By Angela Lurie | Senior Regional Vice President, Robert Half

When I first heard about TeamWomen’s WaveMaker Awards, I thought, “Oh, this sounds like a program that recognizes women who rock the boat and make things happen!” Without knowing anything about the program, I figured that the honorees could be women worth knowing.

I was right.

What is it about these women that makes them special, and what can we all learn from them? As pioneers in their fields, WaveMakers are models of the entrepreneurial spirit. They possess a certain set of skills that empower them to maneuver through the rocky landscape of the professional world. Among those skills:

Networking – The best, most successful entrepreneurs didn’t necessarily go to the best schools or come from wealthy families; they simply surrounded themselves with the right people whom they knew would help them on their way to success.

Learning on the Go – WaveMakers see opportunities where others see obstacles. They’re always observant of the world around them. They understand that knowledge is power and are eager to pick up a variety of skills, even those that aren’t necessarily relevant to their work. This also means exposing themselves to new experiences and staying open to lessons beyond the classroom.

Self-Discipline – “Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” Attributed to Abraham Lincoln, these words ring truer today than they did, perhaps, in Lincoln’s time. With 21st century distractions and opportunities for instant gratification screaming for our attention, not to mention the profound pressure they bring to the workplace, self-discipline is an essential practice for anyone who wants to succeed.

True Leadership – Contrary to what many believe, becoming a leader means that you are put in place to serve others. Leaders are mindful about showing empathy, listening, promoting teamwork and acknowledging the accomplishments of others.

Time Management – Entrepreneurs are driven by the need to get things done because every minute wasted is a lost opportunity. They are often trying to juggle the workload of five people. But with good time management, they can get everything done, and more.

Adaptability – Sometimes when the going gets tough, all an entrepreneur can do is simply wing it. Whatever your profession, you’re undoubtedly going to be thrown a few curve balls that require you to come up with solutions on the fly. Embrace that!

Grit – Pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth, author of the best seller, Grit, says that the secret to outstanding achievement isn’t talent but a special blend of passion and persistence for a singularly important goal. In other words, grit. We all know what it’s like to fail or be told we cannot do something, but WaveMakers cultivate the ability to persevere.

Giving Back – “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” This timeless advice from Gandhi teaches us to find compassion within ourselves and adhere to values that benefit the common good. Not only does giving provide others with building blocks for a better future, it will help you grow as a person.

There are, of course, a multitude of other commendable characteristics personified by this year’s TeamWomen WaveMaker Awards finalists. The best way to characterize these outstanding women is to paraphrase Chief Political Correspondent and Anchor of State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Whatever they do, they are so good you can’t ignore them.

 Bravo to you all.

Angela Lurie is a Minneapolis-based senior regional vice president at Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm. For more information, visit http://www.roberthalf.com.