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Sophia Amoruso. J.K. Rowling. Oprah Winfrey. Lauren Conrad. These women leave us all in awe of their professional accomplishments. You can call them girl bosses, inspirations, or whatever you want, because it’s obvious they’re ambitious women making a serious impact. They’re not all in the same field, but these powerful women all have the same 10 things in common. To quote Sophia Amoruso, “bad bitches are taking over the world.” You should join them.
1. A Vision
Successful women know that you can’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going. These women have a clear picture of what they want to accomplish, and everything they do brings them closer to completing that picture.
The queen of all things, Oprah Winfrey, once said to “create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.” She overcame difficult circumstances in her childhood, and went from being fired from her first job as a newscaster to one of the biggest household names—so she probably knows what she’s talking about.
2. Clear Goals
All successful women are driven by setting and achieving goals. It’s one thing to have a vision, but you have to be able to turn that vision into goals and steps in order to make it attainable. Successful women know you have to set goals, big and small, and work to achieve them.
Lauren Conrad didn’t go from reality TV star to head of her own fashion empire by just waking up each day without a plan. She had a dream of designing clothes, so she set goals and did something every day that helped her reach them, like attending the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and interning with Teen Vogue. You can’t be successful if you don’t have a goal to work toward.
3. Hard Work
The key to meeting goals is working toward them every single day. Successful women are hard workers. They give 100% in their work because there’s no point in doing something halfway. They know they have to hustle if they’re going to reach their dreams and create the lives they want.
In #GIRLBOSS, Amoruso wrote, “Each time you show up to work and work hard and do your best at everything you can do, you’re planting seeds for a life that you can only hope will grow beyond your wildest dreams.” So even though you have a goal, you won’t reach it if you don’t spend the time, energy, and brainpower required to achieve it.
Successful women are sure of who they are, they’re comfortable with themselves, and they don’t let moments of self-doubt hold them back. To have the guts and courage it takes to build an accomplished career and risk failure, it’s necessary to be confident in yourself and your vision.
It’s clear that Serena Williams was born to play tennis, and she has the hard-earned muscular body to prove it. Despite the fact that she’s a professional athlete, there have still been negative comments about her shape. Serena doesn’t pay attention to it, though. On Good Morning America she said, “I love that I am a full woman, and I’m strong, and I’m powerful, and I’m beautiful at the same time, and there’s nothing wrong with that.” Right on, girlfriend!
5. An Open Mind
Even though successful women know what they want and where they want to go, they also know it’s important to listen to and consider the ideas of others. No one person has all the answers, and successful women value the creativity and ingenuity of the people around them. Accomplished women are aware that they can’t realistically do it all on their own.
Joanne Rowling had already written an amazing book on her own (you may have heard of the Harry Potter series), but her publisher suggested she use the pen name, “J.K.” Rowling decided to follow her publisher’s advice, and she’s only sold a few hundred million copies since then.
It might be considered abrasive by some people, but women of accomplishment never accept the answer “no” when it comes to their careers. If they reach a dead end, encounter a speed bump, or have to work with people who doubt them, they simply find a way to overcome the issue and keep moving forward. “No” isn’t a word you’ll see them accept.
On her recent book tour for #GIRLBOSS, Sophia Amoruso said, “The adversity you experience will only make you stronger.” She would know after all. She turned a small, vintage clothing hobby on eBay into a mega company in the business world’s version of a blink. Despite her astronomical accomplishments in such a short amount of time, no one believed she could grow this business without going into debt, and she had trouble finding investors at first. Amoruso kept on trucking though, and eventually found the right investors for Nasty Gal. Oh, and she never went into debt.
While they don’t accept the word “no,” successful women also know there are times when they need to be flexible. There are always instances when a new plan of attack is needed, and ambitious women know beating a dead horse won’t help them achieve their goals.
Take Blake Lively’s Preserve for instance. It wasn’t doing what she wanted it to, so she called it quits. She shut down the site and announced that she’d be going back to the drawing board. Lively didn’t give up; she just acknowledged that the first attempt wasn’t working and decided to come up with a new plan. While we wait for the official announcement of that plan, hold on to the hope that her alleged fashion line could be coming out soon.
Successful women are frequently successful at several different things. They typically have several projects going on at one time, and various people and things that need their attention. However, successful women are talented at focusing at one thing at a time. Multitasking can be a great thing, but these women know that there are times when a task needs all of your attention.
Ivanka Trump is an expert at laser focus. She has her own accessories line, a flourishing website, and serves as the executive vice president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization—all while being a wife and mother to two (soon to be three!). She’s learned to hone in on the tasks at hand and be fully present in the current moment (to do this for her family, Ivanka and her husband turn off their phones on the weekends and spend time with their children instead of working). She couldn’t be as successful as she is otherwise.
When problems arise, the successful women don’t ignore them or assume someone else will find a solution. The women who are making things happen are also the women tackling problems head-on and solving them. No one can be successful if problem solving isn’t in their bag of tricks.
Taylor Swift (and pretty much every other artist) had a problem with Apple offering free trials for their new streaming service. But Taylor didn’t just take it on the chin. She set out to let Apple know how she felt, and she got them to change their decision. That’s called taking charge of your life and being the solution.
Life is a learning process, and the most successful women make an effort to continue their education. Many of them are college grads, attend conferences, read up on the latest information in their fields, and do everything they can to gain knowledge from everyday situations.
My current obsession, Kerry Washington, isn’t just a talented actress. She actually graduated from George Washington University with honors and a double major in sociology and anthropology. Neither of which are intrinsically related to acting, but it does show that she takes her education seriously. Successful women aren’t just successful because they’re attractive or well-connected. Successful women are intelligent.