What Do Successful Women Have in Common?

“A strong woman understands that the gifts such as logic, decisiveness, and strength are just as feminine as intuition and emotional connection. She values and uses all of her gifts.” – Nancy Rathburn

Sheryl Sandberg, Arianna Huffington, Melinda Gates, Michelle Obama, Susie Blakely — these individuals are just a sampling of our modern day wonder women! They have achieved tremendous success through personal and professional achievements and have sacrificed and persevered to make it to the top of their respective fields. What’s most interesting is that they share certain commonalities that have shaped them to be who they are today.

Here are the top 5 traits of successful women that you should know, develop and cultivate.


We live in a world where nothing is certain and that brings along increased stress, distractions, and barriers. It’s crucial to be able to cultivate the ability to adjust to various conditions and stay relevant. Being adaptable defines success vs failure, growth vs stagnation. Successful women can pivot in a ‘storm’ and manage any situation to their advantage.  

2. The Courage to Ask

Successful women are familiar with their inner voice and know how and when to ask for what they need. Often times women struggle to demand what they deserve and don’t raise their voices for fear of sounding stupid or coming off too aggressive. You have to have the courage to go after what you seek. Successful women are clear about what they want and don’t allow others to define their paths.

3. Tenacity

Women face a multitude of challenges as they continue to leave their imprint in the world that men, frankly, won’t ever experience. Successful women have staying power. They persevere in the face of adversity and have shown a keen ability of determination to make hard decisions with grace. It isn’t any surprise that female CEOs like Mary Barra (GM), Michele Buck (Hershey) Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo) and Marillyn Hewson (Lockheed) are tireless and passionate about pushing the needle forward.

4. Empathy

Successful women recognize they possess intuitive skills and know how to use them. How often have you heard that women are effective managers and leaders because of their sense of inclusiveness, astute listening skills and compassion? They are able to build more meaningful and productive relationships since they’re programmed to read the dynamics of social constructs and situations. All too often women have been told to downplay their ‘softer’ side to be comparable to their male counterparts, but successful women know better.

5. Embracing Imperfection and Failure  

Scars, flaws and falling off the track — we have been through it all. Embrace your battle wounds and learn from them. Women have been socialized to believe they need to be perfect creatures as far as looks, taking care of family, and professional achievements; the list goes on. And more often than not, we don’t allow ourselves to fall off the track. The reality is we cannot do it all, and certainly not perfectly all of the time. Be confident in what you know and your ability to pivot at a moments notice. Stay agile in the face of failure and find the strength to take more risks.  

Are you ready to challenge yourself to achieve success?