As a national speaker, blogger and spokesperson, the clients and groups I deal with are usually on a national level. I’ve had an opportunity to meet some incredibly dynamic women from Hillary Clinton to Oprah Winfrey. But, with the formation of my company Accessible Home Living, which specializes in disability remodeling and handicap accessible modular home additions, and my work as a motivational speaker, I’m now spending more time in the local community. For this reason, I threw it out to the universe that I needed to find a local business networking/mentoring group. And, as so often happens in my life, a group formed right before my eyes.
Over the past six months, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some incredibly dynamic and successful local female business owners that I never knew existed. They have become business partners, mentors, mentees and just all around fun girlfriends. Each, in their own right, is successful – and happy! It struck me that, regardless of the size of the endeavor, local or national, there are some commonalities among successful women that make them happy.
- We follow our passion – I’ve often said, follow your passion and the money will follow. Whether you leave a high-paying corporate job to start a small gourmet cookie company or are a teacher in an inner-city, if you’re doing what you love, you’ll bound out of bed in the morning excited for the day and how you can make a difference.
- We’re mentors and mentees – Ask almost any woman who has a successful career and she will tell you that she had a mentor. The opportunity to learn from someone who’s “been there and done that” and be coached is invaluable in developing your soft and hard skills. At the same time, paying it forward and becoming a mentee to someone creates a feeling of personal fulfillment.
- We network - I’ve found that networking for men and women is quite different. Men seem to view it as a sport, never really connecting but rather trying to just accumulate as many connections as possible. Women collaborate. We find commonalities and ways in which we can mutually benefit. We also encourage and learn. Whether it’s true networking meetings or business groups such as the one I joined, women leave feeling inspired, jazzed and empowered.
- We keep priorities in order – Every successful woman is multi-faceted. She’s also a mom, spouse, daughter, friend and community member. We are, undoubtedly, far better multi-taskers than men and, while that can often leave us stressed, it also enriches our lives. We know that careers can come and go but spiritual and emotional bonds with friends, children, family and even ourselves, are the basis of who we are. This keeps everything in perspective for us.
- We acknowledge failure – The stories of “overnight successes” who failed at something at least 20 times prior are everywhere. Successful women know that moving forward will require some mistakes along the way and without these missteps, we’d be frozen in place in fear. Whether we’ve made a mistake on a client’s order, done business with someone who’s screwed us over or miscalculated the viability of our business model, we dust ourselves off and retool. Women are usually their own worst critics but, once we learn to love ourselves and forgive ourselves, we find peace.
- Share success and acknowledge others – It truly does take a village to not only raise a child but grow a business. No one gets to the pinnacle of her success, whatever that is, without people helping us along the way. Just as a sports team wins together, so does the successful woman.
Regardless of whether you’re an entrepreneur, volunteer or employee, if you’re not happy doing what you’re doing, you will never be truly successful. GO FOR IT – whatever “it” is! Life’s too short to not be happy.