Huma Abedin on the ‘life-changing’ career advice Hillary Clinton gave him

If you are lucky, you will meet someone in your life to whom you can turn for advice, comfort and inspiration – for Huma Abedin, this person happens to be one of the most powerful in politics.

Abedin was just shy of her 21st birthday when she first met Hillary Clinton in 1996. At the time, she was a White House intern assigned to First Lady Clinton’s office.

After four years in the White House, first as an intern and then an aide, Abedin, now 46, went on to work as a senior adviser to Clinton during her tenure as a U.S. senator, serving as a traveling chief of staff for the Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and as Deputy Chief of Staff of the US State Department between 2008 and 2014, when Clinton was Secretary of State. She is currently Clinton’s chief of staff.

As demanding as a political career can be, Clinton was the first person to tell Abedin that her life “should never be just work,” she told CNBC’s Make It Breakfast at the New York Women’s Foundation earlier this month, where she received an award. . “She taught me the importance of work-life balance, it’s something I’ve really explored and enjoyed over the past few years.”

That includes spending more time with her son, Jordan, in New York and exploring new creative pursuits — she released her memoir, “Both/And,” in November 2021.

Hillary Clinton receives a memo from Huma Abedin as she testifies on the State Department’s fiscal year 2012 budget at a hearing of the Committee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee House Appropriations in the Rayburn House office building on March 10, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

Jonathan Ernest | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Early in Abedin’s career, Clinton gave him another “life-changing” piece of advice that has stuck with him ever since: “Trust yourself.”

“She said to me, ‘Never let anyone else tell you what to do with your life,'” Abedin recalled. “You have to make the choices that you think are best for yourself, no matter what people say around you…at the end of the day, you have to do what you think is right for yourself and let your values ​​guide your decisions.”

This advice has helped Abedin be “more courageous and bolder” in her professional life outside of politics.

“The biggest career decision I had to make was forcing myself out of my comfort zone once I left the White House,” she said. “Forcing myself to do things I wasn’t sure I was good at — writing a book, public speaking — was hard on me.”

“I didn’t think I would have the eloquence or the courage to utter a sentence or speak in front of a crowd. But what I found was that I was able to do the things I needed to. fear and come out the other side, so that encouraged me to try more new things.”

Tapping into her intuition has helped her make better career decisions and take risks with confidence. “I never made a choice or did anything for the job that I later regretted,” Abedin said. “It’s always been something that, looking back, said to me, ‘I’m really glad I tried this.'”

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