Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Tamron Hall, and Linda McMahon share important advice.
senator gillibrand
Credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Back in August, Real Simple partnered with TIME for a poll of 1,000 women (and 300 men) to find out how they really defined “success.” Some of the results confirmed what we already know, like that motherhood has a big impact on how women view their success. Others were more surprising—it seemed like being “good” at their jobs was more important to the women surveyed than the men. But the biggest finding was that women seemed to lack confidence, even though almost 80 percent of them thought it was important to finding success. So we gathered together successful, confident women for a panel discussion Wednesday night about how all women can achieve their goals.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Frozen songwriter Kristen Anderson-Lopez, TODAY’s Tamron Hall, and former CEO of WWE Linda McMahon joined editors-in-chief Kristin van Ogtrop and Nancy Gibbs to talk about success (and failures), and how women can build confidence. Here’s what we learned:

1. “Don’t be afraid to take a risk because you’re afraid you might fail.” –Linda McMahon

2. “Being in the moment is my path, my guide, to anything that’s right.” –Kristen Anderson-Lopez
Lopez offered this advice to those who are overcome with anxiety about finding success—so much so that they are unable to enjoy the present.

3. “What are you ‘having?’ A party? Another slice of pie? ... What we’re really talking about is doing it all. How do we help women do all the things they want to do?” -Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on the idea of women “having it all”

4. “Don’t try to follow the exact steps of anyone… Where you’re going is the right direction.” –Tamron Hall
Everyone’s path to success is not the same—Hall herself had many jobs and many rejections before landing where she is today.

5. “If we raise each other up around the world, I guarantee the world will be so awesome.” –Kristen Anderson Lopez

6. “To have success today is to look around and see that we’re putting smiles on other people’s faces.” –Linda McMahon
McMahon no longer defines success by money or appearance—there are more important ways to feel successful.

7. “Failure is a gift. If you’re willing to fail, you won’t only learn faster, but ‘fear’ is eliminated.” –Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

8. “Life in itself, I think, keeps you from feeling entitled… unless you’re just a jackass.” –Tamron Hall
When asked if parents should worry about making their daughters feel too special, Hall shared these wise (and hilarious) words.

9. “Look at what you’re doing in your free time. Whatever it is that draws you—listen to and follow that voice.” –Kristen Anderson-Lopez

10. “Be exactly yourself.” –Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Because young women should never waste time worrying about what others think.

For more on the event, check out’s coverage of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s Q&A, as well as the panel discussion with Tamron Hall, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, and Linda McMahon.