Cameron Diaz was a featured speaker at her sister-in-law Nicole Richie’s PearlXChange event in West Hollywood on Saturday. PearlXChange is a day conference dedicated to women’s entrepreneurship and success and featured appearances this year by Cameron, Nicole, Soul Cycle co-founders Julie Rice & Elizabeth Cutler and HelloGiggles cofounder Sophia Rossi. There were also women from the science and engineering fields, which was nice to see. People has some comments that Cameron made at the conference about her career and about defining success, and I found myself nodding along with her and agreeing. Cameron said that we need to define success by our own terms, not by material goods, and to know what we think is successful. She also revealed that she suffered anxiety before her first book came out in 2013.
“Right before [The Body Book] book came out, I was on my back for a week. My back went out. I couldn’t breathe,” she told the audience at sister in-law Nicole Richie‘s Pearl xChange at The London in West Hollywood, California.
“I’ve never had that kind of thing where I was just literally debilitated. I realized I was just so scared that I was going to put this thing into the world and everybody’s going to see me, and what if they don’t like me? What if they think I’m crazy or I’m stupid? I was like, oh God, this is so painful,” she shared.
She dug deeper into her insecurities about releasing the book and shared them with the audience. “It was revealing about who I was. Movies are like totally fake. It’s not me at all. It is, but they’re characters. This book was all me. There was no hiding. I was so open and so raw,” she explained.
Turns out, plenty of people liked the raw and vulnerable Diaz. The book became a New York Times bestseller, reaching No. 2 in March of 2014. For Diaz, that gave her the confidence to write her second book, The Longevity Book: the Science of Aging, the Biology of Strength, and the Privilege of Time, released in June 2016.
Regardless of the commercial success her books have received, Diaz insists that does not define true success for her. “Success is really not about what somebody else says. Being a New York Times bestseller, to me, that’s not the success of the book. The book isn’t the numbers that got sold. It was that I had an intention, and the intention was to get that information out to as many women as I could.”
She continued by advising the members of the audience to forget material possessions and to look within to define success for themselves.
“You have to forget about what success is to everybody else, and you have to know what success is to you,” she said. “You have to know that it’s not about how much money you make, or what car you drive, or what bag you buy, or how many likes you get. It’s all about your intention of what you want to accomplish on a personal level.”
I could really relate to this. For me success is a flexible lifestyle and that’s being able to work from home and being my own boss. I don’t want to work eight or more hours in an office, I like to be there for my son and I like to take a nap every afternoon. That’s what’s important to me. Other people want to have a corner office, be rich, save lives or travel the world. We all have the things which are important to us. Of course being able to forge a career in which you’re able to work the way you want on the things you want requires a certain amount of money and opportunity that not all people are afforded. Good for Cameron for framing it as more than just material success though, and for also being open about how vulnerable she felt when she tried to branch out into health and wellness. She could have gone the easy route and put out a bunch of branded products but she did her own thing. I don’t always agree with her conclusions, they’re very specific to her situation, but she put herself into her books and there’s something genuine about that.
Here’s a slideshow Nicole Richie posted of the conference. It looks like it was a success, to use the word of the day.
Photos credit: Getty, FameFlynet and Nicole Richie/Instagram