Diane von Furstenberg’s Tips to Be a Strong Woman in Business and Life

The celebrated designer is on a mission to help women help each other.

ByABC News
March 09, 2015, 8:17 AM

— -- Diane von Furstenberg has not only revolutionized the way women dress and feel about themselves -- she's also made it her mission to help women help each other.

This year marks the sixth anniversary of the DVF Awards, which recognizes women who have transformed and inspired the lives of others.

The celebrate designer visited "Good Morning America" to reveal the four inspiring women working to better their communities for the "People's Voice Award," a category of the annual DVF Awards voted on by the public. Cast your vote now!

Von Furstenberg also shared her top three tips for women to be strong in business and in life.

1. Be Yourself, Not an ImitationAs a child I was told the same lessons by my mother, over and over again: "Fear is not an option." "When one door closes, another one opens." I pretended not to listen, but those lessons actually built the foundation for the woman I am.

Now, as a mother and a grandmother, as a business owner and a mentor, I repeat those lessons to someone every day.

If I could share only one lesson, it would be this: the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Like all relationships, this takes work, and time, but it is the most important work you can do. Once you know yourself, everything else will become easier. With the confidence that comes from knowing yourself, you will learn to trust your own instincts, and you will learn which other relationships in your life are valuable and which are holding you back. Most importantly, you will be yourself, not an imitation of anyone else.

2. When One Door Closes, Another One OpensI always talk about confidence but it is also important to let yourself be vulnerable, to take risks and make mistakes. That is where you get your best lessons.

When you make decisions from a point of confidence, you can trust that you are acting with the best intentions. And if those decisions result in failure, you must face that failure, take responsibility for it, and examine it, no matter how difficult that feels. In that moment do not feel defeated; you must look around for the next opportunity. When one door closes, another one opens—it’s true. When I look back at my own career, I am not proud of the many mistakes I have made. But any success feels more remarkable and more rewarding when I consider the mistakes, the lessons learned and the new doors I found as well.

3. When You Have Success, Give it BackGenerosity truly is the best investment. If you give back to other women, you will build generations of strength, and ultimately, a better future for us all. You can do this in many ways, whether it is financial support, or using your stature to give a voice to women who have none.

One way my family and I give back is with the DVF Awards. The remarkable honorees are women who themselves give back in extraordinary ways. Many of these women risk their own lives to improve the lives of others. It is truly humbling.

Each year, one honoree is chosen by popular vote: the People’s Voice Award. We do this to give everyone an opportunity to lend a voice to lift one woman, and all the people she lifts. And we do this because only one nominee will win, but all will benefit from the exposure. Please read their stories at dvfawards.com, vote, and spread the word. If you do that, you will have given back today. Tomorrow, find a new way to give back, no matter how small. As my mother used to tell me: if you save one life, it begins a dynasty. The life you save can save another, so one life is never too small.

READ: Diane Von Furstenberg on Her Inspiration, How to Empower Women Everywhere

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