Bobbi Rebell - Relentless and Gracious
What are your “and” words and why? Relentless and gracious. I have no choice but to be relentless in going after what I want to accomplish professionally. I have learned that if you don’t keep going no one is going to make it happen for you. So many of the best opportunities have come from places that did not work out the first time around. For example, if I don’t get a speaking opportunity I want- I let them know that if someone cancels, I would do my best to make myself available. And one time - that happened and it was amazing and led to new opportunities. Only I knew I wasn’t a first choice. That’s why I try to always be gracious even when I get bad news. Creating a relationship even when you aren’t thrilled with the other person - taking the high road as we like to say - can often be a great long term strategy.
What you are known for saying / a quote from you. What does this quote mean to you, (or if it’s from someone else, why does it inspire you)? I talk a lot about deciding to do something. “Just decide and find a way to execute.” I had bounced around many different ideas for books but then one day, the concept of Financial Grownup just hit me hard during a walk in Central Park while listening to Tony Robbins- who is known for many of his quotes related to decision making- including the fact that a decision is only going to matter if you take action. So I took action. And when people ask how I wrote a book while working as a global business news anchor and personal finance columnist at the biggest news organization in the world, with a husband, 3 kids and a dog, I tell them I just decided- and worked backwards from there to come up with a plan of action to get it done.
Which other Ladybadasses inspire you and why? My grandmother Eleanor who is no longer with us. She was just so tough and such a survivor. She didn’t get to have an education because she was the daughter- so only her brother went to college. But yet she was a young widow and had to support her three daughters, including my mother. She hustled and made it work until she later remarried, but she made sure her daughters would not be put in that same vulnerable situation. She made sure they got their educations even though all of them did get married and have children as well. She raised them to be the strongest, most inspiring women I have ever known.
When did you first realize that you had some Ladybadassery in you? A couple of years ago after my book “How to be a Financial Grownup” came out. My cousin’s husband walked up to me at a family event, high fived me and said “You are a finisher,” which I didn’t fully understand at the time. He explained that he remember me saying I was “writing a book” and it was going to be the start of a much bigger thing etc etc., which he hears all the time. But I was the rare one that “finished.” It was a wonderful validation, given that as a wife and mother those closest to me, who see the day to day inch by inch of a project, aren’t always aware of the big picture accomplishments that take years to grow.
What keeps you motivated on days when you aren't quite feeling like a Ladybadass? I have actual deadlines with others dependent on me, and a payroll I have to make. But I’m exhausted a lot of the time.
What is your advice to other women who are trying to tap into their Ladybadassery? You have to work when you don’t feel like it. You have to work 10X harder than you ever estimated and probably more than the people around you are. So many people think success has to do with knowing the right people- but it takes work to meet the right people. It means finding a way to get invited into the room, and then taking the time to do the research to know who you want to meet. And then followup in a way that is appropriate and not asking them for something. And then the work to stay in touch, sometimes for years at a time, without asking for anything. Just developing strong mutual relationships. And while I’ve had some fortunate things happen, I have many more setbacks and stories of opportunities I didn’t get that I, if we are being honest- cried over privately. Tears are real as is losing things you worked hard for and deserved, but if you keep going and get another at bat, eventually you will make progress.
Bobbi Rebell is a CFP®, business journalist, speaker, emcee, and moderator. She hosts the Financial Grownup podcast, co-hosts Money in the Morning podcast, and is the author of How to be a Financial Grownup.