Listed below are (10) commandments of being a Boss Lady, intended to challenge the way we think about the world and ourselves. They comprise the anatomy of the ultimate boss lady. If some of these rules resonate with you, then you might be a boss lady already!
Rule #1 – Boss Ladies stay laser focused. They accept that the past can’t be changed, keep their eyes on their prize, and strive to deliver results beyond what is expected. Stamina is just as important as skill, and boss ladies outperform the competition because they can balance both. Whatever it is that you’re passionate about, commit and conquer. Even if you fail, you will have grown, and a boss lady recognizes that the path to success is often paved with unexpected dips and turns and roadblocks, and sometimes it even ends up leading us somewhere completely different than where we thought we were going. So buckle those ruby slippers, Dorothy, and whatever you do, keep the whining to a minimum. Boss ladies may cry during sad movies about lovable Golden Retrievers, but they don’t start their day by crying into their cornflakes.
Rule #2 – Boss Ladies come prepared. They do their homework before a meeting, research both sides of an issue, ask good questions, and listen thoughtfully to the answers. You might be a boss lady if you know how to work a room solo, can anticipate the needs of others, and have mastered the art of a hand written thank you note. Boss ladies are perpetual students and flexible learners who can and will amend their views as the world around them evolves and new information becomes available. But they also understand that no amount of knowledge can prepare you for the trials and tribulations that are bound to crop up, so they are open to Plan B, and they consider options carefully before acting. An irrational reaction influenced by emotions can destroy a lifetime of work in one moment.
Rule #3 – Boss Ladies care about others, but they realize that they can’t control others. We have a social responsibility to recognize the humanity in everyone and offer help to those in need. We live in a world much bigger than ourselves, and acknowledging the hardships that others face and contributing to someone else’s welfare helps us to stay connected with our humanity and our humility. Find meaningful ways to give back, and it doesn’t have to mean spending money. Ultimately, however, you cannot solve the world’s problems by yourself and you can only exercise control over your own choices and emotions. You might be a boss lady if you give unconditionally to others as you are able, and know that it’s entirely up to you to maintain your happiness and achieve your version of success. It is a guarantee that at some point people will mistreat you or take you for granted, but that doesn’t change the fact that your outlook of the world is still a choice.
Rule #4 – Boss Ladies value their personal well-being. You can’t properly focus on the things that are most important to you if you’re continually set back by indulging your vices or ignoring health problems. Find what works for your mental health… maybe it’s meditation, CrossFit, or Candy Crush Saga. And don’t neglect your body. It is a masterpiece, and you should do your best to protect it from harm. A boss lady reviews the contents of what she puts into her mouth/onto her body, is diligent about applying sunscreen, and pauses to weigh the long-term consequences of her short-term decisions.
Rule #5 – Boss Ladies set a good example for others. They guard their reputations by making a consistent effort to be truthful, reliable, and generous. They honor their commitments, don’t badmouth other ladies or betray confidences, and they carefully consider the way that they interact with others (especially men) both personally and professionally. You might be a boss lady if you try your best to give everyone a chance but ultimately limit your interactions with negative or selfish individuals because you know that the company you keep is a reflection of yourself. A boss lady doesn’t bully or belittle others, thinks nothing of smiling at or complimenting strangers, and prides herself on being authentic because it is totally possible to be successful without sacrificing your own self-worth or walking all over other people.
Rule #6 – Boss Ladies forgive and forget. At some point strangers, friends, and family alike are going to hurt you or disappoint you. React accordingly, but try not to hold a grudge. It takes a lot of effort to fuel dislike and negativity, and a boss lady doesn’t waste valuable energy on something so pointless. She also doesn’t waste time and energy on hopeless causes. She will dive in to save you from drowning and even administer CPR, but you may be on your own if you refuse to learn how to swim and continue to jump overboard without a life preserver. It has been said that performing the same action over and over again while expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity, and you can forget about a boss lady falling into that cyclical nightmare. That being said, you never know what hardships someone else is dealing with and that’s why it’s important to be kind to others. Even a small gesture of kindness can have a profound impact, and you can be kind without being an emotional doormat to others.
Rule #7 – Boss Ladies adhere to a budget and limit their debts. You might be a boss lady if you give serious thought to the consequences of outlaying large sums of cash or going into debt for an advanced degree, a luxury car, designer shoes, an expensive house or apartment, etc. For example, if you’re making an investment in your career by going to school, then some student loan debt is to be expected. But just because it’s become a “normal” thing to carry debts like this, don’t be fooled into believing that accumulating debt is a rite of passage into adulthood.
Is that MBA going to increase your current occupational value so much that the delta between your worth today and your worth post-MBA will pay not only for the cost of tuition/books/etc., but also compensate you for the years of potential income and practical knowledge/skills lost while you went back to school (or skipped the workforce entirely to go from undergrad to graduate program)? If the answer is “no” or “I don’t know” then go directly back to Rule #2. Boss ladies don’t spend money that they don’t have, and they make their money work for them. Even if you’re just starting out and make very little income, there are ways to boss your money around and grow your wealth so that you can always have what you need to survive and more.
Rule #8 – Boss Ladies don’t pay retail, and they don’t base their self-worth on material possessions or the opinions of others. Most people won’t notice if you max out your credit card to buy a fancy new designer purse anyhow, but that decision could have a significant impact on your ability to achieve other goals. It’s okay to splurge occasionally, but always be on the hunt for the hidden deals, and don’t be afraid to shop at the likes of the Dollar Store, the local Goodwill, garage sales, Craigslist, etc. And you’ve heard it a million times, but it bears mentioning again: don’t tie your self-worth to the number of likes received by your Facebook status update. If you find yourself attaching an unhealthy value to the way that others perceive you via social media, re-read the other commandments because you’re probably neglecting some important ones.
Rule #9 – Boss Ladies live at the edge of their comfort zone because that is where life truly begins. They don’t wallow in self-doubt and they don’t project doubt onto others who express a desire to explore and experience the foreign and unknown. Instead, a boss lady helps you to pack for your journey, and then drives you to the airport. You might be a boss lady if you know that tastes and preferences evolve as we mature, and things that we may have disliked before can suddenly become our newest obsession (brussel sprouts, skinny jeans, Robert Downey, Jr., anyone?). Expose yourself to new ways of living and thinking. Apply for your passport, and fill up the pages. Deprive yourself of what is already known and comfortable. Open wide and taste the rainbow, girls.
Rule #10 – Boss Ladies eat Fear for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You might be a boss lady if you realize that everyone is afraid of failing. The successful ones know how to accept fear, move beyond it, and rise to the occasion instead of letting anxiety cripple them. You don’t have to aspire to walk on the moon, either; sometimes a goal can be as simple as eating healthier and drinking more water. Likewise, it can be easy to give up when you’re talented and work hard but aren’t getting the break you think you deserve. Remember that you find good fortune by constantly moving forward and keeping your eyes and heart open for future opportunity; after all, you already know what the past looks like.