We are currently in a time when too much emphasis is placed on grades. Far too many graduating seniors believe that good grades lead to good jobs which leads to a good life. However, there are many other attributes necessary for success.
What is success? This post isn’t about equating $200,000 a year and success. This post is about helping people achieve their dreams and being able to look in the mirror. When we equate success and net worth, we set ourselves up for a miserable existence.
Photo by nanagyie via Flickr
Several years ago, I was reading some “Help Wanted” notices on a job board. There was an interesting position, and under the section “Qualifications” it said something similar to the following:
“Qualifications necessary: Integrity. Everything else can be taught.”
Integrity is doing the right thing regardless of the outcome. Organizations want employees who do the right things just because they are right. If you are a person of integrity, your employer will respect you and entrust you with important jobs. When a person is trusted, they are allowed to progress within the organization.
You must be able to work without someone watching over your shoulder. I know a person who works from home. She is required to log her activities every 8 minutes. I think this is a huge waste of time. 30 minutes of every day is spent logging activity. However, it highlights that some organizations question their employees’ ability to work without supervision. If you can take initiative and turn goals into action, that will be a tremendous value. Prove your ability to work independently and doors will open.
Quality businesses want employees who have a healthy life. You must take care of your home life because when there are crises at home, they often overflow into the workplace. Exercise, have a healthy diet, and improve your marriage – these are all acts of self-care.
Pursue this characteristic too far and it quickly becomes a turn off – ego. However, when you are given a task, your supervisor wants to know that you feel confident to complete the tasks assigned. Confidence is contagious, so when you feel confident, those around you naturally draw their confidence from your own.
Long gone are the days of working 35 years for an organization. However, employees do need to feel a sense of commitment to the success of the organization. When you sign a contract, do people know if you are committed to keeping your part of the agreement? When you say you’ll complete a task, do people act based on you word? Make a habit of doing what you say you will do.
In order to be successful, you need to learn how to save. Money in the bank opens doors – it creates options. Far too many people know they need to make a change to their work situation, but every time they pull out the calculator, they are frozen by fear. There is no margin. No space to take any risk. However, with a healthy savings, you can stretch yourself a little further and take the risks necessary to do what you love. In order to get savings, you’ll need to pay off your debt first. Get organized with a debt snowball spreadsheet and make aggressive debt payments. Once you are out of debt you’ll find it easier to take calculated risks.
All of life is a negotiation. Negotiation is simply the act of finding a place of agreement between two parties. Your kids will negotiate with you. Your boss will negotiate with you. Your spouse will negotiate with you. The store owner will negotiate with you. Unless you learn to get what you deserve in transactions, it will be hard to be successful.
To be clear – this is not bragging – blahhhh. This is the ability to say to other people, “I do good work. Let me show you.” Self marketing is not about creating a false reality (your organization can’t function without me). Nor is it about over stating your case (this service will change your life), but it is about highlighting what you do well and the contributions you can make to a company.
In an increasingly digital era, some people think people skills are less important. However, I’ve known many people who have progressed in their career paths simply because they are likable people to be around. They are great conversationalists and communicate well. Learn to confidently shake hands, look people in the eye, and carry a conversation and you’ll reap the rewards.
This one is hard to develop and even hard to measure. However, some people have good instincts. They know the right timing, the right thing to say, the right pitch, and they execute. Somewhere along the line, you need to learn what people want and how to deliver that to them. While instinct can’t be taught, you can learn from those with good instinct.
What other characteristics do you think are necessary for success?