Rachel Zoe is divulging her top advice for how to deal with those inevitable career curveballs we all face at one time or another, whether in fashion or any other industry. The stylist, designer, and author spells out her advice in the latest LinkedIn Influencers post on what to do when you’re faced with the unexpected in your job, and how to use those dilemmas as an opportunity for growth.
So, how does Zoe deal with the obstacles? We got an exclusive sneak peek at her career must-dos—read on for a summary of her best advice:
1. Seek Advice. “Don’t try to tackle a problem on your own,” she says. “Swallow your pride and turn to someone you trust with more experience to help you navigate a trying situation.” For design advice, Zoe has turned to mentors like Marc Jacobs and Diane von Furstenberg, but relies on her husband Rodger and father Ron for guidance in her business. “I tend to be more creative, so their pragmatic, rational outlook is always a huge help.”
2. Focus on Solutions (Instead of the Problem). Zoe notes that everyone makes mistakes, but the way a person handles them is what defines them in the workplace. “When something goes wrong, find a solution (or twenty) before you present the mistake to your boss or colleagues. Then, use the misstep as a chance to come out on top,” says Zoe, who is also the founder of the Zoe Report. When a design she created doesn’t come out as envisioned, she works her team to find a middle ground rather than start from scratch.
3. Stay Calm. “Resist at all costs the urge to panic,” she states. “This is not easily taught and comes with experience, but if you can take control of a potential freak-out and just breathe, you will realize that no problem is as colossal as you think it is in the moment.” Zoe’s first major red carpet experience was dressing Jennifer Garner for the Emmy Awards in 2003, and it was a nerve-racking one. She stuck to her gut throughout the process—even though she was terrified—and the final result was better than she ever hoped. “I worked with Narcisco Rodriquez to design a gorgeous halter-neck cream gown that blew everyone away, and Jennifer has been a dear friend and client ever since.” (See Garner’s winning look here!)