By Laura Vanderkam
The author of What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend shows us how to have more get-up-and-get-ahead during the rest of the week.
1. They Don’t Keep Spinning.
Yes, successful people work a lot. Martha Stewart, for instance, has famously claimed to sleep just four hours a night. But there are times to push and times not to. We need both. "A decade ago, I let my days just sort of all blend together," says James Reinhart, whose San Francisco-based online clothing resale platform ThredUp.com has grown from 30 employees to 140 in the past year. After starting the company, though, he realized that "it’s the quality of my decision making that ultimately makes the company successful." Without the time to go into refresh mode, "you never end up with the space to think."
So now he makes a point of golfing from 6 to 8 in the morning before his family wakes up, getting out with his daughter, and running. Reinhart claims to do his best thinking while hitting the trails in a nearby state park. "I come back from runs with clarity on decisions I want to make," he says. (He may be onto something: A number of neurological studies have found that exercise improves brain function.)
Of course, in a world where we tether ourselves to our inboxes, unplugging is easier said than done. You take your iPhone along when you meet a friend for coffee. She’s five minutes late. You start checking your email and, boom! Work mode is back. That’s part of modern life, but you can still carve out a few hours for a "tech Sabbath," which is time with no electronic devices. Try turning the smartphone off Friday or Saturday night and turning it back on 24 hours later. Probably nothing has changed, save for the level of your energy.
2. They Don't Go Limp.
If you spend your workweek running -- or worse, flying -- from place to place, you may think you want to collapse on the couch all weekend. But resist the urge: First, it’s impossible to do "nothing." Second: Think of the logistics. Want tickets to Cirque du Soleil? So do other people. Need a babysitter? She won’t show up on a whim. Finally, research into human happiness is finding that anticipation accounts for a major chunk of the mood boost associated with any activity. One well-known Dutch study of vacationers found that holiday-goers were happier than people who weren’t taking vacations, but the increased happiness largely happened before the trips, as people anticipated the fun to come. Compare it to opening Christmas presents: The act only takes an hour, but seeing wrapped gifts under the tree stretches out the joy for weeks. If you make a reservation on Wednesday for a Saturday-night dinner at your favorite restaurant, you’ll spend the next three days imagining your pasta carbonara to come -- which improves your weekend and your week.
3. They Don't Clean the Grout.
Using the weekend to catch up on chores is probably the hardest trap to avoid. After all, if you work full-time, when else are you supposed to do the 15.1 hours (for women) or 9.6 hours (for men) of household activities that the Bureau of Labor Statistics claims the average American does each week? But housework will take all the time you are willing to give it. After all, women in 1965 spent more than 30 hours each week on housework... and we haven’t descended into complete filth since then.
So consider doing your chores during the workweek; the chores will take less time because you have less time. This will leave your weekends free for more rejuvenating activities. Throw a load of laundry in before dinner and have the kids either do the dishes after or fold. Make a quick trip to the grocery store at 8:30 p.m. on a Wednesday. The place will be so empty you’ll zoom through. If a sparkling house is important to you -- and sometimes it is -- then designate a short cleaning time on the weekend, perhaps on Sunday afternoon. That way, if you find yourself looking at a messy house on Saturday morning, you can tell yourself that there’s a time for cleaning, and now is not that time. When the cleaning window arrives, set an alarm and do as much as you can in an hour. When the time is up, it’s up.
4. They Don't Lose the Last 15 Hours.
I struggle with this trap myself. I love what I do, but sometimes the sheer volume of work waiting for me Monday morning makes me look at the clock come Sunday afternoon and fall into a total Sunday funk. But the thing is: At 3 p.m. on Sunday, I still have 15 hours before I’ll wake up Monday morning, including seven hours before I need to go to bed. Why not seize that time?
This is why Sunday nights have become my new favorite time to host parties. Most people are free, and there’s a more relaxed vibe than at the formal get-togethers people expect on Saturday nights. Order food, have a beer, enjoy your friends, and you’ll be far readier for the workweek than if you spend that same time thinking about your inbox. As Reinhart puts it, failing to relax, run and refresh on weekends "makes me not a good husband, not a good dad and a terrible CEO." Success requires recharging the batteries from time to time, so you can hit Monday refreshed and ready to conquer -- if not the world, then at least your own life.
