Career women know it’s a competitive market out there.  Whether you are in an office, retail location, in the food or service industry, out in the field, or becoming your own boss.  You need to set yourself apart, and give yourself an edge to get ahead.

The good news is anybody can do this!  You don’t need a special superpower, or a genius IQ, or the ability to play “Stairway to Heaven” on guitar using only your toes. (But if you can do that I would love to meet you!)

Successful career women become successful by implementing systems and habits in their work lives that lead them towards positive results and experiences.  The consistent practice of these habits is what sets them apart from their coworkers and gives them an edge in the marketplace.

 

Positive Habits + Consistency = Success

 

Thinking about career success as the outcome of systems and habits is empowering for several reasons.  It makes these big dreams we have seem achievable by breaking them down into manageable goals, it makes us feel like we have more control over the direction of our careers, and it allows us the flexibility to adapt to change.

The key to building systems and daily habits is to start small.  When we take on too much, we get overwhelmed, and we’ll quickly give up to run back to the comfort of our old routines.  Slowly implement one or two of the skills below until they become such a part of your routine that you don’t even have to think about doing them.  Then take on another one or two.  Remember, being consistent over the long run is better than being perfect.

So let’s talk about how to slay on the job.

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  1. Show Up Every Day Like You Have a Reason to Be There

It doesn’t matter if this is your dream job or just a stop along the way.  You were hired for a reason.  Be there.  You are needed in your role (whether or not it feels like it).  Plus, consistently showing up and giving your role 100% will be noticed by your supervisors and can lead to other roles within or outside the company.

 

  1. Have a Can-Do Attitude

Never tell your boss you can’t do something.  Trust me, you can.  You might not know how, but you can figure it out. (And your boss probably wouldn’t have asked if s/he didn’t have confidence in you.) Instead, tell your boss you’ll figure it out and then do it.  Do your research.  Use your critical thinking skills.  That’s why you were hired in the first place.

 

  1. Invest in Your Career Attire

Investing in career clothes will give you an edge!You don’t need a Gucci suit or Prada shoes, but you should invest in some business and business casual basics.  Not only are we judged on our appearance, but clothes give us confidence, and both of those things are important.  The right clothes will make you feel and work better, and give you an edge in interviews and promotions. If you wear a uniform to work, wear something underneath that makes you feel good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Keep a Book of Wins + Lessons

Successful career women set goals, track their progress, and record their success and lessons in a book of wins.  This is a valuable process as it closes feedback loops.  When successes start to pile up, it bumps up your confidence to take on more challenges.  And when you see the areas you struggled, it allows you to see the lessons you learned so you don’t think of your performance as a failure.  If you haven’t already, start a Book of Wins & Lessons.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, a Word document or spiral notebook is fine.  Or dress it up by getting one of those swanky or cute personal journals or sexy little black books.

 

  1. Invest in Professional Development

Keeping your skills sharp and learning new skillsets is key to staying competitive.  In some professions like law and medicine, continuing education is even required.  Take advantage of professional development programs and training workshops offered by your employer or industry’s professional organizations.  There is also a plethora of live, live virtual, and online courses, and many programs offered at local libraries and community centers.  Books, podcasts, and youtube channels are also great resources for information.

 

  1. Work BFFs Can Make All the Difference

Become friends with trusted coworkers.  After all, you DO spend about 40 hours a week together.  Having someone to bounce ideas off of, have lunch dates with, joke around, or be a sounding board for the occasional work rant is ideal and can make the days breeze by.  But DON’T get involved with office politics or exclusivity cliques.  That’s just bad news bears for your reputation.

If you’re a solopreneur or work remotely, connect with others on a similar path in your area.  Schedule coffee dates or days to work in the same location.  Join mastermind groups or interest communities.

 

  1. Give Compliments

Successful career women recognize the wins of others and celebrate them.  A victory for your coworker is a victory for the team.  Generously and sincerely give kudos.  Any time you share the spotlight or give it to someone who deserves it, It will be remembered.

 

  1. Show Gratitude

A successful career woman knows that no matter how far she is in life, she didn’t get there on her own.  There are a myriad of people who gave helping hands, ears to listen, and shoulders to cry on to get her there.  Show gratitude towards your support system, mentors, professional contacts, and anyone who has helped you along the way.  A simple text or email is fine, but a call or a handwritten note is even better!

 

  1. Sleep is For Winners

Sleep is vital to doing well on the job.Career men often brag about how often they work until 2AM like that makes them some kind of boss.  But there is nothing fun, sexy, or healthy about sleep deprivation (and this comes from someone who spent two years in a sleep deprived state thanks to a job with a very heavy travel schedule).  Ariana Huffington, the founder of the Huffington Post, penned an excellent book about her own battle with sleep deprivation and how to get healthy sleep.  Get those ZZZ’s so you can feel well rested and ready for work.

 

  1. Stop Apologizing

On average, women apologize way more than men.  This is traced back to social conditioning between genders where social politeness and threshold of wrongdoing needed for an apology are interpreted differently.  This isn’t any less true in the workplace.

You don’t need to apologize for having an opinion, disagreeing with a point of view, or being unable to work late or pick up that extra shift.  Save your apologies for legitimate situations.  When you show more confidence in yourself, others will respond in kind.

