"My Number-One Career Tip!"

What does it take to be a success? We speak to 50 women who have made it to the top, and ask them to share their most important tip.

Sulajja Motwani Firodia, Joint MD, Kinetic
Engineering "There's really just one secret to success: you need to stand out and rise above the average employee by taking initiative and being willing to go the extra mile.

Farzana Contractor, Publisher"Work hard and give it all you've got, without thinking about the returns. Don't compromise on honesty and integrity. Don't be ruthlessly money-mindedsuccess and money will follow. Enjoy every aspect of your work.

Yagna Balaji, Vice President and Head of Communications, Polaris Software 
"Leaving decisions to luck and chance may have worked a decade ago, but these days, it's far smarter to have a plan. Success is about managing personal aspirations and learning constantly to stay relevant.

Bubbles Sabharwal, Director, Kidsworld
"Balance is key. You must know your priorities, what is more important, home or work. You must also handle disappointments with courage, and success with humility.

Neena Gulati, CEO, Mediagraphix
"Often, we make a mistake that somebody else will recognise our brilliance and intelligence. Never wait for encouragement, appreciate yourself. And don't get caught in the rat race; learn to stand up for your principals.

Stuti Jalan, MD, Crosshairs Communication 
"To pursue a profession in PR, one needs to have good communication skills and an excellent command over language.We are image managers, so we need to look the part. In-depth knowledge about current local news and awareness about international news, is also very important.

Anna Bredmeyer, International Brands Consultant for India
"For me, it has always been about business, minding my own yet striving consistently to strike the perfect balance of being a team player. Maintain an open mind to learning as you journey through life.

Aruna R Krishan, Executive Director, IBEX Products 

"I have a three-step formula that I swear by: ideate, obsess, and execute, and the key is to do all of them without any hesitation. Doubts abound in our minds, especially when we try something new: will this work? Can I do so much? I shatter these hesitations by telling myself everyday that I want to excel.

Meenakshi Madhvani, Managing Partner, Spatial Access Solutions
"Accept the fact that you are not a superwoman. There will be times, no matter how you try, that you will not be able to make everyone happy. The solution lies in recognising and accepting this challenge.

Dr Seema Javed, Media Officer, Greenpeace 
"Time management and planning is the key to success. Plan your schedule for the work you have to do, even personal work, and stick to it. In an organised way, you will find time for everything.

Anju Munjal, VP, Advertising and Communication, Usha International 

"Figure out your strengths, and spend time looking for ways to highlight them. Learn continuously: keep teaching yourself by attending conferences and taking professional courses. You'll face troubles, but it's important to project confidence even at those times.

Malavika Tiwari, Garden Designer 
"Three words for anyone starting up or in the early stages of their career: honesty, perseverance and conviction. These I have learnt from my experience since I was not qualified in the areas I now enjoy working in.

Radhika Gupta, Creative Director, Vanilla Moon 
"If you're starting out, do your research extensively before you begin, talk to the smartest people in the field, hire people smarter than you, and keep costs low. Don't compromise on your product, under-promise and over-deliver, and take advantage of new technology.

Shilpi Dhir, MD, Giovani 
"All things are difficult before they are easy. Pride in work, happiness in family, and confidence in yourself always works.

Sagrika Goyal, Designer, Coochhie Coo
"While climbing the ladder of success, don't forget that health and family time are as important for your mental wellbeing as success at the workplace. Good time management skills will take you a long way, combined with a strong spiritual balance.

Alpana Gujral, Founder Alpana Jewels

"I think there is no shortcut for hard work and if one thinks there is any easy or quick route to the top, they are mistaken. Diligence and being goal-oriented are absolutely critical. Never be in a hurry, always take measured steps.

Suchna Hegde Shah, Founder, Away and Beyond
"Ask yourself where your interests lie, then go about fine tuning your skills and pursuing a future in that field. Working at a mundane job when your heart is not there will only lead to work frustration.

Lina Ashar, Founder, Kangaroo Kids preschools 
"Paulo Coelho's book The Alchemist, has a powerful phrase that I live by: 'It's a force that appears to be negative, but actually shows you how to realise your destiny. It prepares your spirit and will...' Problems will come your way, but they'll only make you stronger.

Rajita Choudhari, Dean, Center for Higher Education, IIPM 
"It's all about the three S's:, Sundays, Smart Phones, and Support Systems. Use Sundays for family only. Use technology wiselyuse the 'Calendar' option to plan each day in advance. And don't hesitate to ask for help from family and friends, be it for a car pool or baby sitting.

Kanika Mathur, President, Digitas India 
"There are five triggers that have helped make my passion a reality. Aligning teams to key organisation goals. Being decisive. Constantly pushing the envelope when it comes to strategic thinking. Driving innovation by adopting new practices, and enabling implementation.

Priya Kishore Founder, Creative Director of Bombay Electric
"Don't compromise on the things that matter, but be flexible and easy to work with. Make things happen'almost done' means it's not done. You can't do it all by yourself: build a trusted team. And be generous, it comes back to you.

Azmina Hyder, Partner to Atosa
"Play at work and work becomes play, so pick a career you'll enjoy. Then add hard work, the right attitude, zeal, and passion.

Ritu Kumar, Designer 
"If you pick a field that really gets your adrenaline pumping, chances are the impetus will come from within to make a success of it. A big key to success is commitment to hard work and a focus on quality.

Tina Tahiliani, Executive Director, Ensemble 
"Get the best education you can. It will help you make the right choices, set the right priorities, and, perhaps most importantly, teach you to manage your time effectively in this highly competitive work environment.