Laura Vanderkam is the author of What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend: A Short Guide to Making the Most of Your Days Off and 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think .
Related On HuffPost:
'Have No Regrets' --Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group
"The best advice I ever received? Simple: Have no regrets. Who gave me the advice? Mum’s the word. "If you asked every person in the world who gave them their best advice, it is a safe bet that most would say it was their mother. I am no exception. My mother has taught me many valuable lessons that have helped shape my life. But having no regrets stands out above all others, because it has informed every aspect of my life and every business decision we have ever made." Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
'Keep Listening' --Pete Cashmore, CEO of Mashable
"... I had access to the best guidance available: We all do. In the era of blogging, many of the leading thinkers in the web industry were publishing their thoughts online for free. I learned about venture capital thanks to the insights of Fred Wilson, and got my first look at the world of digital marketing thanks to Edelman’s Steve Rubel. Charlene Li of Forrester Research was unknowingly my mentor in the realm of web trends. Now many of these industry experts have moved to newer platforms like Twitter and Facebook, where they continue to distill their invaluable advice and insights to the world. And everyday (sic), without knowing it, they are actually giving me the best advice: Keep listening." Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
'Take Time To Get To Know People' --Beth Comstock, Chief Marketing Officer, GE
"Moving fast and being organized were my strong suits. The more there was to do, the more I felt alive." Who better than me, then, to land a plum assignment working for Jack Welch, Mr. Speed and Simplicity. Imagine my surprise when he called me into his office that day and admonished me for being too efficient. My zeal to do everything on my to-do list — along with my reserved, even shy nature — made me come across as abrupt and cold. I started every meeting by jumping right in and left with every action under control. 'You have to wallow in it,' he said. 'Take time to get to know people. Understand where they are coming from, what is important to them. Make sure they are with you.' I heard Jack loud and clear. But honestly, it took a long time for the impact of his words to sink in, and even longer to change my behavior. After all, those same attributes had led to my being in the role in the first place." Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
'You Can Do Anything You Choose' -- Martha Stewart, Founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
"The best advice I’ve ever received was from my father when I was 12 years old and willing to listen. He told me that with my personal characteristics, I could, if I set my mind to it, do anything I chose. This advice instilled in me a great sense of confidence, and despite the fact that sometimes I was a little nervous, I stepped out and did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. I think it really often is up to the parents to help build confidence in their children. It is a very necessary part of growing up." Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
'Sit On Your Own Bottom' --T. Boone Pickens, Chairman of BP Capital Management
"If I had to single out one piece of advice that’s guided me through life, most likely it would be from my grandmother, Nellie Molonson. She always made a point of making sure I understood that on the road to success, there’s no point in blaming others when you fail. Here’s how she put it: 'Sonny, I don’t care who you are. Some day you’re going to have to sit on your own bottom.' After more than half a century in the energy business, her advice has proven itself to be spot-on time and time again. My failures? I never have any doubt whom they can be traced back to. My successes? Most likely the same guy." Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
'You Can Do Anything You Set Your Mind To' --Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn
"As a child, I can't recall a day that went by without my dad telling me I could do anything I set my mind to. He said it so often, I stopped hearing it ... It wasn't until decades later that I fully appreciated the importance of those words and the impact they had on me." Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
'Plan Your Pricing From The Target Customer's Perspective' --Shai Agassi, Founder of Better Place
At a conference in 2006, President Clinton gave Agassi some advice on pricing for market disruption: "'By the time you will convince the rich folks in Israel to try it, then get the average folks in Israel to try it, then bring it to the U.S. for our rich folks ... the world will run out of time. You need to price your car so that an average Joe would prefer it over the kind of cars they buy today — an 8-year-old used gasoline car, selling for less than $3,000. As a matter of fact, if you can give away your car for free, that's a sure way to succeed.' Pricing for market disruption is very different than pricing for a few early adopters. You have to plan your pricing from the target customer's perspective, within the boundaries of your costs." Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
'Don't Correct People When It Matters Little' --Craig Newmark, Founder of Craigslist
