to hoard information, connections, or insight. Wisdom is meant to be shared, so let’s start sharing what we’ve learned to make each other better. Let’s start building each other up. Let’s live up to our potential and start ruling the world.
Girl Code is a roadmap for female entrepreneurs, professional women, “side hustlers” (those with a day job plus a part-time small business), and anyone in between. This book won’t teach you how to build a multimillion-dollar company. It won’t teach you about systems or finance. But it will teach you how to build confidence in yourself, reconnect with your “why,” eradicate jealousy, and ultimately learn the power of connection. Because at the end of the day, that’s what life and business are all about.
Cara Alwill Leyba is an author, speaker, and master life coach who encourages women to celebrate themselves and make their happiness a priority. Her popular blog, The Champagne Diet, has been featured in
Glamour, Marie Claire, Shape, Cosmopolitan, and others. Cara''s chic and stylish approach to self-help has attracted women all around the world to attend her workshops, read her books, tune into her podcast, Style Your Mind, and follow her on social media. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
The Secret''s Out: There''s Enough for All of Us
"Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life. Because you become what you believe."
As Beyonc fiercely belts out in her hit song Girls, "Who run the world? Girls!" And who can argue with her? Women are more powerful and independent than ever. In fact, women-owned businesses have increased by a staggering 68 percent since 1997 with more than 9.1 million of those businesses operating in 2014. That number is huge! Not only should it prove that we are seriously killing it, but it shows us that success as a female entrepreneur is truly limitless.
Technology and social media have made entrepreneurship more accessible than ever, and women are heeding the call. We''re building brands, creating companies, and designing lives for ourselves that allow us freedom and creativity: two major components of success according to female entrepreneurs around the world.
But unfortunately, we''re still struggling in many ways. Women are still not making as much money as they could and should be. In fact, women entrepreneurs are receiving only 19 percent of angel funding and about 6 percent of venture capital, according to INC.com. And for women who are funding their own businesses independently, research shows that we still find it challenging to raise our prices and charge what we feel we deserve. Stings, right?
And the problems don''t end with finances. Many of my own clients struggle with deep-rooted issues like fear, insecurity, and a scarcity mind-set-a general feeling that there is just not enough money or opportunity, leading them to feel limited and helpless in terms of making positive changes in their lives and businesses. They feel stuck and ultimately remain in a pattern of limiting beliefs that keep them from reaching their full potential-and it ain''t cute.
So what the hell is going on here? And more important, how can we fix it? The first thing I''m going to teach you in this book is probably the most significant takeaway, so you might want to bust out your hot pink highlighter or bookmark this page. This powerful mind-set shift is a game changer and the springboard for success, so listen up! There are absolutely no limits on what you can achieve. Your possibilities are truly endless, and you have the power to create the life and business of your dreams. You must find the place inside of you where everything is possible.
GIRL CODE: Secret
You must find the place inside of you where everything is possible.
If you''re thinking, But how do I do that, Cara? then you need to know this: you are amazing, exactly as you are. That''s right, I''m talking to you. You were put on this earth with a unique voice, talent, and gift that nobody else has or will ever possess. Stop and let that soak in for a moment. Whether you''re a bad-ass woman in business rockin'' it on a daily basis, or you have absolutely no idea what your "dream job" looks like yet, know that there is something extremely special about you that the world needs.
You should also know that whatever your gift is, nobody can do it quite like you. One of the biggest traps we fall into as women is the comparison trap, the "she''s got it all" trap, the "she has more fans" trap, or the "she''s making more money" trap. We tend to stack ourselves up against everyone else and pick ourselves apart based on what other people are doing. This practice does nothing to make us better, smarter, or stronger. In fact, it only zaps our creativity and our passion, and it leaves us feeling exhausted and uninspired. And that is not a recipe for a successful woman.
The truth is, there are millions of other women in the world, and many of them are going to have careers and businesses similar to yours. But the key word is similar. Nobody can replicate the genius that you possess. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you will set yourself free from the fear and insecurity that plagues so many women. As Dr. Seuss so eloquently put it, "Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You." We teach this message to children, so why aren''t we reinforcing it within ourselves? (Don''t worry, we''re gonna get to that later on.)
