7 Habits of Highly Successful Women

7 Habits of Highly Successful Women

Several women have fought their way through this world and have found their way to the top. In August 2012, Forbes listed The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, introducing you to some of the ladies who have earned their place as movers and shakers.

Who ranked number one? That would be Angela Merkel, German Chancellor. At 58 years old, she took the #1 spot as the world’s most powerful woman (for the second consecutive year) and ranked #4 for powerful people, in general. She has a 70% approval rating in her country, which is quite high for someone in office and proves that she truly cares about her people because she even launched her own YouTube channel where she communicates with the citizens she serves by answering their questions directly.

Of course, the list goes on naming women who have made a difference, noting the efforts of Hillary Clinton (ranked 2nd, Secretary of State, U.S.), Sheryl Sandberg (10th, COO Facebook), Lady Gaga (14th, Musician and Philanthropist) and Queen Elizabeth II (#26, Monarch, United Kingdom), to name a few. A wide range of women are making their mark on this world, and you could easily join them.

As Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” So what kind of habits do highly successful women have? Here are seven:

Habit #1: They Are Organized

In order to be efficient, you have to be organized on many levels. You have to have a system in place to keep work and home in order or things can quickly get away from you. What are some things you can do to be organized? Here are some tips:

  • Keep your work area neat and tidy
  • Have a filing system that makes sense (and use it)
  • Prioritize tasks so the important ones are completed first
  • Put things back in their place when you’re done using them
  • Write things down so you don’t forget them
  • Keep a day planner or electronic calendar

Of course, there are many more but the point is that the more organized you are, the more effective and efficient you are. You don’t miss appointments or lose important information. You are dependable because you know where everything is and how to access it when you need it.

Habit #2: They Manage Their Emotions

Yes, women tend to be more emotional than their male counterparts. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, there is a time and place for emotions. When it comes to business, it’s not the time or place to wear your feelings on your sleeve.

Effective leaders, whether male or female, are the ones who remain calm under pressure and have a consistent disposition. How effective can someone be if they fly off the handle when chaos erupts? Or, what happens if they’re so busy going off on a tangent that they can’t hear what their trusted advisors are telling them?

To rise to the top of the success ladder, you have to be able to keep your emotions in check, no matter how strong they get. Will you get angry? Yes. Will you feel frustrated when someone lets you down? Yes. However, you have to keep a calm cool exterior if you want to be taken seriously.

Learn how to deal with your emotions in ways that are beneficial. For instance, exercise to work the aggression out of your body and mind or have a friend that you can vent to. It’s okay, and even encouraged, to let it out; just wait until you’re not at the office.

Habit #3: Exude Confidence

Notice that this doesn’t say that you always have to be confident; you just have to act like it. If you’re old enough to remember the commercial for Dry Idea antiperspirant released in 1984, then you know the quote, “Never let them see you sweat.”

Most successful women are truly confident in their abilities, but there are times when everyone feels a little unsure and questions how well they can complete a certain task. When you start to doubt whether or not you’re capable of handling whatever lies ahead of you, it’s time to start acting.

Walk with authority and confidence. When you speak, don’t be wishy-washy. Be self-assured. If you don’t know something, admit it. You can be confident without having to know all the answers.

Habit #4: They Help Others

If you look at the top women who have influenced the world, you’ll see that they do what they do in an effort to not only make things better for themselves, but for others as well. For example, Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil and #3 on Forbes list, is known for launching programs designed to help those in poverty and give them greater access to medical care and education services.

Michelle Obama, First Lady in the U.S. and #7 on the list is famous not only because she’s married to the President of the U.S., but also because she has focused massive amounts of attention on getting children active in an attempt to combat childhood obesity. You can go through the list and find that the women who have earned top honors are there because they do what they do for humanity.

You can rise to the top without pushing others down to get there. Yes, there are times you have to be assertive and stick up for yourself, but you can always do so without being mean or uncaring. As the Dalai Lama teaches, “Be kind whenever possible. It’s always possible.”

Habit #5: They Take Care of Themselves

You can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself first, mentally and physically. In order to be your best, you have to feel good. It’s tough to be effective when you are run down and tired.

To take care of yourself physically, you need to eat right. Choose foods that give you the vitamins and nutrients you need to stay healthy. Try to stick to a diet that consists mainly of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables.

You also need to exercise. Keep your body in good shape to handle those long, exhausting days when you’re out saving the world.

Mind your mental fitness too. Find a way to handle stress and anxiety so that the pressures of success don’t get to you. Make it a priority to regularly engage in enjoyable activities that relax you.

Habit #6: They Focus on Their Strengths

Too often, women focus on their weaknesses. They highlight what they do wrong and point out their imperfections. However, if you focus on the things you do the best, so will everyone else.

We all have certain strengths and, the more you use them, the more advantageous they become. You refine them and learn how to make them benefit you in your journey to the top.

For instance, if you are a woman who is social, use that to work for you. Set up networking events and collaborate with other successful people. Use your ability to talk to reach out to create new relationships with people who can help you.

Habit #7: They Set Boundaries

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re trying to maintain a successful work and home life. If you have a lot of plates in the air and drop just one, the rest will come crashing down around you. For this reason, you need to set boundaries so that you don’t end up with more than you can handle.

Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to people. You can’t do everything that everyone asks you, nor should you if you want to keep your sanity. Remember, people can only take what you’re willing to give. And, you can’t blame anyone else if you have too much to do. It’s up to you what you accept and what you turn down.

Being successful is an honor, a privilege and a ton of work. If you already have habits like the ones listed above, you’re well on your way. If not, you can get them with a little time and patience. Give it a couple years and we may see your name on Forbes’ top 100.