"I'm a nerd, seriously hard-core, and sometimes that translates into being a know-it-all. People got tired of that while I worked at an IBM branch office in Detroit in the eighties. My boss told that that it had become a real problem with about half my co-workers. However, he said that my saving grace was my sense of humor. When trying to be funny, well, didn't matter if I was funny or not, at least I wasn't being an a**hole. The advice was to focus on my sense of humor and worry less about being exactly right. For sure, don't correct people when it matters little." It took a while to get noticed, but it did get noticed, and some tension got less tense. That felt pretty good. Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
'Feed The Eagles And Starve the Turkeys' --Nilofer Merchant, Founder of Rubicon Consulting
"When I was 20-something ... I walked into my boss’s office, the division leader ... I told him that I felt like on any given day I was facing a tsunami of things I could pay attention to, and there was no way I could work any harder to make stuff happen. I was asking for more resources, as the answer. And he sat me down as he might one of his many kids and gave me this advice: Feed the Eagles and Starve the Turkeys. Feed the Eagles. There are only a few things that matter. Know what they are. And place your energy into them. They aren’t always right in front of you so you need to look up and out more. Starve the Turkeys – lots of things are right in front of you … pecking around, making noise, and demanding attention. Because they are right in front of you, it’s easy to pay attention to them most and first. Ignore them. They will actually do fine without you." Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
'You Are Not Required To Finish Your Work, Yet Neither Are You Permitted To Desist From It' --Michael Fertik, CEO at Reputation.com
"'You are not required to finish your work, yet neither are you permitted to desist from it.' This is from Pirke Aboth, or “The Ethics of the Fathers” ... a collection of wisdom from the Jewish Talmudic sages, in this case, Rabbi Tarfon. This particular instruction has resonated with me for years. It’s something I think about nearly each day, and I find myself applying it to everything: My day job, my family life, my long-term hopes, even my sense of responsibility as a citizen. It’s a beautiful concept. It says you have an obligation to labor, to continue trying and making your way through the world, in essence, making a difference. At the same time, the instruction also focuses you on the effort, not the outcome. The main idea is the project, not the success." Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
'Never Travel Away From Your Wife For More Than 10 Days At A Time' --Tim Brown, CEO of Ideo
"I received one of my most valuable and sustaining pieces of advice from my mentor Bill Moggridge soon after I started working with him in the late 1980's. He had something called the '10 day rule' that he applied religiously to his own life and suggested strongly that I did the same to mine. The 10 day rule dictated that he was never allowed to travel away from his wife, Karin, for more than 10 days at a time. He would go to whatever lengths necessary to make it back home within the 10 days even if it meant flying the next day to another client meeting. His view was that this design constraint made him more efficient with travel and also reminded him to keep a balance between home and work life. I have found both of these to be true and have applied the 10 day rule throughout my career. I am convinced it has helped me maintain a great relationship with my own wife, Gaynor, for the last 27 years." Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
'When You Want Something From Someone, Give Them Something Instead' --Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Local
"My father-in-law, the Honorable Steven W. Fisher ... taught me this essential business paradox: when you want something from someone, give them something instead, with no strings attached or expectations. Ask how you can be of service. Act like a true friend, even before you’ve established a friendship. Are you guaranteed to be able to leverage this later? Absolutely not. But that’s not the point – the point is that when you act unselfishly – when you behave as you would to a great friend – trustworthy and trusting, respectful and kind – then more often than not, good things will come in the relationship." Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
'Follow Your Instincts' --Michael Moritz, Chairman of Sequoia Capital
"'Follow your instincts' was the terse, three-word suggestion I received 25 years ago from Don Valentine, founder of Sequoia Capital. 'Follow your instincts' shouldn’t be confused with 'trust your gut,' 'ignore reality,' 'rely on your sniffer' or 'go for glory.' The rough translation is 'do your homework well, analyze things carefully, assess the options but eventually trust your judgment and have the courage of your convictions – even if they are unpopular." Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
'Don’t Be A Perfectionist' --Ilya Pozin, Founder of Ciplex
"Most of us are trained to believe that practice makes perfect; but the best advice I've ever received preaches the exact opposite: Don’t be a perfectionist. Today I embrace this, but when I first heard this 7 years ago, I refused to accept it." Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
'Pack Half As Much Stuff As You Think You'll Need, And Twice As Much Money' --Hilary Mason, Chief Scientist at Bitly
