Written by Emma Gray for the Huffington Post

Gandhi once said, “Your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.” Success takes time, but women who have found success often possess similar traits and motivations. Here are twelve observations about successful women and the choices they make in their lives.

1. They are deeply passionate about what they do.
“Without passion, all the skill in the world won’t lift you above craft,” wrote dancer Twyla Tharp in her book, The Creative Habit. If you don’t love what you do, you’re probably not going to be motivated to go above and beyond, to innovate and to stand out in the workplace. But if you’re passionate about your career, it will make putting time and effort into it pleasurable, not a chore.

2. They don’t expect perfection — of themselves or those around them.
Research has shown that wasting time and energy trying to be “perfect” only leads to unhappiness. Successful women know that that they can’t do everything well all the time. Beating yourself up for your perceived flaws will only dampen your abilities at work, not to mention your mental health. “We each, if we’re lucky, will have our chance to leave a mark on the world, but we are trying too hard to be perfect,” wrote Barnard president Debora Spar in an op-ed for Glamour magazine. “So don’t emulate Wonder Woman; think about what’s wonderful to you instead. Then boldly, audaciously, joyfully, leave the rest behind.”

3. Often, they become the boss.
Many successful women have figured out that if you’re the boss, you can set your own rules. As editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan Joanna Coles said at the Third Metric Conference in June: “The higher you go in a corporation, the easier it is … The truth is you get more control.” And when you’re in control, you have the ability to create a more sane, happy and balanced workplace for yourself and your employees.

4. They marry well — or not at all.
Successful women know the value of a true partnership. As Sheryl Sandberg observed in Lean In: “I don’t know of a single woman in a leadership position whose life partner is not fully — and I mean fully — supportive of her career.” And many successful women forgo marriage all together. Despite not being wed, women like Oprah Winfrey, Condoleezza Rice and Diane Keaton seem to be doing just fine.

Read the rest of the twelve observations here.

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