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3 Traits Women Who Break the Glass Ceiling Have in Common

What the fast-increasing number of high-achieving women share, and how to cultivate those same qualities in yourself

By | Rosanna Berardi |

Over the last few years, we’ve seen more women than ever rise to the top and smash through barriers that might otherwise have held them back. According to Fortune, the number of women running Global 500 businesses is at an all-time high, and women-owned companies now account for 42% of all businesses in the U.S. — bringing in a whopping $1.9 trillion in annual revenue. While we still have a long way to go, especially when it comes to women of color (who only account for 23% of revenue, despite constituting 50% of the ranks of women-owned businesses), it’s becoming increasingly clear that the future of business is increasingly female

What do these high-achieving people have in common?

1. They turn off the noise

As a female business owner who built a seven-figure law firm, one of the most important skills I cultivated early on was tuning out the opinions of others. When I started practicing law, the amount of negativity I faced was staggering. I was told I couldn’t write, that I wouldn’t be successful… and upon leaving “big law” to start my own firm, just about everyone thought I was crazy. If I had listened to all of this, my achievements would likely have been dramatically lessened, which is why it’s so important for women intent upon breaking the glass ceiling to ignore the noise. Pay no mind to the haters and naysayers and to those incessantly telling you how you “should” do something. Also, be mindful of the self-doubt that you’ll inevitably experience, and get practiced at attenuating it. Instead, learn to dial in your focus; don’t let yourself get distracted by what other people are doing. Focus on yourself instead.

2. They embrace flexibility

Right now, it’s easier than ever for women to start new businesses and thrive in the workforce. Flexible work offerings mean it’s cheaper to create an enterprise in industries that formerly required astronomical start-up costs, which is a huge boon for female entrepreneurs. 

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