Many years ago, I had the opportunity to speak to 26 Canadian women from all walks of life and asked them to share their stories on achieving authentic success.

It's interesting to note that authentic success wasn't all about the money.

It became clear that every one of us define financial success differently. Some will suggest it is all about our professional assets, allowing them to climb the corporate ladder, get a great education or satisfy that entrepreneurial spirit by starting their own business.

However, financial success isn't always about making money: Many define wealth through the value of relationships with family, friends and giving back to the community. Still others define success as their physical assets, by way of a healthy body and mind.

Meanwhile for some, their scorecard measuring authentic success comprises financial assets that allow them to give, save and spend as they see fit.

The bottom line in today's environment: It is about taking control and defining success by your standards -- at the end of the day those are the only standards that really matter.

Still, there were common themes that developed. Women who achieved authentic success stated they had no regrets, played to their strengths, followed their passion and embraced lifelong learning.

However, we did also chat about money and it is clear that in today's environment it is important to bust some pervasive financial myths and start to engage in the six habits of the wealthy:

  1. Change your money mindset: Have a positive attitude, increase your knowledge base, have goals and get disciplined
  2. Sweep away your financial dustballs or myths:
    a) Self worth equals net worth (Clearly it doesn't but some might think it does)
    b) A little debt never hurt anyone (Yes it will)
    c) I need at least $1 million to retire (No, you don't)
    d) I need to be a math major (Also, not true)
    e) I don't have enough money to start investing (How about $25 a month?)
    f) It's too late for me to start building a nest egg (No it isn't, and retirement could last a third of your life)
    g) Personal finance is all about investing (It is so much more encompassing: debt management, insurance, retirement planning and more)
    h) I can do it alone (Maybe, but start by asking for help)
  3. Eliminate the spending habit: Live below your means and ditch your bad debts
  4. Create a savings habit: Pay yourself first
  5. Embrace the investing and compound habit: Learn more to earn more and compound your earnings
  6. Choose a destination: Get real and set goals