10 Characteristics Necessary for Success (Mr. Rogers Style)

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

10 Characteristics To Help You Succeed

Integrity

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.

Work Ethic

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.

Self-Care

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.

Confidence

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.

Commitment

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.

Savings

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.

Negotiation

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.

Self Marketing

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.

People Skills

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.

Instinct

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?

About the Author

By , on Jul 16, 2010
Craig Ford
Craig Ford is a fulltime missionary in Papua New Guinea who writes Money Help For Christians and Help Me Travel Cheap, a frugal family travel blog. He is the author of Money Wisdom From Proverbs, has a Masters of Divinity degree, and (most importantly) eats homemade pizza with his family every Friday night.

Leave Your Comment (10 Comments)

  1. Maxime says:

    Indeed good grades won’t guarantee success. I had easy time gaining good grades but now I’m doing poorly at my work. I really have a hard time turning my goals into action. I all have these plans but with so many distractions I so dismally fail. This was not my problem when I was still in school. I had good time management and passed my projects ahead of time. But now that I’m married I’m always at odds with time. With housework and a toddler to attend to I don’t know what to do. But with patience persistence and self discipline I will wield my way to success someday and earn fast cash.

  2. Well, I feel discipline and honesty are equally important for success.

  3. TODHD says:

    I think that persistence should definitely be included on this list

  4. Brian says:

    This is great post that strikes at the key ingredients for success. The only thing I would add, because I think it’s slightly different than the idea of integrity, is honesty. There’s a common theory that stretching the truth gets you ahead, but very rarely, if ever, has this matched my experience in business (or life).

  5. Kindness. You can be a kind person yet not a Pollyanna or a pushover. Perhaps what I mean is a combination of sympathy and humility that someone mentioned earlier. Or perhaps kindness is a component of integrity.
    Courtesy. People are increasingly amazed by simple acts of courtesy. To me they’re an important part of integrity, too: You treat people well and do not respond to rudeness or indifference with anything but what Miss Manners calls “cold correctness” — not warm, but still civil.
    Interesting topic. Thank you for posting it.

  6. Shadox says:

    I would patience to the mix. The willingness to wait out set backs and work through them.

  7. KP says:

    Thanks for sharing your characteristics to achieve success. I’d add build knowledge, because personal development helps you grow. Also, be persistent and have a ‘can do’ attitude.

    I was fortunate to have a mother who taught me The 7 Pillars for Success. I shared them on my blog…http://gainmoneycontrol.com/th.....r-success/

  8. James says:

    organization, track record, well those are at least 2 i feel are important.

    i am personally very organized and i feel it helps me with confidence, thinking clearly and being able to deliver.

    as well as a track record of success, once you have done some thing a few times you build up a confidence that you can continue to reach your goals.

    I’m sure there are many more but these are two i feel are important.

  9. Jenna says:

    I’d add being caring / sympathetic and humble to that list. Both of these qualities can get you pretty far in the business world.

  10. kt says:

    some people have all these things except the first one- integrity which to me is one of the most important virtues. It makes no sense to be committed and have a very good work ethic of fleecing people out of house and home like the wall street crowd

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