The plucky protagonist from the hit show Parks and Recreation, Leslie Knope, has become a pop culture icon for ambitious women. The show’s quirkiness lays a good comedic ground for the show to address serious issues such as gender equality, women in politics, and personal dilemmas to overcome. While each character can be considered a caricature of different ideas (as many TV show characters are), one hopes that our world is filled with more Leslie Knopes than we realize. Even being a fictional character, Leslie Knope can teach us all some very important life lessons.
Be enthusiastic in everything you do.
Whether it’s tackling a river clean-up in full-blown waders, or planning a political comeback, Leslie gives all aspects of her life everything she’s got. She always comes to the table ready to brainstorm and jumps into her projects with her entire soul without a second thought. This is something that all women can benefit from: keeping an enthusiastic pair of rose color glasses can be hugely beneficial not only in your mindset while working on your goals, but also on your results.
Always be prepared.
One thing Leslie is known for, even in the federal government halls, is her incredible binder game. She has a binder for any and every occasion, and even makes comments about having a binder company on retainer in Washington D.C. just in case she ever needs to pull one together quickly while traveling there for business (spoiler alert: she does). The binders themselves aren’t what we should emulate (although to each their own), but we should shoot for what the binders represent: going into all situations with fully prepared “binders” in your mind, and making sure that you are ready for all different potential outcomes.
Even though she lives and works in a small town in Indiana, the same town she was born and raised in, Leslie never stops assuming that she will achieve many great things. This confidence, mixed with the constant dreaming of a motivated individual, is part of what makes her such a successful person. She never stops believing in herself for more than a few moments and continues to scheme for bigger and better things in her life constantly.
Doing the right thing is always worth it.
Despite how amazing she is, everybody makes mistakes sometimes. However, Leslie teaches us that even if you make a mistake, if you own up to it and make it right, you are still a good person. Doing the right thing often doesn’t have immediate results in our favor, but being a good person, in the end, is the most important part. Luckily for Leslie, she lives in a sitcom and the results of her good choices are often immediate, such as when she owns up to a deception in order to prevent a restaurant from being built where she wants her park – and it gets the attention of a major political player in town who then helps her out.
Your girlfriends are life.
The founder of Galentine’s Day (which is the holiday on February 13th every year to celebrate female friendships) is fierce in her loyalty to her friends. She has coined phrases such as “Uteruses before Duderuses” and “Ovaries before Brovaries” which remind us how important our friends are. She teaches us that our gal pals are crucial to our soul, and no man can ever come between us – in fact, any man worth being in our lives will know how important these friendships are and will encourage them to grow and bloom.