Kanika Chawla, Creative Head, Beau Monde 
"In order for you to achieve anything in life, you have to believe that you can achieve it. Once your mind is convinced, action will make everything possible.

Anuradha CH, Director, Anoo's 
"Know your industry well and be organised. Constantly thrive to learn from others around you. There's no harm in having friends in 'competitors'.

Nalini Gupta, Country Manager, Burberry India 
"Do what you love: work is not what one does merely for a living. The equations have changed. Ensuring that you love every bit of your job, every single day, is the only way to excel. Always think positive.

Urvashi Kaur, Designer 
"Only women with multi-tasking abilities can manage a successful career. It's important to listen to your inner voice and follow your instinctit usually has the answer before you do.

Asha Gupta, MD, Tupperware India 
"Clearly define your career goal: one needs to chalk out a clear road map for a successful career path and review it at regular intervals. Then align your career goals with personal ones for a smooth sailing.

Nimisha Sharma, Creative Director, Brio Creationz 
"Life is all about expecting the unexpected, and it is essential to adapt fast. The secret to success lies in that. Cash in on your strengths and be a self-motivator. Your individuality will give you an edge over others.

Hansa Sachdeva Chief Marketing Officer, HeadHonchos.com

"I believe in focussing my efforts on making today, right now, this moment, productive. When I reach the goal of the moment, I usually set up the next one.

Gauri Jayaram, Regional Director, South Asia & Middle East, Globus

"Always know that there will be ups and downsfocus on what lies ahead. Use common sense and trust your intuition, even if it goes against what you learnt at a fancy B-school. Finally, understand that it's not just the brilliant, but the hard working, dedicated ones who succeed.

Deepa Mehra, Jewellery Designer
"Focus is the core factor behind every person's success. Being focused gives one clarity about goals, and the vision to fulfil our dream. Perseverance gives you the strength to overcome all obstacles. Never quit.

Sudha Jagadish, CEO, Dax Networks
"Eliminating a problem, rather than pondering over it, is the crux of all successful decision making. Every field has its own challenges, and one has to face them with courage.

Nitya Bajaj, Designer

"I follow what my grandfather taught me: keep doing what you know best, move in the right direction, and things will work out fine. I believe in practical application; I learn new things everyday.

Geeta Bector, VP Research and Development, Bector's Cremica
"Keep learning. The world is constantly changing and it is imperative to keep pace with it. Regularly update your skill set and knowledge to discover innovative new ways of doing things.

Mallika Dutt, Executive Director, Breakthrough 
"10 years ago, I left law to create a music album about women's rights. Why? I was convinced that popular culture could express the importance of women's rights in new ways. Follow your dreams, and don't let anyone tell you it's not possible.

Roshini Vadehra, Director, Vadhera Art Gallery 
"People are any organisation's biggest assets. Work and motivation are key factors in any venture. Think hard before you even begin to start contemplating your life as an entrepreneur. And always, always keep your eye on the goal.

Ritu Chaudhri, VP Marketing, Nirula's
"Know when to take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself. If you do that successfully, it will differentiate you from the others in the line.

Sonica Malhotra, Director, MBD Group
"As an entrepreneur, one should have the conviction to venture into unexplored areas. To maintain the numero-uno position, one has to work with diligence and be futuristic. Encourage openmindedness, exchange of ideas, and brainstorming sessions. The process of learning has to go on forever.

Preetha Sukhtankar, Partner, KWAN Entertainment and Marketing Solutions 
"Trust your instinct. Remember, that's what sets us apart from the men in the so-called corporate jungle. This is a marathon, not a race. Burning out fast is the downside most young women face, so take it easy and savour success.

Devita Saraf CEO, Vu Technologies

"My favourite way of planning my goals is to imagine what I would like my life to be in five years from now. Then I break that vision down into bits and work towards it.

Althea Shah, Head of Marketing and PR, Gold's Gym 
"Success is when you feel at ease with yourself, when you earn enough to sleep well at night, when your close relationships are good, and when you are a positive influence on those around you. Keep learning and improving.

Manisha Amol, VP Marketing, Modicare Limited 
"Prepare a well-defined goal with timelines, then break it down into achievable milestones. Divide them into longterm, medium-term and short-term goals. Tackling goals like this makes it easier to achieve them.

Latika Khaneja, Director, Collage Management 
"Decide on a goal, and give it a realistic time horizon. Break this goal into daily or weekly tasks and follow the list, all the while seeing that your longterm goalpost is in sight.

Nisha Berlia, Director, Apeejay Stya Education Research Foundation 
"Give credit where credit is due. I have worked with plenty of managers who take credit for work done by their juniors. As you move up, your growth is dependent on the growth of your subordinates.

Dr Rupali Ambegaonkar, Founder, Tea Culture of the World
"In today's era, it is difficult to come up with something new, but if you have a dream and the perseverance to realise it, everything is possible.

Sangeeta Kuriakos, MD, The Specialists

"Don't be negative. A lot of people waste time criticising and finding faults, when they could it to be more productive or achieve things. A positive, driven employee is appreciated by every organisation.

Ashna Singh, President, Entrepreneur Organisation, New Delhi Chapter 
"Have the drive, vision and passionif you believe in something, others will too. Be action, not problem-orientedplan well and relentlessly move forward. Lastly, take good care of your investments.

Ameera Shah, MD & CEO, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd

"If you're young, it is imperative that you are more knowledgeable than others at your age.