Justice Ruth Bader is coming to a screen near you.

The acclaimed documentary about her life, which premiered at Sundance earlier this year to rave reviews, will be in theaters starting in May--and ultimately, airing on CNN.

Diminutive, divisive, and once called "dour," "quiet," and a "late-blooming feminist," Ginsburg is better known now as the Notorious RBG. After a quarter century on the U.S. Supreme Court, the trail-blazing justice has transcended her role, along with any ordinary expectations.  

I've seen this firsthand, in that when I started writing for Inc.com more than six years ago, I thought I'd be writing about leadership, strategy and entrepreneurship----cover big companies, tell stories about business travel, and explore how to inspire and achieve success.

Sure, I do all that, but the most popular article I've written here is something I really wasn't sure anyone would actually read at the time: "Want to Raise a Trail-Blazing Daughter? Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Says Do These 7 Things."

So with the trailer for RBG dropping, here are seven lessons about how to make people love you and respect you, courtesy of Ginsburg.

1. Believe in yourself

Ginsburg credits her mother, who died the day before Ginsburg's high school graduation ceremony, with teaching her to be independent and to remain true to herself.

Of her mother, Ginsburg wrote: She was "the bravest and strongest person I have known, who was taken from me much too soon. ... [She] "counseled me constantly to 'be independent,' able to fend for myself, whatever fortune might have in store for me."

2. Exploit your brand--and your hand

This goes to the core of why there's a documentary about Ginsburg, and why she not only appeared in it, but she went on a press junked to promote it. Far more than a judge now, she's a feminist icon. 

"Now the perception is, yes, women are here to stay. And when I'm sometimes asked when will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court], and I say 'When there are nine,' people are shocked. But there'd been nine men, and nobody's ever raised a question about that." she said in response to an interview question. 

3. Nurture your mind--and your body

As a cancer survivor who will celebrate her 85th birthday next week, it wouldn't be a stretch to think that Ginsburg might be thinking of retirement. However, as part of her effort to stave off that eventuality, she's a bit of a gym rat who has a personal trainer--and probably works out more than most Americans.

Last year, when she was asked who was the most important person in her life now, she replied, "My personal trainer."

4. Make the case

Ginsburg is in the minority on the court now, which means she loses more often than she wins. But she writes stinging dissents, in the hope that someday in the future, the court will shift, and her reasoning will ultimately win out.

Among her greatest losing battles, her dissents in: the Bush v. Gore case that gave George W. Bush the presidency, the case that ended civil rights oversight of Southern states, a 2013 affirmative action case, and the Hobby Lobby case that said private employers can stop their employees' health insurance from covering contraception.

5. Speak your mind

Ginsburg doesn't go for the idea that Supreme Court justices should remain silent when they're away from the bench. Probably the most famous time Ginsburg spoke her mind recently was during the 2016 election, when she said of then-candidate Donald Trump:

"I can't imagine what this place would be -- I can't imagine what the country would be -- with Donald Trump as our president. For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be -- I don't even want to contemplate that."

6. Marry the right person.

Yes, I've written this before about her, and not everyone like the advice. I'm not saying that if she hadn't married Martin Ginsburg, who ultimately became a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, RBG wouldn't have become Justice Ginsburg.

No, I don't have to say that because she says it herself: "I do not have words adequate to describe my supersmart, exuberant, ever-loving spouse," she wrote in 2015. "I betray no secret in reporting that, without him, I would not have gained a seat on the Supreme Court."

7. Leave the legacy you want

It's pretty clear that there are two legacies Ginsburg would like to leave. First, to be an inspiring role model for women. As a woman who went from not being able to land a federal appellate clerkship because of her gender, to sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court, we can check that off. Her other goal, clearly, is to stay on the court long enough to see a more liberal government than we currently have, so that her successful will be more in line with her views. Of course, the jury is still out on whether that will happen. 

Published on: Mar 9, 2018
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