10 Things Successful Women Do Differently

UPDATED: May 22, 2023
PUBLISHED: March 4, 2020
10 Things Successful Women Do Differently

What do women entrepreneurs who rise up and achieve their goals do differently? What makes them successful? Things like being unwavering in their vision, or learning how and when to pivot, can help gain more visibility and respect in their industries, for example.

Related: How Women Are Rising in Business

So what other kinds of habits are worth emulating? To find out more, we asked 10 members of the Young Entrepreneur Council to share some of the things successful women do differently. What would you add to the list?

1. They turn being underestimated into a strength.

Every successful woman I know has countless stories of being underestimated. When women turn that into a strength, they succeed every time. You have to be confident in your abilities and why you’re even in the room in the first place. You’re not there as decoration, you’re there to get the job done. So stand in your purpose and get it done.

Lisa Song Sutton, Sin City Cupcakes

2. They choose progress over perfection.

As women, we are often socialized to think that everything needs to be pretty and perfect. Perfectionism can stall progress and movement in a major way. I’ve been able to hack my brain away from that trap by “conducting experiments” to try something new. I might test something for a few weeks as an experiment, then come back to it and see how it did. I take action quickly when I get the results.

Rachel Beider, PRESS Modern Massage

3. They ask to be recognized for their accomplishments.

Studies have documented a “confidence gap” in women that often holds them back from applying for jobs they aren’t 100% qualified for, or asking for salary increases. Successful women find ways to make their accomplishments known and ask to be recognized for those accomplishments.

Lisa Curtis, Kuli Kuli Foods

4. They take action even when outcomes are unknown.

Instead of waiting to feel 100% confident in their decision or the intended outcome, successful women take action first. It’s only by trying and failing that they’re able to learn what works, and that no one really has it all figured out in life or business. Successful women know that to take action despite fear and uncertainty is how they’ll get ahead.

Nathalie Lussier, AccessAlly

5. They motivate each other.

There’s enough room in the world for everyone to thrive and be successful. We don’t need to pit women against each other in a rat race to the top. Instead, successful women motivate and encourage each other to be their best. Jealousy and negativity only distract you from living your life to the fullest and being happy.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

6. They mentor other women.

Mentoring other women keeps you closer to the ground and reality. As you go up the ladder, things might change for you in terms of how the world sees you, but someone who is 10-12 years behind you might have a very different perspective and different challenges—sometimes very different from what you faced when you were at that stage.

Shilpi Sharma, Kvantum Inc.

7. They master the art of reading body language.

Women are born to nurture and care, and as a result, we have these incredible powers of reading implied meaning and body languages. And it has to be that way—just imagine how long infants would have to wait if we couldn’t understand their needs and subtle changes in their behavior. These superpowers have helped many successful businesswomen to reach great heights by better understanding and managing their teams.

Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz

8. They share ideas freely.

It feels like the tide is changing. We used to be so scared people would steal our ideas and go do it and maybe do it better. I’m finding now that more people are asking to learn from each other, and I think women are leading this open communication. We’re not afraid to share our success and how we got there so that we can build each other up and learn from one another.

Kerry Guard, MKG Marketing

9. They host leadership gatherings.

An impactful habit I learned from my successful female friends is hosting leadership gatherings. Whether it’s a group lunch or retreat, my friends and I will co-host events at our homes or plan group trips that bring our networks together. At these gatherings, we share our personal stories and business insights. The only purpose is spending quality time with other successful people.

Nanxi Liu, Enplug

10. They get out of the norm.

At an early age, girls are taught to be nice, sweet and pretty. As a result, many women are less willing to take risks and are obsessed with looking flawless. I’ve been through this phase, as well—you feel like you are handcuffed to this standard of perfection. Successful women are more likely to not conform to these standards. Be scrappy, fearless and set yourself apart from the others, even if that means being the only woman in a room full of men.

Daisy Jing, Banish

Related: 5 Ways High-Achieving Women Can Break Through the Glass Ceiling

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

Photo by Jono Erasmus/Shutterstock.com

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.