Let’s face it, life is difficult. Heck, difficult doesn’t even begin to describe the everyday workings of a twenty something woman with dreams and ambitions. Dealing with the constant pressures of life, love and health can take its toll on any woman, let alone one who thinks she has a clear vision of what her success should look like. Amidst finishing degrees, completing research, establishing careers and growing strong relationships with the people we love; we still need to plan for a future and try to somehow make the most out of life so that we have no regrets. We need to deal with societal pressures, malevolent people who have their own selfish agenda’s and crude individuals who thrive on our every failure. Frankly, it’s downright tiring, frustrating and emotionally draining. If there’s one thing I have learnt, it’s that the success of a woman is no longer defined only by her career. It is so much more than that. Her definition of success stems from who she is as an individual and the choices she makes. Sure, we want to be successful. We want to be independent, think freely and voice our thoughts and opinions. We want to make a difference in the world and above all, we want to be happy and find true love.
Let’s look at some of the women who have changed the world as we know it: Cleopatra for starters, who was loved by two of the most powerful men of all time. She fought to defend Egypt from the ever growing Roman Empire – a cause which she ended her life for. Florence Nightingale was ostracized by her family for wanting to enter into a nursing program and help the poor yet she single-handedly changed the perception of nursing as we know it today. Her contributions improved the condition of hospitals and the treatment of countless wounded soldiers. Emmeline Pankhurst dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of women and despite constant societal disapproval, women were granted the right to vote in 1920. Marie Curie was the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize for her research in radioactivity and chemistry in a male dominated scientific world and of course, my all-time favorite female author, Jane Austen who portrayed the true life of a woman in nineteenth century England when it was against society’s wishes for them to write, work or even speak out against any intolerance. I guess it’s one of the oldest secrets held by women from the start of time – know your worth, stand your ground, do what you love and fight for what you believe in. In the end, that is what made them the free thinking independent successful women they turned out to be.
So today I give you the six habits of highly successful women.
- LIVE BY YOUR OWN STANDARDS
More often than not, it’s far too easy to forget our morals and values in an attempt to please others. As ignorant as it may seem, a strong independent woman is often defined by nothing more than her morals, values and standards. Take away the Chanel lip gloss, Burberry handbag and platinum credit card and what are you left with? Nothing. Nothing but the morals which you live by, the values which guide you and the standards which define you. As unclassy as this may sound, a good friend once said to me, “If you sleep with the dogs, you’re bound to get fleas”. There must be some truth to this.
- HAVE A PURPOSE IN LIFE
There’s nothing more defining to your soul than finding your purpose in this world. For endless years we have been trying to grow and develop ourselves into the women we want to be, or rather the women we think we want to be. But how do you know who you want to be if you have no purpose and no definition? How do know where you’re going if you don’t chose a road to wander down? All too often, it’s easy to lose sight of the shore and granted, for some of us, the path to enlightenment has been far from a smooth one. So find something you love to do, something which, when you start doing it, makes you forget about time. Fight for a cause. Aim to make a difference. Dance. Sing. Paint. Read. Or just love. One’s purpose is defined by one’s heart and in your heart lies your morals and values. Nothing else.
- KEEP THE RIGHT COMPANY
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, “If you sleep with the dogs, you’re bound to get fleas”. Go on, read that line again if you need to. Far too often, and without knowing it, we are influenced by the company we keep. Habits unconsciously rub off on us and before long, we start acting and liking things we normally would not. Surround yourself with people who have dreams, who believe in something and who can think. Make sure that they too have standards. Good standards. But most importantly, surround yourself with those who see greatness in you, even when you may not. Remember, you don’t need to have countless friends. It’s all about quality not quantity. You should be able to count the most important people in your life on one hand. These are the people who you can undoubtedly trust and who you know will be there for you through every heartache and hardship.
- VISUALIZE AND STRATEGIZE
There’s a famous saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there”. Being a strong woman means you need to harness and master the powers of visualization. Know what you want out of life and imagine yourself having it. Write it down and set a date you’d like to have it by and how you’re going to achieve it. Work out your plan of action. Prepare yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. Strategize. Read. Then go out and get it.
- NEVER GIVE UP
It’s easy to give up when things get difficult. People constantly undermine our value, underestimate our abilities and downright screw with our mind-set. When we want to make a difference in the world, they tell us we can’t. When we don’t conform to people’s expectations, they leave. When we do research and find results they don’t like, they doubt. As hurtful and demotivating as that can be, the truth is, if we let it affect us, we’ll never get anywhere. I can’t explain it any better than Meredith Grey can,
“We’ll try again and we’ll fail again because that’s what progress looks like. Progress looks like a bunch of failures. And you’re going to have feelings about that because it’s sad, but you cannot fall apart. And then one day, we will succeed and save a person’s life and we will walk on the moon.”
Enough said. Giving up is easy. But remember; only mediocre people give up and take the easy road. Great people accept the challenge, strive and persevere.
- MANAGE YOUR EMOTIONS
Granted, the term ‘manage’ is completely out of context here. For a woman to be able to manage her emotions takes an inner strength so innate, it’s beyond me. Let’s face it, as women we feel. We feel all the time and pretty deeply at that. When our heart breaks, it doesn’t just break, it shatters. If there’s one thing I have learnt over the last five years, it’s that we often underestimate our ability to inevitably heal. Sure, there are times when we feel as though we can’t breathe, like we can’t go on, like life as we know it has ended… but hey, the storm does pass. It passed before and it certainly will pass again. Managing our emotions is never easy at first but it does get easier with time. Don’t let situations overwhelm you. If it does, close your eyes and just breathe. Remember where you came from, who you are and then refer to point number 1: live by your standards.
The women of our generation are destined for greatness. They have no time or patience for the mediocrity of others and they never doubt in their ability to handle the spontaneity of the world around them. They wander the roads less traveled because they find comfort in the unknown. They embrace the wounds of battles past and whilst they can love someone till the end of time, they know that true love is never worth the sacrifice of their own sanity.
It’s those underlying morals and values – regardless of the era we live in, the career paths we have chosen or the heartaches we have suffered – that will always remain the same. Success stems from knowing our true worth and standing by it. As strong women, we are inevitably destined for greatness. It’s best we remember this.