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Actress and comedian Mindy Kaling’s 3 tips to living your best work life

Mindy Kaling attends the “Ocean’s 8” World Premiere at Alice Tully Hall on June 5, 2018 in New York City. Image: Getty

These days Mindy Kaling looks like she’s got it all: several starring roles in successful comedy shows and movies, two New York Times best-selling books and five Emmy Award nominations.

But none of this success happened instantaneously: she’s learnt a lot of lessons along the way.

Speaking to LinkedIn, Kaling shared three tips on how workers can live their best work lives:

Focus

Kaling told LinkedIn that as she’s grown more successful, the ability to zero-in on the tasks and opportunities that are the most important has become more important but also more difficult.

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“When I was 21, 22 and broke, it was easy to focus,” Mindy said. “What was I going to do, stay home and write or go out and not spend money?”

“But now, I’m rich,” she added, noting that her wealth has opened up more doors.

So, she learnt she had to whittle down her opportunities and tasks to focus on what was most important. To her, this was writing.

The more she focused on that, the more powerful her work would ultimately be, she said.

Own yourself

“There’s a quote from Quentin Tarantino I always remember,” Kaling said. “It went something like, ‘There aren’t guilty pleasures, just pleasures’. I’ve always believed that.”

This comes down to being proud of what makes us unique, and use it to succeed.

Kaling’s comedy lies in her ability to speak aloud what everyone is thinking, but may be too embarrassed to say.

Owning herself and being proud of her opinions helped Kaling get to where she is today.

Help others

As Kaling’s star rose, she admitted to finding herself less willing to spend time mentoring or sharing advice.

“I don’t have time for that,” was her initial reaction.

“I’m a leader now. I need to use that to create opportunities to hire people who otherwise wouldn’t get a chance.”

But she soon remembered that she wouldn’t have had her opportunities if others hadn’t helped her.

The actress and comedian pointed to The Office producer and writer Greg Daniels who gave her the chance to be the first Indian and female writer on the show.

“My maturity came when I realized it’s also part of the job,” Kaling said.

Continuing, she said she feels that in her role as creator and producer, it’s her responsibility to open the doors to underrepresented groups who otherwise may not get a look in.

“I’m a leader now,” Kaling explained. “I need to use that to create opportunities to hire people who otherwise wouldn’t get a chance.”

As a woman of colour, it’s even more important, she told Variety early this year.

She said she used to love fantasy and sci-fi stories, but never saw herself reflected in the characters.

“Particularly if you’re a woman of color, you need people to give you opportunities. Talent is an important part of success, but you also need mentors to find promise in people that don’t necessarily seem like they will fit in.”

Kaling is set to star in LATE NIGHT, a film she wrote about a late night talk show and an Indian-American woman’s quest to prove she’s not a “diversity hire” and succeed in a typically white and male workplace.

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