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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work Relationships

How to Change the World From Your Desk: Use Your Talents to Help Others

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For the last two years Ann Shoket, as part of research for her book The Big Life, held a series of dinners at her apartment (dinner is overselling it, it’s fancy frozen pizza and many bottles of rosé). She wanted to pass on her knowledge to others. The conversations revolved around work, ambition, love, sex, and money.

All of the dinners, at their core, are about the ways women are now redefining what it means to be powerful and successful. They are a safe space for the most intimate, raw, and revealing conversations about the complicated pieces of the puzzle that go into building a career, relationship, family, and life.

At the start of each dinner Ann asks: If I could solve one problem for you, what would it be? Most responses boil down to five questions: How do I find a career that is also my passion? How do I get respect from my bosses? How do I find a partner who gets excited about my ambition? Will I have to take my foot off the gas of my career when I decide to have children? And finally, will all the struggle be worth it?

"There’s a magical moment that happens at the end of each dinner, when the dishes are cleared, and we’re saying our goodbyes," Ann says. "The women linger in my living room, trading tips and contact information and vowing to keep the conversation going over Bloody Marys at brunch or at meet-ups after work."

We’re all so “connected” during the day on social media, but don’t underestimate the power of real-life connection. Ann has built a career in using her talents to help others get everything they ever wanted. But now, with these dinners, she's used her expertise to create a sisterhood of women helping each other through the trickiest bits of becoming the woman you’re meant to be—together.

We challenge you to throw your own badass dinner party. The main rule? It can't just be about the food and drinks. The goal of this dinner party is to create a collorative of people ready to help each other, exchange advice, and set goals... together. Share photos of the night by tagging The Muse and Ann Shoket on Facebook! Then check out past challenges here.