Every successful individual who has built their own success from down-up possess a set of key qualities that propel them. And we are going to dive into some of them in this article to help you with your personal development.
It is always exciting to start off on a journey to become successful. I am sure you are bubbling with confidence, hunger, and motivation to do something meaningful to bring success to your life. Fun times indeed. However, let us discuss some of the very important qualities that you need to start developing.
1.Willingness to Take Risks
It is obvious that for you to become successful you are going to have to take some risks. However, before we proceed, it is critical for us to thoroughly understand what taking risk means. But more importantly, we must also understand what you shouldn`t do when considering taking a risk.
Risk simply means that there exists some kind of danger that you may lose any money that you invest in an effort to become successful. In other words, you may fail. It involves some kind of exposure to danger or negative outcomes. Your responsibility is therefore to minimize that risk. The fundamental difference between those who become successful and those who fail lies in how they deal with risks.
Nothing Comes without Taking Risks
Therefore, you need to be aware that starting a business does not guarantee that you will succeed in that endeavor. It simply means you have started. How it ends is another matter.
The most important thing you need to understand is that you will have to risk something in order to succeed. Without stepping out and risking something, there is no way you will achieve anything. You must be willing to take risks.
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go.” – T.S. Eliot
You simply have to be willing to take that step into the unknown.
2. Risk control
Does that mean I should go crazy and take all kinds of risk?
Clearly, that isn’t the case. You have to take calculated risks. By calculated risk I mean you have to be able to control the level of that risk. Don’t ever take a risk on anything whose outcome you cannot influence.
Only take risks where you have the ability to take specific actions to direct the outcome in my favor. If for instance, your start-up was going to fail because your product costs are too high, it may be possible to look for cheaper raw material, or increase prices to cover the high production costs. In the end, these decisions are in your control.
That is why betting on a horse is out of the question. Unless of course, you are going to help the jockey to ride faster.
Another advantage of taking calculated risks is that even if you fail, you can learn something from the experience, and do better next time. Anything you learn you get to keep.
Therefore you must never be afraid to take a risk if you are to become successful. Actress Geena Davis once said;
If you risk nothing, then you risk everything.
It is therefore in your best interest to develop a willingness to calculated risks.
3. Be Passionate About Becoming Successful
The relationship between passion and becoming successful is a very interesting one. The subheading; `Be Passionate about Becoming Successful` is quite deliberate. You will notice that I did not say you have to be passionate about your business idea.
I have heard people say you have to do something you are passionate about. Well if you find an idea that you are passionate about that can make you successful, then good for you.
Unfortunately, not all people are passionate about the most viable and highly profitable ideas. In fact, at the start, a lot of successful people don’t even know about the ideas that end up making them successful.
The key is to be prepared exploit potentially viable opportunities, whatever they are?
Never miss out on opportunities simply because you are not passionate about them. That is the luxury of those who have already become successful. They can pick and choose projects to get involved in. Unfortunately, we don’t have the same luxury. We just have to find what makes money and invest in that.
Your only passion must be about becoming successful.
And you must be relentless about it. Your passion for the outcome will bring excellence to everything you do. If your passion is in your outcome, you will do whatever it takes to succeed.
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Nelson Mandela.
Another issue that creates a lot of misunderstanding is that of the link between Motivation and becoming successful. It is true that motivation is critical to get work done effectively. So indeed you must learn to motivate yourself to go out there and do what needs to be done. It is one of the most important personality traits of successful people.
That being said, it is important to understand that the issue is NOT about motivation, but about getting the job done. Now, what do I mean by this? The job has to be done whether motivated or not.
Yes, it is acknowledged that it will be more unpleasant to work when motivation is low. That is why you have to find ways to motivate yourself. But the point is that the need to be motivated does not supersede the need to complete the work.
Where you cannot find the motivation, you still must complete the work. That is what separates the successful from the pretenders. Pretenders like to work when the conditions are right, and the feeling is good.
Those who become successful prioritize completing the work above all else. Even if it means working through the motivational pain barrier.
Just Get The Job Done
The problem we have is that people take a very simplistic attitude when it comes to motivation.
Let me give you an example;
Some of you go to work which is good. The question I ask is how many people do you know that skipped work because they simply felt de-demotivated? I`m sure you see where I am going with this.
Whether you feel motivated or not, whether you are hungover or not, broke or not, you are still expected at work and on time, giving your very best. The only motivation you need is the fear of getting fired, and the need for a paycheque at the end of the month.
