You are a strong, independent woman. You're self-reliant, successful, and know where you're going? Right. You're surrounded by inspirational icons like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Oprah Winfrey, and you have so many other women in your circle who inspire you. And you know they didn't get to where they are without some blood, sweat and tears.
And spoiler alert – it wasn't their goals that got them where they are either, it was their habits. I can guarantee you that these women, although their industries are different, have had journeys that are quite similar. Being a successful woman requires guts, confidence and discipline. And where does discipline stem from? Habits.
Let's talk about the absolute must-have habits of being a successful woman in 2020.
You probably saw this one coming. We face so many situations where we feel obligated to say "yes" – whether that's to accommodate someone's needs, because we feel pressured to or because we're just too damn nice. It's time to cut it out and say "NO". If it doesn't serve you, your business or your energy – the answer is "NO". Being selfish is not our strong suit, but you have to guard your yes. Do you think there's highly successful men out there who are saying "yes" just to be accommodating? I can promise you there aren't. Saying "no" doesn't mean you're inconsiderate or mean. And being committed to you and your schedule first also isn't a bad thing. It means you have a plan, standards and are willing to stand by them. It can be something as small as "can I take you to coffee to pick your brain?" or something as large as "we can afford this package, can you drop the price 10%". You are fully in your right to say "no" to both of these and you don't need to justify it. Remember, NO is a complete sentence. Your business, your success and your happiness are all protected by your decisions. Choose your answers wisely because they can- and will- transform your business.
Okay, we've all done it. But stop procrastinating. There are tasks that we put off because they aren't as glamorous or fulfilling. Well, that's just life, so deal with it. Do you think Oprah is putting off her workload for another day? Obviously she has an empire working for her now, but do you think she built that empire by procrastinating? No way. Here is the power you have as a business-woman – outsourcing. If the tasks on your plate don't fuel you, fulfill you or get you fired up – maybe it's time to delegate. For me, it's administrative work. I'm the visionary. I like the big-picture, not the nitty-gritty steps. So you know what I do? Take the "Triple D" approach. Do it. Delegate it. Or dump it. Our time as business-owners is so valuable and we only have so much of it. So I choose to outsource the admin work. If you catch yourself procrastinating, consider delegating the task out. If you're not willing to pay someone to do it, start considering how to eliminate the task altogether. Can it be automated? Can it be streamlined? Sometimes we procrastinate the simplest tasks that can be fully removed altogether.
Invest in Yourself
You heard me, book the massage, take the day off or do what you have to do to take care of yourself Really. It's time to take care of your one and only- you. There's a reason why #SelfCare is trending these days. As a society we have seen a dramatic increase in chronic stress, burnout, depression and mental health issues.Although the digital age has expedited the launch of so many businesses, it has also affected our work-life balance. We no longer have the ability to fully "clock-out" of work and walk away like we used to. For the majority of us, our work is always in our hands. We're always accessible via our phones, emails or social media. To be successful, you need longevity.
Burnout is a very real thing. I've seen many business owners hit burnout early in their entrepreneurial journey. Sometimes burnout is a creative block or fatigue, but sometimes it can be very serious health complications. Think of it like a car. You can put cheap gas in your car, avoid oil changes, neglect your tires – and your car will probably last a couple years and get your from A to B, but after awhile it'll break down and probably not be revivable. It'll never be the same and there's probably nothing you can do to get it back to good. Or you can put quality gas in your car, get oil changes regularly, keep your tires in check – and your car will not only last longer, but will also run better the entire time. Make it a priority to take care of yourself.
Don't Let a Mistake Turn Into a Choice
We're all human, we make mistakes. But the important thing is to learn from your mistakes. When it comes to business, your actions no longer affect just you, they affect your team, your company and your clients. You aren't just the owner or the boss – you're a leader. Be strong enough to recognize your mistake, own it and improve from it. If you continue making the same mistake over and over, it's no longer a mistake, it's a choice.
Start with slowing down, paying more attention to what you're saying and doing, and consider how you're being perceived. Just taking those steps will develop your self-awareness. Actually it's called EQ- which stands for emotional quotient, or emotional intelligence. Understanding your own strengths and weaknesses will vastly improve your leadership skills. During every situation you face, approach it from an outside perspective. How is this being handled? How could it be handled better? Drop the ego and recognize where you can improve. Once you can get ego out of the way, you'll see tremendous growth within yourself and as a result your company will grow too.
Work proactively, as opposed to being reactive. When starting or scaling your business, think ahead. Don't wait until you need help to look for help. Don't wait until you're being sued to hire a lawyer. Don't wait until taxes come around to start saving for them. If you work in a reactive flow, you will be chasing your tail for years and it's a very tough cycle to break. Instead, be proactive. Always consider what could or might happen. This approach should be applied to:
- Business plans
- Hiring and firing
- Processes and workflows
A great example of being reactive is when one of my first mentees signed her first big client. She thought her contract was clear and protecting her business. But she assumed the client would pay her, because that's what they should do. Assuming so, she didn't include a late or fail to pay clause. Unfortunately this client didn't have much integrity and left her hanging with no payment. She then had to be reactive by hiring a lawyer to handle the client and then to modify her contracts. Had she been proactive and considered the "what ifs" she would have ensured an attorney reviewed her contracts ahead of sending them out.
As much as we'd like to, we can't predict the future. Protect yourself by thinking through some potential possibilities in your situations- especially regarding your business finances. If you wait to see what happens you get stuck reacting to a situation rather than acting on it.
These habits don't just apply to business, they apply to life. Every strong, successful female icon you see today has worked on herself since day one. Being a strong business owner comes down to being a strong woman. This all starts with your daily habits and how you see yourself. Be confident in your abilities, don't doubt your process and don't accept anything less than you deserve. Some consider you a B**** but I have my own thoughts on that. And I can't wait to share them with you! 🙂