A week from now, we’ll all be talking about the latest Oscar winners, and once again Meryl Streep will be part of that conversation. With three Oscars and a record 19 nominations—including best supporting actress for “Into the Woods” this year—she is a superstar. What makes her so successful? Here are five habits that have kept her at the top of her profession, and can help you get to yours.
1. Knows her main competition is herself.
“From the time I entered college, I never felt the need to compete with anyone,” Streep has said. She attended Vassar, where “it was commonplace to give your best shot, so that became a habit. I learned to believe in myself and acquired a genuine sense of identity.”
2. Always listens.
Successful people authentically connect with others through empathetic listening. Streep always studies voices and what they are communicating. This helps her stay in tune with her character and with her significant others. “Listening is everything,” she said. “Listening is the whole deal. That’s what I think. And I mean that in terms of before you work, after you work, in between work, with your children, with your husband, with your friends, with your mother, with your father. It’s everything. And it’s where you learn everything.”
3. Shares success with others.
Over the decades, Streep’s acceptance speeches often include a shout-out to Roy Helland, who has done her hair and makeup since her first New York play. She recognizes that the finer points of her look belong to his skills.
4. Anchors her personal world.
Streep built her career while having four children and staying married to her husband, a sculptor. “I try to lead as ordinary a life as I can,” she said. “You can’t get spoiled if you do your own ironing.” Her real life grounded her success.
5. Stayed consistent despite flops.
Streep kept going in the early 90s when five years passed between Oscar nominations. “You just have to keep on doing what you do,” Streep said. “It’s the lesson I get from my husband; he just says, ‘Keep going. Start by starting.’ ”
Your Game Changer Takeaway
Meryl Streep is the greatest living actress of our time because of the way she treats her work, her roles, people in her life, and herself. Consistency turns practice into achievement. Which one of these five habits will boost your success?
Molly Fletcher helps inspire and equip game changers to dream, live and grow fearlessly. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working with elite athletes and coaches as a sports agent, and applies them to the business world. Sign up here to receive our monthly newsletter.