There are a set of characteristics that I have observed highly successful people not do. This is not based on any book that I read or something that someone told me, but on traits that I have personally witnessed people who are successful do all the time, in everything they do. These type of people get results, lead results, and sometimes seems like they actually have the power of the ‘Midas touch’.
1. They don’t multitask very often.
Successful people seldom try to do multiple things at the same time. They typically target on getting something completed correctly with a laser focus to complete it the first time, right, to move on to the next thing. This applies to the task level, project level, meeting level, and personal interaction level.
Multitasking usually leads to distractions, or not being a ‘finisher’ (someone who completes things), or being overwhelmed. Don’t multitask, it is counterproductive.
2. They don’t sleep very well.
Successful people tend to go above and beyond in almost everything they do when compared to the normal group. They are not afraid to sacrifice sleep to sharpen their skills, produce more, or study their craft. Successful people have observed that we all (humans) have the same time frame to go through our days, however if they follow the same routines as everyone else, they will end up with the results of everyone else. Successful people simply work harder than everyone else and are not intimidated to put the hard work in.
We all have 24 hours in a day, how will you use yours best? Here is a great motivational video that proves this point.
3. They are not reactive.
Successful people do not wait for things to be asked of them, they do not wait for things to go wrong, and they do not wait to be told what to do. Successful people are extremely proactive and they know they control their own fate. They have turned the table on fate and decided to take their destiny into their own hands. If you wait for your manager to tell you fix an issue, think about that entire situation. You lost time to address this issue from the point your manager learned about it to when you were told, you lost that opportunity to tell your manager that there was an issue however you already fixed it, and/or you lost that opportunity to address it before it even became an issue.
Ask yourself, what are you waiting for?
4. They don’t apply to jobs.
Successful people typically are asked to join new roles internally for promotions, are contacted directly by headhunters, or are recruited by fellow managers or co-workers who have left the company to work for another. Successful people typically do not need to self-promote because usually their results, accolades, and reputation are well-known and new employers know those results will continue.
These people are very confident in their abilities and so are those around them. Are you one of these people or know someone who is?
5. They don’t focus on their weaknesses.
Successful people are very cognizant of what they are good and not good at. Successful people consciously do not concern themselves with their weaknesses and instead are very resourceful and are good at identifying sources of information or people they can resort to when needed. Instead, they are very aware of what they are good at and continue to excel at that and these strengths are typically what allows the successful person to be successful.
This may seem counterintuitive, however I have observed this time and time again and done it in practice. Focusing on weaknesses takes away from productively working in a forward direction. Instead, be overpowering with your strengths. Here is a short video that talks about this and here is an article.
6. They don’t have one hit wonders.
Successful people don’t just have one great project or result and celebrate. Successful people have top-tier results time and time again, in various situations and scenarios. Consistency is a common characteristic of people who meet this criteria. Successful people have the drive to reach high levels of achievement time and time again without complacency.
Anyone remember the 80’s song Funkytown, it hit #1? Probably yes. Does anyone know who the artist is? Lipps Inc! I didn’t know either. Now does anyone know who the artist of the song Thriller is? How about Bad? Billie Jean? I think we all agree that Michael Jackson is considered one of the greatest artists of all time, not a one-hit wonder. You get it, it takes several wins.
7. They don’t waste time or deliver junk.
Successful people have developed an ability to produce a high-quality product in a timeframe faster than anyone else can deliver. You know how the saying goes, “if you want something done, give it to a busy person to do”. Why is this? There are a few people who have an ability to generate volumes more than others, and not only more but the quality is generally high quality as well.
Successful people usually have their own unique system for getting their work done with deliverables that are never subpar. When others try to replicate their system, they usually fail because like point 5 above states, successful people have a unique set of strengths that they have sharpened like a razor’s edge. If you don’t have your own system for getting work done and lots of it in a short time frame that is not junk, understand your strengths and develop something that works for you.
8. They don’t accept being second best.
Successful people are extremely competitive, whether they make it obvious or do not make it obvious. They cannot stand being beat in anything or by anyone, not even themselves. Successful people often try to outdo their own performance and results and are not satisfied until they do outdo themselves or others again and again. Being competitive comes in several forms, but that competitive spirit or fire that drives these people leads to unparalleled results.
Have you found yourself being complacent with mediocre results, find it acceptable to be beat by a peer, or are OK with the fact that your previous result was better than the most recent one. If you answered yes to any of these, dig deep inside and release that competitive spirit that helps drive our world, your company or you to new unanticipated levels. 2nd place is the first loser.