What does it mean to be successful? Is it securing your first round of funding for a business you’ve wanted to build for years? Or is it climbing the corporate ladder? Or perhaps, is making it (and killing it) as a freelancer? Thankfully, these days success isn’t defined as one thing, but there is one common denominator we’ve noticed: tenacity.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from successful women we’ve interviewed over the past few years, it’s that you don’t reach success unless you set goals and work hard. While grit, dedication, and confidence are traits that all successful women share, we need to set goals, establish habits and get sponsors for ourselves if we want to triumph in our career.
Keep reading for 5 habits of the most successful female leaders.
1. Successful Women Go After Their Dreams Now
Success isn’t handed to us on a silver platter. As great as that would be, real life doesn’t usually work that way. Even the most successful women didn’t get from point A to Z in one night, so why should we? To achieve our goals, we have to put in the work necessary to reap the results. Whether you want to start your own business, get another degree, or grow a new passion, the time is now. The beginning is the most difficult part of the journey, so congratulate yourself for doing just that.
You have to be tenacious, determined and dedicated to accomplish your goals. Whether your goals is to “get your business started” or “buy your first home”, you must set clear goals to get there. The key to accomplishing your goals is not in visualizing them but in the simplicity of writing them down.
2. Successful Women Invest In Their Futures
First, pay off your debt. If you have debt, you’re going to pay for it in the long run, she says. “Some people out there recommend building your fund before paying off debt. That is truly stupid advice,” she told CNNMoney. “Then you have cash that is earning close to zero, but you owe cash that is costing you 20%.” Once that debt is paid off, start building an emergency fund (more on how to do that here). Krawcheck suggests saving enough to cover one to three months of living expenses so you’ll be prepared if something unexpected happens — like you lose your job or your apartment floods. Then, start setting your financial goals. Next, it’s time to think about the big picture and start investing in your future. Krawcheck advises investing 10% of your paycheck and increasing the percentage of time. But, if you can’t afford to put 10% aside now, that’s fine — start at 5% or 1% — just do it. “Pay yourself first. Do it every paycheck,” she says.
If you’re ready to take the first key step in taking financial control, sign up to get a complimentary financial plan from Ellevest (yup, you read that right: it’s free). While many traditional advisors charge upwards of $1,000 for a financial plan. Ellevest is working to close the gender investing gap, so they charge nothing for theirs.
To sign up, all you have to do is head to ellevest.com, set up a username and password, then answer a few basic questions about yourself (name, income, where you live). From there, you’ll choose which goals you want to achieve (buy a home, start a family), and then Ellevest will show you how much you’ll need to invest to reach those goals. You’ll see a personalized investment portfolio for every goal, plus the details of each portfolio. You can save your Ellevest financial plan, come back to it, modify it, or share it with your girlfriends and family, whether you invest with Ellevest or not.
3. Successful Women Grow From Their Mistakes
We all make mistakes, big and small. And there is nothing wrong with that human truth. As a matter of fact, mistakes fuel our wisdom and give us the chance to gauge what doesn’t serve us.
Through our mistakes, we understand what kind of life we want for ourselves. Instead of wallowing in shame, regret, and self-pity, successful women grow from their mistakes and appreciate them for what they are worth. They find treasure in the depths of their disappointments. Don’t be afraid of failure, as your wrong turns may be the precursor you need before your biggest success catches up with you.
4. Successful Women Have a Positive Mindset
Every minute that we spend immersed in negativity is a minute that we could be using to better some element of our lives. Dwelling in negative thinking is something that is easy to slip into when we face obstacles in our paths or when it takes longer than anticipated to achieve the desired result.
You aren’t alone in your struggles even though you may feel like you are singled out. Successful women also experience moments of uncertainty, frustration, and disappointment and aren’t immune to gloomy days, but they don’t allow themselves to sink into despair and let their inner critic take the front seat. Instead, female leaders acknowledge their challenges and exemplify a positive, encouraging mindset instead.
5. Successful Women Make Peace with Their Fear
Fear be a total buzz-kill, right? This four letter word shouldn’t be underestimated, as it can stand between us and our success. That’s why it is imperative that we make peace with a fear. Studies show that we Millennial women have a lot of money power—when it comes to spending, that is. But when it comes to building wealth, like saving and investing in the future? Not so much. Why? Because of fear.
To figure that out, SoFi teamed up with Levo to survey 2050 millennial women on their behaviors and motivations around money and found that a good majority of Millennial women have extra money each month, after paying bills but aren’t investing for the reason above: fear.
Fear is a normal evolutionary mechanism that we humans have developed to keep us safe, but it is vital that we separate actual danger from a mentally constructed apprehension that isn’t a threat. Timed to Equal Pay Day 2018, the co-branded study, titled “How Millennial Women Invest” shows that while millennial women are financially responsible with their budgets — with 70% of us reviewing our bank accounts once a week or more frequently and 53% of us have an emergency fund, 56% of us who have the money to invest do not do so because fear is holding us back—and this is a problem.
Really successful women face their fears head-on, not giving them the chance to stand in their way of triumph.
New to investing? This can help. You can speak with an expert financial advisor at Ellevest on topics ranging from how to get rid of debt to tips to investing. Plus, start as small as you’d like – there’s no minimum deposit for Ellevest Digital, meaning you can start investing with as little as $5 – just get started.