Have you ever asked yourself what it means to be successful?
Lately I’ve been contemplating what it means to be successful and more specifically if there are habits of successful women that can be replicated. Does successful mean a high paying job? Perhaps owning your own home…? Running your own business…? Maybe successful is having a happy and healthy family? Or perhaps it is just as simple as being happy when you lay your head on your pillow at night…
Whatever successful means to you, I’ve found there definitely are specific habits of successful women that help them to achieve their own success and help them then create that success in their professional and personal lives.
Everyone has different ideas of what success looks like. For some it’s having a stable career, climbing the corporate ladder, owning a home, having a bunch of money. For other’s it’s creating a family, having a happy marriage, raising happy independent children. And for some it’s a hybrid of the two, or something totally different.
The point is, success looks different for everyone. But, when it comes to successful women, there are certain habits they all have, traits that lead them to be successful.
They may not have all of them at once, but they definitely have most of them and are at least working towards or attempting the others.
Think about the successful women you know and think about your own life and how you perceive your own success and see how many of these habits you have.
This article was originally written in 2015 and has been widely shared and read since then. As we learn more about what it means to be highly successful, we have added to this article with new and updated habits that help us to be the most successful women we can be.
1 – She Makes Time For Herself
With schedules running rife filled with meetings and kids soccer matches, a successful woman knows her own value and knows that she needs time out to rejuvenate and just focus on herself.
You cannot take care of everyone else and everything else if you don’t first take care of yourself, and a successful woman not only knows this, but she also puts it into practice.
This could be a simple trip to the salon or a relaxing bath at home, a catch up with friends or dedicated time alone. Perhaps she might even like to just take a walk alone of a morning, the key is that she schedules in some time somewhere for herself and makes it happen.
2 – She Challenges Herself
A successful woman doesn’t rest in the monotony of her day to day life. She is always looking for ways to challenge herself and doesn’t become complacent.
This can be done in so many ways. She can challenge herself intellectually, physically, mentally… She can set herself goals then push them a little higher. She isn’t okay with average and loves an opportunity to learn something new.
The point is that she is always challenging herself to achieve more, learn more and become a better person for it.
3 – She Educates Herself
And I don’t mean she has to have a University degree. Knowledge is power and a successful woman is aware that she needs to be educated. Whether it’s in business or day-to-day life, a successful woman researches, reads and asks questions.
She knows that everyone she meets knows something she doesn’t know. She knows that she will never know all there is to know, but can happily become well versed in many different areas.
She doesn’t have to be an expert, she doesn’t have to know it all, but she loves learning and when she doesn’t know something, or doesn’t understand something, she will go out of her way to educate herself.
4 – She Understands Mummy Guilt And General Woman Guilt, Acknowledges It, And Moves On
Mummy guilt is something we live with every day. We feel guilty if we go to work, we feel guilty if we stay at home, we feel guilty for just about everything. But we need to acknowledge that we feel this way because we want the best for our children, for our families and for ourselves.
Guilt is one of those useless emotions that serves no positive purpose. The only thing it does is increase anxiety and makes us feel bad – there is no winning against guilt as an emotion.
A successful woman knows this. It doesn’t mean that she is without guilt, it means that she undestands it, acknowledges the emotions she has around it, and she moves on.
5 – She Knows Healthy Doesn’t Always Mean Going To The Gym
Healthy isn’t only exercise and food intake. Healthy is a mindset, it is about our whole life. It encompasses everything we do, every day. A successful woman knows the importance of her health and makes it a priority.
She nourishes her body with good food (afterall, abs are made in the kitchen), but doesn’t make herself feel guilty (see above) if she chooses to have cake.
A successful woman has a healthy mind and body and she understands the connection between the two.
6 – She Is Financially Savvy
It is vitally important to know the ins and outs of your finances, to be on top of your financial situation. Successful women are successful because they can manage the important areas of their lives. Financial stability is such a massive part of life – and that doesn’t mean that you have to earn a six figure paycheck.
A successful woman doesn’t just follow financial advice blindly. She is educated and confident in her own personal finances and is able to make financial decisions with ease.
She is never surprised by money, never has an unexpected bill and totally understands where all of her money is coming from.
She is confidently in control of her finances.
7 – She Smiles (For Herself)
Do you realize how different you feel if you smile? And what about when you smile at someone else? I challenge you to smile at a complete stranger today. Chances are they will smile back. That means your smile just made someone else smile. That’s pretty darn powerful.
Successful women know the power of a smile and use it. A successful woman knows that we all get further in this world by being nice and smiling, our mothers taught us so.
She also knows that this doesn’t mean she has to be a smiling Stepford wife. This is about sharing your genuine smiles with the world and ensuring that your happiness is important in your life.
8 – She Can Step Away From Her Job And Have A Life Outside Of Her Workplace
A successful woman knows that work isn’t everything, all the time. Sure, there are times in her life when work needs to come first and that’s okay – but she knows that she can step away and it’s okay. She can switch work off, step away and enjoy herself.
She also ensures she has financial independence from her job and doesn’t rely on it entirely for her income. Whether she has a side huslte, or an ‘escape plan’ from her job, she knows that being prepared and never needing the plan is going to be far better than not preparing and being caught off guard.