"I've heard and read quite a lot of good advice, most of which I've probably ignored, but one thing that I did internalize was a bit of advice about, oddly enough, travel: pack half as much stuff as you think you'll need, and twice as much money. The more I travel this way the more I bring the same attitude to every new project. You can't know what's going to happen, so don't worry — just take what you need, and jump in." Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
'Take The Blame When You Deserve It' --Gretchen Rubin, Author and Blogger
"My father: 'If you’re willing to take the blame when you deserve it, people will give you the responsibility.' This was perhaps the best advice for the workplace I ever got." Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
'Losing Doesn't Matter' --Nicholas Thompson, Senior Editor at The New Yorker Magazine
Thompson's former soccer coach, Bruce Cochrane, told him that losing doesn't matter: "It sounds like a trite lesson now: another version of 'it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game.' But it was much more powerful. He was explaining that there was a certain artistry to what we were trying to do, and a certain dignity that we had upheld even in defeat." Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
'Are You Happy?' --Jeffrey Selingo, Columnist and Author
"The advice came from Clint Williams, an editor at the paper. Near the end of the summer, many of the fellows were figuring out where to focus our job search or weighing job offers. Many of us didn’t know what to do next. What would make us happy? Clint had a rule of thirds for happiness in life. He told me to ask three questions: Are you happy with your job? Are you happy where you live? Are you happy who you’re with (depending on your circumstances that could mean friends, spouse, partner, etc). If you answer Yes to at least two out of three, you found your spot for the moment. If not, you need to make a change to one of them." Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
Evaluate Your Career Every 18 Months --Charlene Li, Founder Partner at Altimeter Group
"In my second year at Harvard Business School, I took a career management course because I had no idea what I was going to do upon graduation. At the start of the course, the professor gave me the best advice: That the most important asset I would ever manage would be my career and because of that, I should give it the proper time, attention and investment that it deserved. No other asset I would ever manage would ever come close to the net present value of my career." His specific advice was to evaluate my career status about every 18 months. It's 18 months because that's about how long it takes for a person to master a job — and begin to look for new challenges. Either you find those challenges in the existing job or you have to and find new opportunities. Regardless, that regular evaluation keeps you honest about managing your career, rather than passively going along with the situation that you are currently in." Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
Listen To Feedback From Your Team --Jim Kim, President at The World Bank
"... I received some great advice from Marshall Goldsmith, one of the preeminent authorities in the field of leadership. He told me this: 'If you want to be an effective leader, listen to and accept with humility the feedback that comes from your team.' The most fundamental commitment you have to make as a leader is to humbly listen to the input of others, take it seriously, and work to improve. Again, it sounds simple, but it’s not easy. Leadership, as Marshall always says, is a contact sport, and one has to constantly ask for and respond to advice from colleagues so you can improve." Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
Ignore The Chattering Crowds And Set Your Own Course --Sallie Krawcheck, Former President of Merrill Lynch
"One day, after some petty humiliation, I came home in tears. My mother sat me down and told me, in a voice that I thought of as her 'telephone voice' (meaning, reserved for grown-ups), that I should ignore the girls [from school]; the only reason they were treating me poorly was because they were jealous of me. Therefore I should ignore the chattering crowds and set my own course." Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
Never Show How Upset You Are --Peter Guber, CEO of Mandalay Entertainment
Pat Riley, President of the Miami Heat, told Guber to never visibly show how upset you are: "You are going to lose a lot! A lot! Get used to it! It’s a crucial part of the process! That behavior doesn’t help you or your team. You’ve got to always remain visibly positive! Managing losses is a challenge you must be up to! You can never give in to it!" Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
'You're Never As Good As Your Best Review, And Never As Bad As Your Worst' --Vivian Schiller, Chief Digital Officer at NBC News
"You're never as good as your best review, and never as bad as your worst.' I was given this advice by a former boss, and it has since stuck with me as a guide for getting through the best of times and the worst of times. Looking back on my career and all of the places I’ve been, there have been incredible highs and lows at each point along the way. What I’ve come to learn is that life is cyclical and the best way to stay focused is to ignore the swings and instead focus on the long run." Source: <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/se/bestadvice">LinkedIn</a>
Also on HuffPost:
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg
A New Kind Of Cover Girl
In March 2013, Sheryl released her new book, “Lean In,” and it instantly shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list -- and landed her on the cover of Time magazine.
