A successful professional woman is many things. Confident, bold, risk-taking, a cheerleader for others…the list is long. Oftentimes a successful woman has some sort of mentor to guide them along, but this is not always the case.
In fact, roughly half of today’s professional women do not have access to mentorship by other women. But that doesn’t mean they go it alone. Rather, they take inspiration from other successful women who are willing to share their hard-won knowledge and insights.
The paths to success are different for every one of us. But all have a common thread. Here are the traits you need to succeed as a professional woman.
Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Be prepared to play the long game. When things go wrong (and they will), dust yourself off, and keep going. As you become more successful, people will criticize you, perhaps more than you expect. Take the criticism seriously, but not personally. If
there is any truth to the criticism, try to learn from it. If not, let it roll right off you. Likewise, believe in the positive feedback you receive from bosses, colleagues, and clients. Write down those positive things and reflect on them for those rare moments when you’re
feeling vulnerable. Being a good leader means being resilient, but it also means being persistent, empathetic, and honest towards others.
Sit down and ask yourself what is most important to you? What do you dislike the most – what makes you the most upset? Where do you want to make a difference? Then take those answers and couple it with the thing you most love to do. Play to your strengths. Somewhere along the
line, you’ll discover your own personal niche. For example, someone who loves to write and is passionate about women’s rights can be a driving force for women’s rights in the journalism world. Loving what you do is a legitimate career goal.
Project Confidence in Everything
As you continue down your path, you’ll absolutely face obstacles that make you uncomfortable or situations where you have no idea how to proceed. Lean into that. You’ve heard of the saying, “Fake it ‘til you make it?” No matter the situation, approach it with confidence. Speak slower and more confidently; this projects an air of authority. When people speak quickly, it’s tough to distill the larger message and present a good case. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and gain more clarity if something confuses you. Communicate powerfully. Express yourself clearly and be an advocate for your own interests. Whether it’s negotiating a salary increase or trying to get a project going, being hesitant or timid rarely gets you what you want. The better you project competence and confidence, the more likely you’ll be able to build confidence in your abilities. When going for a promotion, let your superiors know you are the best choice and back that up with solid evidence. Body language is another big confidence booster. Practice holding your body straight and high at all times in professional situations.
Stay Open to Opportunities
As you grow more confident in your abilities, keep your mind and attitude open to spot more growth opportunities as they present themselves. They can be key to learning. You’ll know this sort of opportunity because these situations make you uncomfortable, and the initial impulse
may be that you’re not ready. Remember, however, that growth and comfort never go hand in hand. You may find that taking that uncomfortable risk is just what you need to get you to your ultimate professional goals.