As I sat down to write a blog post for International Women’s Day, I stopped to sift through the 50+ #HerHustle interviews we’ve conducted with female founders for inspiration. As I read through the interviews, I noticed that although they each had unique stories, the women we interviewed had several themes tying their experiences together. Here are some of the commonalities I discovered that led to their successes:
1. Routine is important
Although the routines varied greatly among the interviewees, what was apparent was the fact that most women we spoke with attributed their success to establishing and maintaining routine. By sticking to a predictable daily regimen, they freed up brainpower and reduced decision fatigue, allowing them to focus their efforts on bigger projects for the day. I highly recommend creating a morning and evening routine if you do not have one already. It can be as simple as writing 3 things you’re grateful for in the morning while having some lemon water, and reading for 5 minutes in the evening to wind down.
2. Constant curiosity and willingness to learn
A clear commonality among our #HerHustle interviewees was a drive to learn. Many of the women we interviewed cited different books, podcasts, networks and other resources that they often referred to or recommended to other women. A few of my personal favourites that have helped me include:
- Books: The Gifts of Imperfection - Brené Brown, Atomic Habits - James Clear, The Untethered Soul - Michael A. Singer, The Power of Moments - Chip and Dan Heath
- Podcasts - The Life Coach School Podcast, Second Life, The Skinny Confidential
- Newsletters - The Gist, We Need To Talk About This
3. Having a support system is critical
Another common theme among our interviewees was their emphasis on having a support system. Whether it be their partner, friends, or networks they were involved in, these women spoke highly of having others to rely on for emotional support. Personally, I often find startup life to be quite lonely, and I can’t imagine going through this journey without my co-founder Laura, my friends, mentors and my partner.
4. Be open to opinions but trust your gut
A question we ask all our interviewees is, “What was the worst piece of advice you’ve ever received?” Most often, the advice they received from friends was to stick to something safe, or that their idea wasn’t great, or to dream smaller. Can you imagine how many businesses we love today wouldn’t have come to fruition if these women had listened to these opinions? I’ve spoken with countless men and women about what they attribute their success towards, and a common theme I hear is, “listen to others to help form your opinion, but the ultimate decision comes down to your gut.”
5. Self-care is crucial
It can be tempting to fall into the #hustle mentality 24/7, but every person we interviewed highlighted the importance of taking time for yourself. It’s counterproductive to work all the time, and taking time off ultimately contributes to higher levels of productivity. For me, it’s a constant struggle of balancing me-time and work, as startup life doesn’t just shut off at 5pm. Everyone approaches self-care differently, but what I find works best for me is blocking off time in my calendar, and ensuring that I’m doing at least one activity a week just for myself (e.g. massage, bath, yoga).
I hope you find as much motivation as I do from digesting the stories from these inspiring women. Happy #InternationalWomensDay, everyone!