Mangement For Design

Autumn Release

Nicole Kidman: Business Leadership and Balancing it All

Nicole Kidman is no stranger to business. A star of stage and screen, she has built a globally renowned career at the same time as juggling family and children. In a nutshell, she gets it. And she’s all over it.


On Monday Gordana Milosevska, Director of Management for Design, had lunch with Nicole Kidman. Well, Gordana and some of Management for Design’s fabulous clients. Plus a room full of inspiring Business Chicks. The whole room were hanging on every word that came out of Nicole’s mouth. In an incredibly down to earth and insightful interview, Nicole shared nuggets of wisdom and the values she lives by.


Interviewed by Jessica Rowe at Melbourne’s Crown Palladium, Nicole talked about life, family and her career. She considers her relationship with husband Keith Urban to be ‘soul love’, is on a mission to support the film industry and when asked what she is most proud of, Nicole says, “I have this family that brings me to my knees.”


Raised by a feminist, Nicole became very attuned to women growing up and sees female relationships as a benefit in both life and in work: “We get things done by talking and helping each other”. As a female business owner with clients who are female business owners and leaders in their fields, this is something I see every day. Women are fantastic at giving support to each other and excel at moving projects and initiatives forward as a team. It’s that great combination of leadership skills and an intrinsic ability to develop and mentor teams toward a goal.


With leadership comes strength and I think all of us in leadership roles can admit that we got to where we are now only after taking a few hard knocks along the way. It is through those experiences that we learn and grow and that have shaped us into the leaders we are today. Nicole cites her mother who helped her learn that growing up. “My mother always told me, ‘Pull your head in and take it on the chin.’ Learn resilience young. You get criticized and get back up.” As women in business it can be hard to face what we often refer to as failure, but we should be turning that around and taking strength from every experience.


To cite another celebrity recently, in this week’s Lenny Letter, Shirley MacLaine made an insightful remark about failure. In reference to her film The Last Word where she said, “You don’t make mistakes, mistakes make you,” Shirley MacLaine said that she has very few regrets in life and that she doesn’t see anything as failure; “I’ve always had the point of view that when things don’t go well it’s not a failure, it’s a learning experience.” I think as business leaders we can all see the truth in this and that learning resilience and having the ability to pull yourself up is what moulds you into a more accomplished and successful person. It’s all in the learning and growing and evolving.


Yet even movie stars struggle to balance it all — career and family and marriage — and need a great support network and coping mechanisms to control what can sometimes feel like the uncontrollable. So how does Nicole Kidman do it? She reads a lot and asks her friends for advice to put it all back in balance. Being open and receptive to the advice on offer seems to be a key factor in bringing everything into perspective, “I’m willing to learn, I’m willing to change and I’m willing to grow”, she says.


Nicole Kidman’s 10 rules to live by:

  1. When you promise something be impeccable with your word.
  2. Be open and emotional and compassionate, not thick skinned.
  3. No matter how impossible it is, if you focus and really want something you can get it.
  4. If there’s fire and passion then she’ll do it otherwise if it doesn’t move her she won’t.
  5. Take care of your emotional health.
  6. You have to work hard to get what you want.
  7. When an opportunity comes along just grab it.
  8. Bravery comes from not over thinking things. There can be a million reasons why not to — but then jump in and try it. You get back up.
  9. As a parent: be there and listen without too much advice and guide rather than telling what to do; they do better without the strong advice.
  10. Be willing to learn, willing to change and willing to grow.

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