So now that you understand just how awesome you really are, let''s talk more about abundance. Did you ever catch yourself staring up at the sky? Or better yet, have you ever gazed out the window while on an airplane, in awe of how boundless the universe truly is? It''s easy to get wrapped up in our little bubbles and perceive the world to be as small as our own backyard (or, if you''re a Brooklyn girl like I am, our own stoop). We often get so caught up in gossip, jealousy, and negativity that we lose sight of just how much opportunity there is on this huge, amazing planet. As you go through this book, I want you to think big. I want you to forget the small talk, the small people, and the small thoughts. In order to be a powerful and successful woman, you''re going to have to think beyond your stoop.
There''s a term I use with my clients that I call limitless luxe. When we are in a space of limitless luxe, we understand that our desires should be boundless, and they can all happen for us-no matter how big we perceive those desires to be. We have to undo our programmed thinking that we cannot have what we want in life, or that we should feel guilty, shameful, or selfish for wanting everything. Or that because someone else has it, there is none left for us. There is absolutely no shame in having desires, and the sooner you own them, the sooner they will flow to you.
You have the ability to create any reality you wish for yourself. If you''ve ever shared your goals with others, and have been met with the phrase "be more realistic," then you know how tough this whole entrepreneurship journey can be. What you must remind yourself is that other people''s version of "reality" is just that-their version. It is reflective of their experiences, their fears, and their set of beliefs. Your reality is yours and yours alone. And it should be as fabulous as you want it to be.
If your reality includes private jets, a multimillion-dollar empire, and global travel, then that is a wonderful thing and you should own it. If your reality includes living in a cottage on the beach and making necklaces out of seashells for a living, then that''s wonderful too. One is not better than the other. You are worthy of every desire in your heart, and nobody''s reality should affect your own.
You must also know that the universe is more abundant than you can imagine. Again, if you''ve read my previous books, you know I am a huge believer in the law of attraction, and I am big into energy. You must envision your world through the eyes of positivity and possibility. The moment you do that, you open up a world of endless abundance. If you''re giving negative energy or thoughts to your desires, all you''re doing is preventing them from coming into your life. That champagne glass better be half full, girlfriend. And there better be Dom Perignon in your glass. Got it?
When I made the decision to leave my full-time corporate career at MTV to run The Champagne Diet brand full-time, I spent a lot of time meditating on the idea of limitless luxe. In fact, I made it a daily practice to wake up each morning and spend a few minutes with my eyes closed, visualizing what I wanted my ideal life to look like. Before touching my phone or checking my e-mail, even before getting out of bed, I would close my eyes and take a few deep breaths. As I inhaled, I pictured what my "ideal life" looked like. I would imagine myself waking up, cooking a healthy breakfast, reading some inspirational quotes while savoring my coffee, then working on my business for most of the day. I envisioned doing work that felt rewarding and being surrounded by fabulous clients that were magnetized to me. When I exhaled, I''d let go of all the stress, fear, and anxiety I felt. I would breathe out those limiting beliefs that told me I couldn''t have that lifestyle. Some mornings, I visualized sitting in first class on a plane heading to a new city to do a television appearance. Some mornings, I visualized walking into Chanel to treat myself to a new purse. My thoughts were my own, and I felt no shame for them. I believed in my heart that they would all become my reality. I literally meditated on my dream life.
And guess what? It did become a reality. All of it.
None of those things would have happened, however, if I did not believe they were possible. If they can happen for me, they can surely happen for you too. You''ve just got to believe. You''ve got to believe, with all your heart, that you can make it happen for yourself. You must believe you are worthy of your desires and that you have all the tools within you to achieve success. You must release blame, guilt, fear, stress, and any other negative emotion that does not serve you.
GIRL CODE: Secret
You must envision your world through the eyes of positivity and possibility. The moment you do that, you open up a world of endless abundance.
