The Powerful Career Lesson Every Woman Should Know, According to Gwyneth Paltrow

Sophie Miura

At the height of her acting career, Gwyneth Paltrow did a very un-Hollywood thing: She started a blog. While it might be commonplace now, Paltrow was the first A-lister to venture into the competitive digital world. "I believe it was David Bowie who once said, 'Never be the first person to do something, be the second'—sound advice, which I hadn't heard at the time," she says.

In an exclusive interview with LinkedIn, the actress, author, and founder of Goop reveals the biggest lessons she's learned from starting her own business, and the two traits that helped her get ahead: daring to defy convention and knowing when to trust her instincts.

"When I look back at my professional life thus far, I realize two things: I have never played by the rules and I have always had a fierce loyalty to my instincts, sometimes to terrible outcomes," she says. "I have always slightly been wrestling with this punk rock asshole kid inside me who wants to buck tradition and do things her own way. Sometimes that has landed me in hot water, but it's all gotten me to where I am today."

Paltrow reflects that managing Goop wasn't the only challenge she faced as a female boss. "Some of the other women who have followed suit and I are often pitted against each other in a bizarre imaginary triangulation that none of us feel and which the media, continuously licking its chops, prays has veracity," she says.

Despite the scrutiny, she says starting her own business has been one of the most rewarding career moves she's ever made—and has taught her volumes about how to be a better manager. "My overarching lessons? The punk rock kid in me is essential to my decision making, but she needs to be tamed and she definitely needs to think before she speaks." Now that's an inspiring woman who deserves the title.

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