7 Habits of Highly Successful People (article featured in The Tennessean)
People don’t become successful because of the luck of the draw. Owning, building, branding, and/or growing a company takes intentionality and quite a bit of psychological savviness. The old idiom “Great minds think alike” is actually quite on point because success requires a certain mindset, a collection of expertise, and the willingness to couple vulnerability with fortitude.
It is important to note that success can be operationalized using different definitions. Some people may exhibit some, but not all, of the following traits, which likely means that they are successful in one particular area. However, to achieve comprehensive success and work-life balance, a more unique set of traits is required. The following are habits often exercised by highly successful and balanced people in the working world:
1. They engage in positive thinking. While this may sound simplistic, research continues to replicate that optimistic people who have positive thoughts yield successful outcomes. Positive thinking contributes to resiliency, desired results and sound decision-making. There is a science behind positive cognitions and the way in which they affect mood, clarity of thought, and behavior. In sum, positive thinking effectively improves the way that one assesses, responds, and performs in any given situation.
2. They have genuine appreciation of others’ successes and the desire to learn from them. Successful people are not jealous, but rather they are curious and authentic. They don’t compete for the sake of hurting their peers. Competition and striving to have the best business with the better outcome is healthy, but setting out to cause failure for others is damaging. Successful people appreciate others’ strides and learn from them. They connect and collaborate with the leaders in their business, and they mentor others who are learning their trade.
3. They are willing to take risks and, at times, fail. Risk-taking is part of progressing, and part of progressing is attempting approaches that don’t always work. Each decision requires a cost-benefit analysis in order to assess the worth of the risk, and no risk is fail-proof. Often, bigger risks reap greater growth. Likewise, big risks sometimes lead to undesired outcomes. Ultimately, successful people will experience failures along with their successes. They will admit mistakes, take responsibility for their failures and for the failures of their team, and develop sound strategies for changing approaches.
4. They surround themselves with the right team, including people who are smarter than them. Successful people are insightful and understand that their pack must include experts of various kinds. A business is comprised of numerous components, with each component requiring a unique skillset. Hiring, utilizing, and appreciating an excellent skillset of an employee (as opposed to being threatened by it) will yield successful results and free up time and energy for others to spend elsewhere. Being able to confidently delegate tasks, as opposed to micromanaging, positively impacts morale, leads to intrinsic motivation of team members, and significantly decreases work-related stress. And, staying loyal to a successful team, including showing appreciation and respecting their need for balance and self-care, will in turn improve the well-being and performance of the team as a whole.
5. They prioritize self-care. Boundaries are a crucial contributor to being successful in any realm. It is easy to become hyperfocused on output and to engage in critical, demanding self-talk that infringes on time for self-care. Successful people are mindful of the need for balance. One can be successful in the working world yet neglecting mental health and/or relationships at home. And, typically, each of these impacts the other. To be well-rounded and successful in more than one area, self-care and time off is imperative.
6. They capitalize on different opportunities, some not so mainstream. Essentially, successful people are curious and open to different and creative means through which they can learn and grow their business. They seek out interactions, relationships, and experiences that expose them to different perspectives and opportunities. Successful people are connected, engaged, interested in others’ input, and also willing to think outside of the box. They are open to new and different opportunities, and are willing to get outside of their comfort zone.
7. They do it for more than the money and recognition. Successful people do not reach the top of their game because they are only concerned about the bottom line. They don’t do what they do solely because they want wealth, titles, degrees, or accolades. While these factors often contribute to or result from success, they are not the purpose of the work. Often times, successful people leave the “CEO” title off of the their office doors and, instead, comingle with their teams who address them on a first-name basis. These successful businesses proceed with a clear mission statement, a core set of shared values, and a purpose that exceeds that of simply increasing profit.