The #SheWearsThePants Series explores the themes of ambition, motivation, and productivity as experienced by high-performing women.
It’s 2016 and “ambition” still has a negative association when applied to a woman. It may be used to indicate that a woman is too assertive, or aggressive - even bossy and bitchy. Take for example, Bernie Sanders’s campaign manager, Jeff Weaver who said Hillary’s ambition was going to destroy the Democratic Party (love her response by the way). But Tory Burch says we should own it, and we agree.
In this series we explore what “ambition,”means to different women, and what place it has in their lives. Additionally, we want to examine how women create and meet goals, and what tools, resources, and services they use to manage time, stay motivated and be productive. We hope in reading this series, women find inspiration and receive actionable take-aways.
First up - Pivotte co-founder, Ev. Read her thoughts on ambition and how to stay motivated below. Then, join the conversation! We encourage you to add comments to this page, share thoughts on instagram and twitter, or email us!
Evelyn Frison, Co-Founder – Pivotte, New York City
What are some of the most important things to know about you?
I love being busy, active, and creative. I’m restless, but I think in a good way - I want to get things done! Pivotte very much represents me and my lifestyle. It’s created for effortless dressing so you have time to focus on the goals that matter and to complete everything you want to do in a given day. I live by a few rules, including “do what you say you are going to do” and finish what you start.” I love being social and I would do anything for just about anyone.
Why do you do what you do?
I started Pivotte with my partner, Yehua Yang because we were frustrated with the limitations of our daily wardrobe. I don’t want to wear anything that restricts me from feeling confident or getting things done. I’m tired of uncomfortable office wear. What drives me is finding that other people feel the same way I do. I aim to continue to provide them with solutions to their clothing challenges, and send a message to women that what you do is the most important - but you can do those things looking good too.
What does ambition personally mean to you - what place does it have in your life?
Ambition means having the determination and grit to get what you want, need and deserve. This applies to all areas of your life - personal and work, and it also applies to a daily schedules as well as for long-term life goals.
I consider myself to be ambitious, but this was not always the case. At different points in my past, I didn’t consider myself to have the motivation and drive to get through certain circumstances. I think that was a combination of a fear of failure, and not knowing what I wanted/what my goals were. A fear of failure is still something I am working on, and my long-term goals are evolving - but things are much more clear now and it’s provided the foundation for me to choose ambition and success on my own terms.
Do you think our culture perceives “ambition” to be a dirty word for women? Why or why not?
Yes - and I’m disappointed this is still the case in 2016. When I asked people about a series on “ambition” or when I originally wanted to incorporate the word into our tagline - this was met with a lot of resistance. It was a lot of “I’d stay away from that.” It’s still a dirty word in our culture - look at the way Bernie Sanders’s campaign manager, Jeff Weaver commented on Hillary’s campaign. On national TV, he said she was going to destroy the Democratic Party due to her ambition. And this is coming from a “liberal and progressive” camp! Why is Hillary not allowed to be as ambitious as any other political candidate?!
Please share one of your current, important goals (can be personal or work-related).
My long-term goal is to make Pivotte a company that has a substantial and positive impact on women and the world.
Why is this a goal and how did you realize it was something that you wanted to work on?
I believe in Pivotte’s products and it’s brand, and I believe in corporate responsibility, so those two things have to come together.
What’s your plan for achieving it?
Breaking large, short-term goals into small, realistic chunks. For example, starting this series and recently donating proceeds from one of our events to the women in sports foundation.
What do you do if you are having a hard time defining goals?
Talk to my closest, most trusted friends. Recently, I’ve also started journaling after a long hiatus.
How do you stay motivated to fulfill your goals and sense of ambition, and what do you do when you get stuck?
I stay motivated because I am accountable to my partner. Also - I’m determined to make Pivotte a success because it will be my platform for helping others. Additionally, I’m determined to define life on my own terms, and I’m convinced that creating my own business is the only way to do that.
What is one tool/trick/lifehack/resource/service do you use to stay productive?
Putting EVERYTHING in my calendar and using the schedule blocking technique.
What activities do you do outside of your full-time gig (whether that’s work, parenting or something else)? How do you find time to do it? How does it make you more successful in your full-time gig?
I do a lot outside of work. Admittedly, this can cause me to lose focus sometimes - that’s where the blocked scheduling comes in though! Working out gives me the focus and energy needed to do my job. I get a lot of “ah ha!” moments while running, which is relevant for my job and business. Baking is my personal form of meditation - I find it relaxing. It gives me an excuse to step away from the computer and work with my hands a bit. Reading either exposes me to new ideas I incorporate into my business, or also gives me a chance to relax.
What would you do with an extra 15 minutes a day?
Call my mom and close friends more often.