Advocating For Women In The Workplace
Sheryl had never spoken about women’s issues in public before her TED talk on “Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders,” and she was advised against it by her peers, who claimed that it would draw attention to the fact that she is a woman. Sheryl laughed and said, “I think they know I’m a women.” The video of her TED talk instantly went viral. Overnight, Sheryl established herself as a leading advocate for women in the workplace.
Born To Lead
The oldest of three children, Sheryl possessed undeniable leadership skills from an early age. But while young boys are often encouraged to lead, Sheryl was regularly referred to as “bossy.” Part of her mission today is to teach parents to encourage their young daughters to develop their leadership skills, instead of dismissing them as overly aggressive.
Standing In Her Own Way
For her whole early life, Sheryl felt that she needed to hold herself back from being too successful or appearing too smart. In high school, she was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by her peers, but was embarrassed by the recognition. She asked a friend on the yearbook staff to remove that title from her name.
Welcome To Silicon Valley
After serving as Chief of Staff at the U.S. Treasury Department, Sheryl made her way to Silicon Valley, where she accepted a position as Vice President of Google’s Global Online Sales & Operations. At the time, Google was a small start-up, but during her stint with the company, it became an unprecedented success.
A Fateful Meeting
Sheryl met Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg at a Christmas party held by Yahoo COO Dan Rosensweig in late 2007. Although he wasn’t actively looking for a new COO for Facebook, Mark knew that Sheryl would be perfect for the job. After several months of becoming acquainted with one another, Sheryl left her post at Google to become Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer.
Marriage As A Real Partnership
In various interviews, Sheryl has stressed to women the importance of choosing a partner who supports their career and agrees to assist with housework and childcare. Her husband, SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg, possesses these qualities, which allows the pair to operate as a team.
A Well-Educated Woman
A graduate of Harvard College, Sheryl earned her A.B. in economics and went on to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School. In May 2011, she spoke at the commencement ceremony at Barnard College about achieving equality in the workplace and seeking ways to find work/life balance.
Sheryl is no stranger to economics. At Harvard, she met mentor Larry Summers, who later recruited her to serve as his research assistant at the World Bank. Here she appears on stage alongside Danielle Gray, deputy director of the National Economic Council; Mari Pangestu, Indonesia's trade minister; and moderator Chris Jansing at the APEC Women and the Economy Summit in September 2011.
Working For The President
After a stint as a business consultant, Sheryl served as the Chief of Staff for the United States Treasury Department under President Bill Clinton from 1996 to 2001. Here, she joins the former president and Katie Couric at the Women for Women International Gala at the Museum of Modern Art in November 2011.
Chosen By The Commander In Chief
President Obama listens intently to Sheryl’s advice during a meeting of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. The council was established to promote growth in American business and equip American workers with the skills they need to succeed.
Women Who Have Leaned In
Arianna Huffington has been a strong supporter of Sheryl’s “Lean In” message, which calls for women to eliminate self-doubt and focus on their personal well-being. Here, Sheryl joins Arianna at the 2011 Matrix Awards, which honor women in communications and the arts.
An Evening At The White House
Who has Sheryl referred to as her biggest personal role model? Her mother, of course! Here, she escorts her mom, Adele Sandberg, to the White House for the State Dinner for South Korea in October 2011.
Discussing New Marketing Tools
In Sheryl’s current position at Facebook, she oversees business operations, which includes everything from marketing and sales to public policy and human resources. Here Sheryl speaks to an audience of marketing professionals at a Facebook event in February 2012.
Weighing In At The World Economic Forum
Now a highly sought-after speaker on the world stage, Sheryl participated in a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland in January 2013.
Powerful Women Team Up
Sheryl spoke about women in business with Chelsea Clinton as part of the promotion for her new book, “Lean In” in March 2013.
