Wisdom//

3 Lessons Jennifer Lopez Can Teach Us All About Finding Success at Any Age

When a multi-hyphenate star with a decades-long career speaks, we listen.

NBC / Contributor/ Getti Images
NBC / Contributor/ Getti Images

Waiting is one of the hardest things in life. And when it comes to your career, waiting — to hit your stride, to reach a big goal, to get a promotion — can be especially tough. It doesn’t help, of course, that the media sometimes focuses on the “overnight success” of young people. Not only that, but with ageism at play in the workforce, many feel pressure to “make it” before they reach a certain age.

That’s why we can’t help but feel a special kind of joy seeing Jennifer Lopez’s name, and age — 50 — in the headlines lately. Shortly after the release of her new movie, Hustlers, Oscar buzz around her role started to reach a fever pitch. Frankly, Lopez has always brought a refreshing perspective to the conversation about career trajectories: “Being an artist doesn’t start because you’re 21,” Lopez said in an interview with ELLE Magazine in 2010, “and it doesn’t have to end because you’re 51.”

But the J. Lo career wisdom doesn’t end there. Here are three more insights anyone — at any age — can use to thrive:

Take risks

J. Lo co-produced Hustlers with an all-female cast and set  — and she’s been candid about the daunting choice. “Having all women on the set — in front of the camera, behind the camera, behind the scenes with producers — it’s definitely a different experience,” she said in a press interview. “It’s not something that happens every day in Hollywood.” The lesson for all of us: Taking risks in our careers often requires stepping outside of our comfort zone, but it’s worth it.

Remember your value

Lopez is the first to admit that she’s worked hard and given each project her all, but at the end of the day, carving out time to put herself at the top of her priority list has been the key to her well-being and success. “You’ve got to love yourself first,” she told Glamour in 2011. “You’ve got to value yourself and know that you’re worth everything.” More recently, she told the New York Times: “Understanding my own worth and value as a person made me understand it differently in my work, as well.”

Don’t be afraid to change direction

If you have a nagging feeling that you should be doing something other than (or more than) you’re doing today, listen to that voice. Lopez’s LinkedIn profile — if she had one — would be a mile long, because the star has allowed herself to pivot whenever she wanted a new challenge or felt a new calling. Singer, dancer, actor, producer — and we can’t wait to see what she does next.

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