Career Advice / Productivity

10 habits every successful woman has

. 7 min read . Written by Gauri Ratnam
10 habits every successful woman has

Let’s do an exercise. Close your eyes for 30 seconds and envision what a successful woman looks like. Who did you envision? Was it a public figure, someone you know, or just a silhouette? Hold on to that…

When it comes to success, there’s more than what meets the eye. To delve deeper, we interviewed two inspiring women about the daily habits that have made them chase their ambitions and be the success they are today- and they have a lot to say!

First off, let’s get to know them:

Isha Rathnam is a media and IP legal professional with over 15 years of experience. She is currently the Director of the Legal department at Lionsgate. Having worked at corporates such as Sony, Turner, Reliance, and more, her skill and expertise put her among the top ranks in her field. Adding to that, Isha holds a place in the list of top 50 women in IP law, which makes her an inspiration to so many young girls!

Vanshika Goenka is the Founder of Kool Kanya, which has enabled women to navigate and create the career of their dreams. Having graduated magna cum laude (great distinction) from Brown University, her keen eye for problem-solving and thirst for learning allowed her to gain prestigious honours (and still do, to this date!)  With companies such as EY, McKinsey & Company, and Welspun in her portfolio, she finally found her calling in entrepreneurship, and works towards being a better version of herself each day.

Now that you’re acquainted with these two inspiring women, it’s time to delve into the habits they (and many successful women out there) have in common!

1. They challenge themselves

No magnificent achievement was ever made in comfort. Even if it’s as simple as doing 10 extra push-ups each day, giving yourself the space to improve and dig deep can set you on an upwards trajectory. Another way to challenge yourself is by identifying stagnancy in your job and moving away from it. “Many times, people want a job and not a career. I don’t believe in roles that are vegetative. I want to do more!” says Isha.

What’s life without a challenge, and what’s success without hard work?

Isha Rathnam- successful women habits
Isha Rathnam
Director-Legal, Lionsgate

2. They stay organised

This may seem fairly straightforward, but organisation is more than making a to-do list or setting up your workspace. How you spend your day or week, and how much time you give others is a major factor.

A handy organisational tip by Vanshika is to reflect on your goals, where you spend your time in a week, and to who you give your energy. Once you have your answer, evaluate if it meets your long-term goals. Isha adds that it’s essential to know when to delegate tasks. For example, if your long-term goal is to open a restaurant but you spend more time finding an investor than developing recipes, it’s time to delegate some of that financial work to a partner or advisor, and take out more time for the kitchen. This plays a large part in not only realising your dream but making each minute count!

3. They speak up

Successful women exude the confidence needed to speak up and create change. If a certain job or situation doesn’t feel right to you, it’s essential to speak up before it’s too late. On the importance of asserting oneself, Isha mentions that it’s important to understand where you are and what you want to do. When a situation doesn’t align with your goals and expectations, speaking up is how you make a difference. “No guts, no glory”, she confidently says!

If you’re struggling to speak up, the first rule is to take a deep breath and trust yourself. “How you see yourself is what you project to others. Give yourself some time and space, and start with small steps” advises Vanshika.

Don’t be afraid to assert yourself!

4. They visualise their goals

Affirmations and visualisation are highly-debated topics, but let’s settle the score once and for all. While the science behind them may be murky, there’s no denying the psychological and spiritual benefits these practices can impart. Vanshika strongly believes that affirmations and setting intentions give you clarity on your goals. Along the same lines, Isha clarifies that while affirmations work, they only do when you actively work towards them. It’s also important to be patient and understand that the results are not always instant.

P.S: If you’re having trouble coming up with an affirmation, here’s one to get you started: “I am working towards my dreams everyday!”

Vanshika Goenka- successful women habits
Vanshika Goenka
Founder & CEO, Kool Kanya

5. They read before bedtime

With heavy schedules and practically no time during the day to sit back and relax, many women make it a habit to read before bedtime. Reading has so many benefits- it grounds you (while letting your imagination soar), boosts vocabulary, relaxes your muscles, and helps you sleep better. So, whether you’re in the mood for a thriller, chick-lit, or self-help, take out 15 minutes to read before you go to bed, and watch how it inspires you to take charge the next day!

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6. They keep up with trends

The world is constantly evolving, and so should you! No matter what industry they are in, one factor that helps women achieve success is staying updated and implementing the latest learnings to their career. “I am part of collective industry forums and constantly look up subject matter and industry trends. That, along with my camaraderie with the people around, helps me stay informed” emphasises Isha.

Quote-Isha- successful women habits

For some prompts on getting started, Vanshika suggests joining various platforms, following international equivalents of the business, subscribing to relevant content, networking, and attending webinars and workshops. When she was asked what trend she’d like to create, she responded:

“A bunch of women who believe in themselves!”

7. They take self-care seriously

Taking the time to de-stress and indulge in some me-time is rejuvenating and increases positivity. Massages and travelling top the list of self-care activities, but the pandemic has made women turn to alternatives. While Vanshika swears by journaling, Isha finds comfort in a feel-good rom-com (and some wine to unwind!) What’s your favourite self-care practice?

8. They keep learning

Learning is a life-long process, and there’s never a “wrong” time to learn something. Nobody is perfect, and no-one knows this more than successful women! Vanshika focuses on not only running a team and happy work culture but also learning about people’s failures. “We have a lot more to learn from failures than successes” she muses.

Isha leans towards unlearning, whether it’s our mindset or our idea of the “right” way to do things. She would also like to learn about people management and learning to bake (if she ever manages to find time, though!)

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”- Benjamin Franklin

9. They believe in decluttering

Made popular by Marie Kondo, decluttering is a way of life for many. Vanshika believes that what you see around you affects your psyche, and decluttering clears your mind. She adds, “Your relationship with your belongings affects your relationship with people!” So, it’s time to throw out that 15-year-old faded top that a long-lost friend gifted you.

Isha’s take on decluttering is more inward. She believes in compartmentalising your personal and professional life and focusing on the current environment. Sweeping people’s opinions off your mind and letting bygones be bygones do wonders for mental peace. Interesting, right?

10. They compare themselves with others (in a healthy way)

Shying away from the regular “you are special so don’t compare yourself to others” bit, every successful woman knows that comparisons are a means to move forward. If you don’t have someone to look up to, you’ll never know where to improve. “I take inspiration from people around me all the time. One size doesn’t fit all, so it’s important to see if anyone has a positive characteristic, and imbibe it.” confidently states Isha.

Like most good things, comparisons can also turn negative when not limited. Vanshika believes in learning what you can do better from others, but without losing your voice.

Quote-Vanshika- successful women habits

Bonus: Having a close group of girlfriends!

The road to success is not always as expected, and women may often find themselves feeling lost. Not technically a habit, but having a close group of friends to rely on will give you all the confidence needed to power through. “I have 5-6 close girlfriends who are my sounding board. I can talk nonsensical things with them without being judged. They are my lifelines!” asserts Isha.

Now that you know some of the habits that have slowly inched women towards success, it’s time to repeat the exercise. Close your eyes for 30 seconds and envision a successful woman. Was it different from the previous image? What features does she have? It’s now time to make these habits a part of your daily routine and become the success you were always meant to be!

You’re invited! Join the Kool Kanya women-only career Community where you can network, ask questions, share your opinions, collaborate on projects, and discover new opportunities. Join now.