Sometimes you can spot a successful woman in the wild without knowing anything about her. It's not the outward accoutrements like having nice things, but how she conducts herself in a way which is different from others. Here are a half dozen things the most successful women have in common.

1. They have a habit of self-improvement and they do it every day

I've heard from hundreds of executives, founders and other high achievers regarding the daily habits which help them succeed, and typically they mention exercise, getting up early, reading and being serious about their to-do lists. The most successful women consistently do the things which help them be healthy, informed and highly productive.

2. They don't apologize for what they want

Author and motivational speaker Rachel Hollis is always talking about this (and she even sells a necklace which says "not sorry"). In essence, it means living life on your own terms and going after your dreams regardless of what anybody else thinks. "Embracing the idea that you can want things for yourself even if nobody else understands the whys behind them is the most freeing and powerful feeling in the world," she writes in Girl, Stop Apologizing (which I highly recommend).

3. They put the right stuff in their mouths

It's hard to be successful when you don't feel good. And it's hard to feel good if you're consuming too much sugar, alcohol, refined carbs or processed foods. All of this stuff causes inflammation which can result in fatigue, pain and just plain feeling like crap. The most successful women avoid these conditions by drinking plenty of water (and no soda), eating vegetables and lean meats as well as limiting their intake of booze.

4. They take chances

It's because you can't achieve great things if you're too afraid of failing. The unfortunate thing, though, is that men are more likely to take risks compared with women. Leadership and Strategy Consultant Doug Sundheim, writing for Harvard Business Review, discusses several studies which have found this to be true. "Male risk-taking tends to increase under stress, while female risk taking tends to decrease under stress," he writes. "One reason is there are gender differences in brain activity involved in computing risk and preparing for action. This seems to be an important finding given the stressful nature of our work lives today."

5. They're not afraid to be themselves

Social media influencer Juli Bauer is beautiful, funny, promotes healthy living, and... she has a terrible potty mouth. The other day I clicked on one of her workouts in which she throws the F-bomb out there within the first ten seconds, which made me giggle. She writes on her website:

If you are easily offended, you will probably hate my blog posts. I am unapologetic, quite frank, and a bit obscene at times, but that is who I am and how I cook. I'm messy, to say the least. So please do not email me asking me to stop cursing. My mother did that my whole life and it never worked. Meaning, I will not change for you.

Something about this authenticity is working. The woman travels all over the world, has hundreds of thousands of followers and I assume makes a decent living promoting big names including Nordstrom, Walmart, Lululemon and others.  

6. They spend money on their appearance

Some readers will take offense to the idea that a woman must look good to get ahead in life. But the reality is that all human beings make an impression on others according to how they present themselves visually. Researchers have studied many facets of attractiveness and found that good-looking people are considered more able by employers, are more confident and have better socials skills which gets them higher pay, and are more likely to be elected to public office. The list goes on, which Business Insider recently wrote about.

Published on: Nov 30, 2019
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