On May 14th, networking and visibility platform for women The Li.st hosted their inaugural Power Habits Conference in New York City, co-sponsored by Bustle. The vital, creative, and highly accomplished women present were nothing short of inspiring, representing a diverse spectrum of professions from publishing and marketing to STEM and finance. As the conference was partly based upon The Li.st's best-selling book, The 10 Habits Of Highly Successful Women, the panelists spent the day swapping stories and sage advice about how they survived and thrived as professional women.
Although conferences on lady power are nothing new, at this point in history it's important that women gather together and create their own spaces to communicate and make connections. As The Li.st co-founder Rachel Sklar explained in the first panel on networking, this kind of conference is all about "owning your power and learning to be comfortable with it" or, in other words, learning how to "be your best self and kick ass." Girls have only been told that they run the world since 2011 (thanks, Bey), so many of us are still getting used to figuring out what it takes to achieve and maintain success. Here are 8 #powerhabits that helped these successful women get to the top of their game — both personally and professionally.
1. Network Effectively
Networking should be a young professional's number one priority, but doing it right can be tricky. You don't want to go overboard, nor should you be overly timid about promoting yourself and your talents. CEO of hair distribution business VIXXENN Nicole Sanchez explained that you should be "be hungry not thirsty," when networking, so you exude excitement and dedication, but not desperation. It's also crucial to be respectful of other people's time and to look for mutually beneficial connections, not one-sided relationships.
2. Don't Be Afraid To Experiment And Take Risks
Former executive editor of The New York Times Jill Abramson spoke at length about the necessity of taking risks in journalism — and in any career. She said: "you've got to try everything," because there isn't one undiscovered path to success. Jane Barratt, founder of GoldBean, an investing site for beginners, echoed Abramson's advice, adding that you should also diversify your income through investments or multiple jobs so that you can take risks without the fear of being fired and losing everything.
3. Email Is Your Most Crucial Form Of Communication
In today's professional climate, you are more likely to email with someone than you are to meet with them or speak on the phone. Email etiquette is everything today, so watch what you write, says Managing Editor of Yahoo Travel Jo Piazza. She advised the audience to read and re-read their emails before sending them, because so they will be judged by their email etiquette whether they like it or not. X's and O's and emoji have their place in certain circumstances, but make sure you think twice before including them in a business correspondence.
4. Learn To Be A Good Leader
Working effectively as part of a team is a necessity if you want to be a good leader, explained Alyssa Mastromonaco, former Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations for Barack Obama and current COO of Vice Media. If you haven't worked side by side with people as a productive member of a team, you're not going to hack it when you're in charge. Don't be competitive with your team members, try to be yourself as much as possible, and know everything you can about what the jobs you supervise actually entail, she suggested, because "the best weapon you have in any instance is knowledge."
5. Take Control Of Your Financial Situation
Too often, women have negative associations with money. In the mini-session on making money and keeping it, financial therapist Amanda Clayman promoted the idea of "financial self care," which basically means taking time in your day-to-day life to get comfortable analyzing and discussing money. It's important your finances don't have a negative balance if you want to be in the black.
6. Allow Yourself A Degree Of Vulnerability
CNN contributor and Daily Beast columnist Sally Kohn spoke about the importance of showing vulnerability in a professional setting. All identities are a performance, she said, but some are more authentic for us than others. She cited Sheryl Sandberg's admission of crying in meetings, and how she initially balked at the story, but eventually came to see that showing emotion is human and allows for real connection and progress in both personal and professional settings.
7. Remember To Take Time For Yourself
So if you're working 24/7 on your career, when do you have time to rest? Powerful women know that burnout is a reality, and that taking care of your physical and mental health should be high on your To Do list. Unfortunately, that's a lot easier said than done, as Paula Froelich, editor in chief of Yahoo Travel explained. She told everyone to make rules for themselves to keep sane (and healthy), like not sleeping with your phone, not checking social media or email until 45 minutes after you've woken up, and prioritizing sleep. These small adjustments are invaluable for women who want to realize their career goals without completely losing their sanity and wellbeing.