What is success? To some it’s a flourishing career complete with a shiny Michael Kors watch and a new pair of Louboutins, while to others it’s making an active difference within their communities.
No matter how you personally define success, the fact of the matter is we all want it. To help you get there, this week, we’re sharing 15 traits of truly successful people to get you well on your way to creating the life that you’ve always wanted.
1. Successful people commit.
You want a million dollar, beach-front mansion? That’s nice, but merely talking about it isn’t going to get you anywhere. Successful people commit to their goals, no matter how large, and then act upon them.
It seems obvious, but so many people are caught up in talking about what they wish they could do or have that they forget to make it happen! Getting started is the hardest part. Take that first step and commit.
2. They dream big, but create manageable goals – and write them down!
So you know what you want and you’re ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen, but where do you begin? The best way to reach your larger goals is to then create a series of manageable goals. Think about the end result you desire and the steps you’ll need to take to get there. It’s important to be realistic with yourself. Trying to do too much too quickly can leave you feeling overwhelmed and ready to quit soon after you started.
For example, if your goal is to get fit and lead a more healthy lifestyle, the answer is not to start a fad diet and exercise three hours a day. Instead, for your first week consider making your goal to go to the gym at least 3 times a week and to replace soda with water.
In addition, successful people are known to write down their goals and keep them where they can see them regularly. This is a great way to keep your goals at the forefront of your mind.
3. They take chances and try new things.
Finding success often involves risk. Sure, you can lead an average life while staying within the bounds of your comfort zone, but the secret to maximizing your potential is to challenge yourself.
By putting yourself in new (often scary) situations you’re not only given the opportunity to develop and learn more about yourself, but you may also be pleasantly surprised at the new hobbies, skills, and contacts you pick up along the way. Be brave and force yourself out of your comfort zone and out of your shell – you will thank yourself down the line!
4. They don’t fear failure.
With great risk comes the possibility of great failure. The key difference between successful people and the everyday crowd is that they don’t fear failure. They accept that failure is inevitable – that failures are often great learning experiences. When you learn to embrace this fact, you open yourself up to many new opportunities that can ultimately lead to your future success.
5. They learn to say no.
As a notorious over-committer, I personally have struggled with this concept. You want me to go to the rush event with you this weekend? Sure! You’re looking for someone to serve as a campus ambassador? I’d love to! You need someone to proofread your paper? Of course I’ll do it!
The reality of the matter is, you can’t do absolutely everything, and therefore it’s okay to be a little selfish. Time is one of your most valuable resources and it’s important to prioritize your commitments based on what will bring you closer to your goals. You shouldn’t feel obligated to take on responsibilities or engage in activities for the purpose of pleasing everyone else.
6. They take breaks.
You know those times when you are trying to finish the English homework and you find yourself reading the same line over and over again? In these cases, staring at the page for another hour won’t get you any closer to finishing your work.
Successful people know how and when to take a productive break. If you find that you simply can’t concentrate, take 10-20 minutes to get up and get moving or to complete a smaller task on your to-do list. Then you can return to the unfinished task with renewed focus and make some progress.
7. They take care of themselves.
Successful people know the importance of staying healthy. This isn’t to say that they’re pumping iron three hours a day, but they do know that being their best requires taking care of their bodies through eating nutritiously, staying active, and getting sleep.
Being healthy allows you to function your best both physically and mentally, keeping you on top of your game.
8. They know confidence comes from within.
One secret of the uber successful is that they don’t look to others for their self-worth. They believe in their capabilities and their confidence comes from within - meaning no external forces can take it away.
You may not have all the answers yet, but proceeding with confidence (or at least acting confident even when you don’t feel that way) will not only make you a happier person but also earn the respect and confidence of those around you.
9. They adapt.
We’ve already established that failure is inevitable. However, how you react to failure is equally, if not more, important to being successful. By using failure as an opportunity to learn, you gain valuable insight that allows you to proceed in the pursuit of your goals a little wiser than you were before. There’s no room for negativity on the path to success!
Remember these words (which uber-successful artist Rihanna has tattooed across her chest):
Never a failure, always a lesson.
10. They ask questions and never stop learning.
Many people feel dumb for asking questions that they deem “obvious.” The reality of the matter is many employers, colleagues, teammates, etc. appreciate when you ask questions because it shows that you have a true interest in the task at hand, not to mention it can save a lot of embarrassment.
Additionally, successful people are always looking for ways to expand their skill set and personal network whether it’s learning to code, setting up informational interviews with people whom they admire within their industry, or taking a class in a brand new field.
11. They surround themselves with supportive, like-minded people.
Who you spend your time with has a tremendous effect on your mindset. Spending time with negative people or those who put current pleasures above long-term happiness can leave you feeling emotionally drained and lead you astray from making your dreams a reality.
However, when you surround yourself with others who are committed to finding success, even if their goals are different from yours, it can serve as a source of inspiration, motivation, and an opportunity to receive constructive criticism and helpful advice.
12. They accept constructive criticism and let unwarranted, destructive criticism roll off of their shoulders.
Honesty, with yourself and others, is a key quality to being successful. Nobody likes to see flaws in their ideas or practices, but it’s important to stay open-minded and use the feedback of others to further your own success.
That being said, you must realize when someone is criticizing you solely for the sake of tearing you down. Success oftentimes breeds jealousy in others. In these instances, it’s important to let it roll of your shoulders or use it as motivation to be even better.
13. They aren’t afraid to promote themselves.
If you’re anything like me, you feel incredibly awkward when it comes to selling yourself. Nobody wants to be seen as cocky or self-obsessed. However, there is a big difference between arrogance and making your best qualities known to those around you.
I’ve found that it can be easier and more effective to mention your achievements or involvement in certain activities as a means of letting your best qualities shine through. You don’t have to go overboard on this and be self-promoting all the time, but it’s OK to mention your accomplishments a little bit now and then.
14. They make to-do lists.
As a serial to-do list maker, I find these to be a great way to stay organized and focused on the tasks at hand.
A word of caution– oftentimes people run into the problem of creating unmanageable or unrealistic lists. If this is the case for you, I’d recommend checking out the Daily Muse’s 1-3-5 method for creating to-do lists.
15. They put in the work.
This is perhaps the most obvious point, but also the most important. There is a reason why the number of people we consider to be “successful” is scarce and that is because the path to success requires extreme perseverance and dedication. It isn’t easy, but with hard work comes great results. Keep at it!
What do YOU think?
What are your secrets for success? What problems have you encountered in trying to reach your goals and what advice do you have for others? Leave any questions, suggestions, or concerns in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you have to say!