10 Things Successful Women Do Differently
Not everyone is ‘born lucky’, but we can all make our own luck.
So don your power dress (and a slick of red lippy) and read up on the ten things successful women do differently.
1. Successful women invite others out to lunch – and pay. When a girl says the words, “Please may I invite you”, the bill is automatically hers. It is understood. Expecting men to pick up the bill because of custom or tradition just doesn’t work if you want to be considered a serious businesswoman.
2. They have high energy: around 30% more both mentally and physically than other women. They can fit five times more work in a day than the mean average. It isn’t necessarily something to aspire to – it hasn’t resulted in equality of women on boards, for instance – but it is the case. They are driven and know how to deliver. (However, be aware that it can also make them hard work to be around as they force the pace and others peel away exhausted.)
3. They have learned to, or even like, tackling difficult situations. The measure of a successful woman is not what goes well and the glory that comes with it, but how she deals with the difficult times: underperforming staff, personal upset, a disagreeable colleague.
4. They aren’t always liked. This may be because they haven’t got as much time for water cooler chats, or it may mean they are less congenial in their personalities. It doesn’t mean successful women have to be horrible, but they recognise that trying to please everyone in the office is probably a misdirection of energy. (Harvard did a study which said women who were less liked earned more and got better promotions. Not everyone agrees with this sentiment).
5. They ask for help. And that means help from everyone, all the time; not just, “Can you help me with my bags please”, but serious business help. For example, they would ask heads of businesses for their advice, then send them a bottle of champagne or a substantial contact who can help their business in return as a thank you for their time. It is intellectual help in understanding the rules of business and how to engage better from diverse and very successful people.
6. They don’t take no for an answer. People love to say no and, in our age of bureaucracy rather than democracy (Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote, in his excellent book Antifragile – “tough times don’t last, tough people do”), we have a whole society set up to stop us at every turn with reams of paperwork and armies of ‘no’ people. When someone says something isn’t possible, successful women will push and push until they get a different answer. They would ask for the boss, or say they won’t get off the phone until they speak to someone.
7. They know how to say no, and are able to remain focused on what they want to work on. As the adage goes, ‘What one focuses on grows, what one doesn’t focus on dies’. Successful women think about what they are focusing on all the time. Is it a row with a sister? A holiday? A problem at work? They won’t wait for 5pm on Friday to sort, and they practice saying no.
(The New York Times had an interesting article on ‘poverty’ at the weekend. The writer suggested there are three types of poverty: financial, time and bandwidth. Financial is easy to understand (no money). Time poverty is rushing around fitting everything in, which by default creates bandwidth poverty and, as a knock on, less time to make thoughtful decisions. Successful women know that by saying yes to everything they are, in essence, leading themselves down a path of limited bandwidth and bad decision making.)
8. They have standards. Just as a taxi driver should know where he is driving his passengers to, and a restaurant should make hot food and serve cold drinks, successful women make sure they deliver every time. It is not rocket science. And if other people don’t deliver, a successful woman will make sure she gets them to do it properly.
9. Successful women hire people. In order to have time for a family or business, it is essential to learn to delegate, whether at home or in the office. Only then can a successful woman have time for herself, have fun with her family and friends, and be creative in business, too.
10. Guard their money. Women will always have less power if they don’t look after their own money. Consult an IFA, invest in an ISA. With money one has control, freedom and options.