Her Success Is Not Your Failure
We must also let go of the notion that another woman''s success is our failure. Let''s be real, okay? You know that pit in your stomach feeling you get when you see someone on social media post something amazing that she just accomplished? I can bet my Chanel 2.55 jumbo caviar leather flap bag that even if you support her and adore her, your initial gut reaction has a tinge of envy attached to it. And that''s totally okay! In fact, it''s very normal. We have been conditioned to think that if someone else has something, it means there''s less of it left for us. And as common as that way of thinking is, it could not be further from the truth.
I also want you to get out of the habit of thinking that you''ve failed in some way because you haven''t yet achieved the things that other women have. That attitude will destroy you and your business. We each have a unique path to walk in this life, and there is a reason that yours is unfolding the way that it is. Embrace your journey and look for the lessons. Believe in divine timing, and know that what is meant for you will not pass you.
GIRL CODE: Secret
Her success is not your failure.
If you''ve ever felt this way, I want you to practice reframing your way of thinking. The next time you see a woman in business doing her thing and achieving major results, I want you to first and foremost send her love and, second, I want you to imagine something amazing happening for yourself. Use that positive energy she has created and fuel your own fire with it-even if your goals look totally different. Remember the meditation practice I told you about earlier? Give it a try and picture your perfect outcome. Imagine that you are receiving that same level of success. The minute that you realize you can have it too is the minute you free yourself of that nasty little thought pattern.
Another suggestion? Reach out to that woman who is achieving great success and talk to her! Send her an e-mail and congratulate her. Ask her out for a coffee. Depending on how well you know her, see if she has some time to mentor you or offer you a word of advice. We must create a new vibe with each other. We must feel comfortable congratulating and helping our fellow sisters. When you believe that there''s enough to go around, why wouldn''t you want to celebrate someone else''s success?
GIRL CODE: Unlocked
Alicia DiMichele, Entrepreneur/Mom Boss/Trendsetter
There is nothing I love more than a fierce, fabulous, and down-to-earth woman. When I found Alicia DiMichele, entrepreneur and star of VH1''s season 4 of Mob Wives, I was immediately drawn to her vibrant personality and her warm heart. Alicia''s struggles involving being married to a man who was convicted of criminal activity and wound up in jail were made public on Mob Wives, but despite everything she has faced in her personal life; she has persevered and proved to us that your past does not define your future. I knew I had to include Alicia in this book because she lives by the principle "Women Empowering Women." Get your highlighter, and get ready to dig into this juicy interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am Alicia DiMichele, a hardworking entrepreneur and single mother raising my three beautiful sons to be badass gentlemen. My entire life is centered around "Family Over Everything." Known as "The Boss" to my employees, I truly love working in my self-named store, Alicia DiMichele Boutique. I spend countless hours looking for fresh and unique pieces to carry. I recently started designing my own fashions. I have my own collection full of inspirational items and apparel that I carry in my store and on my website. You may have watched my struggle on VH1''s Mob Wives during the most difficult time of my life. I made a decision to walk away from the spotlight and the fame that came with it, to leave the past behind and embrace my storm. When you embrace your fear, you become fearless, and that is exactly what I did to get to where I am today. "Women Empowering Women" is one of my most valued statements. I strive to impact lives positively through my business, social media sites, and kind words.
What inspired you to start your brand?
I was inspired to start my own brand because of all the little sayings that I would keep reminding myself of throughout my difficult time. For example, "Family Over Everything" was my first tank because it was the unconditional constant love and support from my beautiful family that got me through my journey. Next was "Fearless" because I finally learned that to become fearless you have to face your fears, and I am now proud to say that I am one fearless mama. "Warrior"-I say that I am a warrior because I was left to protect and support my three sons all by myself. In order for them to feel okay, they needed to see that I was okay. "Love Conquers Hate"-this is something I firmly believe in; love can cure almost anything. "Empower"-my favorite saying, "Women Empowering Women," is beautiful. You know a woman is strong, beautiful, and secure by the way she empowers and inspires others.