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Seven Things Bad*ss Professional Women Don't Do

Seven Things Bad*ss Professional Women Don't Do

There are a number of commonalities among successful women – the things they do to get ahead, as well as what they intentionally don't do. The latter category includes the toxic behaviors, people, and thoughts that can sabotage our momentum and ultimate success.

Here are seven key behaviors that bad*ss professional women don’t do, allowing them to unleash their inner boss and take command of their career.

1) They don't put their heads down and work harder.

At some point, we’ve all been taught that if we work hard and do a good job, we’ll be rewarded. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way in the professional world.

You very rarely get noticed for hard work alone. There’s a place for hard work, drive, and commitment to excellence, but it’s your relationships and ability to promote yourself that are far more critical to your success in moving up the corporate ladder and achieving recognition. People need to know you, not just your work.

There are a number of strategic ways you can build your profile:

  • Focus on the key relationships that are critical to your growth and success.
  • Find sponsors and mentors who will help you gain greater visibility and open doors for you.
  • Have lunch with your colleagues. Go to happy hour - even if you don’t want to.

Over time, you will find that building genuine relationships with the right peers and influencers will make your job easier. You won’t have to work so hard because people already know and trust what you bring to the table.

[Related: Want to Succeed in Your Career? Don't Just Put Your Head Down and Work Harder]

2) They don't compare themselves.

Comparison is the thief of joy. And yet, we all do it.

When you compare yourself to someone with a different mix of advantages, it’s frustrating because you can’t replicate their results and have no insight into what it took for them to get where they are.

So, what can you do instead?

  • Observe others you admire (watch, don’t judge) and think about what makes them successful.
  • Consider your own strengths and weaknesses and how comfortable you are pushing those boundaries.

This last part is key; while it’s great to push yourself out of your comfort zone, your efforts need to be authentic and realistic.

3) They don't say "yes."

By nature, many women are people-pleasers. We want people to like us and to make others happy, so we agree to all sorts of things...and suddenly we’re overcommitted. Saying "no" is a critical way to set boundaries and protect your creativity and sanity.

If you’re any good at what you do, you will undoubtedly have people asking a lot of you. You aren’t obligated to say "yes" to everything. You also don’t need to apologize. Setting boundaries is part of being mature and allows you to take time for self-care.

[Related: The Career Crisis Affecting Thirty-Something Women That No One is Talking About]

4) They don't accept the hands they're dealt.

Most things in life are negotiable. There’s no reason you have to accept something just because "that’s the way it’s always been" or because you're unhappy. You always have a choice.

Powerful women play the long game. They think about their end goal and the small steps they need to take to get there. For example:

  • They understand the connections and relationships they need to build over time.
  • They take up space both mentally and physically. They can’t be ignored.
  • They don’t sit around feeling sorry for themselves or make excuses about why they are stuck in their current situation.
  • They don’t let self-doubt cripple their ability to move forward.
  • They resist stagnation.

5) They don't feel guilty.

Women are often guilt-ridden, but the most successful professional women don’t let feelings of anguish or remorse hold them back.

Sometimes you have to let others down in order to choose yourself. The key is owning your choices and standing behind them. Be transparent and upfront about your boundaries. No one is perfect, but being clear about your choices means you don’t have to apologize or feel guilt when you say "no."

[Related: Killer Confidence: A Driving Force for Fulfillment]

6) They don't try to be the tough guy.

We know that professional women set boundaries, negotiate for what they want, and don’t feel guilty, but they also do this with finesse and grace. They don’t steamroll over people or act like a tough guy.

This can be a difficult balance for many women. Women have to walk a tightrope of being authentic to themselves, embracing their femininity, and being assertive enough to command respect. The most successful women have figured out this balancing act. They speak up, show confidence, and act forcefully. But they have also put time into building social capital with their colleagues and fostering genuine relationships. They are likable, and this increases their influence.

7) They don't pull all-nighters.

I see plenty of successful women who never seem to sleep. I am not one of them.

Sleep has repeatedly been proven to improve your memory and focus, reduce stress and depression, help maintain your weight, and increase your overall quality of life. Being well-rested helps us keep the composure we need to deal with all challenging situations and BS we face at work. Sleep is a game-changer.

Eliminating these seven behaviors from your day-to-day professional life will have a big impact. I encourage you to start today and embrace the bad*ss professional woman you are.


Elena Lipson is the Principal and Founder of Mosaic Growth Partners, a consulting and coaching firm based in Washington, D.C.

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