9 – She Sets Herself Goals And Methods For Keeping Track Of Them
‘A goal without a plan is just a wish.’ A successful woman knows where she wants to be and has a plan on how to get there. She sets goals for herself and puts into place an action plan to achieve those goals. She measures her success, re-evaluates and sets more goals.
Her goals aren’t just career or business focused either. She creates goals around every aspect of her life from her finances through to her health. From her personal achievements through to ticking off her bucket list. A successful woman knows the importance of goals and how to use the effectively.
10 – She Celebrates The Wins, Both Big And Small
She also knows that celebrating wins with food is not the answer to a healthy lifestyle.
Rather than buying whatever she wants, whenever she wants, a successful woman uses things she wants as incentive to achieve her goals. Want to buy the latest Apple watch? Sure, when you’ve finished these items off your goals list.
A successful woman knows the importance of celebrating the wins. Some days that may be as simple as ticking off items from the to do list or as big as achieving her major goals – either way, she knows that celebrating the wins helps keep her motivated and driven.
11 – She Helps Others Through Selfless Acts Of Kindness
The old idea of needing to be ruthless in order to succeed is long gone. A successful woman gives back, she gives and expects nothing in return. She smiles at others, she helps others and she is kind.
12 – She Doesn’t Take Life Too Seriously
Maybe you think that in order to be successful, you have to be serious all the time, but that’s not true at all! Successful women know how to balance the serious side of things with the fun and playful side of things, and know that it’s really the fun and playful that makes the serious worthwhile.
She also knows when to be serious and when to have fun – an important lesson when creating success in your own life.
13 – She Believes In Herself
She is her own most fierce supporter and not only believes success is possible, she believes that it is possible for herself. She backs herself and knows that she can achieve anything she puts her mind to.
14 – She Stands Up For What She Believes In
Successful women have opinions about life, the world, work and everything in between and they stand up for their beliefs. They know that not everyone is going to agree with them and they are totally fine with this (after all, they don’t agree with everyone so why should everyone agree with them?).
They are able to formulate their own opinions based on their own education, experiences, and beliefs and they don’t blindly follow others.
15 – She Doesn’t Believe In Work/Life Balance
A successful woman laughs at the idea of a work/life balance, knowing that such a thing does not exist and is therefore unattainable.
Instead, she focuses on being present fully when she is working and when she is in ‘life’ mode, and knows that her work forms part of her life and that she is able to be more successful in her work because of what she has experienced in her life. It’s not a balance, they are one.
16 – She Looks After Her Health
A successful woman knows that if her health is out of whack, then the rest of her life is out of whack.
She doesn’t believe that healthy means going to the gym every day or eating salad for every meal, instead she understands that a healthy life encompasses mind, body and soul and knows that she needs to nourish all of these areas of her life.
17 – She Ask Questions
A successful woman doesn’t expect herself to know or understand everything, and as such, isn’t afraid to ask questions when she wants to know more, seek clarification or to challenge a belief.
She doesn’t just take everything at face value, instead, she tries to learn as much as she can, understand the situations she is in and be part of the process, not just a spectator.
18 – She Takes (Calculated) Risks
A successful woman knows that life in the middle lane is not where success happens, and that she needs to take risks in order to create the life she wants to live.
But not all risks are equal, and a successful woman knows that she needs to weigh up the risks she takes and make sure they serve her, her goals, and her life best.
19 – She Understands The Importance Of Relationships
This doesn’t mean romantic relationships, and it doesn’t exclude them either. A successful woman understands that most things in life come down to some form of relationship.
Whether it’s your marriage, your family, your working relationships or your friends – they are all relationships and all hold importance in your life in one way, shape or form.
These relationships need to be nurtured, and toxic versions of these relationships need to be cut off and a successful woman isn’t afraid to do either.
20 – She Practices Regular Self Care
You can’t conquer the world, or even conquer your day without filling your own cup first. A successful woman knows the importance of self-care, and knows that taking care of her self isn’t ‘selfish’ (even though being selfish is totally okay), it’s a basic need.
She doesn’t rely on anyone else to fill her cup or create her happiness, she knows what invigorates her, motivates her, and allows her to relax and includes them all in her life.
21 – She Returns To A Positive Mindset
Everyone has negative moments, expecting you to always be positive would be crazy and unattainable. A successful woman is no different. She has bad days, she has days when she wants to scream and it feels like the world is against her. But, a successful woman always returns to a positive mindset.
She knows that the energy she puts out into the world comes back to her and that negativity is not the kind of energy she wants around.
22 – She Is Self Aware
Awareness of self is a skill a successful woman has down pat. She knows when she is on the brink of burn out and how to reign herself back in. She knows when she is too stressed and needs time out. She knows that her behaviours are a reflection of her feelings and understands what they mean.
And, she doesn’t beat herself up over it. She doesn’t compare herself to others because she knows that she is the only version of herself and she continues to strive to be the best version she can be.
23 – She Stays Organized
Well, mostly. While she may not have Marie Kondo’d her home within an inch of its existence, she does have systems in place to stay organized to a level that allows success in her life.
Her bills are always paid on time, she knows what events are coming up in her calendar and she doesn’t leave deciding on what to cook for dinner until the last minute.
Regardless of what your version of success looks like, there are habits you form in order to attain and maintain that level of success. These are just some of the habits of successful women that you can see in others, and hopefully you can see in yourself too.