Post 50 Female Legends And Icons
Post 50 Female Legends And Icons
The Disney Princess
<strong>Who:</strong> Ann Sweeney (53) <strong>Why:</strong> In a world where young girls dream of being like Cinderella, Snow White, and Jasmine -- we can't help but think how cool it is that there's a new Disney princess to look up to: Ann Sweeney. As the co-chair of Disney Media Networks and President of Disney-ABC Television Group, she is a woman in a predominately male business. Sweeney uses this platform to work in organizations such as Cable Positive - a group of CEOs that work with the media's resources in the fight against AIDS. Photo: Getty
The Fashion Icon
<strong>Who:</strong> Grace Coddington (70) <strong>Why:</strong> The Creative Director for U.S. <em>Vogue</em> stole the show in the 2009 documentary "The September Issue" where she fearlessly goes head to head with <a href="http://www.themortonreport.com/celebrity/notables/is-vogue-editor-in-chief-anna-wintour-shopping-memoir/" target="_hplink">"ice-queen"</a> Anna Wintour. It goes without saying, her trademark hair is pretty amazing, too. Photo: Getty
<strong>Who:</strong> Wallis Annenberg (72) <strong>Why:</strong> She's not your average philanthropic socialite! The heiress publisher-turned-public benefactor donates her time and money to making cities like Los Angeles well rounded and beautiful. Bob Colacello's portrait of Miss Annenberg for <em><a href="http://www.vanityfair.com/style/features/2009/10/wallis-annenberg200910" target="_hplink">Vanity Fair</a></em> is one of our favorites. Photo: Getty
The California Girl
<strong>Who:</strong> Dianne Feinstein (78) <strong>Why:</strong> In many ways, it seems the San-Francisco born Feinstein has been a heavy-hitter since the day she was born. The former (and first-female) San Francisco Mayor is a California girl thru-and-thru who has survived divorce, death, and even representing the Democrats in the Senate. Photo: Getty
Who: Oprah Winfrey (57) Why: Oh Oprah, how do we love thee? Let me count the ways... besides being "arguably the world's most powerful woman," according to <em><a href="http://entertainment.time.com/" target="_hplink">TIME</a></em>, Oprah has a philanthropic compulsion to match her monetary earnings. Through her <a href="http://www.oprah.com/index.html" target="_hplink">Angel Network</a> and <a href="http://www.oprah.com/entertainment/Oprah-Winfrey-Leadership-Academy-for-Girls" target="_hplink">Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy</a>, she has supported women's shelters, built youth centers and homes, created academic scholarships and established more than 50 schools around the world. Photo: Getty
The Zen Master
<strong>Who:</strong> Donna Karan (63) <strong>Why:</strong> The international wellness crusader started her <a href="http://www.urbanzen.org/" target="_hplink">Urban Zen Foundation</a> (UZF) in the months following her husband's death to cancer. The UZF and the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy programs strive to integrate of yoga, meditation and aromatherapy into conventional treatment regimens. Photo: Getty
The Resilient Author
<strong>Who: </strong>Joan Didion (76) <strong>Why:</strong> After the literary icon behind "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" and "Play It As It Lays" endured the deaths of both her husband and daughter - she gave us the gift of "The Year Of Magical Thinking". "Blue Nights," Joan Didion's memoir about her daughter, Quintana, will be released on Nov. 1, 2011. Photo: Getty
<strong>Who:</strong> Maria Shriver (55) <strong>Why:</strong> After experiencing public betrayal, Shriver really showed her grace. She's won a Peabody Award and two Emmys for her broadcast journalism, but she's won the heart of her fans through her empathy and reliability. Post-scandal, she's back on the saddle again -- Shriver <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/14/maria-shriver-interviews-wallis-annenberg_n_963415.html#s361877" target="_hplink">interviewed</a> Wallis Annenberg for <em>Los Angeles Magazine</em>'s inaugural "Women's Issue". Photo: Getty
The Go-To Girl
<strong>Who: </strong>Barbara Walters (82) <strong>Why: </strong>She's undeniably the queen of interviews having questioned the likes of Monica Lewinsky, Hugo Chavez, Anna Wintour, Katherine Hepburn and Anwar Al Sadat -- to name a few. Now holding the reigns on <em>The View</em> she's as strong as she's ever been. Photo: Getty
<strong>Who:</strong> Indra Nooyi (55) <strong>Why:</strong> The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo was the 2011 <a href="http://www.blogher.com/" target="_hplink">BlogHer</a> Keynote speaker and blew the crowd away. Business Week quoted Roger Enrico as saying, "Indra can drive as deep and hard as anyone I've ever met, but she can do it with a sense of heart and fun." Photo: Getty
