Often I was the only female FBI agent on my squad. I learned how to be successful amidst a variety of situations and circumstances. Most importantly, I learned what not to do if I wanted to compete in a male dominated environment:
Here are 7 things successful women never do:
1. SUCCESSFUL WOMEN NEVER IGNORE THEIR FEARS
Successful women know they need to confront their fears head-on. They do not waste valuable energy trying to avoid them; instead, they manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in ways that set them up for success in life.
Suppressing a negative feeling only gives it more power, fueling our fears and slowing us down. In fact, trying to control what we fear will increase the likelihood it will happen.
2. SUCCESSFUL WOMEN NEVER RUN FROM CONFLICT
Successful women have gotten burned by conflict, criticism, and unfairness—just like everyone else. The difference is that they were not cowered into accommodating others to avoid enduring those negative feelings again.
People who shy away from conflict assume that conflict always looks aggressive, overbearing, and disrespectful. This is not true because conflict can camouflage itself in many forms. We need to be alert for any behavior from others that is attempting to manipulate our emotions or thoughts. Once we recognize conflict for what it is, we can choose how we respond to it, rather than react out of fear or ignorance.
3. SUCCESSFUL WOMEN NEVER LET OTHERS CONTROL THEIR THINKING
Successful women eliminate inner voices of doubt and anxiety. They have the mental strength to focus their attention on positive feedback and constructive criticism.
Mental toughness is being able to control how your mind thinks, rather than letting your mind control you.
If left on its own, our mind always defaults to fear and anxiety because the “fight or flight” response has kept us safe since the caveman days. But not everything that is new or different is a threat to our safety in this day and age, so we need to stay calm and regain control of our emotional responses.
4. SUCCESSFUL WOMEN NEVER EXPECT PERFECT CIRCUMSTANCES
Successful women do not worry that conditions are not perfect. They can differentiate between the pain of growing and the pain of suffering.
It’s easy to say that conditions are poor, nothing is going your way, and that you’ve been dealt an unfair hand. These are all excuses as you move further down the road of surrender.
Use what is at your disposal to keep moving forward in life—take a tip from MacGyver and learn to make the best of your situation. Mental toughness is approaching your circumstances with the right perspective and not expecting a break.
5. SUCCESSFUL WOMEN NEVER LOOK AT THEIR PAST AS A MISTAKE
Successful women value their past mistakes because they have learned from them. They don’t hold on to guilt or regret; instead, they learn from the past and then they let it go.
Some mistakes from our past were painful or bad, but instead of wallowing in misery, look at them as opportunities to learn something that you didn’t know before it happened. Walk beside friends and colleagues who have made mistakes—you can learn from them, too.
The past does not define us, it simply prepares us for our journey toward success and wisdom.
6. SUCCESSFUL WOMEN NEVER MISS OPPORTUNITIES TO SHINE
Successful women know that many times the best way to be successful is to do what others are unwilling to do.
Identify those things that others hesitate to take on. It can be small and simple—it doesn’t matter. Whatever it is, do it well and you will instantly differentiate yourself from the pack.
Then keep going because you never know where it will lead; often, we don’t know what opportunity looks like until we’re closer to it.
7. SUCCESSFUL WOMEN NEVER FAIL TO KEEP THEIR COOL
Successful women know they are in total control of their life.
One of my favorite quotes is from St. Ignatius of Loyola: “Pray as if God will take care of all; act as if all is up to you.”
Many people make excuses for themselves by saying luck determines whether they are successful or not. Mentally strong leaders are in control of their own luck because they see success or failure as something over which they are in control.
Luck may have had some role in their present circumstances, but they don’t waste mental energy by worrying about what might happen.
Control your own luck by seizing opportunities to improve your life and situation. The result will either be a lucky break or the regret of a road not taken.
LaRae’s Book: Secrets of a Strong Mind