9 Women Share the Surprising Thing That’s Made Them Successful

The “secrets of success” is a class many wish they could have taken in their post-grad life. Unfortunately, learning the major keys to excelling in your career and your life may not be something that can be taught in a classroom, or even absorbed from DJ Khaled’s Snapchat.

Sometimes the road less traveled provides great results. Other times, the best tips are so obvious, they are often overlooked. Whether it be politeness or being unafraid to ask those who inspire you for a cup of coffee, these nine women share what’s truly made the difference. 

Making coffee dates

A cup of coffee may be all you need. Not only will you get a caffeine boost, but “advice shared over a 15-minute cup could be all you need. Don’t be afraid to ask!” Linda Krebs, 32, founder and CEO, LKPR, Inc

Listening when it matters

“I believe a surprising thing that makes me successful is my ability to listen to others. I am able to really listen and connect with people building a strong relationship of trust which has definitely helped me build two successful businesses.” Nellie Akalp, 45, serial entrepreneur in the online legal document filing industry

Having good manners

Writing thank-you notes, saying please and thank you, following up and keeping promises go a long way in business relationships. “I have actually had clients who hired us and said our good manners left a great impression that made us stand out. It is simple, but it works.” Paige Arnof-Fenn, 50, founder and CEO of Mavens and Moguls

Being unafraid of confrontation

“I offer a dispassionate, empathetic and clear critique when it’s called for. Many people fear that, but it is actually what encourages others’ trust in me (or anyone who operates that way). After a well-executed confrontation, I’ve often gotten more than I asked for, even when I wasn’t asking for anything.” Linda Kuriloff, 50, career coach

Letting impulses guide me

“My extreme impulsiveness and lack of time to second-guess myself has allowed me to propel myself and my business forward. Making decisions on whim does not leave time for fear or retraction.” –Nicole Harris, 24, co-founder and CEO, One Last Frog

Maintaining perseverance 

“You won’t be successful with just your talent. Talent can only take you so far. It’s the perseverance that will carry your talent across the finish line!” –Sheryl Victor Levy, 43, president, Savvy Strategy

Going for walks

“Sometimes, on the road to success, we get so busy with what has to be done, we want to just keep working and working. But I learned that successful people like Steve Jobs, Beethoven and Charles Darwin all walked during the work day. Walking increases energy and helps with mental clarity, so when you return to work you’ll be more energized and productive than before the walk.” –Heather Christian, 46, founder of Stressed Mommy LLC

Taking time to meditate 

“I’ve always espoused the benefits of mindful living and meditation and have practiced them on and off during the years. Yet, when I committed to set aside a minimum of 15 minutes each day to meditate, the benefits were immediately quite obvious. I had greater mental clarity, reduced stress and an enhanced sense of centeredness that carried me throughout a hectic work week.” Susan Steinbrecher, 56, CEO of Steinbrecher and Associates Inc.

Cutting alcohol

“Once I changed my habit from drinking to forget how unhappy I was and how much debt I was in, or to destress, relax or ‘get confident’—you name it, a drink always made things seem bearable—my life truly got better.” Elisabeth Manning, 46, founder of Fertile Living

Lauren Hard is a multimedia journalist and freelance writer in New York. Follow her on Twitter.