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Eight Habits of Highly Successful Women

Updated: Aug 21, 2018

By Michelle Pedzich


Women in the world today face multiple demands on their time, juggling work, family, and many other obligations. On any given day, women make a million decisions and trade-offs and struggle to find balance in their lives. So, how do we stay sane in this demanding world of interruption and fast paced change?

There are lessons to be learned from experienced and effective women leaders on how they remain agile and manage change. Here’s what they do, and how you can learn from their positive leadership practices.

1. Build each other up. Highly successful women build each other up and support one another. They listen intently and accept feedback as a gift. They also understand that providing immediate and positive recognition to others for a job well done is key to building strong relationships.

2. Schedule non-negotiable time. Think about the last time you scheduled time on your calendar for something you really wanted to do. This time could be related to some much-needed exercise, to have coffee (or wine) with a friend, or even to take a nap. Highly successful women identify these areas that they will not negotiate on and hold this time sacred. Some literally block time off on their calendars to ensure other competing priorities do not sneak in.

3. Practice R&D. Nope, we are not taking about research and development. We are talking about rip-off and duplicate. Highly successful women do not recreate the wheel. While they don’t steal and plagiarize, they look for opportunities to build upon the work done by others and give credit where credit is due.

4. Practice good self-care. Along with scheduling non-negotiable time, highly successful women understand the extreme importance of practicing good self-care. This includes taking care of themselves from a full wellness perspective, physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and spiritually. For some leaders, that may involve a shopping trip, having wine with friends, or getting a massage. For other leaders, that may include practicing mindfulness and mediation or going to a support group or leadership coach.

5. Learn to live in the world of uncertainty. Uncertainty can slow us down. In a perfect world, we would have this beautiful road map laid out before us. In the real world, highly successful women have learned how to manage their emotions (most of the time), when they are asked to change course and are unsure of what happens next. They take a deep breath, Release the tears (also known as liquid courage), and start making a list of action items.

6. Vent up, not down. A destructive trap to fall into is to voice concerns to colleagues and direct reports as an outlet to air challenges that are weighing us down. Highly successful women understand the importance of finding someone they can talk challenges out with and vent. They also understand that venting up to their boss, a trusted mentor, or a coach is far more productive then passing on their problems to others that have no control over a situation.

7. Help, help, and more help. Without a doubt, highly successful women know when to jump in and help, no matter what the activity. They know there is a difference between providing assistance during a time of need and micromanaging. They also know that there is no task beneath them, whether it is pitching in to make coffee or stuffing envelopes. Strong leaders also know when to ask for help.

8. Learn to say no. What does your to do list look like? Are there items that are not urgent and not critical? Do you find it hard to say no because you don’t want to disappoint others? Highly successful women know that it is okay to say no sometimes. They communicate respectfully that they are not able to take on something new at this time. No matter how hard we work, we simply cannot do it all.

What other habits do you admire in highly successful women? We would love to hear from you!



Michelle lives in Canandaigua, NY with her husband Keith and daughter Sophie. She is Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Company. Michelle is an active member of the Canandaigua community and serves on the Canandaigua City School District Board and serves as a Director on the Canandaigua Chamber of Commerce Board. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, mentoring young professionals, and spending time with her family.

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