The Funny Girl
<strong>Who:</strong> Ellen Degeneres (53) <strong>Why:</strong> The 13-time Emmy winner has more than a fantastic sense of humor going for her. Not only did she risk <em>everything</em> to come out and conquer LGBT issues, she consistently supports the charitable efforts of the <a href="http://ellen.warnerbros.com/2011/05/please_help_the_tornado_victims_0525.php" target="_hplink">American Red Cross</a> and the <a href="http://ellen.warnerbros.com/2011/09/donate_to_farm_sanctuary_0916.php" target="_hplink">Farm Sanctuary</a>. Photo: Getty
<strong>Who:</strong> Bonnie Raitt (61) <strong>Why:</strong> The best-selling, classic blues-playing rockstar follows in rebel music history with her long-standing political activism. She frequently speaks out against politicians she doesn't support and just as often she praises those she admires. In 2000, she was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame - for a game that mostly men play - but we aren't knocking her dad, John, because we loved him too. Photo: Getty
The Academy Queen
<strong>Who:</strong> Meryl Streep (62) <strong>Why:</strong> Not only does she have 16 Academy Award nominations and 25 Golden Globe nominations, but she often has won these accolades playing roles that defy the gender roles assigned to women. Streep plays Margaret Thatcher in the upcoming film, "The Iron Lady". Photo: Getty
Who: Hillary Clinton (63) Why: The current Secretary of State is no stranger to gossip. She has always risen above adversity with dignity and style. Not only was she an active First Lady, but she did as we know, run for President herself. No shame in that! Photo: Getty
The Power Player
Who: Diane Sawyer (65) Why: The former host of <em>Good Morning America </em>and current anchor of <em>ABC World News</em> has interviewed famous people such as Robert McNamara, Nancy Pelosi, Richard Nixon, Nancy Reagan, Madonna, and Roman Polanski. She was one accused of being "Deep Throat" and has fought the "Mommy War" rumors with ease. Photo: Getty
The 'Leading' Lady
<strong>Who:</strong> Angela Merkel (57) <strong>Why:</strong> The current Chancellor of Germany has epitomized a female in a position of leadership. <em><a href="http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2066367_2066369_2066098,00.html #ixzz1bTuNodMU " target="_hplink">TIME Magazine</a></em> once said, she has "a spirit of compromise in the service of a genuine ambition -- and fed by a desire for openness." According to <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Business/worlds-100-powerful-women-angela-merkel-hillary-clinton/story?id=14364193" target="_hplink">ABC News</a>, Merkel is the "undisputed leader of the EU." Not bad. Photo: Getty
<strong>Who:</strong> Jill Abramson (57) <strong>Why:</strong> We call her "The Pioneer" because Jill Abramson is the first female editor of the <em>New York Times</em> in the newspaper's history. Some rumors have her as difficult to work with and others proclaim her dedication to NYC based on the subway token tattoo she has on her right shoulder (via <em><a href="http://www.forbes.com/profile/jill-abramson/" target="_hplink">Forbes</a></em>). Either way you swing it, she's a woman who is revolutionizing the way women are viewed in media and publishing. Photo: Patrick McMullan
<strong>Who:</strong> Condoleezza Rice (56) <strong>Why:</strong> The former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor did not forget the importance of strong educational roots. After her time concluded at the White House, Rice returned to Stanford as a Political Economy Professor in the Graduate School of Business. Rice has been prolific in female society roles. She is on the Board at both the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Photo: Getty
The Girl's Girl
<strong>Who:</strong> Gloria Steinem (77) <strong>Why:</strong> As the leader of the Women's Liberation Movement, Steinem has been at this for a while -- and she's not backing down. She co-founded the Women's Media Center, the Coalition of Labor Union Women and <em>Ms. Magazine</em>. She is writing a book about her activism, with the working title of "Road to the Heart: America As if Everyone Mattered." Photo: Getty
The Movie Star
<strong>Who:</strong> Michelle Pfeiffer (53) <strong>Why:</strong> The one-time Cat woman has shied away from press in the past, but her recent cover for <em>Elle Magazine</em>'s "Women In Hollywood 2011" issue has reminded us all that she never really left the limelight. Photo: Getty