They say “no”

In our busy lives, there are many choices that we need to make but if we keep saying “yes” to everything that comes our way we are in danger of losing our work-life balance.


For successful and confident women, burnout is not on the agenda. They make sure they don’t overcommit because they understand their own value and self-worth and only commit to the things that are aligned with their beliefs, passions, interests and values.


These women recognise that to be their best, they need to look after themselves and practice self-care. Women are so used to giving time to everyone else so it can make quite an impact when we start saying “not right now” to “have you got a minute?”


They listen

Hearing is a physical process that uses our ears, but listening is a process which uses our eyes, ears and minds. Sometimes, when we are engaged in a conversation, we give the impression that we are listening to someone when we are really just “hearing” what they are saying because we are already thinking about what we want to say in response.


So, what separates successful women is that they say less and listen more. They can trust their own judgement, but they are also secure enough to listen to and welcome the opinions of others. They are open to feedback – both positive and negative.


Listening is overlooked as a skill in business, but every idea starts with information and that information comes from listening. By truly listening to the person who is talking, you are offering something of real value which can improve your working relationships, as well as improve the efficiency of the business.


They ask for help

We all struggle at times – and that’s okay! Women often see asking for help as a weakness and so we avoid it. We almost believe that by asking for help, we are announcing our failure and incompetence to everyone around us.


Successful women recognise that asking for help is the best way to prevent future difficulties and collaborations with other people and groups will only help them to be better, but to do the job better. Also, showing that you have vulnerabilities too creates a connection. The question “can you help me” demonstrations real respect for somebody else’s expertise and judgement.


On the path to success, there will also be obstacles and knowing you have support around you will help you keep going to the other side.


They manage their inner critic

People can be very hard on themselves – especially women – many of us have a very negative internal monologue and are guilty of being too hard on ourselves. I call this inner voice “my chimp”: it’s the name for that bit of the brain that runs on emotions and thinks in black and white. (If you haven’t read The Chimp Paradox, I would recommend it)


Lost the house keys?… I’m so stupid
Missed a deadline?… I’m completely useless
Missed out on an opportunity?… I’m not good enough


Does this sound like you? This is your chimp talking. It is driven by emotion rather than logic. It jumps to conclusions and uses catastrophic language.


The difference with confident, successful women is that they can recognise when their “chimp” is at work so they can stop it from holding them back and preventing them from having a happier and more successful life.


So the “human” way of thinking would be:


Lost the house keys?… Can I get into the house another way?
Missed a deadline?… It was unavoidable this time but I will break down the project into manageable sections and continue to be proactive with my communication with peers, colleagues, and clients
Missed out on an opportunity?… There will be more opportunities in the future