More and more women every year are entering executive ranks in businesses, or potentially starting up their own company – according to Aston University, the proportion of working-age women that went into business rose by 45% between 2013-2016, and this number is continuing to rise. But have you ever considered the obstacles these women have had to face in order to achieve professional success in their field of work? This month, I wanted to discuss some top tips to keep in mind if you’re a woman in business, whether you’re looking for a promotion at work, or if you’re starting out in your new company. It’s important to step back sometimes and remember a couple of things…

Health and wellbeing needs to be a part of our everyday routine

With late work nights and early morning starts being what it takes to embed a sound foundation for success at the beginning of our journey, it’s easy to forget about our overall health and wellbeing, that it ultimately takes a back-seat in our lives. Our health and wellbeing needs to become one of our everyday routines as it will only have a positive effect on us for the future! Eating a balanced diet, keeping fit and getting enough sleep have all proved to contribute to a better lifestyle, and offer a range of benefits including a healthier mind, feeling more active, energised and confident, and improving our general mood. Remember, when we feel good about ourselves we attract good people and great opportunities!

Finding a balance between work life and home life

A demanding work culture is on the rise and is ultimately affecting many women all over the UK. Although this might be good news for some, it’s still really important to figure out where our home and social life will fit amongst our business commitments. I believe it’s imperative that we leave work, at work, even when self-employed and take time out from our day jobs to cherish and develop the relationships we care so much about! Remember that it’s okay to take a break from the hustle and bustle of work, and focus on our loved ones, a hobby or an interest we haven’t had much time for recently – we might surprise ourselves at just how much our mental state improves, and how differently we view our workload because we’ve taken a step back from it for a short while.

Be kind to ourselves

We all do it from time to time, but we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves if we feel that we’re not succeeding at work – if it takes weeks, months, or even years to achieve our goal, there’s a reason for it! We’re not in competition with anyone else, and it’s important to keep that in mind when we feel like the goal is somewhat out of reach. Progress is progress, we’ve taken a step forward which is closer to the goal than we were yesterday and it’s important to keep it in perspective. Being kind to ourselves not only decreases the likelihood of stress related issues and lowers our heart rate, but also motivates us to do more and achieve more because we feel better about ourselves on the inside as well as on the outside.

Networking and collaborating is key

We might not have considered just how beneficial networking is with people within the same industry, as well as cross sector networking! Building relationships, which is what ‘networking’ is, offers a plethora of benefits for everyone involved. These include personal development, increased self-confidence and self-esteem, opens up potential work and/or social relationships, as well as enhancing our brand and profile. I believe in the notion that we can only succeed if we support, collaborate and work with others. Recognising that leaving our ego at the door opens up opportunity for personal and business growth.

Remember to define our goals and affirmations

Throughout my life, particularly throughout adulthood, I have strongly believed in the power of writing down my goals and affirmations, reflecting back on them at times when I am achieving and not doing so well. This empowers me to draw on my capabilities and strength to conquer whatever obstacles may be in my way. I was inspired by the book ‘Begin with the End in Mind’ written by Stephen Covey, which discusses the notion of always having the image of the end of your life as your frame of reference to evaluate everything else. It’s about starting things with a clear idea of our destination, so that the steps we take are always in the right direction, and I think even just simply writing these steps down in order to get to our destination, is definitely a good way to give us that clarity and momentum to strive towards being who we want to be and the difference we want to make!

The most important thing to take from all this, is to own our individual brilliance and know that the only person who can defeat us is ourselves. Being clear about who we are and how we choose to make a difference will serve as our compass and steer us through choppy waters. But remember, we’re one individual! No one achieves anything alone! The support, criticism, ups and downs are what build our resilience and add to our wisdom without which we remain in the dark.