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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

5 Pieces of Brilliant Career Wisdom From Your Favorite Celebrities

As much as TMZ would like to prove otherwise, celebrities are not just like us. Sure, they go to Starbucks and hit the gym, but unless you have an army of paparazzi hiding in the bushes to catch you drinking that latte, the similarities pretty much end there.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a thing or two from them. After all, many of them started from nothing to rise to their place on top. So, if you’re in need of a little career inspiration, look no further than these powerhouse celebs.

1. Ellen DeGeneres

Never follow anyone else’s path, unless you’re in the woods and lost and you see a path. Then, by all means, follow that path.

Tulane Commencement 2009

Everyone’s career is different, which means your path should be, too. But, there’s no doubt been a rock star or two before you who you could learn from. So, try your own way whenever you can, but also don’t forget that you can seek the counsel of someone who has been there—like a mentor, a more experienced co-worker, or a wise friend. And when you’re truly stuck, definitely look to those masters for guidance.

2. Beyoncé

You don’t have to depend on someone telling you who you are.

Marie Claire

One of the hardest lessons to learn in your career is that you’re the one who has control over your future—not your boss, not your parents, not your friends, not society. No one will care more about your success and happiness than you do, so don’t let anyone tell you what’s right for you. Make that decision on your own, and re-evaluate it often.

3. Justin Timberlake

I like being a beginner. I like the moment where I can look at everyone and say, ‘I have no idea how to do this. Let’s figure it out.’

People’s Choice

Starting out isn’t easy, but it does have its benefits. When you’re just beginning a new job, project, or even your career, everyone knows you’re cutting your teeth—so this is the time to ask questions and soak up all the knowledge and guidance you can. It’s also a great time to take some risks and make mistakes—just make sure you’re learning from them.

4. Lorde

Before I even knew how to make music I would listen to everything…and think, ‘Why isn’t there...this?’


Look around you at this moment—the supplies on your desk, the apps on your phone, the things the people around you are using. I’m willing to bet there are at least half a dozen things that were the brainchild of people who thought just like Lorde. Fact is, you don’t have to be constrained—in life or in your career—by the way things are now. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to create or achieve—do it! You might be the perfect person to bring a solution to life, but you won’t know until you try.

5. Taylor Swift

I’m too young to get married. Not age-wise, but I know myself, so why try to meet someone right now when I know I’m too young to do something serious?


OK—she’s talking about relationships here, but remember that there are lots of fish in the sea when it comes to your professional life, too. If you’re just starting out in your career or aren’t 100% sold on a current job, don’t settle, and always keep your eyes open for new opportunities. Give yourself the time and space to grow into yourself—and your career—and don’t be afraid to switch gears if something isn’t working. When you’ve met the right fit for you, you’ll know it.

Photo of Beyonce courtesy of Everett Collection / Shutterstock.