Therefore, isn`t the strangest and saddest thing that, most people won`t give the same commitment to their own projects? Is working for their own success, not a better reason to be more committed and work harder?
Indeed at the beginning, you will feel excited and have a strong desire and motivation to conquer the world. And I`m happy for you. But unfortunately for you, things will not remain that way.
There will be times when you will not feel like getting up in the morning simply because you are physically tired. Sometimes deals will fall through, sales will dry up, or it could be constant rejection that does it. The bottom line is you will be left demoralized and hopeless.
Sometimes circumstances will give you legitimate reasons to quit and no one would blame you. Yet those who continue working regardless will realize that it`s just a phase. A phase that passes with a little more effort and determination.
One secret that I want to share with you is that;
“If you are going through hell, keep going. Never, never, never give in”, Winston Churchill
5. Be Creative
The world is now fast moving and highly dynamic. You have to constantly explore ways to bring success to your life. It about innovation. Those who think outside the box make it. For example, you may consider what your competitors are doing and then create something better. Creativity and innovation will give you a massive competitive advantage. As Kurt Vonnegut rightly puts it;
“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”Kurt Vonnegut
Whatever your project is, always strive to be the pioneer of new and innovative ways of doing things. Creativity differentiates winners from losers. Those that became overnight millionaires did so because they created something new. They provided new and easier ways of doing things. So there is really no substitute for creativity and innovation.
Mark Zuckerberg became so successful because he creatively re-invented the world social networking.
Albert Einstein could not have put it in a better way when he said that;
“You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.”
Empowered Through Innovation
You have to move to a higher level of thinking to be creative. You must first thoroughly understand how your business functions throughout. By understanding your business better you empower and give yourself the ability to improve and innovate.
Don’t be afraid to pioneer new things. Be brave and do not be afraid to break out of conventional thinking. Creativity involves taking some sort of risk.
And the good thing is that the more you create the more it becomes second nature to you. American author and poet, Mary Angelou said that;
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have”.
You have to develop an innovative mind and creative problem-solving skills. Treat all the problems that you face as opportunities to provide innovative solutions. Your very survival as a business depends on how creative you are.
For instance, if sales are poor, how creative can you be to raise sales volumes?
You have to be constantly studying and improving your business knowledge base. That is the only way you will successfully be able to create and innovate your business methods.
6. Learning and self-development
One of the most important qualities that almost all successful entrepreneurs possess is the ability and desire to learn. What they don’t know they learn. They are constantly looking and willing to develop themselves because they realize that knowledge is power.
I was very impressed when one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the UK, James Caan, went to Harvard business school after he had already become very successful. Now, you may ask me;
Why would he waste his time going back to school when he had already become successful?
Well, he did answer that himself. Told the Telegraph newspaper that
“At the age of 42, I looked back on my life and wondered if I could have done things any differently and the one thing I regretted was not going to university so I went to Harvard Business School and picked up my education.”
With such an attitude it does not surprise me that he became so successful. I have heard it many times that you do not need education to become successful. Now that is true in every sense. But trust me you cannot diminish the significance of an educated mind. An educated entrepreneur is unstoppable.
A Willingness To Learn & Develop
Never underestimate the need to educate yourself. The confidence boost that skills can bring to your experience is unbelievable. Do not miss out on brain empowerment. Henry Ford said about learning;
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” Henry Ford.
You simply have to develop your intellect. No one else can do it for you. When you do that, you become knowledgeable, improved, and effective.
“When you know better you do better”. –Mary Angelou.
People that do not succeed do not always fail because they cannot work hard. It`s having the knowledge to know where to direct your hard work that will make the difference. The thing that will make you a millionaire may not be very far from you.
But you may have to learn how things work first. For instance, a lot of people are making a lot of money online these days. It is obvious that there are some of you who are not too tech savvy.
Therefore, It`s up to the individual to take control and educate themselves about opportunities online.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela.
7. Be Focused
Let us think carefully about the power of focus. Focus brings things into alignment. It aligns your goals with your time, energy, and effort. If you lose focus on where you need to go, you waste a lot of time and energy.
I have never yet met anyone who is successful who was not focused. Focus consolidates all your energies and concentrates them on things that matter. On things that bring positive results to you. And more importantly, focus harnesses the power of attention. What you focus on, you pay attention to. What you pay attention to, you do efficiently.
