Here at Her Campus, we’re all about helping you reach your dream job goals—whether it’s through networking and education from industry experts at Her Conference or by dishing out the details about the careers of women who are on top of their game. But we all have to wonder what these women do every day to stay on top of it all, right? We spoke to seven women who are killing it, both as college students and working professionals, to see what they had to say about the daily habits that keep them on track for success.
1. Work it out with a workout
Following trends isn’t limited to fashion, beauty and the Kardashians. As the financial editor for The Today Show, Jean Chatzky is on trend-watch 24/7 to keep an eye out for the latest developments in the market and the finance realm. As if that wasn’t enviable enough, she also hosts HerMoney, a podcast on women’s finance.
As for her must-do daily habit? “Running. I find I get my best ideas when I’m out for a run (or sometimes in the shower) and it also keeps me sane in a hectic work environment.”
Try a fun new workout class like barre or kickboxing next time you need to break a sweat and break out of a rut!
2. A good night’s sleep does wonders
In the technology industry, innovation is critical to maintaining relevance and staying more successful than close competitors. As an innovation and business continuity analyst for Comcast Corporation, college student Lindsey Thompson offers critical insight to the company.
Being a busy collegiette comes at a price, though! “I really aim to get to bed by 10:00, 10:30 at the latest,” she says. “I’m a huge advocate for the eight to nine hours of sleep a night thing so going to bed at 10:00 and getting up at 7:00 gives me a solid nine hours. I don’t need coffee to wake up in the morning and I can easily last all day without getting tired.”
Just think of how much you’d save by adjusting your bedtime and skipping Starbucks every now and then!
3. Collaborate with others
When Elkus Manfredi, one of the top architecture firms in the country, was founded in 1988, Elizabeth Lowrey was the firm’s first employee. Inspired by her parents’ careers as architects, she’s now the director of interior architecture and a principal with the firm. It’s her creative eye that has overseen the aesthetic development and led the design process for clients like Walt Disney Imagineering, among others. Elizabeth emphasizes the importance of honoring the diversity of her clients.
“Our goal is to break down the silos between disciplines to spark the great ideas that come from interdisciplinary interaction,” she says. It’s no surprise that Elizabeth’s most important daily habit is collaborating. “Collaboration is my daily habit and the only way I can work,” she says. “I love to be provocative with my team and the process. A project becomes richer from the participation of varied disciplines and points of view.”
Consider this food for thought the next time your professor assigns another group project.
4. Remember: you come first
Anit Hora was studying Ayurveda, an ancient Indian system of traditional holistic medicine, when she began making products and selling them at a friend’s yoga studio, the precursor to her founding of herbal apothecary Mullein & Sparrow. Her work as an esthetician and her impeccable eye for design resulted in irresistibly chic beauty and skincare products that really work—Anthropologie and Birchbox are big fans. From design and production to international merchandising, Anit has her hands on all aspects of running the business.
For Anit, taking some “me” time every day is what she believes has contributed the most to her success. “I believe self-reflection and meditation are huge,” she says. “They help me to make sense of all the ideas and thoughts in my head, and how I can bring those ideas to light.”
Treat yourself to more than just a study break every now and then and reset by doing something you really love!
5. Don’t let others hold you back
When MelRo was just eighteen years old, she was homeless and living in a shelter with her young son. After a traumatic childhood in and out of the foster care system, she was battling adult depression and PTSD when a modeling agent scouted her while she was shopping for diapers. Reality proved much more incredible than any fairy tale when she began gracing runways, magazine covers and editorial fashion spreads for names like Glamour, Essence and Lucky. Throughout her career, she’s also served as a children’s welfare advocate, educating child welfare services and foster parents on how to communicate and care for traumatized children. Her work for foster children and adolescents is inspired by her desire to prove that their potential is not limited by their past.
MelRo was incredibly candid with us about the importance of forgiveness and how practicing forgiveness every day has empowered her to be her best self.
“To really be successful, I had to first heal the pain from my abusive childhood,” she says. “Refusing to forgive is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. That poison was killing me and killing my creativity and all that was beautiful about me. It was a hard decision to forgive, and let me be clear that forgiving does not mean that I think what they did to me is okay. It means that I will not allow it to hurt me and hold me back anymore.”
Is it really worth it to hang onto bad blood with someone else if it means sacrificing your own productivity and well-being? The answer is no. Besides, you never know what opportunities could be on the horizon if you’re too distracted by petty drama to see them.
6. Look on the bright side
Imagine this: you’ve scored your dream internship with an industry-leading company, and after months of working hard and hustling, you have a full-time job offer from that company by the fall of your senior year. Katie McCabe made this her reality after a six-month internship, learning tech sales from the industry’s leader in cloud operations. She manages over forty client enterprise accounts and constantly jet-sets around the world for the job she loves. Even more impressive? She’s launching her own swimwear line, called Syreni.
Between traveling for her corporate job and managing her startup, there’s no such thing as a typical day for Katie. Keeping a positive outlook, however, continues to be her most important daily habit. “I think the most important thing to do to increase your chances of success is to make the conscious effort to have a more positive attitude.”
Try this out yourself by creating a gratitude journal. To start, simply write down things you’re grateful for; like having a budget to sustain your indulgence of artisan coffee, or the fact that you have supportive people in your life. Then, on a not-great day, look over your gratitude list and remember the good things that will transcend your bad day.
7. Always look to self-improve
Our final #GirlBoss is Alaina Leary, a graduate student who has written under her own byline for top magazines like Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Seventeen and far too many more to list here. Her pieces have spanned the gamut of LGBTQ+ interests to women’s empowerment and many more topics that are sometimes difficult to cover gracefully and eloquently while still expressing a firm opinion. Alaina has been celebrated by her editors for doing all of the above. But this doesn’t mean that she’s complacent with her work. On top of writing and editing, she’s an accomplished creative in graphic and web design, social media management, professional photography and entrepreneurship.
“The most important habit to my creative process is constantly thinking of myself and all my work as a work-in-progress,” she says. “Nothing is ever done. Yes, my pieces may be published and far past the stage where I can do more editing, but I revisit them to look for ways I could have added, new angles I didn’t see, what worked and what didn’t. I think of my accomplishments as stepping stones rather than a final product.”
No matter what your major is or what industry your dream job is in, you can learn a thing or two about setting yourself up for success from these amazing women. While going to bed earlier and embracing group projects won’t guarantee your dream career by tomorrow, all of these tips from wildly successful women will set you up to be just like them sooner than you think.