(As a side note, also take the word “just” out of your vocabulary – as in “I just wanted to send you this email to ask…”.  NO, go ahead and ask your question without the precursors.)

 

  1. But Do Own Your Mistakes

We all screw up on the job from time to time.  It’s being human.  Take responsibility when you make a mistake and do what you can to right the situation.  (This is a legitimate time to use an apology.)  Trust me, your team will respect you more for it.  Personal responsibility is a high value for many companies.

Plus, mistakes are opportunities for lessons.  Don’t be afraid of making a mistake.  Give yourself permission to fail.   You will learn from it (probably faster than someone who is afraid of making mistakes).  Just make sure you are learning and don’t make the same mistake twice.

 

  1. Never Get Complacent

Even if you love your job, you never know when something within the company will change or when an outside opportunity comes knocking.  (Ever notice how some of the greatest opportunities come when we aren’t expecting them?) Keep your resume sharp and your LinkedIn Profile updated.  Go to networking events.  Always be hungry.

 

  1. When Just Starting Out It’s Okay To Switch Jobs Often

Especially as a young career woman, it’s okay to switch jobs every year to get a higher salary or develop your skillsets.  Honestly, company loyalty isn’t what it used to be 30 years ago, and most companies don’t expect employees to stay for 5+ years.  That being said, at some point you will want to build consistency in your resume, and eventually finding an organization to stay with for a while will open up the opportunity for advancement.  (The biggest flaw in my resume is it’s a bit of jack of all trades with some common themes.  Avoid this if you can, but we unicorns tend to be varied in our interests, so if this is also you, use it to your advantage.)

 

  1. Start Saving Now

Open up a savings account if you don’t already have one and put in some money every time you get paid.  This will serve as your emergency fund for life’s unexpected hassles (like car repairs). And having a savings account can be the difference between being stuck in a job you hate until you find a new one and telling your boss to peace out while you spend the next month or two at home full-time job searching (or starting your own business!).  No job is worth your health or your sanity.

Don’t forget to take advantage of any 401(k) or similar retirement savings benefits that you have available to you.  (Stella-Tip: Always consult with a financial advisor if you are unsure which plans are right for you.)

 

  1. Have Confidence in Yourself and Your Journey

Trust me, you are doing sooo much better than you think you are!  Believe in yourself.  Don’t get frustrated if your career doesn’t go in a straight line.  The most exciting careers don’t.  (Mine hasn’t!)  It’s okay if you’re zig-zagging, circling back, or deciding to take a different path, as long as the jobs you are taking are fulfilling, interesting, and meeting your needs.  Some of our greatest career opportunities or experiences are found down some curvy side road.

While we’re at it, although it’s good to have role models to look up to, they are never a substitution for who you are.  Learn from them but be yourself.  Don’t compare your Chapter 1 to someone else’s Chapter 25.  But also remember what it was like to be the new girl or the intern.

 

  1. Learn From Everyone

Everyone has a lesson to teach.Everyone has a lesson to teach.  You can learn just as much (or more) from the incompetent as you can from the excellently capable.  Heard about a coworker getting written up or fired for something?  Now you know not to do that thing and how seriously your company takes it.  Always look for the lessons. Never stop learning.

 

 

 

  1. Ask Questions on The Interview

This will help you figure out if the role and company are right for you.  It also shows your interviewers that you are engaged.  The best question you can ask an interviewer is “what is your biggest/most important problem right now and how can I fix it in my role?”  And always keep asking that question of your supervisors once you get the job.

 

  1. Enhance the Office Culture

You were hired (or someone chose to do business with you) not only for your skills, but the value you will bring to the company or joint venture.  The more value you bring, the more secure your position will be.  Go out of your way to mentor newer team members or organize office gatherings.  Says yes to some extra shifts and overtime (but also respect your time and don’t let the office take advantage of you).  Respectfully make suggestions that could improve procedures and results.  Offer to help your boss on a special project that your skills are a perfect match for.  Show your supervisors that you are always developing your skillsets.

 

LEVEL UP YOUR GAME: Invest in a Life Coach / Business Coach

Investing in empowerment, life, or business coaching is a game changer.  Working with a coach to define your passions, goals, and build systems in your life to achieve them consistently pays off dividends in leading a joyful and successful life defined by your own terms.  Anyone can do the work without a coach, but having a coach puts you on the fast track to success.

 

Know any other habits successful career women practice?  Comment below or on the SoulFire Tribe – Light It Up Facebook Group!  Share your knowledge and engage with other women!  Share this article with a friend and continue the conversation.

Xoxo,

Get the 8 (SECRET) Skills of Successful Women!

In my FREE guide, Queen Rising, I give you the 8 SECRET skills successful women use to lead happy, balanced lives and define success on their own terms!

We HATE spam! So we won't send you any. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

 

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Stella Autumn

Founder, Women's Empowerment Coach, + Writer/Blogger at SoulFire Tribe
* Queen * Rebel * Unicorn * Coach * Writer * Lawyer * Witch * Geek * Goth/Alt Chick * Poetess * Explorer * Artist * Hippie * Book Dragon * Ladyboss * Quirky, Curious, + Creative * // I empower women invested in personal and professional growth to discover the courage and creativity within themselves to lead happy, balanced, and successful lives defined by their own terms!

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