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7 Business Lessons From Olivia Pope

Olivia Pope being a girl boss
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The term “girl boss” served its purpose, but we would prefer to now be called by what we are: bosses. We declare the term dead, and we will be striking it out everywhere it’s used on our site. #EndGirlBoss

I’m a Scandal addict. I resisted the show for four seasons, but, inevitably, I eventually caved.

I sit on my couch (with my red wine and Olivia Popecorn, obviously) and devour each scene of Olivia Pope and Associates kicking butt and taking names (all while wearing fabulous blazers). It didn’t take long for me to idolize Olivia for her fierceness in all aspects of life. She’s a tough cookie, and I want to be just like her. In fact, I think she can teach all of us ambitious career girls a few invaluable lessons.

1. Dress for Success

Who doesn’t suffer from wardrobe envy after watching just one episode of Scandal? She doesn’t ever come to work in anything less than her best. She dresses in a way that commands respect from those around her, and you should too. If you want to be seen as a professional, competent, powerful woman, then you need to dress like one—even if your office is “business casual.” Don’t just show up. Dress up, and then give them hell.

2. It’s (Always) Handled

Even when the situation looks beyond bleak, Olivia keeps working to find a solution—and she always finds the solution to the problem. It might not be easy, and it might not be a nice, tidy ending, but she finds the solution and she executes it. You probably won’t ever deal with the high-stakes situations that happen on Scandal, but you need to remember that you can solve any problems you face. All problems are scary and intimidating, but every problem has a solution. You just have to keep working to find it.

3. Trust Your Gut

How many times has Olivia believed a client despite the fact that no one else on the team did? This is something all Girl Bosses need to learn to do. Instinct and intuition are a natural gift that should be revered and honored. If something feels wrong, off, or just skeevy, then pay attention to that feeling in order to figure out exactly what’s making you feel that way. It could be the difference between regret and success.

4. Take Care of Your People

Olivia will do anything for her team. She does everything she can to protect Harrison. She straight up went to bat for Abby when her husband abused her. She did everything she could to bring Quinn back from B613, and she holds Huck together on a daily basis.

They’re her people and she’ll risk it all for them. No matter who your people are, your family, best friends, or co-workers, you need to take care of them. These are the people leaning on you, counting on you, and loving you, so do right by them.

5. Demand Respect

Olivia doesn’t let anyone—Fitz, Jake, or some self-centered politician—mistreat her. She stands up for herself and lets everyone else know they better respect her.

There’s never a good excuse for letting people disrespect you. No one else is going to guard you better than you can, and that’s why you have to learn to stand up for yourself. You can’t run to your mom and dad every time a kid is mean to you on playground. Eventually, you have to shut that bully down on your own.

6. Fight

It doesn’t matter if it’s for your life-long dream, true love, justice, or whatever else you need. You fight for it, and you fight until you’ve either won or died. You never give up on your war.

Olivia charges into every single battle she finds herself in fearlessly, and she doesn’t back down or surrender. She might change her attack plan halfway through, but she doesn’t give up the fight. You shouldn’t roll over and play dead either. If you want something, then your ass better fight for it.

7. Love Yourself First

Olivia is crazy-busy all the time. Between her cases with OPA, work with the White House, insane family issues, one boy toy, and an affair with the President of the United States, it doesn’t really seem like Olivia would have any time to even think about what she needs. But she does. She runs to take care of her health, and she makes sure to have some quiet time so she can unwind (with a large glass of red wine and popcorn, of course).

Whatever you have on your plate, make yourself a priority. You can’t work and live your life if you don’t tend to your health. Do whatever it is that you like (yoga, running, weights, etc.) for exercise, and treat yourself to some down time when you’re feeling overwhelmed. For me, that means a bubble bath, classical music, a book, and some wine—but for you, it might be sitting on the couch with chocolate and your favorite movie. Whatever it is – just do it.

Follow Terra on Instagram: @terrabrown3

Last modified on December 18th, 2018

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