Mel Robbins has somehow mastered a skill that most of us are told we shouldn’t even attempt: She juggles multiple careers — and she does them all really, really well. Okay, that might be something of an understatement: every career Robbins attempts, she knocks it out of the park. Originally a criminal defense attorney, she launched and sold an internet company before becoming a coach with some of the biggest names in the business (think Chase, Microsoft, the Harvard Business School). She’s now the best-selling author of The 5-Second Rule, a motivational speaker who’s TEDx Talk has been viewed over twelve million times, and she’s simultaneously somehow built a career at CNN as one of their most popular on-air commentators and opinion writers. And we hear she’s got even bigger plans in the works — in the form of a new media company.
In other words, Robbins is definitely our kind of woman.
One thread throughout all of Robbins’ work? Authenticity. She is herself, through and through, no matter what she’s doing. In fact, a fellow law professional gave her some advice to that end when she first got into media. We’re talking about none other than the Judge Judy. “Don’t ever change who you are,” the T.V. judge told her. “If somebody asks you to do something that makes you uncomfortable, always say ‘no,’ no matter what the consequences are.”
Robbins doesn’t shy away from being herself — and that includes some very strong opinions. Although politics is a topic that many coaches and business owners are told to avoid, Robbins is not just a coach and business owner — she’s a CNN commentator. She has to share her opinions, even if it’s not what her target audience wants to hear. “With my work with CNN, I don’t hold anything back in my articles and commentary,” says Robbins. “I’m proud of my pieces for CNN and strive to keep them smart, science-backed, and thoughtful – not just political rants. For that reason, I truly believe that someone on any side of the political spectrum could read one of my articles and find something to agree with. I try to find a common theme across all people.”
That being said, she is careful not to cross-pollinate with her business brand. “For my media and speaking business, I don’t aim to make it political. I actually don’t post links to my CNN articles on any of my personal or business social media accounts, my newsletter, or in my courses. If people want to find the CNN articles, that’s awesome. But I don’t specifically push them out to my audience.” A strategy that’s doubtless difficult to master, but Robbins does so with grace to spare.
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Clearly, there’s a method to balancing so many different pursuits. As entrepreneurs, we all can fall prey to burnout syndrome, so we were eager to hear not only how Robbins stays so successful, but how she stays so sane. Of course, she has a team who supports her; delegating tasks is a hallmark of any effective leader. “Everyone that I’ve hired has incredible skills that fill in my gaps,” she says. “It’s important to know your strengths and focus on them, and when you’re ready to hire, hire people who are good at the things that are your weaknesses.”
But what about the daily demands? How do you maintain a schedule with some semblance of normalcy when any number of wildly influential, international projects demand your attention? Well, as it turns out, while Robbins’ ‘average’ day is anything but, there are a few habits she never neglects.
“First, I always wake up and pop right out of bed,” she explains. “I never hit the snooze button. I also never sleep near my phone or check my phone after waking up. Next, while getting ready, I think about my major priorities for the day ahead. What do I want to accomplish that will move the ball forward in meaningful ways?
“After this, I take 30 minutes to plan my day. This means choosing my top priorities and then starting to make progress on at least one of them. Not until after this do I check my phone or email. Sometimes this means waking up really early, especially when I’ve got a morning tech check!
“My other daily habits? I always plan my quitting time, which is when I will stop working. This forces me to put a deadline on my work and spend quality time with my family.” The mother of three children, Robbins makes sure to build that time into her schedule so she can be present with her family in the midst of building an expansive career. But she doesn’t have patience for anyone who suggests that those two things might be mutually exclusive:
“I often get asked questions by women struggling with the guilt they feel when they start needing time away from family to pursue their own dreams. Consider this perspective: the two most important things we can do for kids is to love them inside and out, and to teach our kids how to be confident, courageous, and compassionate enough to pursue their own dreams. We want that for our children, don’t we? And the best way to teach these things: BE THESE THINGS. As a woman, pursue your dreams. Be courageous. Don’t feel guilty about it. Feel proud of your pursuits. You are an example to girls everywhere of what a woman in action looks like — I believe it is the most powerful gift you can give to your children and to yourself.”
Robbins recently released a daily journal, full of journaling strategies and beautifully hand crafted by artisans in New York. “This is something that I’m really pumped about,” Robbins says of the project. “It’s the exact same journaling method that I’ve been using for years to keep myself productive – and I’ve created a daily journal that outlines the exact process that I use.”
With a talk show soon to be released on Audible and another book coming out later this year, it certainly doesn’t look like she’ll be slowing down anytime soon — but she will be shifting her focus.
“Speaking so much also involves a ton of traveling, and I want to be home more,” Robbins explains of her upcoming career shift. “So, I’m now pivoting into a new part of my career: being the CEO of a media company. I love speaking, but what I love most is connecting with people and sharing inspiring messages. Through my media platforms, we’re now creating courses, content, and more that are reaching and helping even more people.”
Reaching and helping people could arguably be Robbins’ tagline, as everything she does seems to come from that place of generosity. When asked what her favorite part of her varied career is, Robbins’ points to one of those courses she created, The Power of You. “It’s this incredible supportive online community,” she explains of the course. “Interacting with all of the students and seeing their transformations has been such a great experience. We just finished our second session of the course and it’s inspiring me and the turn that I want to take with my business to include more coaching.”
As a woman who knows what she wants, and has a proven track record of helping other people know what they want, no interview with Robbins would be complete without this question: For those who want to grow their career, what advice can you share?
“Stop focusing on WHAT you do, and pay more attention to HOW you do it,” she says. “And how you leave people around you feeling.”