Jennifer Lopez's best career advice

By Erica Cupido

Jenny from the block has certainly come a long way! In her decades-long career, Jennifer Lopez has tackled TV, movies, music, design, the beauty business and more. The multi-hyphenate performer and mom to 10-year-old twins Max and Emme has also picked up plenty of accolades along the way. The 49-year-old's latest honour latest is the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, which she will accept at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards on Monday (Aug. 20).

As an honouree, Jennifer follows in the footsteps of artists like Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, Madonna and Rihanna. The tireless star – who is currently dating former baseball player Alex Rodriguez – has established herself as a versatile artist, fashion plate and force in Hollywood. How does she do it all? We’ve compiled the career advice that Jennifer says has helped her over the years, and the life lessons she’s learned along the way.

Jennifer says even once you've made money (and wear money!), keep working! Photo: © Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images

KEEP GOING

“There was a certain hustle I grew up with, a hustle that I learned from watching my parents,” Jennifer wrote in her 2014 memoir True Love. “They showed me that you put your head down and work – you work for a living and then, when you’re making a living, you still don’t stop… We don’t stop working because we have money in the bank – we do what we do and we keep on doing it.”

PICK YOURSELF UP

“I never thought, ‘Oh, this is terrible. My career is over.’ I just never thought of that,” Jennifer told Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter when she joined him for their Awards Chatter podcast. Jennifer opened up about handling disappointment after the end of her engagement to Ben Affleck and the less-than-stellar reviews they received when they co-starred in the 2003 movie Gigli. “That movie didn’t work, that relationship didn’t work, and that’s all it was. It wasn’t going to end me, personally or professionally. I was going to go on and be stronger and better, as one is when they pick themselves up from something terrible that happens. You just get stronger.”

The singer's fans motivate her to work as hard as she can. Photo: © Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

LOOK TO YOUR CHEERLEADERS

Whenever she needs some extra motivation, Jennifer turns to her family, friends and especially her fans. Even before the curtain rises each night for her Vegas show, All I Have, Jennifer told Good Morning America that the audience is already cheering her on. “People motivate me,” the star said. “I get on Instagram or Twitter [before the show] and they say, ‘I’m coming to see you! I can’t wait!’ I do it for the fans.”

KNOW WHEN TO SAY NO

She seems to juggle TV roles, movies and music with ease, but even the Second Act star admits that balance is most important. Sometimes, that means declining to take on certain opportunities. “It’s just about finding time,” she explained to The Hollywood Reporter. “I would have loved to have done Shades of Blue for a few more years, but I just can’t. I have two beautiful kids, this amazing boyfriend with his own two kids, and we’re just trying to find time… It’s amazing and I’m grateful, but sometimes things [have to] go.”

FIND WHAT YOU LOVE

“I think in any career you just have to work harder than everybody else. Honestly that’s been kind of the secret sauce for me. I just don’t let up,” the “Let’s Get Loud” singer told MTV in a sit-down interview right after she was announced as this year’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award winner. “I keep going and keep trying harder and keep trying to evolve and grow...I never think that I’ve arrived...Find what you love first, and then work harder than anybody else.”

TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS

She admits she’d even tell her younger self to trust her inner voice. "I would tell her to follow her gut," the star said in an interview for the beloved-by-celebs spin studio SoulCycle, "because everything always works out in the end." Throughout her years in the spotlight, Jennifer says she’s learned from every personal or professional setback she’s experienced. "I always try to channel any negative energy and turn it into something positive."

JLo believes that not only can you do anything, you can do and be everything! Photo: © Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Time

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

For years, the accomplished triple threat has told fans that confidence is key. While she admits she doubted herself after her divorce from Marc Anthony, positivity and perseverance helped her recover. “Have faith,” the “Dance Again” singer told her friend, TV personality Hoda Kotb, in a 2014 interview. “Have faith in yourself. Have faith in what you’ve done and what you’re doing.”

BE EVERYTHING

If there’s one thing that Jennifer wants her fans to know, it’s that they can truly do it all. “There are no limits. You don’t have to be put in a box. You can really do anything you want to do and everything you want to do. Not just anything, but everything,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “You don’t just have to be one thing. There are no limits, and you can be all that you want to be in every single way – personally, professionally. You can change your mind. You can try new things. Age doesn’t matter. Spirit, heart and soul matter. That’s what I hope that I stand for for people.”

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