Leadership Lessons of Coco Chanel

In addition to being one of the greatest fashion designers of all time, Coco Chanel was also one of the smartest of entrepreneurs, building a brand that even today is one of the world’s most prestigious fashion houses.

As we celebrate her birthday later this week—she would have been 134!—we wanted to share some of the leadership and business lessons we have learned from this fashion icon.


GenW_FailureAlways Believe You Will Succeed
“Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.”

It isn’t that successful leaders do not think failure exists, they just believe that it isn’t the final outcome of their endeavors. Believe that you will succeed and even the challenges you face become moments of learning, pushing you closer to your goal.






GenW_ThinkforYourselfThink for Yourself
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”

During a time when popular opinion often dictates what we think to be right and wrong, we are missing the impactful conversations that happen when people commit to a point of view and are able to discern the points of views of others. That is to say, leadership is not just knowing when you’re right, but also knowing when you’re not.






GenW_MonotonyWork Hard, Love Often
“There is no time for cut-and-dried monotony, there is time for work and time for love. That leaves no other time.”

It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae of life, but the focus of our time and energy should be spent building the relationships that matter. Great leaders spend their hours wisely–working towards their goals, creating impactful change and enjoying the things and people around them. There is no time for boredom in a life well-lived.







GenW_AuthenticityBe Authentic
“Hard times arouse an instinctive desire for authenticity.”

Greatness emerges from hard times—we’ve seen it happen time and time again when we watch as senseless tragedies overcome neighborhoods or natural disasters destroy lives. The “heroes” who emerge during challenging life moments are living into their authentic selves—they are doing what comes naturally and not worried about how they look or how they are being perceived. True leaders let authenticity be the guide when it comes to overcoming challenges and moving life forward.