What does volumes of research say you can learn from wildly successful people?
To Build A Better Career, First Build A Better You
It might sound fluffy but research shows how people feel about themselves has a huge effect on success.
What frequently produces creative ideas? It’s not clever tricks — it’s being genuinely interested in your work.
We all know the stereotype of the successful workaholic who neglects everything but their job.
Truth is, studies show people with career momentum are 53% more likely to have healthy habits.
(Learn how to be more confident here.)
Quality, Not Quantity
In surveys, people say hard work is the best predictor of success. They’re wrong.
It’s one of the least significant factors. Hard work is overrated.
Research shows number of hours does not predict success at work or at home.Success correlates with the quality of those hours.
Being conscientious — detail oriented and showing follow-through — produces five times the results of intelligence.
We’re in an era where multitasking seems essential and an employee must be a flexible “jack of all trades.”
But the most successful people feel they are an expert at something.
(Learn how to be an expert here.)
Make Plans And Goals
Sometimes it seems so much is getting thrown your way that all you can do is try to keep up.
But successful people pause, reflect, and think about long-term improvement every day.
Achievement is rarely random. Great generals don’t shrug and say “We got lucky.”
Nearly every executive interviewed for a study saw “plans and strategy” as responsible for their success.
“I want lots of money” doesn’t cut it.
Having concrete goals was correlated with huge increases in confidence and feeling in control.
(Learn about the most effective type of goals here.)
Focus On The Small Wins
Stop thinking that slaying dragons is all that matters.
70% of long-serving corporate leaders focus on the average events — not the best or worst.
The typical is much more common than extremes, so knowing how to handle that pays off almost every day.
A consistent amount of minor success produces much more happiness than occasionally bagging an elephant.
You want a steady amount of challenge, achievement and feedback:
(Learn more about happiness here.)
Know What Motivates You
Motivation predicts career success better than intelligence, ability, or salary.
But what motivates people can vary widely.
What reward gets you going? Do you want to be richer? Do you like helping people? Do you want praise?
Don’t speculate. Think about specific times when you were very motivated and what caused it.
Research shows that reward is responsible for three-quarters of why you do things, so align rewards and goals appropriately.
Take the time to reflect on how far you’ve come and the good work you’ve done. It boosts your motivation.
That’s not indulgent or fluffy — persistent people spend twice as long thinking about their accomplishments.
Here’s Dan Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, the single best book on motivation:
(Learn more about motivation here.)
Choose The Right Workplace
You want to learn and grow — but you want to be learning the right things and growing in the right way.
Having a diverse set of co-workers can make you much more productive.
We all know mentors and role models are valuable.
What most people don’t know is that these aspirational figures must “fit” with your career goals.
Role models who aren’t relevant or whose achievements are unattainable can make you 22% less satisfied with your career.
(Learn how to use context to your advantage here.)
Learn People Skills
80% of CEOs feel that people skills are not only essential at work but also make them happy at home.
Being defensive not only makes you disliked, it also makes it hard to learn anything.
(How do you learn people skills? Start here.)
Seven things that will make you more successful:
- First, Build A Better You
- Quality, Not Quantity
- Make Plans And Goals
- Focus On The Small Wins
- Know What Motivates You
- Choose The Right Workplace
- Learn People Skills
What’s the easiest way to get started? Go here.
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This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.