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Considering all the people you've met in your field, what personal attributes are essential for success?

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Subject: Career question for you
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9 answers

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Theo’s Answer

Hey Ethan. I think this is a great question.

Lots of articles have been written on this topic related to traits of successful 'Entrepreneurs' or successful 'People', but I think there are a few common threads, regardless of what your definition of success is that I know I've seen help me progress in my career, and just be happier overall;

  1. Growth mindset; Looking at roadblocks, failures, mistakes, and challenges as opportunities to grow, not as hindrances and excuses to complain and stall
  2. Gratitude; Be thankful and look at the bigger picture. Getting myopic and obsessive to the point of specific outcomes dictating your happiness can be dangerous. I think being driven and obsessive at times can be healthy, especially when working towards a goal that better serves others, customers, your greater goals, etc... but losing sight of what's truly important can be detrimental to success in life, assuming you'd rather be happy in a Toyota, as opposed to miserable in a Lamborghini
  3. Humility; Always be learning. Even if you become an expert at something, keep learning from others and exercising humility as opposed to arrogance. Although you will see successful people exercise self-confidence and high self-esteem, this is much different from ego and arrogance
  4. Focus; There's a lot going on all the time, competing for your attention - learn to block out the noise and focus on what's important.
  5. Know your 'why'; If you don't know why you're doing what you're doing, then it's hard to stay excited about it. Believe in what you're doing. Know why you're doing it, and go be successful at it

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Caroline’s Answer

Hello Ethan,

There are a lot of components to becoming a successful professional - and those components can vary according to what kind of career you want to have, the field that you are in, etc. If there is one thing, that I would say is essential and that can apply to anything and anyone, is to never stop trying.

Whether is trying to attain a goal at work, to get that dream job, trying to find your way in an industry, trying to get that promotion, no matter how hard it is and no matter how many attempts it takes, just never stop trying.

In my professional life, I have changed my mind on what I wanted for a career on numerous occasions. I tried different things, thinking I'd like them at first, only to find out later that it wasn't for me. Those experiences, even though they might have felt like a "failures" or missed attempts, brought me a great deal of knowledge and helped me grow. Helped me finding out more about myself and what I was capable of. No matter how hard it may have been to keep going, I just did. I never stopped trying. And eventually, doors started to open. All my efforts payed off. Even if the outcome wasn't what I had imagined at first, it was still a very positive one, which brought me a great deal of experience along the way. Just don't ever stop trying, I promise you, it will all be worth it.

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Elizabeth’s Answer

Some common traits I have noticed in successful people in my company/industry are:
Passion: the unfailing desire to achieve their goals, and the drive to make a difference.
Work Ethic: Show up and do what is require of you, then go the extra mile to make yourself invaluable.
Commitment to the people you work with: No one can succeed alone, looking out for those around you and bringing those who help you along side in your success has a huge impact on where you can go. Having a network, mentors, and dedicated team is irreplaceable.
Willingness to change: Being able to quickly pivot to new needs, seeing where attention is needed, and having skills in place to address it.

Elizabeth recommends the following next steps:

Follow social media of leaders you admire to see what their passions are and how that impacts their decisions
Know what makes you want to make a difference
Network and be willing to help others, even with those that may not seem like they have something to give in return, it may surprise you!

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Anthony’s Answer

A relentless commitment to personal growth, education, and communication. These three characteristics will take you very far!

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Gill’s Answer

Always be personable, approachable and have a can do attitude.
Never lie.
Set expectations (time / workload/ ability) correctly

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Joseph’s Answer

This is a great question. Here are the skills I've applied that helped me grow quickly in my career:
1. Understand the expectations of your job, and do that well.
2. Be proactive and do more than what's expected of you.
3. Treat people like they're people. Be open to new ideas from others, communicate respectfully, and offer help to others.
4. Don't be afraid to communicate with the leaders within and outside your direct chain of command (e.g your boss's boss, their boss, and their peers). Relationship building is important.

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Devon’s Answer

Self-motivation and a willingness to learn are essential. There will be times where you'll be frustrated with your job and you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, so you'll need to find that motivation within yourself to continue doing the best work that you can. And a willingness to learn will take you far - the more you learn, the more marketable you make yourself...so always be open to taking on new and different assignments.

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Audrey’s Answer

Hey Ethan,

I think it really depends on what you call success & what your definition of it is. For some people it will be becoming the CEO of an existing company, for others it can be about launching a venture & building it from scratch & finally some might see success as a stable position that gives them good opportunities to learn & grow in a safe environment. It differs a lot so I would give what I saw in terms of people succeeding career-wise in big & medium companies, meaning they get to higher positions & responsibilities.

What I saw is that being technical & possessing hard skills, such as being a finance expert for example, is rarely enough. Those people are able to learn very fast & have strong soft & human skills that enable them to have people adhere to a vision & a plan, stay motivated & work for the company. They also can navigate complex organization & politics - whatever the size of the company, it is always important to know who influences what & how you can get your projects done. Finally, understand how to position yourself in meetings; give a high level view & understanding are strong skills acquire.

I hope it helps !


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Phillip’s Answer


I noticed the hashtag #business included in your query and it is my opinion from the people I’ve met in this field and who are successful, they share in common an ambitious and “go get em” type of personality. They are self-starters and have a lot of desire to succeed.