What a person focuses on, they prioritize. And your success must be the most important thing to you at all times. It must be your main priority always. To learn the skills that empower you to maintain focus.
Deal With Distractions
Do not allow yourself to be distracted. In this day and age of social media, distractions are never far.
You only need to turn on your phone and before you know it, you have wasted an hour. So it is critical to understand how important it is to maintain focus. Be aware of things that bring distraction and make a plan to insulate yourself.
There are many other sources of distractions. It could even be friends and family. The key is to maintain an active awareness of sources of distraction and take proactive actions to avoid them.
Of course, you can never completely avoid all distractions. We are all human and sometimes it is good to be distracted. It allows your mind to gain some perspective while taking a break from the task.
And this can be good. But the fundamental key is to maintain overall focus on goals even when off-task. Your mind must always be focused on the ultimate goal at all times, even in your sleep.
Energy flows where attention goes.
Meditate each morning on what is important to your life. Have quiet times when you do nothing but focus your mind on the task at hand. Focussing your mind will help you make better decisions. Your priorities will be set straight and your time will be better utilized. Direct your thinking towards the right targets.
8. Good Communication Skills
You will need to develop very good communication skills if you are to become successful. There is simply no way you can avoid this one. You will need to communicate with suppliers, customers, and employees.
How you engage different groups of people can have a huge influence on how your business performs. And remember that communication is not all about you talking. It`s not communication if you are always the one talking.
Good communication is two way. You must be a good listener and you must consider seriously what other people communicate to you. Adopt a flexible approach when you communicate with others.
Expect different people to have different views about situations. Some will praise your conduct, while others will criticize you. Take both seriously and see what you can do to improve your business delivery systems. You must always show confidence and intelligence when you communicate.
Always Be Professional
Demonstrate high levels of professionalism when you talk. Never show ignorance. Always show awareness of where you are, and to whom you are talking and communicate appropriately. It may not be the best idea to use slang or foul language in a formal, professional setting.
People can easily lose confidence in you if you give the impression of ignorance and that you are nothing more than an unprofessional wheeler-dealer.
You must also understand your business needs well. Other business forms require more interaction with external parties than others. If your business involves a substantial amount of such interactions then you must invest in a good communication framework.
9. Be Disciplined
It goes without saying that to succeed one needs to be disciplined. Undisciplined people never reach very far. Success requires responsibility without which you have no chance.
It is very important to have financial discipline. Some opportunities will seem very lucrative but contain hidden thorns. If you are not disciplined you may find yourself losing money. Take time to thoroughly investigate every opportunity or deal.
Never act on impulse. Always show restraint, and never overestimate how much of a product you will sell.
If you find yourself giving yourself and your staff company credit cards and mobile phones, then you are headed for disaster. If you have employees, watch how they spend petty cash and have strict control of business expenses. Believe me when I say that; if you have no financial discipline you are destined to fail.
10. Ability to deal with the Fear of Failure
Fear of failure is the number one enemy for success. Others use fear of failure as an excuse for inaction. It could be a result of past failures or from observing others fail. Whatever the circumstances, fear of failing is a big issue.
Why do people fear FAILURE?
The answer is because people do not train their minds to think positively. The truth is that failure is actually part of success. Some of the biggest failures of the past are now the most successful people in the world.
In fact, almost every great person I know has a list of past failures. Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time was cut from his high school basketball team because his coach didn’t think he had enough skills.
Warren Buffet, one of the world’s richest and most successful businessmen, was refused a place at Harvard University.
Richard Branson, the owner of the Virgin Group, is a high school dropout.
Duncan Bannatyne, one of the richest people in Britain was dishonorably discharged from the British Navy.
Yet in spite of all these drawbacks, they went on to become successful. One of the most essential characteristics of ALL successful people is their ability to conquer failure. They take risks, they try new things, they step into uncharted business territories, and they are relentless.
Always Fall & Rise
Then they fail at it all. But they still get up, dust themselves, and think of something else they can try.
Henry Ford said about failure;
Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.
Therefore do not allow fear of failure to become the failure of your life.
“Forget about the consequences of failure. Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.” Denis Waitley.
So do not allow fear to rob you of future opportunities to become successful and change your life forever.
The list of qualities that people who aspire to become successful entrepreneurs is long. We just picked a few key ones for this discussion. But you must remember that learning and personal development are essential ingredients for Success. You must continuously develop your, character and skills. Developing a strong and skilled character is the first big step that almost guarantees success.
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