Professional Development

11 Habits of Successful People

Written by Peter Jones

Ever wonder what all those rich and powerful people have in common? Ever wonder how they got where they were? Or whether you have what it takes to end up among them?

Or maybe you have a bad idea of what it means to be powerful and worry that you’re too nice a person for the job. Well, rest assured. Nice guys can finish first. Here are 11 habits of successful people. Start cultivating them now, and see how far you can go.

1. Don’t wait to be promoted to be a leader

Leadership is not about the title on your business card. So don’t wait to get that title before you start actually leading. Power and authority are not the same thing. Try leading without being a boss.

2. Be graciously disruptive

Don’t just accept the status quo because no one else seems to be questioning it. Don’t be afraid to ask the question that comes to you. Ask “what if…” and “why not…” Think outside the box and gently express your best ideas, and you could think your way to real innovation and improvement. Plus, you’ll impress your colleagues in the process.

3. Think for yourself

Form your own opinions based on fact and what you know, rather than what you think—or have been accustomed to thinking. Always keep an open mind and be willing to change your mind when you have good reason to. Do this, and you can trust the little voice inside your head when it really matters.

4. Focus on the big stuff

Don’t get distracted by the small and trivial stuff. Cut through the noise and focus on what matters most, and what is most important. Speak up when you have something truly meaningful to say. Do the big thing first and best. You’ll build a reputation for insight and trustworthiness, at the least.

5. Master conflict

Conflict happens. The only thing we can change or anticipate is our reaction to it when it does. Rather than shirking away from conflict, or seeking it out, try the middle path. When it hits, react to it without emotional entanglement. Face the situation directly and humbly, without being defensive or hysterical. You’ll find conflict can actually be incredibly productive, when you face it this maturely.

6. Cause conversation

This is a hard one to practice, but if you have the talent for making people listen (and saying things worth listening to), then you can be the kind of influencer who opens her mouth and inspires.

7. Know thyself

True power means not being blind to your own weaknesses. Position yourself to wield your strengths in the best possible way, and that means also owning your weaknesses and finding out how to grow from them.

8. Network

Don’t be the mercenary networker who drops contacts like a hot potato when they prove no longer useful. True power comes from building a solid and strong community. Develop and grow your network. Keep up contact with your connections’ connections. Treat everyone with respect and dignity and then you can all help each other work together to succeed.

9. Ask for help

Asking for help is almost never a sign of weakness—quite the contrary. True leaders know when to delegate, when to ask for expert advice, when to take a step back for better perspective. Ironically, you’ll prove your lack of insecurity by putting the project ahead of your own ego.

10. Believe in yourself

This doesn’t mean neglecting to do all the hard work, but it does mean believing in your own power to achieve your dreams. Keep yourself driven and inspired and you’ll stand a good chance of actually meeting your biggest goals.

11. Do it today

If you have the mind set, the training, the inspiration, and the passion, why wait? The perfect opportunity to show off your leadership skills and start growing your power may never be handed to you on a silver platter. Start now. Strengthen your power muscles any chance you get, and actively seek out the opportunities to show them off.

About the author

Peter Jones