by Kristi Faulkner
“Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline,” proclaimed Jim Collins in the classic business tome Good to Great. I was curious to understand what kind of discipline is required of women who rise to greatness in business. What commitments do they choose to make and how do those drive their career achievements?
1. They are committed to their friendships. Research has shown women’s friendships are a strong predictor of their resistance to stress and boost longevity, too. Maintaining deep emotional connections is one of the best ways to develop and nurture EQ, an important leadership quality.
2. They are committed to staying curious. As Mary Wells famously said, “You have to read books on subjects you know nothing about. You have to travel to places you never thought of traveling. You have to meet every kind of person and endlessly stretch what you know.” Creative solutions are fueled by the curiosity to ask better questions.
3. They are committed list-makers. Successful women stay organized and list-making is the single best way to get organized, prioritize, stay focused, and feel accomplished. Some use the notebook app on their smartphones to keep a running list of things they want to accomplish, organized by categories like People to Call, Emails to Write, Tasks, Family, etc. They take a few minutes to update it every morning and let the productivity begin.
4. They are committed to yes, and just as committed to no. You can always make more money, but you can’t make more time. Successful women are selective about the commitments they make and know not to stretch themselves too thin. They give 100% or nothing at all. As the saying goes, “If you trim yourself for everyone, you will soon whittle away.”
5. They are committed to self-love. Successful women know they can’t be unstoppable if they don’t stop to take care of themselves. They get up early to have quiet time alone, exercise regularly, eat right, take up meditation, hike, do yoga, and spend time with their families. And most importantly, they take vacations. Marissa Mayer has said she takes off one week every three months to recharge. Balancing work and pleasure is proven to increase productivity.
6. They are committed to mentoring. Successful women appreciate that their careers are an ongoing learning process. Regardless of how high up the ladder they go, they continue to seek advice, support and direction. They look for inspiration from everyone they meet and know it’s worth investing the time to mentor and sponsor more junior team members. Not only does helping others garner respect, it also establishes them as a source of expertise.