How Reese Witherspoon took control of her career after she fired her financial advisor

Reese Witherspoon attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 9, 2020, in Beverly Hills, California.
Gregg DeGuire | FilmMagic | Getty Images

Academy Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon recently shared a memorable conversation she had with a financial advisor who underestimated her career potential. 

"I'll never forget, I had a financial advisor tell me, 'You need to start saving,' I was like 37, and he said, 'You need to start saving right now, because you're going to be making drastically less money in your 40s. Basically, you're not going to have much of a career,'" Witherspoon told the Los Angeles Times

Instead of accepting that dire prediction as inevitable, Witherspoon fired the financial advisor; and instead of waiting around for career opportunities to come to her, she founded the media company Hello Sunshine to develop female-driven projects in 2016, when she was 40. As of June 2019, the producer, entrepreneur, and actress was worth an estimated $240 million.

Here are three ways you can filter out financial or career advice rooted in fear or a scarcity mentality and create opportunities for yourself, and even for others.  

Don't make money or career choices from a place of fear

The conversation with her financial advisor put Witherspoon "in a panic state," she recalled. Recognize that even well-intentioned advice can be harmful if it leaves you feeling powerless or worried about the future. 

You may experience fear or anxiety when faced with financial or professional uncertainty, and that's OK. But letting these negative emotions steer generally doesn't lead to positive outcomes. "Own that you're scared. But don't make any decisions driven solely by that fear," Joe Saul-Sehy, the creator and co-host of the award-winning "Stacking Benjamins" and "Money With Friends" podcasts, recently told Grow. 

Taking action can make you feel more in control and less inclined to take a fear-based approach to the future so you're better positioned to make choices that align with your values and long-term goals. In the end, that's what Witherspoon did: She focused on making choices that could make her successful in her 40s and beyond. 

How this 26-year-old skyrocketed from an assistant to hosting her own show

Video by Courtney Stith 

Instead, 'believe in abundance' 

Winning the Oscar in 2005 for her role in the film "Walk the Line" left Witherspoon feeling "frozen" for several years, according to the Los Angeles Times. With agents advising her not to take roles playing mothers because they would "age" her, the actress was unsure how to proceed in Hollywood. 

But instead of listening to other people's limiting beliefs about her career or waiting for projects from big Hollywood studios, Witherspoon decided to make her own opportunities. In the past year alone, three of the projects she produced — Season 2 of HBO's "Big Little Lies," the Apple TV+ series "The Morning Show" and Hulu's "Little Fires Everywhere" — have given her a proven track record. 

"I believe in abundance," Witherspoon told the Los Angeles Times. "There's something inside artists and actors and filmmakers that's insatiable. And if you are one of the lucky ones, as I am now, you get to put things up on their feet and see them be made. I feel really lucky every day."

I feel really lucky every day.
Reese Witherspoon
actress and producer

Find people who support you and let go of those who don't 

Surrounding yourself with people who believe in your worth can help you grow personally and professionally. These days, Witherspoon has supportive, influential friends like Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington, Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie, and Laura Dern who believe in her creative projects the way she believes in theirs.  

"We're working hard to create a surplus. We have to give each other ideas and produce for each other, because no one's out there thinking of us first," Witherspoon told the Los Angeles Times. 

If an individual in your life doesn't support you, or actively takes advantage of you professionally or financially, don't be afraid to let them go. 

Queen Latifah recently explained how she applied this approach after dealing with an accountant who mismanaged her money. "Needless to say, I fired that guy and that company," she said. "And it took a minute to find the right person. I found a great accountant, an honest person who just had some character and smarts, and we've been together for years." 

When you're ready to let go, don't hesitate, Queen Latifah continues: "Fire fast and hire faster. Find somebody with some character and hold on to them."  

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