Achieving success is often viewed as having to be harsh to others — “It’s a dog eat dog world” as they say.
It’s common to hear stories about people backstabbing partners, sabotaging competitors, and intimidating fellow colleagues: all aggressive maneuvers just to come out on top with the biggest paycheck.
It’s an endless thirst for power, one that’s commonly attributed to men.
Because of this, there’s a tendency to view being gentle and kind to others — commonly believed to be “feminine” traits — as a weakness, or “going soft”.
But countless women have proved such traditional notions wrong.
Below are 12 traits to help you learn that being aggressive and brash isn’t the only way to become successful.
1. Putting Others Before Them
At face value, it might sound counterintuitive to put others before oneself in order to become successful; an olympian would never give away the gold to settle for silver.
But life isn’t always a competition.
A study has even found that men tend to have more narcissistic tendencies than women. That’s why most men tend to be so unwilling to share their knowledge and help others.
While some may view it as giving up the lead, it can actually be a truly noble effort. It’s the mother who sets aside her money for her child’s college fund.
It’s teaching what you know so that others may improve their own skills.
While it may not often lead to financial success, it can lead to a kind of fulfillment that large paychecks may never give.
2. Showing Empathy And Care To Those Around Them
There’s a tendency to think that the office is no place to show emotion to one another. It’s always about keeping it professional and getting down to business.
The problem with this thinking is that human beings are built with emotions pre-installed; it’s difficult to always maintain an emotionless composure when someone is getting fired or if the company begins going into a financial crisis.
Being emotional is usually branded as being too feminine and being “too soft.”
People would rather lose their opportunities to save their appearance rather than to lower their pride to truly connect with their fellow workers.
But in a study done by Google, they found that showing care for the well-being of one’s colleagues is actually critical for the success of a business.
3. Knowing When To Compromise…
Compromising can often be read as settling or simply being submissive.
There’s a tendency to see compromising as something that only the weak do.
Some people view terms as all or nothing: either get a raise next month or quit; either sell at a certain price or close off negotiations.
Seeing situations in a binary light might actually avoid opportunities for success rather than find better alternatives.
While you may have to compromise and not get a raise, there could be a promotion just around the corner if you stay on.
Although you may have to sell a product at a lower price, it might cultivate a better relationship with the client, leading to more loyalty and sales down the line.
4. But Also When To Keep Fighting
There is a tendency to underestimate a woman’s ability to succeed on her own.
People might call her a dreamer and she might find herself settling for the few opportunities that society has given to her.
But a truly successful woman doesn’t give up in times of struggle.
Instead of climbing the corporate ladder by backstabbing and sabotaging others, she lets her fierce work ethic speak for her.
She fights for opportunities for other women to achieve what she hasn’t been able to achieve.
She stands for equality and inclusivity in the face of close-minded bosses and colleagues. While others may doubt her, she continues fighting.
5. Being Open To Change
Often, people believe that one needs to be rigid and close-minded when it comes to achieving and maintaining a level of success; why fix something that isn’t broken, right?
But resisting the urge to change, especially when trends come and go at a faster rate than before could mean failure today.
Welcoming change in strategy or admitting that one isn’t working is key to achieving success.
It’s also about being open to meeting diverse people who have their own ideas of success and working with them to achieve it together.
6. Building Strong Connections With Others
There’s a tendency to believe that the most successful people are self-made.
The masculine perspective continuously goes about saying that it was all them that got the company started, or it was all them that got to achieve the million dollars.
But this traditional view of success happening in isolation is making its way out the door.
Being successful nowadays means building partnerships and lasting relationships that help you achieve more things together than what could’ve been achieved alone.
Getting to know other people and being genuinely interested in them may sound like a ploy, as simply a means to an end for business opportunities down the road, but you may find that the true success may lie in gaining a new friend rather than earning more money.
7. Being Fiercely Curious
To truly be successful, one needs to understand that they may not have all the answers.
It’s common for successful people to brag about how much they know and that they have all the knowledge that they need to earn their wealth.
But in reality, having the humility to admit that one may not know everything is a powerful trait to have when searching for success.
It enables you to continue learning and growing.
It takes asking questions and wondering why something isn’t working, or why your competitors are so successful.
It’s about developing surveys and asking for feedback to truly know what you can improve on, based on raw data rather than moods and feelings.
While it may sound like these slow you down, gathering knowledge and investing in yourself will lead to bigger success in the future rather than making a mistake from taking action now.
8. Keeping Silent And Practicing Humility
There’s a tendency for people to want to brag about how much success they’ve been able to achieve.
They want everyone to know how nice their car is, or how many sales they were able to make in the past few months.
While these surely are markers for success, they aren’t the only kinds.
Notice that most truly successful people focus on their work so much that they have no time to brag about how nice their lives are.
People feel the need to assert their dominance over other people when in reality, that isn’t required. It’s just pomp.
While others continue bragging, you can silently get ahead of them by getting back to work.
9. Being Organized And Planning Well
There’s a tendency for some to think that being too clean and well organized might be being too delicate or gentle, in other words, “soft”.
Why care about all this “fluff”? Never mind the dirt and simply get down to work, the manly man may say.
But in reality, having no plan of action will only guarantee failure more than success. The general doesn’t send their troops without a strategy.
The architect and engineer don’t begin construction without blueprints.
10. Trusting Intuition
There are some decisions that the rational mind cannot compute.
The traditional view of that, however, is that decisions made from some “muse” or “intuition” hold no value; that it’s only some kind of woo-woo type of thinking that will only lead to failure.
“Following what the heart says” seems to be romantic and soft, but often it can be the best course of action when faced with a tough decision.
Sometimes, the heart truly knows what is best for us, and we have to trust it without looking back.
11. Being Open To Collaboration
Working with others is essential to achieving success.
As cultures change, the idea of “We” in business has grown to be more and more important than what the individual can do.
While traditional entrepreneurs feel that getting into a professional relationship would only strip them of their power, it’s only the successful that understand that it’s an efficient way to achieve their goals.
12. Understanding One’s Limits
Our culture promotes the idea of believing in one’s own capabilities.
As motivating and inspiring as that is, there is also a danger to being too overconfident.
There are often tragic stories of how businesses go bankrupt after believing the success they had with one product would guarantee the success of their newest product (which isn’t always the case).
Unlike Icarus, working within one’s own limits will ensure long-term success more than taking risk after risk.
A common misconception that people have about feminine traits is that it automatically equates to being weak or submissive.
But in reality, traits aren’t gender-specific.
There are successful men with feminine qualities and women with masculine qualities — neither of which make them any less of their gender.
What matters is that they don’t hold back from being who they are.
They follow their hearts, regardless of what people might say behind their backs. That is the key to change, innovation, and success.
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