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Healthy Women's World

The Fifteen Secrets That Successful Women Know

  • By: Dr. Gayla Swihart DeHart

  • Women are fabulous! They are resourceful, determined, complex, resilient, & compassionate. They are able to endure pregnancy, childbirth, child-raising, heartbreak, husband-raising, being the career women, and running the household (housecleaning, bill paying, activities coordinator, sexy vixen, hostess, etc, etc.). Learn how successful women make it all happen, while looking, feeling and being fabulous.

    Make more time for yourself. You need to invest time in yourself in order for you to be living your ‘best life.’ You need time to take care of yourself, time to rest, time to grow, and time for the other 14 things on this list!

    Surround yourself with successful people who you admire. You have heard the saying “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” This is a similar principle. Being around people you admire is like a crash course in how you want your life to be, and often these people will help you find the shortcut to your dream life.

    Network. Positive networking means that you meet lots of new people every week and find out what YOU can do for THEM, and then, when possible, DO IT! (see The Frog and Prince: Secrets of Positive Networking; Rezac, Thomson & Hallgren, 2003). This will widen your network and give you access to people and services that you may need somewhere down the line. People will know who you are, what you offer, and many will want to help you; too often you don't even have to ask.

    Develop a strong social support system. Women get so busy that they can forget to call their friends, their family members, and their neighbors. But it is important to have people in your life that can be there for you when 'life happens' - when someone gets sick or is in an accident and you need emergency child care, a ride to the hospital, a shoulder to cry on. In return, you are there for them in an emergency. But it is a lot easier to request these favors when you have been sustaining and maintaining the relationship, not when you have been neglecting them because you have been too busy.

    Get rid of toxic people in your life. Many women do not like to let go of any relationship, even if it is bad. Either we are nurturers and we think we can fix it, or we are afraid of hurting someone's feelings. However, some relationships are not worth the effort. Do you know anyone that is critical of you (in a destructive, not a constructive way)? Do you have friends/family members who drain you every time you see or talk to them? Do you associate with people who discourage your quest for success? You've got to cut or at least loosen these ties. If the relationship is very important to you, let the person know the effect that they are having on you. Perhaps these negative effects are oblivious, and they will change. But do not waste your precious time and energy on toxic people. You have too much growing to do!

    Ask for help when necessary (and even when not). Ready to hear a secret? You DO NOT have to do it all. That's right. You don't have to be superwoman and be in 100 places at one time and run yourself ragged from sunrise until bedtime. Can you do everything yourself? Probably. Will you be happy doing it? Nope, I don't think so. Will you be taking good care of yourself? Will you be relaxed and happy when your family members get home from work or school? Will you look and feel your best? Heed this good advice that successful women know: Enlist A Team - a coach, a mentor, a massage therapist, a cleaning person, etc. And if you are taking care of parents - get help! Yes, you deserve your own team of "assistants" to help you with your life.

    Spend time with girlfriends. Who has time, you ask yourself? Can you afford not to? Women need to talk to other women. We can talk to each other in a way that we cannot talk to our partners, our mothers, or our children. We all need friends that we can talk to about anything who know that we are just venting and know that the information goes no further. We need to commiserate, to laugh, to talk about things that men don't think we enjoy talking about. We need a safe place to talk about our fat, our old lovers, our favorite new designers - a place where our audience is enraptured by these same topics. Not something you are always likely to get at home.

    Eat well. Your mother always told you - you are what you eat! Well, you may not be a french fry, but your body will certainly treat you more nicely if you treat it nicely. Eating well will help maintain a healthy weight and provide you with the energy to need to get through your busy days. Remember to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, stay away from junk food, fried food, and processed food, and watch your portions. A great tip is to serve your meals on smaller plates. Sometimes we eat until our plate is empty, regardless of whether we need it all or not. Don't deny yourself foods that you love. Just indulge in small amounts.

    Exercise. This should be a top priority. Exercise can help you to: manage your weight, deal with stress, prevent osteoporosis, have more energy, be stronger, prevent heart disease, prevent cancer, and of course, feel, look and BE younger.

    Get enough sleep. This provides you more physical, mental, and emotional resources so that you can more effectively deal with your busy schedule and keep stress at bay. You will look and feel better.

    Continue to learn and grow. This helps keep you young – it’s true! One way of postponing/preventing dementia is to participate in life-long learning. It will also make you more well rounded and interesting, and more importantly, will make the world more interesting to you!

    Get a coach. A coach can help you get your dreams on the map- can help you discover what your true desires are and help you find a way to live the biggest life that you can. The years pass by more quickly with time, and as far as we know, we only have one life – so why not do everything you can to make the most of it? That way, at the end of your life you will have no regrets.

    Groom yourself so you look AND feel like a million bucks all the time. You don't ever want to have to hide your hands or toes because they aren't properly taken care of. Successful women are always confident about their appearance because they put the time in on a consistent basis to maintain an acceptable baseline level of grooming. Every city has the crème de la crème of hairstylists - pay an extra $20 or $50 and keep your look fresh.

    Dream Big. If it isn't on your map, there is no way to get there. If it is as least a spot on your map, there is a much better chance that you will find your way there, although it would be helpful to take a more pro-active approach. See: "Get a Coach".

    Give Back. Get involved (or at least donate to) your favorite charity, be a mentor, support programs in your community. Remember secret # 6- everyone could use a little help.

    Do these secrets sound like fun? They are! And THAT is the final secret! You DON'T have to be run yourself ragged; you DON'T have to do it all. Taking care of yourself is like putting money in the bank. The more you invest, the greater your returns. Incorporate as many of these tips into your life as soon as possible, and if this seems like a daunting task, enlist the help of a coach. You can be successful AND happy too!

    Dr. Gayla Swihart DeHart, from Vancouver, Canada, is a Professional Coach with a Ph.D. in Psychology. She helps busy professionals manage stress, improve goal-setting and follow-through, and increase life and work satisfaction. More information on Dr. DeHart and her services can be found at

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