So much has been written about success! How to be more effective, productive and successful usually starts with a list of ten (10), fifteen (15) or as many as twenty-five (25) traits, steps, or tips to become successful. With so many books, articles and stories, you would think there would be more successful people. What does it really take to accomplish your goals?
Why is success so elusive? Success is not genetic; you can learn how to be successful. Students who do well in school are successful, but they often do not become successful adults. They may do well with lessons in school, but do not do extraordinary in the real world. Their success in school does not mean they will be successful, but they can! People who do well in school are good students. They learn their academic subjects well and can demonstrate their knowledge.
Getting As and Bs in school demonstrate success, but is it enough? Universities want more than grades for a reason! Students and parents emphasize good grades and high SAT scores, but the best universities want more. They want extracurricular activities, sports, part-time work, volunteerism, internships, leadership and diversity. If you think it is exclusive to schools, you would be wrong. The best companies want good grades, but they want a complete person too. The class president, quarterback, Rhodes Scholar, homecoming king or queen would be ideal.
Why do companies want all these things? Companies or employers are hiring people for the future. There are a lot of people who can perform the entry level position, but they want people who are promotable. In companies like General Electric who is known for their training programs and identifying future executives. They develop those middle managers to e executives and many other companies recruit from companies like General Electric for their executive positions. Growth companies such a s Google, Apple and the like always need promotable employees.
Some of you may feel that you do not want to be part of these huge organizations, but Marissa Mayer (currently CEO of Yahoo) worked for a small start up (Google) for thirteen (13) years before she left for Yahoo. Maybe you want to start your own company and take it public or just live quietly making a reasonable living with a nice work/life balance. Whatever your goal, you need to acquire the skills or traits that most, if not all successful people have. I want to emphasize that you were probably not born with them, but you can learn to be successful.
You may have been born brilliant or you are just average, you can learn how to be successful. Think back to your days in high school, there were natural athletes and good students. If your school was like mine, there were some of each, but not that many that were both. The best students went to good universities, but the scholar athletes had a leg up. This is true in the real world too! The more accomplished, you demonstrate in a number of areas will get you a better school and eventually a better job.
Traits of Success
- Focus on outcome or results! – Focusing on goals is always important! Successful people focus more on goals and outcomes particularly long term or really big goals. It is not enough to just set goals, but you must break them down to daily/weekly/monthly tasks in order to accomplish those really big goals. It is the first step to learn how to accomplish your goals.
- Persistence, determination, discipline, stubborn or just single minded – Wouldn’t it be nice, if everything you attempt jut happens? Everyone including the most successful people are told “no” and in many cases multiple times. J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter series author) was turned down twelve (12) times before being signed by a publisher. There are many examples of successful people overcoming obstacles by just be persistent!
- Love what you do – Pick a career or business you have a passion for or love what you do. Sounds simple, but so many people pick careers based on the money you may earn, security or it is just a job. These are some of the poorest reasons to choose a career! Too often, careers are safe or easy choices based on your degree or major or to please someone else. All reasons that will not encourage you to love what you do. Take the time to find your passion.
- Plan, Plan, and Plan – Benjamin Franklin got it right, when he said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” A plan is a set of intended actions for accomplishing important objectives. A goal without a plan is just a wish! You cannot achieve goals without planning. It is like going on a road trip with out a map or directions!
- Invest in yourself or learn what you don’t know – Getting an education does not mean going to college, but it does mean getting the skills and knowledge to accomplish your goals. Besides, you only go to college for just four (4) years and you could not possibly learn everything there,. You have to keep learning and applying those skills to accomplish your goals. Things change daily and you constantly need to keep up with technology or other skills to accomplish your goals.
- Soft Skills – There are as many as sixty (60) soft skills which are too many to discuss here; so I will discuss just a few. Leadership/management skills are important because you should include yourself. If you cannot manage yourself, how can you accomplish goals? Another skill to accomplish goals are problem solving/decision making because you have to make more right decisions in order to succeed. Last are communication skills because you need to articulate your desires to other people and to yourself.
Success is a choice! Yes, anyone can be successful. There are so many “How to …..” books to teach you how to be successful, but if you just incorporate these six (6) traits of success, you will be successful. I just save you a bunch of time and money, but you have to want it because it is not easy. If it were, everyone would be successful. It is not enough to just read this and other articles wither. You have to want it and want it badly enough to put in the work. It takes a lot of work and you will fail too. Successful people fail often, but you wouldn’t know it because they keep on trying and they usually succeed. Is success elusive?
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Is success elusive?