Success is in the eye of the beholder. I remember having a conversation with my husband when we were dating. I was telling him a story about the type of guys one of my girlfriends dates, and I mentioned, “She only dates very successful men.” He then asked me to explain my definition of success. I muttered something utterly ridiculous like, “Oh, you know; the types that work on Wall Street or are partners at a law firm, doctors, etc.” He said to me, in a very matter of fact way, “Well, I consider myself successful and I am neither of those. I am, however, working in a field I love, and I have reached my education goals to date.” My face was crunched to say the least.
I had limited my view of what makes a person “successful.” I later changed my definition of success and it no longer included a particular job or salary, but took into consideration the achievement of personal and professional goals set by an individual, totally subjective to their desires and ability to make a positive impact on their community. One year I found myself to be successful when I could pay my mortgage on time every month, and the next I considered myself successful when I could land a job.
Whatever your definition of success may be, here are some common traits of those who always set goals and seek to achieve them.
1) They Put Their Best Foot Forward
No one has time for pity parties and excuses when seeking to achieve a goal. Doing so would hinder your spirit and tenacity to go for what you want. By putting their best foot forward at all times, most successful people keep their best work and best attitude at the forefront for all to see and experience.
2) They Are Very Aware
This includes awareness of both the good and the bad. Keeping track of their progress in a particular program or department within their company, and recognizing and acknowledging when to stay put and/or when to go to the next level are realistic approaches to gauging growth.
3) They Take Matters Into Their Own Hands
Are you sitting on your stoop just waiting on an opportunity to land in your lap? If so, it is time to reassess your approach. Be proactive and seek the opportunities you want whether it is enrolling in college, starting a new business or putting your name in the hat to be considered for a promotion. Take charge of your future by doing things for yourself.
4) They Recognize Setbacks, But Do Not Stay There
We all have experienced a sense of failure at one point or another. You may have not gotten into the graduate school of your choice, or you may have been turned down for a loan to keep your business afloat. Successful people do not wallow in failure. They recognize what they can do better next time and they just do it.
5) They are accountable
Have you ever been in the presence of someone who always makes excuses as to why something is not done or why they made a really not smart decision that has affected others? Yea, me too. The irresponsible, unaccountable, shiftless people can only get so far. Don’t be one of them.
6) They Find and Enact Solutions
I can NOT tolerate a complainer. There is only so much I can listen to until I ask, “Do you have a solution for this problem?” Complainers can drain the life and hope out of you if you allow them to. Successful people recognize an issue and immediately seek a solution and move on. Do not be static in problem solving. Seek solutions so you are in turn sought after, preferably with a check attached.
7) They Communicate Effectively
There is no need to raise your voice, be sarcastic, use harsh language, undermine others and/or go mute while matriculating through personal and professional endeavors. The best way to make your goals known and to also further your efforts is to communicate effectively with those who are playing major roles in assisting and/or edifying you one way or the other.
8) They Seek and Offer Assistance
The old adage, “If you scratch my back, then I will scratch yours” rings true in business and personal dealings. I am more inclined to help those who help me and vice versa. Life is all about give and take. If you need assistance, ask for it. If you can be of assistance to others, offer it.
9) They Continue to Learn
Although you may have finished the level of formal education you wish to attain, you should never stop learning. This includes reading books and articles subjective to your field and also enrolling in continuing education classes that may add a level of expertise to your resume. Continue to challenge yourself by learning something new and volunteering yourself for new projects, even if it is outside of your comfort zone.
10) They Are Constantly Creating
A good girlfriend of mine is successful, in my eyes, in a particular segment of her industry. She has carved a niche out for herself and is recognized by her peers and colleagues. Though she could marvel in this one sector she has achieved success in, she has decided to expand her horizons and enter other markets that she knows nothing about. It takes strength, courage and faith to move past your comfort level, however, the reward will always be greater than the risk.
Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com). She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.
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