Success may mean different things to you than is does to your friends, siblings, or co-workers—and that's okay! But at the core, successful women have similar habits and actions. In my coaching, research and interviews with women all over the world, I've uncovered that successful women have, work on and exhibit these 11 Cs. You can too!
1. Confidence: This is THE most important part of achieving success. Lack of confidence alone can be the biggest obstacle to your success. Self-confidence comes from how YOU think about yourself. Believe in your abilities, talents, skills, and know the value you bring to the table. Your perception directly affects the actions you take in your work and career. Own, build and practice confidence! You will never regret investing in yourself in this way.
2. Competence: Show up, be reliable, do good work and develop skills that are relevant to your company's growth.
3. Contribute: Add value! Make a significant contribution to the bottom line. No matter what your title or position, find ways to make a difference. Contributing value will be your greatest asset, no matter what position you strive for. Always ask yourself, am I adding value?
4. Connect: Understand, connect to and support the culture of your organization. Observe the culture where you work and determine how you can best function, contribute and connect in that culture. Women who successfully advance, understand and are actively engaged in the their work culture, and the strategic direction of the business they are in. They are energized and fully supportive of the mission and objective of their company through their work, actions, and words.
5. Cultivate: Build the right type of support base and connections.
Seek the advice of a variety of successful mentors (men and women), who know and are experienced in what it takes to be successful.
Get a sponsor. It is essential to have someone who has the ability and desire to advocate for you, to open doors for you, to promote you or ensure you get promoted.
Build a network internally and externally, not just with people like you but with people who are influential, knowledgeable and well connected.
6. Cease: Stop behaviours that inhibit, or even worse, derail your advancement. Some of the most common faults I have found in women I have coached are:
Working too hard: not delegating enough, not developing or holding staff accountable to take increased responsibilities.
Not asking for resources: time, money, people they need to excel. Thinking instead that they have to make it work with what they have.
Not having a support base of the right types of mentors, networks or sponsors.
Not developing or adopting a communication style that is alignment with the preferred communication style of their company.
7. Communicate: Hard work is not enough—you must communicate your successes, your accomplishments, your contributions and your needs to your boss and others. In other words, promote yourself! Keep a running list of your accomplishments, so you can be prepared to share these in a review, or conversations.
8. Conduct: Demonstrate leadership at every stage of your career! Lead initiatives, projects and people. Raise your hand, volunteer for tough assignments—especially ones where success or failure and results will be clearly visible and important to your company's success. Conduct yourself in a professional manner.
9. Change: Develop your skills, your knowledge of the industry, and expand your business acumen. Be intentional in continually honing the skills you need to succeed not only in your current role, but for the roles you wish to have in the future. Focus especially on building business acumen and financial knowledge as well as on learning what drives performance where you work. Lead—or at a minimum be open— and embrace changes that will cause the evolution of business, product, industry and company. Don't be stagnant!
10. Combine: Life and work. Figure out what works best for you, your family and your life. Don't worry about norms, what other people do, or what works for them. Don't attempt to balance life and work—balance is a misnomer and is not achievable. You'll keep feeling like you are juggling, taking from one to give to the other. The definition of where work starts and stops, and your needs evolve regularly. You can have it "all"–the key is to determine what "all" means to you.
11. Convert: Obstacles into opportunities. For women, especially women in developing and emerging economies, one of the most distinguishing characteristic and behaviours of the most successful women is their ability to work around barriers, overcome stereotypes or practices, processes or rules that are overtly or unconsciously biased against women.
Discuss this list with someone you trust—a mentor, friend, spouse, family member, co-worker or boss. Talk about specific actions you can and want to take around the 11 Cs. Write out what success looks like for you, where you want to go, and how you can get there. Just pick one or two Cs to begin with.
Seek out women who reflect the 11 Cs, so that you can learn from their example. Observe and learn—What do they do? How do they do it? Look to the thriving, successful women in your office, business women's networks, or even online.
Don't be too hard on yourself, enjoy the journey, and draw inspiration from everyone you meet and see. Wishing you all the success you dream of and more!
Rania Anderson is Founder and President of The Way Women Work (http://thewaywomenwork.com), the 'How-To Succeed' guide for women in emerging economies. She is a leading authority on business women, global speaker, executive coach, entrepreneur, former corporate leader, angel investor and author-in-the-making.
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