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The 3 things successful women do

Woman's shadow

Throughout my career, I’ve sponsored and mentored many women who’ve advanced to senior positions.

Here are the three things successful women do to get ahead:

Be bold

Set your goals high and let people know what they are. Be specific; for example, say, "I want to run a business.” Or, “I want to become CFO.” Then start getting the necessary experience and exposure to achieve your goals.

You can't be bold by playing it safe and by trying to please everyone. You will have to take some calculated risks at times by taking on different assignments that will take you out of your comfort zone and by calling right, right and wrong, wrong.

Be confident

Whenever you set bold goals, haters will come out, telling you those goals can't be achieved. They will try to take away your confidence. The biggest doubter will be your own mind. As my good friend Gerri Elliot says, nearly every woman has that "itty, bitty, crappy committee" that meets everyday in her mind telling her that she can't do this or can't do that. Wake up every morning telling yourself you are the woman who can.

When you are confident and bold, you might have someone call you the "B" word. Acknowledge the double standard: men are complimented for being aggressive, while women are sometimes criticized. It’s better to be criticized than be thought of as timid. Also, confidence isn't a matter of knowing everything; it's your ability to find out what you don't know and to deal with what you didn't expect., which leads to the third thing successful women know to do . . .

Be resilient

No plans work perfectly and no goals are achieved without setbacks. Success goes to the resilient, sometimes referred to as people with "grit.” In other words, your ability to learn from — and not dwell on —  mistakes, the unexpected and haters.

You can't move ahead by looking backward. Every time I interview someone, I ask them to tell me about the biggest mistake or setback they’ve experienced.

Winners tell me not only what it was, but also how they bounced back and up from it. Indeed, resilience is a critical trait because when you set bold goals, you have to be willing to get lost for the right destination and to be wrong for the right reason.

Be bold, confident and resilient. These three traits will cause doors to open for you because the people sitting behind them will notice you and sponsor you and open them for you.

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James Dallas is president of James Dallas & Associates and the author of Mastering the Challenges of Leading Change: Inspire the People and Succeed Where Others Fail.

Views expressed in blogs, posts and user comments are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Network of Executive Women or its Officers, Board members and corporate partners.