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As I’ve started to reach new growth milestones in my business, I’ve had this growing realization: Knowing your non-negotiables isn’t just important; it’s essential. Not having them clear? Well, that’s a straight ticket to Discontent City, which, let me tell you, doesn’t do any favors for your success, present or future.

It’s way too easy to let things slide, isn’t it? You make excuses for others (and yourself) and turn a blind eye to signs that all’s not well because, hey, losing a client sounds like a nightmare, right? Or maybe you’re so dazzled by what could be that you compromise what is without even realizing it.

These thoughts have been swirling in my head ever since I attended the Black Women’s Power Summit. The stories I heard from these incredible women, who’ve faced and conquered massive hurdles to secure their spots in positions of power, really hit home.

Here are six non-negotiables from myself and some of the powerful women we all look up to that will help you maintain your success and help you push through to the next level.

Related: Stepping Into Your Power as a Female Leader

1. Have uncomfortable conversations immediately

Let’s have uncomfortable conversations. I used to dodge them like a pro. But, facing them head-on? That’s where the magic happens. More often than not, I’d find out I was missing a piece of the puzzle. Whether they changed my view or cleared the air, those talks always left me feeling lighter, ready to focus on what matters.

2. Wait 24 hours before making decisions fueled by emotion

And here’s a rule I live by now: If a decision is riding on a wave of emotion, I hit pause for 24 hours. It’s amazing what a little time can do for perspective.

3. Don’t accept less than the energy you bring

Accepting less than I’m giving? No more. That’s true for work and life. Steering clear of toxic people sounds obvious, but we’ve all been there, keeping someone around when, deep down, we know they’re just bringing drama and draining our energy.

Related: 5 Women Entrepreneurs Share Their Top Advice for Finding Your Path to Career Success

4. Don’t be afraid to ask things that enable you to show up as your best

When national talk show host and actress Sherri Shepherd was asked to be on tour with Babyface, the local glam team was not equipped to style a woman of color. The team could not style her wig, and the foundation didn’t match her skin. Can you imagine having to host a large-scale event, looking up at the monitor, and being distracted because the reflection is not of your standard?

As women, it’s often implied that asking for anything more than what is provided is considered “high maintenance.” Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need to show up as your best self, and don’t expect anyone to understand your request as they’re not on your path and they’re not the ones who have to show up in your shoes.

5. Understand that work-life balance is a lie

I listened to Thausandra Brown Duckett, CEO of TIAA, talk about how work-life balance is a lie. Her suggestion is to treat your life like a diversified portfolio. She said work-life balance is a lie because it never reconciles. She suggests living your life like a diversity portfolio. Write down everything that matters to you, and allocate based on your priorities. Over time, you will outperform in all areas. Do not put all your time or energy into one thing. Don’t forget to give yourself the grace to recalibrate your portfolio as needed.

6. There must be incentives to innovate

And there’s one gem I picked from Thai Randolph, who co-founded HartBeat Productions with Kevin Hart, that’s become a mantra for me: She said that in every opportunity, there must be something intrapreneurial. What that looks like is having the opportunity to build things, break things and scale things. There has to be a real incentive to innovate.

Related: 5 Trailblazing Black Women Entrepreneurs Share How They’re Breaking Barriers — And How You Can Too

Honestly, my non-negotiables aren’t groundbreaking, but ever since I’ve put them front and center, communicated them to my team and decided to live by them, the difference has been transformational. Thanks to these non-negotiables, my company, Society22 PR, made it on Inc.’s Fastest Growing Companies list, and we have been able to nurture a company culture that’s beyond what I dreamed.

So yes, these reflections on my non-negotiables have reshaped my approach to business. It’s not just about setting boundaries; it’s about creating a space where you, your team and your business can thrive. And let me tell you, the result has been pretty great.

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