I am frequently asked what it takes to be a successful, yet balanced, businesswoman. For me, the answer lies in the definition of success. Success, as I define it, is the continual expansion of knowledge, happiness, fulfillment and progression toward the next goal. Success doesn’t have a destination per se, but it does have forward movement. Purpose and goals are a powerful combination for success.

There are fundamental characteristics, I believe, that apply to every aspect of life. If your business life teeters on the edge of ethical, then some part of your personal life likely does, as well. If you find it difficult to have direct conversations at work, there is probably a similar situation at home.

Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way. I hope it helps you in your journey.

Define your boundaries. Know (and be able to communicate) what you do and do not stand for. Know what you will and will not do, regardless of the perceived reward. I stand for persistence, consistency, ethical behavior, moral goodness, fairness and love.

Stretch your edges. Strive for something outside your comfort level. It’s where real growth happens. Don’t be afraid to color outside the lines. Often, creativity is found in the disruption caused by doing something different. Failure is simply a lesson learned. No more. No less.

Search deep down for your inner compass. Believe in yourself. There will always be naysayers. There will be people who do not agree with your approach and try to belittle your thoughts and ideas. Let your compass be your guide.

Take a risk that moves you forward on your continuum. If you are poised and prepared…if you have done the work…then you can pursue the next stop on the continuum. Think of it like this: You are here, at Point A. Your destination is Point B.   Upon arrival at Point B, it immediately becomes your new Point A. Every new Point A becomes your launch pad to the next spot.

Knowledge is power! Never stop learning. It gives you confidence and courage to move!  A well-rounded, educated and informed individual will find the continuum much easier to navigate. Be willing to look at a situation from the other side, as well. The more you know…

Humbleness is important. But let’s not misunderstand the meaning. To be humble means to be free of excessive pride and arrogance. It means knowing when to listen, even in moments of unjust criticism, without become defensive. It means speaking with confidence to state your thoughts and position.

Trust your gut. Have you ever said, ‘I should have gone with my gut feeling’? Often times, our intuition will guide us toward the right decision. If something doesn’t seem quite right, pause for a bit. Evaluate, then move.

What are lessons learned along your way?